Is Open Source the Way Forward for DIY Audio? November 14, 2012 13:33 5 Comments
DIY audio folks like to share--that's what makes us a community. My kits and the DIY Project Directory are possible because others have shared their research, schematics, designs, etc. without any legal limitations. In turn, I document my projects so that anyone who cares to can learn from, tweak, or improve upon them. So, while the greater audio world remains largely closed, with patents, secrecy, and lawyers protecting intellectual property, our little DIY corner is very much an "open source" environment. But unlike explicitly open-source communities such as Wikipedia or GitHub, our openness is not formalized into licenses or explicitly agreed upon. In podcast #5 I talk Eric Jennings of Pinocc.io, an open-source, wireless hardware platform, about how an open source approach might look for the DIY audio community. Topics discussed include:
- Is openness a viable way forward for the DIY audio world?
- What exactly does open source mean for a hardware-based industry?
- Does open source encourage cloners and copycats?
- How can audio designers protect their work without patents?
Download the mp3 or subscribe via iTunes.
Paul Ochsner on November 12, 2014 18:04
It’s so nice to not have off-putting restrictions on resources and information, so the hobbyist can just tinker away to their hearts’ content without having to jump through hoops first!. Well done here guys!!.
Link on November 12, 2014 18:04
Having come of age in an audio world where simple facts were withheld, for presumably job protection, I am all for openly sharing information. The more we share, the better we all become. It’s really that simple.
Eric Jennings on November 12, 2014 18:03
Geoff, agree completely about the open-source CAD tools being an essential part of the open hardware movement. If everything’s open, but the tools used to design the hardware are not, then there’s a disincentive for the CAD vendor to become more open.
We’ve been trying out Upverter as a way to get our schematics and board layout files in a format that is not only open, but lets others fork our files and add modifications or changes. It’s like a Github for hardware.
There are still some bugs in the layout tool of Upverter, but overall, its goal is exciting to us, because they’re trying to accomplish exactly what you mention—to open the ability to view, modify, and share hardware schematics and board layouts.
Geoff on November 12, 2014 18:03
Dave Jones, in his eevblog, explains what ‘open source’ hardware really is.
An important aspect is the use of open-source CAD tools (for obvious reasons) but is a contentious problem for those who have existing proprietary CAD tools and vast libraries. It is unreasonable to expect that a designer suddenly has to switch to some other CAD tool in order to be considered ‘open source’, and has been a sticking point for the OSHW movement.
OSHW is a good idea in principle, since it allows collaborative efforts to refine a product and can provide the basis for other product innovations, a bit like secret cryptographic alogirthms vs publicly scrutinised cryptographic algorithms. No prizes for guessing which ones are more robust. What is really needed is some form of design file interchange system that allows the design files to be used across any number of open source and proprietary CAD systems.
catraeus on November 12, 2014 18:03
The only thing I’d really like to see is the aggrement-by-use that Stallman put in place. I really want to crack open the schematic and have that be my signing the contract that says that I won’t try to hold, sell or lock-down the idea represented in the schematic.
Right On! about Behrenger. It’s the dirty little secret of all knock-offs.
One of the Big Company attitudes that will always protect the small business venture type is that the board room is ultra risk-averse. The only way that the big company knows to butt in is when it is proven to make very large dollars. Knock-off companies kick in AFTER your widget hits high volume.
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