Why We Need Free Digital Hardware Designs by Richard Stallman (was “I see no social imperative for free hardware designs”)

Oshw-Logo-400-Px-2

2015 – Why We Need Free Digital Hardware Designs by Richard Stallman.

Some day, free-design digital hardware may be the only platform that permits running a free system at all. Let us aim to have the necessary free digital designs before then, and hope that we have the
means to fabricate them cheaply enough for all users.

If you design hardware, please make your designs free. If you use hardware, please join in urging and pressuring companies to make hardware designs free.


And from 1999…

Because copying hardware is so hard, the question of whether we’re allowed to do it is not vitally important. I see no social imperative for free hardware designs like the imperative for free software – Richard Stallman — On “Free Hardware”


Adafruit publishes a wide range of writing and video content, including interviews and reporting on the maker market and the wider technology world. Our standards page is intended as a guide to best practices that Adafruit uses, as well as an outline of the ethical standards Adafruit aspires to. While Adafruit is not an independent journalistic institution, Adafruit strives to be a fair, informative, and positive voice within the community – check it out here: adafruit.com/editorialstandards

Join Adafruit on Mastodon

Adafruit is on Mastodon, join in! adafruit.com/mastodon

Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.

Have an amazing project to share? The Electronics Show and Tell is every Wednesday at 7pm ET! To join, head over to YouTube and check out the show’s live chat – we’ll post the link there.

Join us every Wednesday night at 8pm ET for Ask an Engineer!

Join over 36,000+ makers on Adafruit’s Discord channels and be part of the community! http://adafru.it/discord

CircuitPython – The easiest way to program microcontrollers – CircuitPython.org


Maker Business — “Packaging” chips in the US

Wearables — Enclosures help fight body humidity in costumes

Electronics — Transformers: More than meets the eye!

Python for Microcontrollers — Python on Microcontrollers Newsletter: Silicon Labs introduces CircuitPython support, and more! #CircuitPython #Python #micropython @ThePSF @Raspberry_Pi

Adafruit IoT Monthly — Guardian Robot, Weather-wise Umbrella Stand, and more!

Microsoft MakeCode — MakeCode Thank You!

EYE on NPI — Maxim’s Himalaya uSLIC Step-Down Power Module #EyeOnNPI @maximintegrated @digikey

New Products – Adafruit Industries – Makers, hackers, artists, designers and engineers! — #NewProds 7/19/23 Feat. Adafruit Matrix Portal S3 CircuitPython Powered Internet Display!

Get the only spam-free daily newsletter about wearables, running a "maker business", electronic tips and more! Subscribe at AdafruitDaily.com !



1 Comment

  1. I remember asking about the contradictions many years ago. It became an issue with Linux and ram hosted binary “blobs” – microcode, and the insistence that it wasn’t free if it had a blob, even if it was pure microcode and couldn’t be compiled, or whatever.

    At the time if a plug-in card contained a read-only (masked) ROM, it was considered ok, but if it had flash but the microcode for the flash wasn’t open, it was bad, or even worse if it was “ram” and had to be uploaded each time.

    Yet even in his current rant, he misses FPGAs. You can implement “hardware” by downloading “software” to program the chip and it will run at full speed. You can download microprocessors. The ETTUS SDR is basically this. Even analog – ADCs and DACs attached or inside an FPGA.

    Since I was and am both hardware and software, I chafed at the lack of freedom to study the design, improve it, etc.

    You can emulate an ARM on x86 (QEMU – my Nokia N810 softwarewas mainly developed virtually) or vice versa – another gray area.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.