Author Topic: Reality of OSHW  (Read 2680 times)

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Offline free_electron

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Re: Reality of OSHW
« Reply #15 on: July 11, 2014, 10:15:40 AM »
All this 'open source' license stuff is bullshit

"you can copy it provided my name stays attached (so i can have my 5 minutes of fame)"
"provided you don't make money" (if it don't make any everyone should be poor)
"if you correct my flagrant design flaws you need to tell me.. " (they call that 'giving back to the community' , a weak cover for 'fix my problems')
"you need to provide all documentation in a format of my liking or i will growl" ... (i'm too lazy / poor to learn or use real tools)

Want to give it away ? make it public domain. That, for me, is the only true 'open' format.
no strings attached , can't sue me , do what you want.
anything else is not truly open.
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Offline free_electron

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Re: Reality of OSHW
« Reply #16 on: July 11, 2014, 10:33:02 AM »
Because:
a) They want to ensure attribution
b) They want to ensure that if people build upon their work then they give give back to the community.

Two very huge and central concepts of OSHW
Element A adds no 'value' to the design. No return value will come of it also. it's not like the attributee will get anything for it (apart from his 5 minutes of fame and then be another speck of dust on a cosmic scale)

<devil's advocate mode>
element b : if i improve that design greatly why should i serve as an educator to the dimwit that made the original crap ? i am not here to educate the unwashed masses. i will take the pieces that work , trash the rest.

<hypothesis mode on>
Let's say someone makes a schematic with an led and a resistor containing the formula to calculate a value of the resistor for a given supply voltage. This schematic is released under this open source stuff as a CC-BA-something

that means from now on , anyone that 'builds upon' needs to release his mods ? So, if i add a switch to turn the led on and off i need to release this schematic ? Sorry bub, i bread boarded it and it sits in my cupboard illuminating the shelf. I can't be arsed to write up a document , draw the schematic , slap on the CC-BA licence and publish that. And i sure as hell am not going to write 'based on an idea by Nitwit McDumbfuck' on that little board i made.

worse : let's say i make a little box with battery switch ,resistor led and sell that as a stick-on thingie to illuminate shelves in cupboards. i sell this in my stores cheap in mass quantity. I am unaware of the CC-BA from Nitwit McDumb.... because , you know, this is a simple design that any 5 year old can make. suddenly i get blasted on forums because violating this licence...

here is the problem : these licences do NOT take into account for prior art.
I see a lot of circuits popping up that get a licence slapped on that are so simple that chances are very big someone did exactly the same years ago. This opens a huge can of worms.

All of a sudden someone claims 'rights' on something that has been available for years.
If we are going there : i claim rights to inhaling oxygen and exhaling Co2. Shall i give my bankaccount ? i will sue every living person, and animal and every combustion engine maker. Pay up or suffocate !

the above is exaggerated but i have seen circuitry that is basically an atmega with a crystal and two caps , and ftdi chip and an lcd display.

All of a sudden the arduino crowd blares : you ripped this from an arduino schematic. No i didn't!  I took the apps schematic from the datasheet of Atmel (cpuu, reset circuit crystal and caps) and slapped on a display. i took the FTDI portion form the datasheet of FTDI (ftdi chip , usb connector , 2 caps and a resistor).

Just because i wired up an isp connector and an ftdi chip to the uart does NOT make this an arduino or something based on an arduino. i am not using the arduino bootloader. so shut up and go away. the hardware circuitry for an arduino is so simple that anyone could have come up with it. so what gives you the rights over this circuit ?
« Last Edit: July 11, 2014, 10:39:22 AM by free_electron »
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Re: Reality of OSHW
« Reply #17 on: July 11, 2014, 10:41:13 AM »
All this 'open source' license stuff is bullshit
"you can copy it provided my name stays attached (so i can have my 5 minutes of fame)"

What's wrong with wanting to be identified as the original designer?

