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[News] Arduino Board: Hardware Takes Lesson from Free Software

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Build It. Share It. Profit. Can Open Source Hardware Work?

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| That's because the Arduino board is a piece of open source hardware, free for 
| anyone to use, modify, or sell. Banzi and his team have spent precious 
| billable hours making the thing, and they sell it themselves for a small 
| profit — while allowing anyone else to do the same. They're not alone in this 
| experiment. In a loosely coordinated movement, dozens of hardware inventors 
| around the world have begun to freely publish their specs. There are open 
| source synthesizers, MP3 players, guitar amplifiers, and even high-end 
| voice-over-IP phone routers. You can buy an open source mobile phone to talk 
| on, and a chip company called VIA has just released an open source laptop: 
| Anyone can take its design, fabricate it, and start selling the notebooks.         
| [...]
| Then again, Linux sounded pretty insane, too, back in 1991, when Linus 
| Torvalds announced it. Nobody believed a bunch of part-time volunteers could 
| create something as complex as an operating system, or that it would be more 
| stable than Windows. Nobody believed Fortune 500 companies would trust 
| software that couldn't be "owned." Yet 17 years later, the open source 
| software movement has been crucial to the Cambrian explosion of the Web  
| economy. Linux enabled Google to build dirt-cheap servers; Java and Perl and 
| Ruby have become the lingua franca for building Web 2.0 applications; and the 
| free Web-server software Apache powers nearly half of all Web sites in the 
| world. Open source software gave birth to the Internet age, making everyone—
| even those who donated their labor—better off.         



New Release 2.0: Open Source Hardware

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| As a trusted colleague suggested recently, putting the
| words "open," "source," and "hardware" next to one another in a sentence is a
| sure way to cure insomnia among business people. But, before those non-alpha
| geeks among you click away, you might want to know what the alpha geeks know:
| that open source hardware is looking like it will be a big part of the future
| of manufacturing and beyond.



Open-source hardware: Open sesame

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| Now the same approach is being applied to hardware, albeit in a modified
| form. The open-source model cannot be directly carried over to hardware,
| because software can be duplicated and distributed at almost no cost, whereas
| physical objects cannot. Modifying source code and then distributing a new,
| improved version of a program is much easier than improving and sharing the
| design of, say, an open-source motorbike. Some day, perhaps, fabricating
| machines will be able to transform digital specifications (software) into
| physical objects (hardware), which will no doubt lead to a vibrant trade in
| specifications, some of which will be paid for, and some of which will be
| open-source.
| [...]
| But until that day, the term “open-source hardware” is being used in a
| narrower sense. It refers to an emerging class of electronic devices, for
| which the specifications have been made public, so that enthusiasts can
| suggest refinements, write and share software improvements, and even build
| their own devices from scratch. This is not as daft as it sounds. Even if all
| the details needed to build something are available, few people will have the
| tools or the inclination to do so.
| [...]
| Some enthusiasts point to 2005 as a crucial year: that was when work began on
| devices such as the RepRap (a rapid-prototyping machine that will, its makers
| hope, be able to replicate itself) and the TuxPhone, an open, Linux-powered
| mobile-phone. It was also when Sun Microsystems, a computer-maker, decided to
| publish the specifications of one of its microprocessors, the UltraSPARC T1.
| The open-source hardware trend is now growing fast, says Adrian Bowyer, a
| mechanical engineer at the University of Bath and the inventor of the RepRap.


Prototype Of Machine That Copies Itself Goes On Show

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| A University of Bath academic, who oversees a global effort to develop an
| open-source machine that ‘prints’ three-dimensional objects, is celebrating
| after the prototype machine succeeded in making a set of its own printed
| parts. The machine, named RepRap, will be exhibited publicly at the
| Cheltenham Science Festival (4-8 June 2008).


DIY Robotics: The Rise of Open Source Hardware

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| Holman's not the only one hacking hardware. The hardware-hacking trend,
| perhaps exemplified best by O'Reilly's Make magazine and wildly successful
| Maker Faire, is one of the dominating themes of this year's conference.
| Geeks, accustomed to being able to use and modify open source software like
| Linux without restriction, are adopting the same attitude with respect to
| consumer electronics devices, whether those devices are freely hackable, like
| the forthcoming Google-backed Android operating system for phones, or more
| locked down, like Apple's iPhone.        


Open Source Hardware Gift Guide

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| Open source 3D printers, TV-turn-off devices, iPod chargers, music players,
| wi-fi companions, educational electronic kits, and more! Let's get gifting!


Open source hardware comes out of closet

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| EVER SINCE open-source software created a buzz, people have stroked chins,
| pondered and pontificated about the possibility of open-source hardware – and
| now it’s becoming a reality.  


The Future of Hardware is Open Source

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| Open Hardware is the future of technology, and all we need to kick off this
| next great revolution in technology is to have the right tools in the right  
| place at the right time.  After that, the sky’s the limit!  


Open Source Hardware: Birth Of A Long Tail Market?

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| And when there is unrestricted collaboration, nearly anything is possible.
| Buglabs, the open source hardware movement and other yet-to-be discovered
| frontiers have the same opportunity here.  


Do we need an open hardware license?

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| Still, Hicks says that it's possible to use open source hardware designs with
| field-programmable gate arrays, "which are quite affordable," and points to
| OpenSPARC and the OPENCORES community of open hardware designers as examples
| of real-world usage of open hardware.  
| Phipps says that he sees open hardware following in the footsteps of FOSS,
| though he says mainstreaming of open hardware "will take much longer ... to
| get a foothold."  


Perens set to tackle open-source hardware

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| On Monday, Perens plans to announce the TAPR Open Hardware
| License, a document written by John Ackerman designed
| specifically to govern hardware designs that can be
| modified and redistrubuted. Perens plans to submit the
| license to the Open Source Initiative for its as an
| open-source license.

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