Gerald Coley @ Texas Instruments for EDN has a great article about open source hardware. It’s impressive to see TI jumping in with articles and supporting projects like the BeagleBoard…
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.
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