Quote
"provided you don't make money" (if it don't make any everyone should be poor)

Wrong. You can't do that if you want to use the OSHW name and logo.

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Re: Reality of OSHW
« Reply #18 on: July 11, 2014, 10:47:53 AM »
Element A adds no 'value' to the design. No return value will come of it also. it's not like the attributee will get anything for it (apart from his 5 minutes of fame and then be another speck of dust on a cosmic scale)

Demonstrably wrong.
Your name being spread can lead to all sorts of opportunities.
Not always the case of course, it could lead to nothing, but in some cases it does lead to benefits.

Quote
<devil's advocate mode>
element b : if i improve that design greatly why should i serve as an educator to the dimwit that made the original crap ? i am not here to educate the unwashed masses. i will take the pieces that work , trash the rest.

Who says you are obligated to "educate" anyone?

The whole idea of reciprocal licensing in the OSHW movement is to encourage and foster an attitude of giving back.
If this is not encouraged (and essentially "enforced" by way of license et.al) then the movement dies and people will go back to not sharing anything.
Sure, it's not a perfect system, but surely you can't argue with the results to the community?

Quote
<hypothesis mode on>
Let's say someone makes a schematic with an led and a resistor containing the formula to calculate a value of the resistor for a given supply voltage. This schematic is released under this open source stuff as a CC-BA-something
that means from now on , anyone that 'builds upon' needs to release his mods ?
So, if i add a switch to turn the led on and off i need to release this schematic ? Sorry bub, i bread boarded it and it sits in my cupboard illuminating the shelf. I can't be arsed to write up a document , draw the schematic , slap on the CC-BA licence and publish that. And i sure as hell am not going to write 'based on an idea by Nitwit McDumbfuck' on that little board i made.

Only if you do so for commercial gain.
There is no obligation on personal projects for your own use.

Quote
here is the problem : these licences do NOT take into account for prior art.
I see a lot of circuits popping up that get a licence slapped on that are so simple that chances are very big someone did exactly the same years ago. This opens a huge can of worms.

Sure, that can be an issue.
Same thing with patents et.al.
« Last Edit: July 11, 2014, 10:51:04 AM by EEVblog »

Offline wilfred

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Re: Reality of OSHW
« Reply #19 on: July 11, 2014, 10:55:30 AM »
All this 'open source' license stuff is bullshit

"you can copy it provided my name stays attached (so i can have my 5 minutes of fame)"
"provided you don't make money" (if it don't make any everyone should be poor)
"if you correct my flagrant design flaws you need to tell me.. " (they call that 'giving back to the community' , a weak cover for 'fix my problems')
"you need to provide all documentation in a format of my liking or i will growl" ... (i'm too lazy / poor to learn or use real tools)

Want to give it away ? make it public domain. That, for me, is the only true 'open' format.
no strings attached , can't sue me , do what you want.
anything else is not truly open.

Well good on you if you want to "give it away". It doesn't make someone putting strings on the use of their work wrong or bad or anything other than just what they are openly doing. You're free to maintain your opinion, I don't want to change that. Especially since what you say between the lines is very revealing. But I do respect you for being utterly consistent and predictable.

It is quite possible the interpretation you choose to place on the points raised are NOT an exact match to the motivations used by every person who ever contributed to the open source community. With the strings attached the decision to use the persons work is yours alone. Most people do things for some reward. It could be money, or some vague "warm fuzzy" feeling or for recognition and respect. They would feel cheated, robbed or exploited if someone took their effort and denied them a share of the reward. I am certain you can understand that.

What I infer from your comments is that you believe reward for effort can only come in the form of cash money. However reward for some people can be in the form of recognition and respect as part of a group effort.

Offline ve7xen

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Re: Reality of OSHW
« Reply #20 on: July 11, 2014, 01:04:39 PM »
Want to give it away ? make it public domain. That, for me, is the only true 'open' format.
no strings attached , can't sue me , do what you want.
anything else is not truly open.
Why should it be black and white? Is this a question of semantics for you?

