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September 15, 2010 AT 12:18 am

FEZ Domino is now (almost) open source hardware

Pt 10351

It appears FEZ Domino is now open source hardware, here’s a note from Gus

GHI is releasing an open-source firmware for FEZ. Anyone can now make their own FEZ…GHI gives you everything for free, from software to hardware...

For those of you who want full control over the software you are using, we are releasing an open source firmware for FEZ. We are calling it “FEZopen.” Not only that, we are including a free ebook on porting NETMF. The book uses the $19.95 FEZ Panda to demonstrate porting NETMF but you can use any FEZ. Make sure to order your FEZ Panda soon.

The open source driver, FEZopen, includes UART, SPI, I2C, timers, threading and many more drivers making it complete for your deep customization and exciting projects.

Want to make your own hardware? We have EAGLE design files available online for every FEZ, feel free to make your own and load the FEZopen firmware on it.

The original propitiatory firmware still ships free on all FEZ products. It is up to the user whether he wants to keep the USBizi firmware or switch to FEZopen. Using the priority firmware allows us to have better version control and support for our commercial customers.

This is great, now there is almost parity with Arduino, Netduino and FEZ – the trend for dev boards is OSHW. For those who closely follow the world of OSHW, exciting!

Update: After reviewing things, it’s close – but we’re hungry for more!… FEZopen provides a nice set of instructions on how to build your own barebones .NET MF firmware from the Microsoft source

But! We’d like to see GHI go 100% open source and release the actual proprietary FEZ firmware as well. Including the custom NXP port, all the bug fixes, all the missing FEZ features, etc. For both FEZ Domino (USBizi) and FEZ Cobra (Embedded Master) – And firmware images so users can reflash the original compiler-optimized firmware. That would be great!

And last up, Is there any plan to release your actual custom NXP port for the USBizi chip? There must be tens of thousands of lines of code there that could be released with all your bugfixes, enhancments, etc.. It would be great to see the actual USBizi core and enhancements contributed to the open source community – we think customers, makers, hackers would love to see that as well.


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2 Comments

  1. Well put! I would love to see FEZ really open up!

  2. GHI doesn’t want to scare away commercial customers who are not okay with open source. Just making the firmware open will harm GHI’s main business, which is more important GHI’s success. So, opening firmware will come in stages and slow. This way, the open source community can benefit from this and at the same time, commercial partners will not be affected nor surprised.

    GHI started with licensing all drivers with Apache 2.0. Then FEZ Panda has JTAG and comes with open source firmware. I am completing the NETMF porting book.

    By the way, the porting book is more important tot eh community that GHI source codes since we will show everyone the way and from that point, the community *and* GHI can work together on providing whatever code needed.

    GHI looks forward to contributions from everyone. We can’t do it alone and we need your help.

    Have fun!

    Gus

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