Panel: Implications of Open Source Business: Forking and Attribution 60 mins + QA with audience, David Mellis, Hernando Barragan, Catarina Mota, Nathan Seidle, Josef Prusa. Moderator: Michael Weinberg.
Here are our notes (things said by the panel)–
First was a question for the group, are there ways we can define open source hardware. We have a good definition, we have a good definition, it’s harder to work on one file and hardware vs software. We have norms and it’s pretty well known what’s ok, etc. We are seeing OSHW growing very fast, the definition might need to expand to more than just hardware. There is a difference between what is legal and what is right. It’s morals vs. rules. Big companies are contacting and approaching OSHWA, there is not a cook book or well known way to work with companies yet. OSHWA could/should have this role. As long as OSHWA is non-profit, no biz interests, seems like something they could do. In RepRap there isn’t a leader, anyone can make any printer the current one. Hardware makers are not shy, they’re making a lot of hardware. Scaling OSHW – last year, at the summit multiple companies saying they love OSHW but struggled making it work for the businesses. It’s possible to have an OSHW company and support 145+ people with a good business model. Viability is not a closed source vs open source issue — it’s a business issue. As long as business is going well, easier to do OSHW. OSHW business are hard to run, there are many benefits from the community. Scaling – many companies here are selling things to people who know how to solder. Is there another market for non-makers. OSHWA wants to be a hardware association (not an electronics association). More and more crowdsourcing, more projects will go to higher levels. Look to Elon’s Musk TELSA Hyperloop “this is an open source transportation project”. Everything can be open sourced. 3D printers and laser cutters and now in many places, we are getting new compilers. 3D printers will be easier for everyone to use. Can’t think of 1 thing that doesn’t make sense to open source, there’s always at least 2% who need to modify something. What makes open hardware better than the alternatives, fashion has no protection, compete on speed, design, etc. Dealextreme / cloners compete on price. It’s not an open vs close, it’s business strategies to stay competitive. Open source hardware will survive because it will need to be a good business as well as being open source. Possible ideas for OSHW companies, tax breaks, patent length, lowered. OSHW companies are not looking for a break, we choose OSHW because it’s better. We are Open Source HW because we don’t want a break. We don’t want to be able to sit on our laurels. Collaboration on hardware, what is the state of the tools? Divs in hardware, EAGLE is used, GitHub is used, google apps. Collection of tools vs one tool for electronics. Interchange formats. For frameworks, allow to share code easily. Incentives – how good of a job does the OSHW community sharing what the people doing good OSHW is doing. OSHWA could aggregate amazing projects, a place to see all projects, community. Community doing decent job welcoming people to hackerspaces, out of garages. Work needs to be done outside the USA. Where do you go to find out about new great projects. Where do people go to find out about OSHW projects (Hack-a-day, blogs…). Helping people make things for themselves, good way to demonstrate what OSHW is.
Questions from audience:
Threats on horizon for OSHW? Patent trolls? Large orgs FCC and more not set up to deal with small companies.
Talk more about FCC, certifications. FCC and OSHW not seen as a great threat to the community at this time.
When we make open hardware, we make connections, when cloners clone they’re not cloning the community. When people clone it, does it take away from business. With clones it’s not adding on.
Trust of community – Information should be complete, where ideas come from, what things are based on. Knowing the process, learning from the process is important. Wiring/Arduino/RepRap/LilyPad/FLORA. Many of us here because of the work of processsing/wiring/arduino. Renewed LilyPad development after FLORA released.
OSHW and education – what is it’s role. Bits are less expensive than atoms. Tools and tool chains will allow prices to get lower to build locally.
Design philosophy – at what point do you draw the line on OSHW? Don’t draw the line. Good where there are proprietary lives, OSHW can go there and do good work, lower pricing, better designs.
Custom gaming controllers can mean a lot of things. They could be big easy buttons for someone with muscle control issues or they could be a fancy cockpit for someones favorite flight sim. Either way, off-the-shelf systems are disgustingly expensive and are often not quite what is needed for the job.
People with a little bit of DIY knowledge can step in and make their own. They can even make them for other people. This is the place for that to happen.
Arnan Sipitakiat and Paulo Blikstein. The PiTopping and a new model for educational robotics -
Pi-Topping robotics framework for the Raspberry Pi
• PCB – Contains the pi-topping PCB source files. They are created using KiCAD, a free PCB design tool.
