Open Source Hardware Posted on: January 30, 2008 at 12:00 AM
Open-ness in hardware terms can have a whole range of meanings.
Open Source Hardware
What is open source hardware Open-ness in hardware terms can have a whole range of meanings. In all the cases listed below, some hardware is open and some is not - but the trend is for open-ness to become more and more limited, restricting the freedom of designers to create or implement their own designs, and even of programmers to write the programs they wish. It sounds crazy that people could sell hardware and not tell you how to use it, but it is actually a growing trend. If a company sells any device which interfaces to a computer without publishing the interface specs, they then have a monopoly on interface software. WinModems and WinPrinters - which also cannot be supported by Linux - are a related problem. This aspect of open-ness in hardware is so closely linked with work on free software that the FSF, Debian, and FreeBSD are all among the sponsors for the Open Hardware Certification program which.
Open source Hardware Open source hardware is computer, or electronics, hardware that is designed in the same fashion as open source software. On
e example of this is the Simputer. Open source hardware is part of the open source culture that takes open source beyond just software. Some of the impetus for the development of open source hardware was initiated in 2002 through the Challenge to Silicon Valley issued by Kofi Annan . Because the nature of hardware is different than software, and because the concept of open source hardware is relatively new, no exact definition of open source hardware has emerged. Because hardware has direct variable costs associated with it, no open source software definition can directly be applied without modification.
Embedded Open Source Hardware
Open source is a powerful force in software development. So why don't we see the same thing in hardware? Modern chips, including microprocessors, are designed around "soft" reusable components. What's to keep hardware designers from collaborating on chip designs the same way others do operating systems? Maybe we just have to wait a few more years before the open-source concept catches fire among microprocessor designers. It's more likely, however, that that day will never come. Despite all the advantages claimed by the proponents of open-source software, the same benefits will probably never accrue to hardware developers. Open source doesn't translate into the world of transistors and microprocessors.
Open Source Hardware Initiative As both an electrical engineer and professional software developer, I'd like to start an open source hardware movement similar to the open source software movement that has currently been happening. I've seen ideas similar to this from other people before, although not well thought out nor articulated correctly, and definitely not the same thoughts I have about the subject. This post is a summary of my ideas, hoping to get some feedback from other people. Open source software has been around for awhile. We've all seen it: Linux is the biggest example. Why does open source software exist? Because it is easily copied, reproducible, and editable almost for free, and because many software developers like have a hand in it. Drop a couple hundred to thousands of dollars buying a computer, and anybody with the knowledge to do so could be running and developing open source software. A computer is, essentially, the tool to develop and use open source software.
Open Source Hardware Development
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What is Open Hardware Open Hardware is Open Source Hardware. This means that every file needed to understand and rebuild a project is open and readable by either open source EDA programs or at least by freely aviable commercial tools. For the Open Hardware a special Open Hardware Public License OHPL is developed which is based on the GPL with some modifications to fit into the hardware context. As the main goal is to provide Open Hardware, we should use open source tools as soon as they are aviable in suifficient quality. This means that free commercial tools like WEBPACK by Xilinx should be used as long as the gEDA tools are not good and easy enough to work with efficiently.
Introduction to open-source hardware development This paper introduces a new trend in hardware design and development -open-source hardware. It defines open-source hardware design terms, features and requirements. It presents FPGA-based platforms as the most suitable for open-source design implementation. It also discusses open-source hardware business models. Open-source hardware is proposed as a bridge for the technological, educational and cultural gaps between developing and developed countries. Open-source hardware organizations are introduced with statistics of activities. The role of the Internet with respect to hardware openness is introduced.
The Future - Open Source Hardware Like Open Source software, we are now seeing the beginnings of a movement up the hardware stack. Though in its infancy, it's only a matter of time before the Open Source hardware domain experiences a growth spurt similar to its Open Source software counterpart. While we sleep, the adoption of Open Source hardware should open up the playing field and ultimately revolutionize the technology landscape as we know it. This transformation will be most evident in the appliance world of audio and video devices, mobile and VoIP phones, games and entertainment servers, gateways and security devices, robots, PDAs, and the like.
