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What is Open Source Hardware?

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 7 years ago | from the everyone's-favorite-buzzword dept.

Hardware 143

ptorrone writes "In their piece 'What is open source hardware?', MAKE magazine divides up electronic hardware into layers, each of which has different document types and licensing concerns: Hardware (mechanical) diagrams, schematics & circuit diagrams, layout diagrams, core/firmware, software/API — each layer has an example provided and links to many of the open source hardware projects currently being worked on."

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143 comments

In a nutshell... OpenSPARC from Sun Microsystems (5, Informative)

CoreTech (1084765) | more than 7 years ago | (#18844037)

OpenSPARC [opensparc.net] is available from Sun Microsystems. The SPARC architecture is still highly relevant. Open source hardware projects like this are worth noting.

Re:In a nutshell... OpenSPARC from Sun Microsystem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18844173)

AFAIK, SPARC is the *only* open source processor.

Re:In a nutshell... OpenSPARC from Sun Microsystem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18844635)

Not really, there are open source FPGA cores for all kinds of things- though the Sparc is really the only heavy duty, real silicon open source processor.

Not quite. The ESA beat them to it. (1)

jd (1658) | more than 7 years ago | (#18846831)

Mind you, that was also a SPARC, albeit a SPARC clone. The ESA developed a fully GPLed rad-hardened SPARC replacement, which I believe Atmel then took over. But they were the first.

Re:In a nutshell... OpenSPARC from Sun Microsystem (0, Troll)

Simon80 (874052) | more than 7 years ago | (#18844463)

Ok, I like Sun and all, and I don't disagree with any of the points you're raising, but how much is Sun paying you to be a Sun [slashdot.org] fanboy [slashdot.org] ? Perhaps I could get in on this payola action..

How is SPARC these days? (3, Interesting)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 7 years ago | (#18844551)

I admit I haven't really been paying attention to SPARC recently.

Can anyone fill me in on what its performance is like compared to x86 these days, when running Linux or Unix (Solaris)? (I don't think MS even supports Windows on non-x86 anymore, except perhaps Itanium and it's probably near-EOL anyway.)

There seemed to be a lot of buzz about the Niagara stuff a while back, and how amazing the performance/watt was going to be, and then it seemed to evaporate. Did something happen, or was that just the fanboys moving on to something else shiny? (And is Niagara open-source/open-architecture like the more basic SPARC processors?)

I've always been a big fan of RISC, since back in the early 90s; I think it's sad that we're fast approaching a monoculture, although there's some solace, I suppose, in the fact that with decreasing process sizes, you can now tack the x86 instruction set onto almost any real processor you want. But it certainly seemed like there were more avenues for performance being investigated back when you had IBM with Power, DEC with Alpha, Sun with SPARC, SGI with MIPS, HP with PA-RISC, and probably a bunch more that I've forgotten.

Re:How is SPARC these days? (4, Interesting)

dfn_deux (535506) | more than 7 years ago | (#18844867)

Niagara is wicked fast. It works great for highly parallelized tasks, however it only has a single FPU which makes it pretty much worthless for a lot of the things that you'd want to use a high-end server for. 24 threads and only one FPU does not make for fast ops at all tasks....

It does have 300% more blue LEDs than the last gen sun hardware though ;)

Re:In a nutshell... OpenSPARC from Sun Microsystem (1)

renegadesx (977007) | more than 7 years ago | (#18846609)

OpenPOWER from IBM also.

Free Telephony Project (5, Informative)

mo (2873) | more than 7 years ago | (#18844047)

One very interesting example of open-source hardware is the Free Telephony Project [rowetel.com] .
David Rowe, the author has almost single-handedly designed an embedded computer using a blackfin processor combined with FXO/FXS (PSTN lines) chips to produce an extremely low-cost PBX running uclinux and asterisk. Recent posts indicate he's also close to producing a T1 interface as well. The amazing thing about this project is how open it all is. The cirucuit design, and layout for all of the boards are open. Also, he's committed to using only open-source software to do the design (and contributed a number of enhancements back to these projects, such as pcb [sourceforge.net] ). Not to mention also developing the uclinux based distribution, astfin, as well as a number of custom modifications to asterisk itself to use some of the Blackfin's special DSP capabilities.

Hardware that crashes (-1, Troll)

The_Abortionist (930834) | more than 7 years ago | (#18844333)

We all know how open source software lacks in quality due to no testing. Open sourcing per say is not the problem. It is quite immaterial in fact.

The issue lies with what motivates the developper:

-Non-salaried: programming something is fun. Testing, documenting, and building a nice interface sucks...
-Salaried: Since the code is open, the only way to make money is by charging for support. So open source companies make sure to leave a few bugs here and there and the documentation confusing to keep the money wagon rolling.

Should we expect the same thing with open hardware? I think so, but support can be difficult with hardware since it's hard and expensive to perform updates. So it's probably just gonna suck.

Successful proprietary companies include:
-Apple
-Microsoft
-Nintendo

to name a few. Most Linux companies are failures, one way or another, with the exception of IBM which can use its multi-billion dollar strength to promote and support its linux branch. But even this may come at a price, if SCO wins! ...Just chimming in on the fallacies of open source...

Re:Hardware that crashes (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18845069)

I was almost worried we wouldn't see a FUD post by you in this thread. A thread on open source or Linux just isn't as good without a troll post by The_Abortionist.

Possibly, in a glorious future (5, Interesting)

smitty_one_each (243267) | more than 7 years ago | (#18844069)

You have a fab that can crank out a motherboard to order. A web page lets you pick the features you want, and then it arrives via overnight shipping.
If you care to sell your soul for rock 'n' roll, you can opt for the various DRM choices.
Maybe it arrives as a bag of chips, and you solder it yourself.
Interesting posibilities.

Today is that glorious future (5, Interesting)

gillbates (106458) | more than 7 years ago | (#18844327)

No, you have that right now.

Every hear of Pad2Pad.com? [pad2pad.com]

If you can do the layout, they'll make your board for you. Yes, it is kind of expensive for hobby projects, but for a computer motherboard it's not *terribly* bad. A commercially made motherboard is still cheaper, but I guess if you want something without DRM, you're always welcome to implement it yourself.

