September 23, 2009 AT 2:00 am

Making the most of open-source hardware

Great overview – Making the most of open-source hardware – Electronics Weekly – Gerald Coley, Texas Instruments…

AT A GLANCE

* Open-source hardware offers an advanced start on your design.
* Open-source software complements open-source hardware.
* Open-source hardware prepares your PCB (printed-circuit-board)-fabrication and -assembly houses for high-volume production.
* You may want to share your improvements by making them open-source additions, as well.

Many designers are familiar with open-source software, such as Linux, in which the source code is available to all. However, fewer are familiar with organizations offering open-source hardware. These organizations release free information, including schematics, BOM (bill-of-materials) information, and PCB (printed-circuit-board)-layout data, covering the overall hardware design.

Designers with this information can build or add to a freely available design. In many cases, open-source software supports the original design, providing additional advantages. Some aspects of open-source hardware go beyond the sharing of the design itself.

These aspects can save time and money for not only hardware developers but also PCB designers and fabricators, contract manufacturers, and even software developers.

You can license open-source projects from organizations such as Creative Commons, which offers the Attribution-ShareAlike licensing program. Creative Commons stipulates that a user must attribute the open-source work in the manner that the original designer specifies but not in a way that indicates that the original designer endorses the user’s work. Likewise, if users provide that work as open-source hardware, releasing it back to the community for access by others, then they must provide that work under the same Attribution-ShareAlike licensing…


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2 Comments

  1. Interesting to read, coming from an engineer at TI: The company which sent a DMCA notice to the hacking folks at United-TI, forcing them to stop distributing an alternative (free of charge) OS for TI calculators…

  2. TI is a big company. Perhaps they are not all losers.

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