Open source moves into free hardware
A group of hardware developers is trying to bring concepts from the open-source software world to the hardware business. Engineers around the world, connected via the Internet, are seeking to develop a vast library of freely available hardware designs, similar to how Linux developers and other open-source programmers share intellectual property. This open-source hardware library -- consisting of design elements for processors, memory controllers, peripherals, motherboards and a host of other components -- would aid semiconductor start-ups and device manufacturers alike. Instead of investing millions in basic and some times redundant design work, companies would be able to tap the library for the know-how they need, licensing designs for chips and other technology for free.
Dell offers an open-source PC Hardware
The desktop retails for US$849 and comes with a Pentium 4 processor; 512MB of advanced DDR computer memory; a 128MB ATI Radeon X300SE Hyper Memory video card; an 80GB serial ATA hard drive and a one-year limited warranty. The computers are designed for customers and companies that want to experiment with Linux and other open-source operating systems. Many large companies that have pre-purchased Windows through licensing programs have to erase all the software that comes on factory-shipped PCs and then install the alternative software they've chosen. Buying a PC without an operating system saves a step and eliminates the cost of the extra software.
Closed Source Hardware Trust with hardware vendors for open source systems is becoming a one-way street, where in exchange for support they offer a closed source binary solution with no provision to audit security. Trust is an important part of security. When it comes to trusting hardware vendors, it seems that this road is all too often a one way street. This landed me in an interesting position recently, when an 802.11B wireless access point of mine ceased functioning, and I went to look for a replacement. This time, instead of purchasing a hardware-based access point, I opted to go with the more flexible route and decided to install a fourth interface in my firewall; a wireless 802.11G card. Suddenly, I was faced with an interesting juxtaposition of two worlds; open and closed source systems.
Business Models for Open Source Hardware Design Increasing integration is putting pressure on commodity semiconductor component markets by forcing devices to become more complex, more expensive to design, and consequently more dependent on the development of intellectual property. The so-called "system on chip" revolution will fail unless commodity component manufacturers can easily integrate IP they did not themselves create. An efficient intellectual property sharing system will have the benefit of preventing needless duplication of design effort by many competing companies, and will tend to favor the pareto optimal situation where a given piece of intellectual property is re-invented no more often than necessary. The industry recognizes these facts, and efforts are underway to formalize systems whereby manufactures can more easily license IP from one another, or from specialized IP producing firms.
Momentum builds for open-source processors
Momentum is slowly building for freely available open-source processors, the semiconductor equivalent of open-source software movements like Linux. A handful of commercial efforts are experimenting with open-source CPU cores. Contract-manufacturing giant Flextronics, for example, is laying plans to tap into open-source hardware for its ASICs. And both Metaflow Technologies Inc. (La Jolla, Calif.) and IROC Technologies SA (Grenoble, France) are building products using the Leon-1, a Sparc-like open-source processor developed at the European Space Agency's Technology Center.
Open Source Takes on Hardware
According to Damjan Lampret, founder of OpenCores.org, a consortium of developers dedicated to applying open source to hardware design, the answer is a resounding "Yes." Speaking before a group of 30 representatives from the hardware industry Monday night at the Freedom Technology Center in Mountain View, California, Lampret unveiled the organization's most recent development: a functional system-on-chip microprocessor, developed entirely from freely available open-source blueprints.
Open Source Hardware and Industry
Here are some of my thoughts on the open source hardware movement and industry. This is not to say that we are only concerned with industry here, but more that we saw a lot of struggling over the years on how open source software could be beneficial to business and industry. I believe that the most effective way to propagate socially progressive change is to show that it is beneficial to as many parties as possible ? individuals, governments, small and large industry. As we have seen from the open source software movement, tremendous and clear benefits exist for individuals, small businesses and developing nations .