Copyright is really the only thing that applies, and only barely, and by default no copying or derivative works are allowed at all. What is the problem with granting those rights under conditions? It is no different than a commercial license in that sense, just substantially less restrictive.

Personally I think Creative Commons is an appropriate license for the artwork and documentation; I use 3-clause BSD for code.
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Offline Smokey

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Re: Reality of OSHW
« Reply #21 on: July 11, 2014, 05:23:35 PM »
Does anyone have any examples of an open source license actually being held up in court and resulted in actual legal action against the violator? 

I know it's not hardware per say, but the first thing that come into my mind are the vast majority of the android phone manufacturers violating the GPL by not releasing kernel source.  I've heard of lots of violations but can't think of any legal action that resulted in the violator having to actually do anything.  If it's not enforceable, or no one is willing to do any enforcing, its essential worthless.  Like EULAs.

The real problem (or awesome aspect depending on how you look at it) with open source hardware is that your average person not already working in the industry has no idea how much is involved in turning design files into an actual physical assembled tested product.  You could give them everything they need to make something including instructions and it's still too much of a hassle for most people, even technical people.  Even if someone has had a few boards made at Itead before or something, it's another HUGE step to making a piece of hardware in production volumes.  I think this is a big reason why so many well intending kickstarters fail as well.  People think to themselves "hey I hacked one prototype together, I can totally make a business out of this" and not realize how much they don't know about the physical process (let alone the money side of things).  The cost of failure is just too high to use the guess/check/fix/respin method for hardware manufacturing. 
And that's my take on why more open source hardware projects don't get "stolen".  It's not some loyalty to the original maker/community or some essentially unenforceable license.  It's just hard and expensive to do production runs of hardware and the market usually isn't there to support more people making the same thing. 

Offline bwat

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Re: Reality of OSHW
« Reply #22 on: July 11, 2014, 05:49:28 PM »
Does anyone have any examples of an open source license actually being held up in court and resulted in actual legal action against the violator? 

Less than 5 minutes of googling gave http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gpl-violations.org. I don't know how accurate this description is of the cases involving Fortinet and D-Link. Anyway, licences are very enforcable. The legal systems of the developed world don't give a hoot about trendy attitudes to old, established, laws. Copyright isn't going to change anytime soon as too many livelihoods depend upon it.

All this 'open source' license stuff is bullshit

"you can copy it provided my name stays attached (so i can have my 5 minutes of fame)"
"provided you don't make money" (if it don't make any everyone should be poor)
"if you correct my flagrant design flaws you need to tell me.. " (they call that 'giving back to the community' , a weak cover for 'fix my problems')
"you need to provide all documentation in a format of my liking or i will growl" ... (i'm too lazy / poor to learn or use real tools)

I'm no fan of certain licences but even I can tell that what you've written is more opinion than fact. If you don't like somebody else's licence terms then ignore their work. Simple.

Element A adds no 'value' to the design. No return value will come of it also. it's not like the attributee will get anything for it (apart from his 5 minutes of fame and then be another speck of dust on a cosmic scale)


Demonstrably wrong.
Your name being spread can lead to all sorts of opportunities.
Not always the case of course, it could lead to nothing, but in some cases it does lead to benefits.

Letting people see your work in a way that protects your rights is a useful way for techies to demonstrate ability. You can show potential employers/clients what you are capable of without discussing previous projects that your old employers/clients would rather you didn't discuss in too much detail.
« Last Edit: July 11, 2014, 05:51:05 PM by bwat »
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Offline AndyC_772

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Re: Reality of OSHW
« Reply #23 on: July 11, 2014, 06:06:40 PM »
And that's my take on why more open source hardware projects don't get "stolen".  It's not some loyalty to the original maker/community or some essentially unenforceable license.  It's just hard and expensive to do production runs of hardware and the market usually isn't there to support more people making the same thing. 

