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Topic: Open/Close/Open (Read 1 time) previous topic - next topic


Hi Guys,

When I go through the products of any maker website (big and small), I notice that there's quite number of products (either Arduino boards derivatives or supporting boards for Arduino) is basically not open source at all (at least in my point of view). The only documentation that I can see is probably a schematic in PDF form and some IC datasheet. 

So, do you guys consider these type of products open source hardware? 


I haven't looked but doesn't open source require the release of PCB files and/or Gerbers etc?

Rob Gray aka the GRAYnomad www.robgray.com


Some of them don't. Usually a PDF of schematic the most.

Udo Klein

IMHO it depends. The licensing terms are the most relevant. You can publish "everything" still have a closed license. On the other hand if the circuit is simple enough then a schematic would be already sufficient to "copy" it. You may argue that this requires that potential makers are able to transfer the schematic into a PCB CAD program and route it. But on the other hand a lot of people do not even know how to use a PCB CAD program. This is demonstrated every once in a while when people complain because only the CAD files are present. Also you might provide CAD files that are not readable by any free / open source software.

In the end it depends on your definition if you consider it "open enough" for your own purposes. Thus I wonder about your question. Why do you ask if we consider the products open? Also you questions seems to imply that "maker" has stick to "open" in whatever sense of the definition. If so, why do you think so?
Check out my experiments http://blog.blinkenlight.net


I came across boards especially Arduino variants that basically doesn't improve or change anything compared to the original boards. Sometimes, it probably has only solder mask color changes or things like that. For me it's like going for the profit without giving anything back to the community except it's cheaper. I think having the design files in a CAD that has at least free/non-profit version allows the end users to learn and probably modify them for their own use I guess. That's how probably the products will improve. For an example, I just saw someone made a Bus Pirate variants that uses different chips compared to the original one made by Dangerous Prototypes. Without the open spirit, it will be harder (I'm not saying impossible) to do things like that. 

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