• firmware – The PIC firmware to drive the pi-topping board.
• pirunner – Software to allow a user to write their Python script on a regular computer then download and remotely run the script.
Sophi Kravitz is an engineer whose company, MIX, develops behavioral training products for scientists and consumers. Her talk was about a formulaic approach to determine the product’s market size, or if a product even has a market at all. She developed and used this formula to determine that MIX’s open source mouse nosepoke product was marketable. She is working on a novelty “Goldfish trainer” product which probably does not have a market and a new mouse trainer that probably does.
Matthew Borgatti. How Open is Your Source, talk was about sharing beyond just the files we share in OSHW -
My name’s Matthew Borgatti. I have done a lot of things: building movie monsters, prototyping, teaching, graphic design, illustration, product design, and fashion. I’m currently working on a gigantic mobile pipe organ and open source methods for making soft robots.
I love fine craftsmanship and rapid prototyping. I believe that the right tools applied in the right way can marry these two ideals together into some powerful designs. I want to explore the dwindling divisions between the digital and analog worlds and produce ideas that can survive on their own in the memeplex.
David Mellis. Four Principles for an Ecosystem of OpenSource Everyday Devices -
The DIY Cellphone is a working (albeit basic) cellphone that you can make yourself. It can make and receive phone calls and text messages, store names and phone numbers, and display the time. It builds on the hardware and software in the Arduino GSM Shield but extends it with a full interface, including display, buttons, speaker, microphone, etc. The source files for the cellphone are hosted on GitHub (hardware, software), which also includes an issue list where you can file bug reports or request enhancements.
We help hacker spaces take root in the Middle East and beyond.
Together, we can create inclusive spaces to solve problems, start businesses, and strengthen our communities. There’s a movement happening; and we want to see it go global.
Paulo Blikstein How open hardware can revolutionize education (or how we might fail miserably) -
I design and research expressive technologies for learning, especially for underprivileged populations, as well as computational modeling and complexity science. (the talk text) if from his TED talk.
Blikstein’s research focus on how new technologies can deeply transform the learning of science, engineering, and mathematics. He creates and researches cutting-edge technologies for use in inner-city schools, such as computer modeling, robotics, and rapid prototyping, creating constructionist learning environments in which children learn science and mathematics by building sophisticated projects and devices. A recipient of the prestigious NSF Early Career Award, Blikstein holds a PhD. from Northwestern University, an MSc. from the MIT Media Lab, and a B.S. in Metallurgical Engineering from the University of São Paulo.
Making parallel computing easy to use has been described as “a problem as hard as any that computer science has faced”. With such a big challenge ahead we need to make sure as many people as possible have access to open parallel hardware and development tools.
Inspired by great hardware communities like Raspberry Pi and Arduino, we also see a critical need for a truly open, high-performance computing platform that will enable us to close the knowledge gap in parallel programming.
The goal of the Parallella project is to democratize access to parallel computing through providing an affordable open hardware platform and open source tools, and supporting learning and the development of software which is able to harness the power of parallel systems.
The multicore Propeller microcontroller, kits, and development boards, programmable in Spin. The Parallax P8X32A Propeller chip, introduced in 2006, is a multi-core architecture parallel microcontroller with eight 32-bit RISC CPU cores. The Parallax Propeller microcontroller, Propeller Assembly language, and Spin interpreter were designed by one person, Parallax’s co-founder and president Chip Gracey. The Spin Programming language and “Propeller Tool” integrated development environment were designed by Chip Gracey and Parallax’s software engineer Jeff Martin – Wikipedia.
Harris Kyriakou, Steven Englehardt and Jeffrey V. Nickerson. Traces of Innovation in Thingiverse -
Innovation inside companies is difficult to see. But an emerging online community of inventors who publicly post 3D CAD drawings of their work provide a way to observe – and perhaps amplify – innovation. In this paper we analyze the network structure of Thingiverse, a website oriented toward 3D printing. This form of printing blurs the line between creating information and manufacturing objects: drawings can be sent to devices that build 3D objects out of many materials, including resin, ceramics, and metal . As an exploratory study, we analyzed the structure of Thingiverse links. Our results suggest that analysis of remix network structure may provide ways of tracing innovation processes and detecting the emergence of new ideas, combination of disparate ideas.