I agree, and I suspect it's as much as anything, that the kinds of products people make as part of an OSHW project are the kinds that only really appeal to people who could build their own anyway.

High volume consumer stuff is, as a rule, incredibly integrated and bespoke these days. Its architecture bears little resemblance to the kinds of circuits that amateurs might build out of off-the-shelf parts, and it's produced in enormous volumes. That's what allows it to be as cheap as it is, and why anything a bit out of the ordinary starts to look expensive.

Suppose the target market for, say, a Bluetooth enabled data-logging cat feeder equates to a few hundred units a year. Budget even a ridiculously optimistic £10k for mechanical tooling, the same again for EMC and safety testing, and nothing whatsoever for the time taken to actually do all the design, testing and set-up of the manufacturing process. That's still £20k in cold, hard cash that has to be recouped over a total sales volume of (say) 2000 units.

That makes the cost price £10 for amortised setup costs, plus (say) another £20 cost price for the product itself, £5 postage and another £7 for VAT just on the cost price... that's £42 retail before you make a single bean in profit. For a cat bowl.

Or: you publish instructions on how to convert an existing, off-the-shelf cat feeder, by fitting it with a home made PCB that can be ordered for £5 as part of an on-line group buy, and populated with another £5 worth of parts.

That's why I'm not surprised at all that hobby projects tend not to get commercialised.

Offline free_electron

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Re: Reality of OSHW
« Reply #24 on: July 13, 2014, 08:48:24 AM »
Element A adds no 'value' to the design. No return value will come of it also. it's not like the attributee will get anything for it (apart from his 5 minutes of fame and then be another speck of dust on a cosmic scale)

Demonstrably wrong.
Your name being spread can lead to all sorts of opportunities.
Not always the case of course, it could lead to nothing, but in some cases it does lead to benefits.

Let me rephrase that: it brings no value to the design itself. An led circuit by goofy123 is not more valuable than an identical circuit mady by furball456 so to speak.
So this should not be part of a licence. The name of the inventor serves no functional purpose. Not being allowed to copy it for money does serve a functional purpose.

Quote
Quote
<devil's advocate mode>
element b : if i improve that design greatly why should i serve as an educator to the dimwit that made the original crap ? i am not here to educate the unwashed masses. i will take the pieces that work , trash the rest.

Who says you are obligated to "educate" anyone?
Something was released under  sharealike or 'give back' terms.  I took the design , modded it , fixed some design flaws and greatly improved it with my idea's. Why should i need to disclose the techniques or tricks or idea's i came up with. If i want to do so, fine no problem. Of i want to keep that know-how for me, equally fine. The freedom to share, or not to share. The licenceing terms take away that freedom. Less freedom is less 'open'.. Public domain does not step on this freedom.

Quote
The whole idea of reciprocal licensing in the OSHW movement is to encourage and foster an attitude of giving back.
If this is not encouraged (and essentially "enforced" by way of license et.al) then the movement dies and people will go back to not sharing anything.
Sure, it's not a perfect system, but surely you can't argue with the results to the community?
noticed the devils advocate warning right ? I am pointing towards the 'freedom' aspect. Freedom to give back, or not to give back. Public domain leaves this free. Open source takes away that freedom.

Quote
Quote
<hypothesis mode on>
Let's say someone makes a schematic with an led and a resistor containing the formula to calculate a value of the resistor for a given supply voltage. This schematic is released under this open source stuff as a CC-BA-something
that means from now on , anyone that 'builds upon' needs to release his mods ?
So, if i add a switch to turn the led on and off i need to release this schematic ? Sorry bub, i bread boarded it and it sits in my cupboard illuminating the shelf. I can't be arsed to write up a document , draw the schematic , slap on the CC-BA licence and publish that. And i sure as hell am not going to write 'based on an idea by Nitwit McDumbfuck' on that little board i made.