Now, the only problem is that implementing and debugging a computer from scratch could be a rather time consuming undertaking. But, if you've got the time, there are places who will build it for you, whatever *it* is.

Re:Today is that glorious future (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18844767)

Just hope the GP poster's motherboard uses max. two layers if (s)he's going to "crank it out" with Pad2Pad. :)

It's an excellent point you have though: just about any type of fabrication used in products you see today is available to anyone as long as they have the money. We don't exactly need to wait for the future to come.

Re:Today is that glorious future (1)

dfn_deux (535506) | more than 7 years ago | (#18845029)

There are people who will build "it, whatever it is" however I think you are drastically understating the difficulty it is to get a board with the complexity that a modern motherboard requires actually made. Hobby type board manufacturers rely on the fact the most hobby electronics use 1or 2 sided boards, not 6-10 layer boards with exact specs on trace length and orientation that is needed to fit and support the huge number of very high speed components that is needed for even the most basic P4 or Athlon.
OTOH if you "opensource motherboard" is an 8088 clone built with discrete components you just might be able to get that done...

Re:Two years ago was that glorious future (2, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | more than 7 years ago | (#18845271)

Pad2Pad does less than they used to. The original idea of Pad2Pad was that they'd make the blank board, then assemble and solder all the parts, using anything in the Digi-Key catalog. That made it useful, especially since surface mount device soldering really needs to be done in a production environment with the right tooling.

But they couldn't do it profitably. Now they're just another blank PC board maker, of which there are hundreds. It's been routine to send out your board design files and get boards back for almost twenty years now.

Re:Today is that glorious future (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18845951)

You can usually find that on ebay...

Re:Today is that glorious future (1)

AeroIllini (726211) | more than 7 years ago | (#18847353)

Now, the only problem is that implementing and debugging a computer from scratch could be a rather time consuming undertaking.
But the parent was not talking about implementing and debugging a computer from scratch. He was talking about a Dell-style OEM store, but at the circuit level instead of the component level. When you visit Dell.com and customize a computer, choosing mobo, hard disk, cd burner, monitor, etc., all the troubleshooting has been done for you. You just choose options that are presented, and they assemble it for you.

Now imagine that on a much finer-grain scale, allowing you to choose even the on-board options. Choose a processor, a sound chipset, a wireless chipset, a video chipset, an IDE interface, and a LAN chipset. The OEM then literally builds a motherboard to exactly your specs and sends it to you.

It doesn't even have to be limited to consumer-type PCs. I could see lots of embedded applications using this same technique (robot wars, DVRs, carputers, portable music/video players, etc.).

Re:Possibly, in a glorious future (2)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 7 years ago | (#18844539)

In a way, you can have custom hardware circuit boards made, very much in the manner that you describe, except that you have to design the circuit. Maybe not over night, but less than a week. You could probably have a reference board made. How computer board makers make their variations is by including or not including parts based on the order.

Making custom versions of what's being mass produced in the millions is usually not advised unless you have a very good reason to do so, for high value, specialized tasks.

Soldering ball grid array parts is big pain though.

Re:Possibly, in a glorious future (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18844621)

a) most people would not be able to solder a chip with a .3mm pin .3 mm space.
b) proto pcb are quite cheap and are easly available (I use seria proto, 3 boards any size $35 per board)

Re:Possibly, in a glorious future (1)

FuzzyDaddy (584528) | more than 7 years ago | (#18847107)

a) most people would not be able to solder a chip with a .3mm pin .3 mm space.

You know, one of the other electronics guys at work here insists on using 0201 components to save space - but no one can solder the damn things! 0402 (.5 mm pad) just about anyone can do, if you use two soldering irons.

Re:Possibly, in a glorious future (1)

smitty_one_each (243267) | more than 7 years ago | (#18847811)

Clearly the marketing packages stuff in such a way that mortals can do it without cleanrooms and such.

hmm... (1)

CalSolt (999365) | more than 7 years ago | (#18844077)

hmm... now about that open source laser lithography machine...

Re:hmm... (1)

zCyl (14362) | more than 7 years ago | (#18844129)

hmm... now about that open source laser lithography machine...

Getting it to compile on your platform is the real trick.

Brilliant name (3, Funny)

matt me (850665) | more than 7 years ago | (#18844117)

the open source Roland 303 MIDI synth clone, the x0xb0x.
:]

Still Waiting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18844127)

I'm still waiting for McDonalds to open the source code to their "special" sauce.

Re:Still Waiting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18844783)

I'll give you a hint: animal semen.

Re:Still Waiting (1)

tthomas48 (180798) | more than 7 years ago | (#18844973)

Ketchup and thousand island dressing.

Re:Still Waiting (1)

jshriverWVU (810740) | more than 7 years ago | (#18845493)

Thousand Island dressing.

Wrong Preferred Document Formats (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18844145)

The preferred document formats don't make sense. Distributing a schematic diagram as an image (pdf, png, etc.) is like distributing a program as an object file. In both cases modifying the item is nearly impossible. Schematic diagrams should be distributed in a format which a schematic editor, such as geda, can read. This is the electronic equivalent of source code. The same thing goes for printed circuit board layouts: just the image is not sufficient.

Not really like an object file (2, Interesting)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 7 years ago | (#18844297)

Sure, you cannot edit a pdf, but what is important is the design itself rather than being able to modify it directly. An object file hides the source completely and would be the equivalent of getting a PCB.

Still, using geda would definitely help. Shame so few people use it. Perhaps a something like a Protel to geda converter would be a GoodThing.

Re:Wrong Preferred Document Formats (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18844311)

k, then you should do it.

Re:Wrong Preferred Document Formats (1)

ptorrone (638660) | more than 7 years ago | (#18844347)

it's a start, it's hard to really force people not to use PDFs, since it's a schematic that can be reproduced fairly easily since it's a picture with nothing "hidden" it's not the end of the world. for PCBs, .brd files are one of the formats used or images - not ideal yet (see the caveats in the article) but a start...

Re:Wrong Preferred Document Formats (3, Insightful)

AndreyFilippov (550131) | more than 7 years ago | (#18845015)

Unfortunately it is yet difficult to design hardware using only the GPL-ed software. Sometimes - even running of GPL-ed OS - until recently fro FPGA design I had to use Xilinx software on other OS - Linux version was much worse (I had frequently ssh to my computer after it stopped to respond to any keypresses). Now it is better, and I do not need that OS for this job anymore. But for PCB design I still need a combination of the proprietary OS with proprietary EDA software - even if I would pay at least twice more for the free software if it could do the job with the same convenience.

