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Topic: Open source Project / Hardware (Read 46828 times) previous topic - next topic


I paid money for the board, so expect it to be working otherwise, I will return it.


This is all well and good but if you think about the NG rev C that is one screwed up board. By your reckoning, hundreds of us should have promptly returned this product. Look, Im very understanding of this being an open source project. As a result I dont gritch too loudly when I have to unplug a resistor from pin0 to program and then have to plug it back in when its ready to run again.

To be honest, I wouldn't return the board for one of the reasons you mentioned. But what makes me really feel like a customer, is that occasionally you see a post on the forum where, as a last resort, someone from the Arduino team offers to send a new board in exchange for a broken one.
There is no :" Oooh, wrong software version! did you apply the latest patches ? You are not supposed to push the reset button on friday mornings! What do you mean by hardware failure???"
This is just a good customer service bussines thing!

P.S. I had NG rev C boards with and without the infamous Pin13 Led delivered in the same mail :-)



Wow! people must be so confused about what Linux is, with all those different names with tthe word Linux in them!  Quality has totally taken a nosedive: do you think Linux even works anymore? I heard they were using an early version of Linux on the Titanic! And someone just said that Britney Spears is releasing her own Linux: BrittneyLinux®!!! GASP! The capitalists and the cheesy pop musicians are taking over Linux! At this rate Linux will almost certainly be made in factories by small children! Omigod, LINUX Is going down the tubes.....I'm so confused, I don;t know whether to get BrittLinux®, or Linux 2.0 for Seniors®!!  

That's one of the funniest analogies I've read this week. Given the valid comparisons, it also makes a compelling argument.

Unfortunately, there needs to be the motivation to change, and if "they" decide they don't want to see things in this positive light, then it's back to square one.

But, don't the options include creating a variation of an Arduino, and calling it something else? And then following in Linuxs' footsteps, and possibly enjoying the same success they do?  

Maybe I'd like to manufacture a brand of 3rd party boards called ArduinoPlugins®, but apparently can't?. That doesn't mean I wouldn't consider producing a range of SomethingElsePlugins® - because there's a market for it, and if a demand is met, then what's in a name?  

There's always more than one way to skin a cat, so if you find yourselves hitting a brickwall, it doesn't necessarily mean there aren't other options.


Aug 24, 2007, 08:49 pm Last Edit: Aug 24, 2007, 09:00 pm by Daniel Reason: 1
Form what I understand so far, I don't think could currently make something called  Arduinoplugins® without permission, but you could easily do "Plugduino" or something like that. The schematics are open and you can make your own PCB's. The things it seems you can't currently do are: use the name to make microcontroller boards that are similar to the Arudino Diecimila, BT, etc in name, or in trade-dress, i.e. "look".

But the schematics are released CC, so I think you could make something like "Superboard!", and make it blue too, and say it was Arduino compatible, as long as you made the language clear enough that there was no confusion between SuperBoard! and Arduino.

Anyway, I stick with the idea that the name should be licensable for free, as Linux does, and that there should be no commercial or other restrictions on what you can do with the name and reference designs. The Linux industry is worth what, billions? If Arduino has sold 12,000 board in two years, at say $20 average gross per board, that makes $120,000 a year for the manufacturers and distributors to split up. That's not a whole lot of cash for a big company... it's totally a small business/ home business amount. Once you split that between four or five manufacturers and distributors, it will be 20K each a year, meaning it will be very hard for anyone to dominate the supply. Even better, it will mean that there's price competition, as people will want to increase their piece of the pie.

There's no price competition now... the USB board debuted last year at Sparkfun for 29.95, and the Diecimila now sells for $34.95, about a 16% increase. Given that manufacturing costs would be about $10 or so in 1000+ quantities, there's a whole lot of room for the price to go down! So instead of Sparkfun making its $60,000 a year profit, or whatever it's making on the Arduino, that might get split up between several manufacturers, who would compete and drive prices down. Unless they formed a monopoly! LOL.

Lots of interesting issues.



If it's indeed on the scale of a run-from-home business, then perhaps, given the amount of time that's elapsed, they are already contemplating ways of becoming a bit more Linuxy.

But it's not a given, so it might be more in my interests to produce a range of GenericPlugins® that happen to be compatible with the Arduino, or more relevant, anything that might evolve later as a stalk of Arduino.  

I for one, need lots of 8 x input + 8 x relay (595 + 4021) mini-plugin boards, but they don't exist off-the-shelf, so I'm having to cut the boards myself. I could shoot the spec's off to China and get them whipped into production for a couple of bucks each, and then I'd have the problem of needing to purchase a 'beyond my needs' quantity, like 10,000.  

But if I produced that many boards, and made them available for sale to the public, then there quite possibly would be more people wanting to buy Arduino's, because they can purchase that 'off-the-shelf plug-in solution' to their everyday problems.

So the way I see it, changing the terms of the license so I can call them ArduinoPlugins®, could only do more good than harm. And surely it's product reinforcement, the more ArduinoThings® out there, the more attention people are going to pay to the 'Arduino' brand. And that brings them back here, to invent and contribute.


... the more ArduinoThings® out there, the more attention people are going to pay to the 'Arduino' brand. And that brings them back here, to invent and contribute.

I totally agree... I can't think of a good reason not to open the name to competitors.