Only if you do so for commercial gain.
There is no obligation on personal projects for your own use.

And that's where it rubs...  I gave the second example. I make a little led light: battery, switch , resistor , led. Sell this for 3$ in volume. All of a sudden i get hammered by some dude that claims 'rights' because i 'built upon' his led-resistor circuit.

Sure, the resistor led example is stupid , but where do you draw the line ? If i make a circuit with an atmega, crystal, ftdi and usb connector .. That does not make it an arduino ... Even though the wiring is identical. Well, there is only so many ways you can add a crystal and an ftdi to an atmega....

This is the problem i see with these licences. They claim rights on circuitry that is trivial and or straight out of the datasheet.
Especially the 'build upon' clause is very dangerous. Build upon works symmetrically as well. Take the ftdi away and it still fits the description.. So now any circuit consisting of an atmega and a crystlal is considered 'built upon' an arduino ...

That is what i don't like.

People are riling against patents, well, this is an even bigger can of worms.

Imagine what would have happened if someone had claimed cc-sharealike attributable on print 'hello world'...

Any book about programming, any program ever written that printed a string of characters to any output system would be subject to that licence....
Whoa....

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Offline Mr Eastwood

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Re: Reality of OSHW
« Reply #25 on: July 13, 2014, 10:07:42 AM »
But in reality it's more like a set of rules that everyone plays nice by.

That is what I believe is the reality of OSHW is,  but tbh I'm not really a "OSHW" fan myself;  I much prefer the concept of just putting it out there.
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Re: Reality of OSHW
« Reply #26 on: July 13, 2014, 10:29:54 AM »
All this 'open source' license stuff is bullshit

"you can copy it provided my name stays attached (so i can have my 5 minutes of fame)"
"provided you don't make money" (if it don't make any everyone should be poor)
"if you correct my flagrant design flaws you need to tell me.. " (they call that 'giving back to the community' , a weak cover for 'fix my problems')
"you need to provide all documentation in a format of my liking or i will growl" ... (i'm too lazy / poor to learn or use real tools)

Want to give it away ? make it public domain. That, for me, is the only true 'open' format.
no strings attached , can't sue me , do what you want.
anything else is not truly open.
As Dave already -more-or-less- pointed out 'open source' is about creating an eco system for a project which is maintained by several people and/or companies who have a shared motive to create something. Giving back to the community is one of the primary rules for something like that to work. It's like if I have meat and you have vegetables we can have a good stew for dinner. Sometimes 1+1=3.
« Last Edit: July 13, 2014, 10:32:10 AM by nctnico »
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Offline abaxas

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Re: Reality of OSHW
« Reply #27 on: July 13, 2014, 09:48:30 PM »
To give something away but retain certain rights is probably the worst situation for most designs. Unless something is suitably complicated it's almost all been done before so the license is invalid.

Ie if the Chinese wanted to rip off Dave's uCurrent, it would be almost impossible to enforce the license as the circuit is a reference design and has been covered 1000x of times before.

The reality is that most OS/OH projects use the license for vanity purposes.






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Re: Reality of OSHW
« Reply #28 on: July 13, 2014, 11:26:34 PM »
Let me rephrase that: it brings no value to the design itself. An led circuit by goofy123 is not more valuable than an identical circuit mady by furball456 so to speak.
So this should not be part of a licence. The name of the inventor serves no functional purpose. Not being allowed to copy it for money does serve a functional purpose.

You are just creating a specific case straw man argument.
But ok, you win, in that case where someone "invents" a circuit that has been done before and slaps their name and an OSHW license on it, that's not adding value.
But, even in that case, if you were searching for a circuit that did X and you found it on that persons website or wherever with their name on it, then you have benefited from them publishing that information that you found. Even if that circuit is not original.