So we too provide hardware documentation as pdf files. Actually, each of our hardware products has tarball with all the source code (software and FPGA) sufficient (combined with other free software available) to regenerate the bootable firmware (original or modified) inside the flash image itself.

I would not agree that pdf is like binary - it is more like printed source code that you still can use to build the code if you type good enough :-)

Re:Wrong Preferred Document Formats (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18848873)

Schematic diagrams should be distributed in a format which a schematic editor, such as geda, can read.

Speaking of Wrong Preferred Document Formats...

"There is no supported Windows version [seul.org] " [of gEDA].

In theory ... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18844167)

there's no limit to what you can open source. At some point, it ceases to be worthwhile. For instance, I could build the occasional part for my hot rod. In theory there's nothing to stop me from digging and smelting my own ore and really building a car from scratch. Obviously it isn't going to happen though. There are practical limits on what it's worthwhile to open source. Yes you can open source any design but if nobody builds that design then, what's the point?

Re:In theory ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18844849)

I think you are missing the point of what open source is. Open source is about the work you do benefiting others in return for their future and past work benefiting you. What you described was DIY (Do It Yourself).

The point of open sourcing 'any' design is that while it may never be built others are free to create derivative works and learn from your achievements or mistakes.

You brought up car parts. Plenty of people have tinkered with their cars and come up with alternative designs for various parts. Probably if you look hard enough there's someone that's replaced that part of the car with something they designed and built themselves. Most of those people are hobbyists that didn't consider releasing their designs to the public, but there's no reason they couldn't or that doing so would not be beneficial.

Just to recap, if Open Source was what you described then no one would use linux. They would all have written their own kernel, their own drivers, build their own processors, their own RAM, etc. One of the major principles behind Open Source is not to do redundant work. If there's something out there and it's 100% of what I need, why not use it? If it's 60% of what I need, why not modify it and then use it?

Re:In theory ... (1)

heinousjay (683506) | more than 7 years ago | (#18847871)

I think you've idealized the point. Open source means free. Everything else is just a motivation to get people to work without being paid while the work itself is systematically devalued.

Re:In theory ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18844889)

"Open source" is not a verb!

Re:In theory ... (2, Insightful)

amolapacificapaloma (1000830) | more than 7 years ago | (#18844913)

I think the point is that maybe someday you might only be able to
buy sophisticated electronic products which are full of DRM or any
other crap (rootkits, etc) and if by that day there is no open
source alternative (that meaning open documentation and the likes)
with at least the most important features and no patent problems,
nobody is going to be able to start from the scratch such a big project.
And that would suck big time.

Re:In theory ... (1)

Chandon Seldon (43083) | more than 7 years ago | (#18845657)

That really depends on how cheap fabrication gear is.

If you could "design" a car out of open source CAD files, and then send the resulting file down to the local mechanic for component fabrication on a $100,000 fabricator (maybe it carves the pieces out of metal with a laser, whatever) - then building your own car would turn into a similarly complex project to building a nice RC car kit.

The real problem is that actually having a new engine design built is damn expensive - fabrication requires a bunch of experts and a machine shop.

Not necessarily (1)

pestie (141370) | more than 7 years ago | (#18846649)

That's only true if the economic environment stays the same as it is today, especially with regards to cheap energy. The "peak oil" crowd claims that energy will get much more expensive in the future, in which case the existing economies of scale are lost and it becomes cost-effective to do more and more of the work yourself, or on a small, distributed, localized scale vs. huge and highly industrialized. Regardless of what you think of peak oil (I have serious doubts myself), it's just one of many possible ways in which the economic environment may change to make your assumptions untrue.

All of this disregards other potential factors, such as personal beliefs and preferences (maybe you want to avoid supporting certain corporations or business practices) or control (various cartels and special interests control the commercially-available hardware, making self-fabrication the only way to acquire certain types of hardware). This all may be hobbyist-level tinkering for now, but there's no telling when it might become very relevant.

Another site (mostly RTL level) (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18844169)

http://www.opencores.org/ [opencores.org] has quite a few hardware designs (mostly RTL) ranging from cryptographic engines to complete processors. They were also instrumental in developing Wishbone, a completely open SOC bus architecture, akin to something like ARM's AMBA. IIRC you can also buy a pack of cd's which contain open-source or free-of-charge EDA software.

I'm not sure if anybody's said it explicitly, but a hardware equivalent to SourceForge would be a great asset to the community, where people can share RTL, schematics, PCB and chip layouts, and so forth.

Re:Another site (mostly RTL level) (1)

hotchai (72816) | more than 7 years ago | (#18845031)

Great site! I would love to work on some of those projects (I have the necessary HW knowledge), but the commercial tools are horrendously expensive (e.g. VCS from Synopsys) Sure, there are a few open source tools (Icarus Verilog, gEDA etc.), but they are nowhere close to the commercial tools in terms of capabilities.



Besides, you need serious cash in order to get your chip fabricated! You have to have some big company pick up your design and fab them in volume. IIRC, some company is now selling chips (SoC) based on the OR1K design ... but that is the only instance I know of a chip actually getting fabbed out of all the projects listed on OpenCores.

Re:Another site (mostly RTL level) (1)

mrand (147739) | more than 7 years ago | (#18846225)

[...] Besides, you need serious cash in order to get your chip fabricated! You have to have some big company pick up your design and fab them in volume. IIRC, some company is now selling chips (SoC) based on the OR1K design ... but that is the only instance I know of a chip actually getting fabbed out of all the projects listed on OpenCores.
Many of the opencores designs would work fine in the smallest ($10-$40) FPGA's... no ASIC required.