Here's a site I just came across


Seems like a perfect example of why the name should be open. They're using the Arduino name in their domain name, with a goal of promoting the Arduino in Taiwan and elsewhere.... that seems like a very cool development, not something bad.



Hey, they got a dual-core Arduino  ;D


Their 'where to buy' is a walkthrough of the Sparkfun site for people who may not read english though - they don't appear to be selling boards.


Really interesting discussion going on here... my interpretation of "Open hardware" is that you should be able to retrofit in your existing board the new features that are being released.  A clear example is that the new autoreset or autoboot feature of Diecimila is very useful, and the plain old Arduino serial board is very easy to retrofit.  I tested it and I am publishing it in the Arduino Playground.  On the other side, the not-so-old Arduino USB NG boards are very difficult to retrofit, so I built a diecimila compatible USB board using thorough-hole parts (the only SMD part is still the FTDI chip), with all the diecimila features from the schematic published by the Arduino team.  There are a lot of electronics lovers out there that prefer to build the boards themselves, believe me.  It is a more enjoyable Arduino experience.  I love this kind of challenge so I am doing it to fill a gap, until I am told not to do so... If Arduino were "Open", not only publishing the schematics and the PCB files, but opening the evolution of the project to the whole community, we should have a hyper-arduino by now, with 1,000 of new features and not only autoreset and the overload protection (which are nice features, by the way...)... and also a larger user community and testers as well.



Sep 02, 2007, 12:45 am Last Edit: Sep 02, 2007, 12:46 am by Daniel Reason: 1
One other thing to note in this discussion is that the Arduino.cc site is only advertising "official" Arduino products... there's no mention of the Barebones Arduino or the Runtime Arduino...

If the hardware were really open, wouldn't one also advertise those products as interesting and valid variants of the project? Protecting your market share in that way by only advertising your own products, to the exclusion of other products produced by the community, seems contradictory to the goals of open-source projects. Of course there isn't much history to go on here, but it doesn't seem right.

The more I think about this, it seems that the Arduino project is really an open-source software and information project wrapped around a closed hardware product.  



wrapped around a closed hardware product.

Don't get too carried away; while the Arduino hardware info might not be quite as available as you would like, it's still quite FAR from being "closed."


Sep 02, 2007, 10:03 am Last Edit: Sep 02, 2007, 10:13 am by Daniel Reason: 1
Westfw, would you not agree that it is not truly open-source?

To make an "Arduino"  you need a design, the production information and permission to use the name. Only one of those things is available; the others are not. It is not 'closed' for hobbyists who want to make one or two, but if you wanted to make a hundred commercially, or make a variant called "Arduino Red", you can't, because commercial production is closed, not open. That much is pretty clear.   It's in that sense that I said that the project is currently "wrapped around" a closed piece of hardware...



Well, I'm not entirely sure I understand what "open source hardware" means.  "Permission to use the name"? What does that have to do with "hardware" ?  If I want to make a couple hundred Arduino-2.1 board to embed in a commercial product (not bearing the name "arduino", but crediting the project in documentation), there are no problems doing that, right?  Are you trying to duplicate the hardware, or the entire Arduino "Business" ?   I supposed that being FULLY open-source might imply that you could do the latter, but I don't know that I believe that it is in the "spirit" of open source.
The more valid point is that the Arduino team doesn't seem to be following their own "share-alike" provisions with the newer hardware: no CAD files for NG, BT, mini, Diecimila.  This also seems "not in the spirit of open source", although it's probably their rights as the original developer.
Finally, there's the whole issue of what makes for "open source" publication of a HW design.  CAD files for schematic and PCB in my favorite format are certainly nice, but a printed schematic is certainly more "open" than the average consumer device.


Sep 02, 2007, 11:49 pm Last Edit: Sep 03, 2007, 12:10 am by Daniel Reason: 1
Well, I'm not entirely sure I understand what "open source hardware" means.

Yes well I think you put your finger on it right there... none of us understand what it really is, because it hasn't relaly been done at this scale before. that's why I think this discussion is so interesting...

Re your other point, the hardware object is not covered by CC, and it is not patented, so you could reproduce a million if you like.  But you couldn't use the trademark.

Are you trying to duplicate the hardware, or the entire Arduino "Business" ?   I supposed that being FULLY open-source might imply that you could do the latter, but I don't know that I believe that it is in the "spirit" of open source.

Read back about thirty(!) posts. The OSI definition does not discriminate against field of endeavour: if your project meets their definition of OS, someone could start a business, use them for development, give them away etc. I think the Arudino "business" (i.e. the files, design, name etc) should belong to anyone who wants to participate, and not be controlled by a single entity. This is how the project got so many supporters, by advertising itself implicitly as doing that. Given the fact that the community put so much into the project and made it successful as a result,  I think it's reasonable to say that  community owns "the Arduino business", not the team. Arduino really belongs to the hundreds of poeple who made the name popular with hundreds of blog posts, articles, tutorials and projects. As such the process of making and selling should be more open.  We're not talking about someone's personal product here, we're talking about a design that was released as open-source and gained many many supporters, but  is still produced within a closed model of manufacturing.  

You're right though, there are lot of issues.... but all those issues mean this is a chance for the team to take a stand and set the standard for very open hardware.


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