“What is open source hardware”

Dave from the EEVBlog rounds up what open source hardware is with a handy video and links.


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  1. Nice to see Dave finally come around to Open Source Hardware.

  2. @alan – we’re pretty sure the EEVblog (dave) has consistently spoke highly of OSHW (and so has amp hour with chris).

  3. @Alan I’ve always been a fan of OSHW. In fact, I was publishing open hardware designs 20 years ago, long before the term was even coined.

    BTW, the Pinguino project is what prompted me to do the video.
    They claim it’s OSHW, and use the logos and even link to the definition. But they don’t let you download the original CAD files. Just a PDF of the schematic.


  4. Muy buen vídeo, ideal para la difusión del hardware libre y todo este movimiento que cada día toma más impulso. Saludos desde Argentina.

  5. @dave, good to see you here!

    yah – while CAD files are great some folks do not always include them. a pdf of the schematic is sorta “ok”, sometimes, but not really 🙁 — board files always better of course. since pinguino is playing in the OSHW arduino world and practically using the name arduino they should do what the arduino team does at the minimum. that’s the “spirit” as you said in your vid, that’s what most do. pinguino should too.

    that said, maybe they just didn’t get to it yet, but it’s been a few months huh? even sometimes we forget to upload things but someone always reminds us 🙂 having github for each product is making things easier (and our new site features). we’ve made it clear everything we do is OSHW so it’s not “if”, only when if something isn’t posted immediately for us. usually it’s within a few hours of launch now.

    we see you asked them, so they should (hopefully) reply!


    if they don’t, they’re likely going to make a lot of people angry with them who do OSHW or customers who buy this because it’s advertised as OSHW.

    they say “Pinguino is an Open Source and Open Hardware Project.”

  6. I’ve read several of the OSHW definitions but don’t understand the distinction between electronic “hardware” and hardware like say an open source pair of pliers. Are they both incorporated in the OSHW definition? If so where do non-electronic tools and mechanisms go? Thanks.

  7. @josh, 3d printed items and mechanical files are likely going to be debated a lot as OSHW evolves. at this time since there isn’t open source pliers we don’t have ways to test this.

    we think right now it’s possible to release OSHW pliers, you could put the files up on thingiverse under a license that is OSHW compliant, allow others to make and sell them, and share back/credit.

    what isn’t quite clear yet is if and how the materials used matter. if our pliers are made from metal it’s not clear how that process will be “open sourced” or if it matters, it might not.

  8. I completely agree with what Dave said. I’m getting ready to sell some kits and call them open hardware, and with that will be the "real" schematic, cad, and firmware files. I have thought very carefully about this and I’m sold. I strongly agree that you need to follow the definitions of OSHW if you are going to label your stuff with the logo. My 2 cents here: http://thecustomgeek.com/?p=135

  9. @jeremy and @dave – phil emailed the pingduino folks asking what’s up, hopefully they’ll do an update to the site(s) soon!

  10. btw, the chipkit32 folks *do* OSHW nicely 🙂

    Open source EAGLE project for the chipKIT Uno32. Created in EAGLE v5.11


    and so does netduino..

  11. Thanks for the response. I am really interested in reviving old patents specifically small tools and larger devices like mechanical duplicators and such. Most of these could be 3D printed and “lost plastic” cast. I’ll look into it more, sometimes us less electronic/computer types feel alienated from the OS world. Thanks Josh @Protobotind

  12. @dave – olimex emailed me, the files will be posted soon.

    hi philip
    we are on vacation now, next monday i’ll be in office and we tell out it stuff to upload our web with the eagle files
    this is very new product and our web pages are still not complete 🙂
    best regards
    tsvetan usunov

  13. adafruit wrote:
    > even sometimes we forget to upload things but someone always reminds us 🙂

    It would be great if you find the time to upload the design files for your OLED display board


    and USB LiIon/LiPoly charger


  14. Excellent, thanks Phil.
    And thanks to Olimex for playing by the rules, well done.

  15. I’m really interested in seeing what happens with non-electronic physical hardware, like the above-mentioned pliers.

    There doesn’t seem to be any “good” format for sharing that kind of stuff, because there are so many formats, and the manufacturing has so many (varied) iterations.

    For example, I have a little model steam engine I designed and built, and which I’d like to release as open-source hardware. I worked mainly from 2-D working drawings (autocad DWG). A few of the pieces were, in whole or in part, CNC machined, but not all of them. I could release the g-code for said parts, but they wouldn’t get anybody very far, because without the context of the entire project, they are useless. With the exception of 4 mounting screws and a bearing, the whole thing is custom-made, so a BOM on its own would be meaningless as well.

    I’m hoping that this topic is discussed at the OHW summit, because I’m currently a bit lost as to how to share such a project.

  16. @Markus Gritsch – these are all located on github:

    OLED boards

    MCP73833 lithium ion polymer charger

  17. John/All,
    Glad to hear another voice. I looked at Thingiverse per Adafruit and didn’t see an applicable format for organizing mechanical components or assy’s. Having come from the aircraft world my gut says organize along patent office codes and then projects with part and assy #’s with .STL’s and another in some editable format. I’d be glad to co-write the convention… I would probably even go as far as to link prior art, assy dwgs.etc. I have no idea how to publish or disseminate this info. It seems like Thingiverse, Ponoko and Materialise have a Bias towards their own manufacturing methods.

    Josh. @Protobotind

  18. There is now some debate over at the EEVblog over whether or not it is compulsory to use a “share-alike” (Copy left) license under the OSHW definition?:


  19. @dave – phil will pop by 🙂

  20. @adafruit: Thanks for promptly uploading the files. Maybe you could even add links to those newly uploaded files to the ‘Downloads’ tabs of the respective products.

  21. @Markus Gritsch – please shift-reload the pages to the view the links in the download tab for the 2 products.

  22. @adafruit: Thanks for adding them. No need to press Shift — after you added the links, they are nicely displayed now 🙂

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