      Marc

Re:Another site (mostly RTL level) (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18848085)

Exactly; in fact, most of the design on OpenCores are most often used on FPGAs for that reason (fabrication is expensive). For a solution to that, try http://www.mosis.com/ [mosis.com] . They combine many low-volume projecs onto MPWs (multi-project wafers) and lower the cost to the point where college VLSI design students can afford to fabricate a few of their class project. Granted, I'm not aware of a way to move from this very low-volume stage to something like production at a foundry like TMSC or UMC, there is a huge price jump I believe, but I'm not sure that's a very big obstacle. If your design is useful enough to justify creating an ASIC in the first place (as opposed to an FPGA or microcontroller+specialized hardware), it's useful enough to fabricate a bunch of them, and if you're not dead-set on the latest and greatest process node, a mask set's cost is manageable as long as your production run is sufficiently large.

Another thing I would like to see, personally, is something like MPWs at TSMC. Somebody correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm not aware of a way to amortize the cost of a mask set over many small projects. This, of course, would tie the production numbers of all related projects today, but if you're only making a few hundred wafers, perhaps this doesnt matter.

All your diagrams are belong to ALL of us (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18844177)

Share time!

What is open source hardware? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18844201)

It is something that very, very few people will ever care about.

The paper clip (4, Funny)

Bobfrankly1 (1043848) | more than 7 years ago | (#18844213)

The schematics for the paper clip are widely available, and easily cloned, and it runs the open source uBendTo OS!
-
Apoligies for bad joke in advance, apoligies for bad spelling come later.

Re:The paper clip (1)

Miguel de Icaza (660439) | more than 7 years ago | (#18845159)

Sounds like a great idea

Re:The paper clip (1)

revengebomber (1080189) | more than 7 years ago | (#18847127)

Next up: An army of open source Clippy clones.

Uh-huh. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18844215)

"Their" piece? More like "your" piece, you insufferable self-promoting cock-box.

Political Implications (5, Interesting)

Prysorra (1040518) | more than 7 years ago | (#18844257)

It will be harder to impose policeware [wikipedia.org] . Trusting your computer not to spy on you for someone else (be it criminal or not), is an equation of control. Open source hardware + open source software = nearly zero government leverage. Expect legislation concerning this if this technology takes off.

Re:Political Implications (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 7 years ago | (#18844511)

There is still a common layer of communications you will have to use. The police ware could be just as effective there.

But, Open source means open access and if they have developers willing to make this for common hardware and common software, then there is someone available to make it for your open platform.

The only ways to truly stop this is to have a private platform with both private hardware and software and not release anything to anyone. This is hardly open. But it does take the sleazy programmer out of the question. I wouldn't expect any software or hardware laws based on the openness because of this. The governments have unlimited resources available to go after you if they think it is necessary. Porting a program to your open platform would just be a casual waiste of them in comparison to some things they do.

Thompson Hack (1)

harry666t (1062422) | more than 7 years ago | (#18844951)

You'll have to cross-compile a kernel, libc, a shell, some core utils and a compiler to the new architecture, thus you may unintentionally carry a hidden backdoor:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Backdoor#The_classic_ .22Trusting_Trust.22_backdoor_problem [wikipedia.org]

Unless you're also going to write your new free software from *absolute* scratch using *only* your new, open machine, you can not be 100% sure that you won't be controlled by any third party. That's going to be hard.

On the other side, theoretically all you need to bootstrap is a C compiler and its most basic dependencies, then you can compile the 'old' stuff like bash, Linux and GCC.

Re:Political Implications (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18846033)

like the government can't find out what is being transmitted to and from your box anyway. carnivore is still here.

Answered Here: +1, Intesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18844361)


Here is the biggest Open Sores [whitehouse.org] .

I hope this helps the criminal investigation of the world's largest crime syndicate.

Patriotically,
K. Trout, C.T.O.

What is Open Source Bento Boxes? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18844365)

Im looking for a bento box, it cant be pinku (thats japanese for pink) or any girl color. It has to be
of 2 or more kotoba (thats japanese for 2 compartments) and has be be chibi (small) sized. And
has to be really kawaii (cute). Also It has to be about 10-20 bux. And you have to post pics of it
first (i want to make shure it's kawaii [cute]). And it would be nice if it came with matching
chopstick holder (WITH chopsticks). OH! and it CANNOT have any cartoon pictures, or be made
out of plastic. It has to be made of ceramic, or something like that. Also it would be nice if it was
made in japan. and not in china or corea (korea) or whatever. I have found a bento box similar to
the one im describing in e-bay, but it was 1 kotoba, and i dont want my gohan (rice) to touch my
other things (it can get wet and i would not like that, plus 2 compartments looks more kawaii)

There ARE limits to what can be made "Free" (1)

morgue-ann (453365) | more than 7 years ago | (#18844417)

Sure, you can open source hardware, but only in a BSD-style way. Chumby is trying to share-alike their hardware design, but that doesn't work as well as GPL for software or CC Share Alike for something like a work of fiction because while a schematic or PCB can be copyrighted, the netlist implied therin cannot be protected. With dense ASICs/SoCs where most of the design complexity is on-die rather than in the connections on the PCB and the registers in the chip are freely documeted [freescale.com] , reverse-engineering isn't hard.

Chumby's response to this is (parphrasing) "fine hook stuff up to the chumbilical by looking at the MX.21 reference design and tracing connections and you won't be subject to our hardware license," [chumby.com] but I wonder if they'll really be hands-off if an accessory developed without agreeing to their hardware developers' license is commercially successful. They're selling the hardware at slim margins and hoping to make profit on the service.

Re:Flash (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18845291)

How can you call anything that uses Flash as it's primary development tool open (in the FSF sense)?

A good example (3, Informative)

serviscope_minor (664417) | more than 7 years ago | (#18844451)

Ronja [twibright.com]

The schematics for electronics and mechanical design are available, including in enditable source form.

Re:A good example (1)

bergeron76 (176351) | more than 7 years ago | (#18846325)

www.dashpc.com [dashwerks.com] is another example. It's a commercial product but I'm releasing the schematics, board layout files, Gerber files, etc. to the open source community.

I may lose a couple of sales to DIYers, but I think it's good karma to give back to the community that has given me so much.

My only problem is that... (4, Interesting)

gillbates (106458) | more than 7 years ago | (#18844543)

I'm surrounded by engineers with the capability to produce open source computers, but...

Nobody has the time or interest.

Yes, I (among many) could design and implement a computer complete from the gate-level design all the way up to the compiler and operating system.