I you genuinely came up with the idea yourself, or "know it's always been around", or whatever and did not get your circuit, or part of your circuit) from that person or project, then I doubt the OSHW community will not take your word for it and go around accusing you of stealing the design. The community isn't that anal. These things can be argued successfully if you are ever challenged about them by the community. No one in their right mind would think the exaples you give are "protected" because someone slapped an OSHW on an existing building block circuit.

But we are down to arguing specific cases here.

Quote
Something was released under  sharealike or 'give back' terms.  I took the design , modded it , fixed some design flaws and greatly improved it with my idea's. Why should i need to disclose the techniques or tricks or idea's i came up with. If i want to do so, fine no problem. Of i want to keep that know-how for me, equally fine. The freedom to share, or not to share. The licenceing terms take away that freedom. Less freedom is less 'open'.. Public domain does not step on this freedom.

The key phrase you used there is "I took the design".
You took someone else's design!
In that case they have every right to ask that you respect whatever license or rules they released it under so that you could benefit from it!
If you don't like that, then that's your choice, don't go looking at and taking stuff from OSHW licensed designs to begin with.

But again, the community isn't that anal here.
For example, if you looked at an OSHW schematic and saw a small part of a circuit you liked, then I don't think anyone would argue that you are obligated to follow the license.
OSHW is more about the bigger picture.

Quote
Let's say someone makes a schematic with an led and a resistor containing the formula to calculate a value of the resistor for a given supply voltage. This schematic is released under this open source stuff as a CC-BA-something
that means from now on , anyone that 'builds upon' needs to release his mods ?

No, the community is not that anal.

My OSHW uCurrent for example is essentially just an op-amp and a resistor in a box. The circuit is not new, the concept is not new, and I'm sure no one (including me) in the OSHW community thinks that an op-amp and a resistor current sensor is now a circuit that is "protected" in some way. It's not.
No one will care if you use a small part of that circuit in some small part of some unrelated product.
But if you produce a product of similar but improved functionality and sell it commercially to the same target market for the same use and lock away the design based on that circuit then you can bet people will see that as not playing fair.
The uCurrent is a good example were you'd have to pretty much copy the whole circuit and concept to get nailed by the OSHW community police, because it's such a basic building block circuit.

Quote
Sure, the resistor led example is stupid , but where do you draw the line ?

The line will usually be pretty clear, because the community will let you know.

Quote
This is the problem i see with these licences. They claim rights on circuitry that is trivial and or straight out of the datasheet.

Not so much. They are simply trying to encourage sharing and giving back, and that is the big attraction of OSHW.
As I've said before, the OSHW mechanism is not perfect, and has lots of potential issues, and I will admit that your concerns are genuine and warranted. But the fact is that it has worked and encouraged sharing on a massive scale that we haven't seen in this industry before. So you try and work with the system that has proven to work, even if it is based on a potential bed of "what if" legal mumbo jumbo.

Quote
Especially the 'build upon' clause is very dangerous. Build upon works symmetrically as well. Take the ftdi away and it still fits the description.. So now any circuit consisting of an atmega and a crystlal is considered 'built upon' an arduino ...

Show me one case where that has happened.
Fact is that virtually no one sues anyone in the OSHW business, and legal frameworks are no enforced. If more of a warm fuzzy legal based way to encourage people to share stuff.
OSHW or no OSHW, anyone can get sued at anytime, for anything, that is a fact of life.
You can't just look at the "what if's" of the OSHW license legal nitty gritty, because it's much, much bigger than that. You have to look at the big picture.
« Last Edit: July 13, 2014, 11:34:59 PM by EEVblog »

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Re: Reality of OSHW
« Reply #29 on: July 13, 2014, 11:38:15 PM »
That is what I believe is the reality of OSHW is,  but tbh I'm not really a "OSHW" fan myself;  I much prefer the concept of just putting it out there.

And that's great, and I've done that with stuff too.
What I don't understand is people shooting it down. If you don't like the way OSHW hardware works, then don't use the name or logo, just do whatever you want. Most people in the OSHW industry would say more power to you.


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