Ironically, now that I have the knowledge, I don't have the time to work on it. It gets worse:

  • I could split it up into small projects and split the workload among several people, but none of my colleagues are interested in doing *anything* outside of work.
  • Prototyping a single board is prohibitively expensive. I could bring the cost down if I had a few people to share the cost (quantity discount), but without others interested in the project, I'm stuck footing the entire bill for the prototype.
  • It is actually cheaper to buy a computer than it is to build a new one from scratch. The BOM for a new computer at retail prices is more expensive than the finished product (which was built from wholesale-priced parts).

If I did build my own computer, friends and family would inevitably ask, "So why did you spend $(Multiple thousands) for a computer slower than the $299 Sam's club special?", and "Isn't that just an expensive hobby? - you don't really expect people to buy a 1 GHz ARM machine, do you?" etc..

I would like to work on open source hardware. I do have experience porting Linux to new architectures. But sadly, I think something about corporate america just takes away the passion from the discipline. Since I started programming more than 10 years ago, I have met only one person who was passionate enough about it to do it outside of work. And you know what he did? - mods for a game. Nothing really serious or interesting.

It's not that there is a lack of talent. Rather, apathy is fatal to open source. And we need to come to terms with the fact that the overwhelming majority of those with the knowledge to do something disruptive, to use their skill to change their world for the better, choose just to go home at night and watch tv.

They have no geek passion. They are irrelevant to the discipline. And they are exactly what Corporate America wants them to be.

Re:My only problem is that... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18844743)

I'd -love- to work on projects like that, but when you work 60-80 or more hours a week, and have a 2.5 year old, there's just zero time for things like that. There's a lot of people who don't do things outside of work because they value sleeping more than 4 hours a night, which I don't even get every night with just regular work and taking a couple of hours to have a beer and watch some tube to reset my brain.

Re:My only problem is that... (3, Insightful)

hackerjoe (159094) | more than 7 years ago | (#18844991)

They have no geek passion. They are irrelevant to the discipline. And they are exactly what Corporate America wants them to be.

Whatever, I have geek passion, I just don't have all-consuming geek passion. My job is a perfect outlet for the geek passion -- I get to be a geek all day. Then in my off-time I can hang out with friends, listen to music, dance, cook, whatever other hobbies I'm currently pursuing.

I'm pretty sure that if I worked in sales or management I'd have to work on electronics or write code when I got home. I sure did when I was going to school.

Re:My only problem is that... (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 7 years ago | (#18845049)

The fact that hardware costs money to design even if you have free labor and free software is a big hurdle.

Free software is based on the principles of freedom to change the design and the fact that it doesn't cost much money to develop or to use. Free hardware allows you to change the design, but there's still the issue of the cost of development, and even using the designs means spending money to have circuits made.

I think designing "open" computers is silly, you cannot compete against makers that punch out a million boards. You are better off sticking to an old computer, it's not as if there is a shortage of those.

Just the fact that people have lives makes this whole thing unpalatable. The people that tend to know how to do this stuff well tend to be already employed doing it. It is better to have a hobby that is not what you make your money doing.

Personally, I am designing some hardware on my own, but I am doing it so that I can expand my small business. I really can't say that I would be doing it if I didn't think I might be able to make money with the work, and I am certainly not going to give much more than maybe a tiny bit of my work away for free. I'm sure arguments can be constructed that I might still be able to make money giving some of my work for free, but even after reading this site for nearly a decade, I still don't buy that as a general case.

Re:My only problem is that... (2, Interesting)

AndreyFilippov (550131) | more than 7 years ago | (#18845251)

Maybe I'm just lucky, but I'm sure it is possible to make living of the hobby not just for me.

My little secret is that the market demand for open (and modifiable) hardware is higher than the offer. And that keeps us busy.

Re:My only problem is that... (1)

harry666t (1062422) | more than 7 years ago | (#18845395)

"you don't really expect people to buy a 1 GHz ARM machine, do you?"

I'd buy a few of these if they'd be reasonably priced && "open source hardware", capable of running my free OS of choice and apps I'd write for them. My requirements are something like 32 to 64 mb of ram, 1024x768, 10 GB of HD space. I'll be happy running xfce or E16.

And you people? What do your computers do in 2007 that they weren't capable of doing in 1997? Except playing new games, processing video and sound, doing fast parallel processing, booting the computer 2 to 3 times faster, running 3D desktops with wobbly blured transparent animated windows, compiling big projects in hours not days, rendering photorealistic images on the fly, and so on... Well, (AMD || Intel) said the GHz race is over, so whatever...

Re:My only problem is that... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18846259)

I think there are plenty of things to build that are not in stores .If you have a group of people with "geek passion" there will be plenty of ideas to keep you happy.
If you have to , you could also consider that devices might be licensed to companies for mass production or sold as kits to benefit open source.

Re:My only problem is that... (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 7 years ago | (#18846663)

Since I started programming more than 10 years ago, I have met only one person who was passionate enough about it to do it outside of work.

Look at it from a different angle - how many people do you know who do what they do at work in their spare time? If you've been doing something for eight hours at work, it's completely natural to be sick and tired of it. I'm a consultant, and depending on the phase we're in it can be a lot of talk (workshops, meetings, design and documention) or a lot of implementation (application configuration, SQL and Actuate Basic mostly). In my spare time, I like to program. I think you can quite clearly map out the relationship between my work coding and my home coding. Whenever I feel it's been all talk, talk, talk then it's incredibly satisfying to come home and actually make something. On the other hand, if I've been doing that for eight hours straight, I want to disconnect and do something completely else. I think if you really want to keep doing something, anything, voluntarily for more than eight hours a day, then you're walking a thin line between passion and obsession.

Re:My only problem is that... (1)

commonchaos (309500) | more than 7 years ago | (#18846721)

Wait until your friends retire. They'll have plenty of time for this sort of thing then.

My only problem is that...obsession. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18847063)

"It's not that there is a lack of talent. Rather, apathy is fatal to open source. And we need to come to terms with the fact that the overwhelming majority of those with the knowledge to do something disruptive, to use their skill to change their world for the better, choose just to go home at night and watch tv."

Well I have the skill and talent however my education wasn't "open-source" and therefore I spend a lot of time at work paying for it, and when I get home the last thing I want to be bothered with is "my job".

Re:My only problem is that... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18847175)

Most of those applied to software 20 years ago, as well. The speed of compilation went way up, and the cost of sending source code around the world went way down.

The same thing is happening for hardware (cheaper and faster to fab small batches). Is there any reason to believe that the same effect on the preconditions won't lead to analogous results, at some point in the possibly-near future?

Re:My only problem is that... (1)

smellsofbikes (890263) | more than 7 years ago | (#18848295)

sparkfun [sparkfun.com] will crank out custom pcb's [batchpcb.com] for $10 setup plus $2.50 per square inch. I design and contract out PCB's for a living and can't find anyone that can beat that price. I use circuit express [circuitexpress.com] for my boards, but they cost a *lot* more (although their quality is superb.)

Re:My only problem is that... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18848351)

but none of my [geek] colleagues are interested in doing *anything* outside of work.
Well of course. That would take time away from WoW.

Software needed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18844549)

I was discussing this with some friends on the web.We need better software tools to aid in cooperation.
We need a web based schematic editor.
No bells and whistles are needed just an editor where you can pick basic components and chips with varying numbers of pins.
A wiki would be good too but it would be a lot easier to edit the schematic on the webpage and save it to the web and/or your hard drive.
I would love to help but I'm not great at programming.
Maybe someone could suggest something ?

Open-Schematic Stereo... (2, Interesting)

GuruBuckaroo (833982) | more than 7 years ago | (#18844615)

Years ago, when I was single and could afford toys, I bought a Blaupunkt Tuscon head unit - at the time (1987), it was the absolute best car stereo AM/FM/Cassette head unit you could buy. Could even receive AM Stereo from the one station in town that broadcast it. Set me back $750, and I still had to get an amp for it, since it only had line-level outputs.

But...

It came with a COMPLETE set of schematics, including not just block diagrams, but actual component values and chip numbers. Given that schematic, I could have build a complete new unit. I was floored. I almost wanted to try it, just to see if I could - but couldn't imagine trying to build the whole thing on breadboard with my trusty Radio-Shack soldering iron. Would have been the size of an old console record player - the kind that doubles as furniture.

Re:Open-Schematic Stereo... (2, Interesting)

sarathmenon (751376) | more than 7 years ago | (#18844939)

I can say the same thing about my Dad's Nakamichi 600 II player, which was released in the 80s. It was amazing, expensive as hell, and had the entire circuit diagram etched in the inside case. It actually make me take electronics seriously as a kid!

Re:Open-Schematic Stereo... (1)

LaRoach (968977) | more than 7 years ago | (#18846745)

I suspect that was less about being open and more about providing a repair shop the needed info to carry out said repairs. Companies have learned that it's better to get you to buy a new one instead of getting it repaired. If you do actually want to repair it they want you to send it back to them instead of having an independent do the work. They also discovered that they can *sell* you the schematics rather than sticking it inside the chassis. Again, more profit! That and the costs have dropped so much it's often not worth repairing it.

Open source medical equipment (4, Interesting)

Simonetta (207550) | more than 7 years ago | (#18844677)

Open source medical equipment is where the electronic designs, software, and diagnostic skills are completely and freely available to anyone who wants to build this piece of equipment for their own use. It will probably happen first in the developing world where this kind of equipment is not quite as illegal as it is sure to be in the West.

    A lot of what passes for 'advanced' medical equipment in the US is actually kludged ancient technology. It sells for absurd amounts of money because of the bizarre 'cost-is-no-object' state of the American Health Care industry. And a lot of people are beginning to be denied basic medical care because they don't have the money to pay for it.

    But a lot of medical tests could be done with inexpensive high-tech equipment that has been modified for home medical use. There may come an underground movement to build very high-tech medical equipment cheaply. Equipment that surpasses the quality of what is found in ordinary hospitals, but costs one tenth of the price. It would have no FDA certification, and would be quite illegal. No accredited doctor would use it.

      The difference between open source software and open source medical equipment would be that the medical equipment would be illegal. And the people doing the test and interpreting the results would be subject to arrest for practicing medicine without a license.

        But in many cases, the test results are just electronic data and can be analyzed by computer to give same level of professionalism as found in the hospital. An example of this would be having to pay $150 for a blood pressure test in a hospital that is identical to the test that you would get from the machine next to the door of your local grocery store.

        The US electronic medical equipment industry is in about the same place as the US automobile industry was in early 1970's. Overly restricted by trivial regulations, smug in their belief in their omnipresent power, and completely unaware that they are about to get totally blindsided by people overseas who can do the job much cheaper and much better.

      The USA lost the machine tools industry, the consumer electronics industry, most of the automobile industry, and many other industries by not paying attention to what the global consumers of these products actual need and want to buy. The US medical electronics industry is most likely being targetted now because it is showing all the same characteristics as those other industries that were dominated by American companies after World War Two.

Re:Open source medical equipment (2, Informative)

fcc3 (970783) | more than 7 years ago | (#18846187)

Welcome to the OpenEEG project http://openeeg.sourceforge.net/ [sourceforge.net]

Many people are interested in what is called neurofeedback or EEG biofeedback training, a generic mental training method which makes the trainee consciously aware of the general activity in the brain. This method shows great potential for improving many mental capabilities and exploring consciousness. Other people want to do experiments with brain-computer interfaces or just want to have a look at their brain at work.

Unfortunately, commercial EEG devices are generally too expensive to become a hobbyist tool or toy.

The OpenEEG project is about making plans and software for do-it-yourself EEG devices available for free (as in GPL). It is aimed toward amateurs who would like to experiment with EEG. However, if you are a pro in any of the fields of electronics, neurofeedback, software development etc., you are of course welcome to join the mailing-list and share your wisdom.

Right now, this site is mostly about the hardware; schematics, part lists, building instructions etc. However, a few members have developed some useful software which is hosted on their own websites. You can find these through the software pages.

Re:Open source medical equipment (1)

jd (1658) | more than 7 years ago | (#18847113)

I've not seen much development there in the past - is it starting to pick up momentum?

EEG seems like a good candidate for improvement - typical EEG equipment in actual use seems to me to be somewhere around the 7-bit to 8-bit mark. Accurate analog-to-digital converters (as in: good enough for multi-billion-dollar nuclear experiments, where a mistake won't kill - at least, not until the customer has run out of torture techniques to play with) run up to 24-bit. The number of supported channels is generally very small - that can't really be improved on very much, but you could still probably double it without too much trouble.

Getting something certified medically - ah, now that's the killer. Even if you used components that were validated for medical use in deep space when next to a Type I supernova, even if you provided a formal design and formal proof of compliance with that design and all medical requirements, you would still be looking at dying of old age before the equipment was certified. Particularly as the established medical community is extremely closed, highly conservative and very rich as a result of their monopoly. You need only look at the stink raised by an Australian doctor's discovery that peptic ulcers could be cured by bismuth and an antibiotic. They damn near lynched him when he presented his paper in the US. Open Source developers are less public and far easier to hide. It's not as if we reach the surface often enough for anyone to know what any of us look like.

Re:Open source medical equipment (1)

Kazoo the Clown (644526) | more than 7 years ago | (#18847749)

Yes, I'd like to see open source ultrasound. The tech ain't really all that tough, and in fact probes routinely go up for sale on eBay, which you might be able to get even if you aren't authorized. For hobbyist use only, of course. Or perhaps science fair entries-- ultrasound brain imaging of hamsters or something...

A good quote (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18844881)

"Some day, we will make our own TV, then our own TV shows, movies...
Then we are all set." -Andy Fong, on the Open-graphics mailing list.

There's a foundation all about Open Hardware! (5, Informative)

Theovon (109752) | more than 7 years ago | (#18844927)

Check out:

http://www.openhardwarefoundation.org/ [openhardwa...dation.org]
http://www.opengraphics.org/ [opengraphics.org]

A lot of people are really taking this idea of open hardware designs very seriously, especially in graphics, where we have a really hard time getting docs out of GPU vendors to write Free Software drivers. One of the commenters on this article said something about how he and his colleagues who know how to do this stuff have no interest in doing it outside of work. This isn't true for everyone. The founder and leader of the Open Graphics Project is an experienced graphics chip designer.

How much hardware variety is truly needed? (4, Insightful)

bmajik (96670) | more than 7 years ago | (#18845007)

Rank the following tasks in order of complexity:

- gate-level design of a modern CPU
- gate-level design of a modern GPU
- gate-level design of a modern northbridge
- gate-level design of a modern southbridge
- gate-level design of a modern audio controller
- gate-level design of a modern ethernet controller
- gate-level design of a modern wifi chip
- gate-level design of a modern usb controller
- the linux kernel

my understanding is that there is a lot of really, really badly made hardware out there. the software people are clever enough to reverse engineer the hardware and write drivers. Why not put a few of them to work forward engineering the hardware?

Which peices of a modern computing system cannot run acceptably off of re-flashable firmware, or better yet, re-flashable FPGAs?

At this point, are (some) resources better spent trying to create F/OSS reference designs for every essential component to build a fully open computer platform?

I like the idea of being able to have a 100% open computer, where each of the components is well understood and discussed out in the open, and people aren't wasting a lot of time supporting badly made hardware. Some de-facto standardization around reference open source implementations of the hardware could be a pretty good thing.

It's actually not stuff like the CPU that i care about.. its more like.. all of the other things that make it onto a motherboard. There's no reason to put up with noisy audio, non-functional s/pdif outputs, buggy "hardware" raid, crappy bios, etc. The only value-add in these components is when they manage to live up to their as-advertised specs reliably.

Re:How much hardware variety is truly needed? (1)

Rakishi (759894) | more than 7 years ago | (#18845311)

It's actually not stuff like the CPU that i care about.. its more like.. all of the other things that make it onto a motherboard.
They invented this great thing called expansion cards a few decades ago, you may wish to look into them (aka: pci cards).

It's actually not stuff like the CPU that i care about.. its more like.. all of the other things that make it onto a motherboard. There's no reason to put up with noisy audio, non-functional s/pdif outputs, buggy "hardware" raid, crappy bios, etc. The only value-add in these components is when they manage to live up to their as-advertised specs reliably.
Then don't buy cheap components or replace the built in cheap components with pci cards. If you want quality then you need to pay for it.

Re:How much hardware variety is truly needed? (3, Insightful)

bmajik (96670) | more than 7 years ago | (#18846501)

What was the point of your message? Do you actually think I don't know about pci cards?

I don't think there is an issue of "cheap" or "not cheap" here.. irrespective of how much or how little you pay for a peice of PC hardware, it will tend to have some fault when used in combination with some other peice of hardware.. or it will have some quirk that makes it irritating for your particular scenario. Want your machine to S3 sleep? Hope all of your expansion cards work properly with S3. The fan on my VGA card doesn't power down in sleep modes.. only in hibernate... so I effectively can't use sleep. Now, if i scour high resolution board photos of any part i buy before buying it, i MIGHT get to learn things like that.. but whenever you do a new machine build there is always some discovery / quirkyness to uncover.. no matter how much time you spend reading reviews of hardware from other people, or how carefully you research components.

One answer to this is "buy a mac", where the whole stack from silicon to software is owned and tested as a cohesive unit. There are some advantages to that model, and I don't see why the same model can't work, or even be better, with a mostly or completely open system.

Re:How much hardware variety is truly needed? (1)

Rakishi (759894) | more than 7 years ago | (#18847653)

So you're advocating a horribly expensive and convoluted alternative to an online hardware quirks database.

One answer to this is "buy a mac", where the whole stack from silicon to software is owned and tested as a cohesive unit. There are some advantages to that model, and I don't see why the same model can't work, or even be better, with a mostly or completely open system.
If you want a tested and mass produced computer then yes you can go buy a Dell, IBM, Mac and so on. You can also find what builds other people have, ask them questions and then use the one which doesn't seem to have problems (for them). You can't have the freedom (and arguably greater performance) of picking any part and the security of a cohesive "pre-built"/"tested as a whole" machine.

It's not like Open Source software always works together and it probably has more quirks than an equivalent amount of hardware (remember software usually has less selection than hardware does for a given task).

Re:How much hardware variety is truly needed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18846285)

Problem is that Moore's law is going to kick your ass.

You see, the linux kernel does not have to be revamped every 1.5 years to keep up with the performance of other operating systems. The same does not apply to hardware.

If your team does the gate level design of a CPU, you'll have to do it all over again in a couple of years or it will be just an old architecture. I doubt you'll find many people ready to do that. Even if you somehow find a company that will fab your chips on progressively better processes you still have to redesign most of the chip.

About the only way I see around that are:
- Do all your hardware virtually in an FPGA. Buy progressively better FPGAs hoping that the architecture doesn't change.
- Create a program intelligent enough to update designs to new processes and find a fab for them.

Then again, for standard non-performance-bound chips you might be able to do open hardware.For example I/O chips that conform to a standard don't have to be thrown out until a new standard comes along. Sound cards and USB hubs come to mind. Even raid controllers could be doable (If you trust your data to something you built yourself).

But for CPUs/GPUs forget it.

Re:How much hardware variety is truly needed? (3, Insightful)

evilviper (135110) | more than 7 years ago | (#18848367)

there is a lot of really, really badly made hardware out there. the software people are clever enough to reverse engineer the hardware and write drivers. Why not put a few of them to work forward engineering the hardware?

I don't believe I can reasonably even count all the reasons why not, let alone explain them all here...

First, I'd say economies of scale... The fewer people buy it, the more you'll have to charge, and the more you charge, the fewer people will buy one...

Another is the pace of technology... Every time hardware changes, you have to update the design, and start building new hardware... eg. DDR to DDR2 RAM, Socket 939 to AM2, etc., etc.

To be a real option, you're going to have to have different form factors for hardware. With motherboards that means ATX, microATX, nanoATX, and whatever else. For graphics that means PCI, AGP 2/4/8X, etc., as well as PCIe, and integrated chipsets for the purpose as well.

Additionally, while creating drivers for undocumented hardware is quite difficult, it's still at least an order of magnitude easier to send bytes to a device and see what they do, than it is designing an efficient chip, even for something simple like sound.

But the point that I think cuts directly to the heart of the issue is: If people were willing to standardize on a single reference platform, as dictated by an open source guru, you could just start doing that tomorrow... Name the CPU, name the motherboard, name the sound card, graphics, etc., etc. Then everyone's efforts are focused on a single set of hardware, with working drivers for that small set of hardware, etc.

That would be using normal economic forces to your advantage, instead of trying to fight market forces, and enter the market yourself. It could make open source a valuable bloc of customers for any company who can offer reliable and documented products. The problem is, of course, that nobody is going to accept those terms. People want to use the hardware they have, and don't want to be restricted to the lowest common denominator hardware, lacking the features, specs, or the form factor they want.

As has already been said by others, a hardware review site, which extensively tested equipment for 100% correctness, all-around quality, and open source compatibility, would be extremely valuable, and much more helpful than an over-priced reference platform.

It is very important, that's what. (1)

dgym (584252) | more than 7 years ago | (#18845501)

I want a computer that I can trust, and one day I might not
be able to buy that from any of the major manufacturers.

As long as there are designs available, and places that can
make them, we will at least have options should the industry
giants do something stupid.

Re:It is very important, that's what. (1)

zzo38 (1092117) | more than 7 years ago | (#18847103)

Can't you just purchase any computer and replace the operating system and BIOS with your own? (If you can't, I guess some minor companies that don't exist yet will then sell proper computer that actually works)

When will the production lines become open source? (1)

id3as (1067224) | more than 7 years ago | (#18845697)

I can't wait until not just these, but also the production lines become opensource. I wait until we have open source models of mobile phones, cars, computers, airplanes, and their production lines open source as well!

The Open Hardware License (OHL) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18847437)

I really like the license over at http://www.tapr.org/ohl.html [tapr.org] it was created by a bunch of HAM radio guys.

Open hardware is NOT useless! (2, Informative)

chris_mulhearn (1049530) | more than 7 years ago | (#18847499)

To those of you saying "I have the skills, but why bother?" or "Why would some company bother?", I can give a halfway decent example of why "closed" hardware can kind of stink. Of course, its also an example of why "closed" hardware can kind of be nice, for the manufacturer, especially if they are also sell content for that hardware.

I ported uClinux to the Sony PSP (check it out at http://df38.dot5hosting.com/~remember/chris/ [dot5hosting.com] . It wasn't on slashdot because they had more important stories to run, like what operating systems the iPhone DOESN'T run. [slashdot.org] But I'm not bitter ;)

Anyways, this project was a major pain in the ass, and at the moment its kind of stalled. The problem is that the hardware design is closed, and most of the components are all consolidated onto one giant Sony ASIC so inspecting the motherboard is no help.

So... It took a million years just to get the memory map right, and understand the exception/interrupt plumbing of this customized not-quite-MIPS-R4400 cpu core, and understand how to talk to the video, serialport, cache controller, etc.

Now, I happen to know at least 10 people who would buy a PSP if it had a really well supported linux. Allowing people to target a popular platform, rather than a proprietary one, would allow really neat applications that made use of this things built-in Wifi/Audio/etc. In short, if it was an open platform, it would allow for better interoperability, more diverse applications, blah blah blah. And if its Truly Truly "open", people could even make new PSP's that maintained compatibility with current PSP software, but optimized it for other tasks, etc. Whatever, you name it.

Of course, Sony is a content company. The memory stick interface, from which you can launch applications, makes one think "Maybe I can write some software to dump my friend's UMD game to memory stick, and then launch that game from the memory stick, so I can copy it." But thats REMARKABLY difficult on the PSP because they will only run memory stick code that is cryptographically signed by Sony (unless buffer overflow exploits are used, etc. which exist and are what make uClinux/PSP possible) and due to the closed nature of the platform, I don't think anyone even knows how to get a signed copy of a UMD onto a memory stick.

So it works pretty well for Sony. And it stinks for me.

RepRap and Weapons (0)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 7 years ago | (#18848081)

"dont use it to make weapons, bla bla bla"

1 - Pansy ass. If it wasn't for those 'evil' weapons you wouldn't have the freedom to do your expirements.
2 - You released the 'specs', so you no longer get to choose how its used. So get over yourself.

Ya, mod me down, but that sort of 'clueless holier then now' attitude really pisses me off.

HDCP (0, Offtopic)

ejasons (205408) | more than 7 years ago | (#18848541)

I'm kinda hoping for someone to build a HDCP in => analog component, discrete audio out...
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