Open Source Hardware Ethics

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A culture of ethics in open source hardware? by Ian Lesnet (DangerousPrototypes).

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The recent case that caught my attention was a bunch of folks from USA who cloned a certain project of a Russian hacker and started a Kickstart project for it. They credited the author of the original and they claim that they have redesigned it and not just copied the design.

Here's the article on HaD:
http://hackaday.com/2012/02/16/384-led-ball-receives-animation-wirelessly-and-knows-its-orientation/

Somehow it still does not feel right to me. I'm having trouble defining why exactly I do not like it, technically they're not really doing anything wrong.

The Dark Boxes are coming.

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I saw that article the other day. It's a commentary to the original article here:
http://blog.makezine.com/2012/02/14/soapbox-the-unspoken-rules-of-open-source-hardware/

The problem that I see, is that while it's nice to have a set of "rules" for ethical behavior around open source hardware, the fact is that one will run into people who don't respect those ethics. What do you do then? What is your recourse, if any? If it's not spelled out in the license, then you have no legal recourse. And even then, there may still be no remedy when you're dealing with globalization, like between the US and Russa, as svofski pointed out above.

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Thanks for the original article Eric. Going to read it later.

I don't really know what's tickling me about this LED-ball case. Maybe if I could read Nikolai's side of the story somewhere I'd relax, but I don't really see anything about this.

The Dark Boxes are coming.

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I come more from a software-centric point of view; copying and modifying is very common in the software world. Perhaps too common maybe. I see that the hardware guys aren't necessarily used to that.

Strangely, I've found over the years, that because software is intangible, that somehow it's more invisible to people. Hardware is certainly a lot more tangible, and people react differently to it, like in this case of copying and modifying (or not, as the case may be).

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As a side note, it's a cool-looking project. :)

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So what do we want? Government regulation of our creative activities? Without government oversight, there will be occasional abuses. With government oversight there will be no opportunities, abusive or not.

That is a pretty slick project.

Torby

 

Don't grow up! It's a trap!

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I don't think that anyone was seriously advocating government oversight / regulation. Especially, it only goes so far with respect to globalization, e.g. US - Russia, US - China, etc. I think the only alternative is to to have closed source hardware.

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Torby wrote:
So what do we want? Government regulation of our creative activities? Without government oversight, there will be occasional abuses. With government oversight there will be no opportunities, abusive or not.

No, definitely not. I'm just asking myself some questions, speaking them out loud, is all.

Quote:
That is a pretty slick project.

Yeah, it's really cool.

The Dark Boxes are coming.

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The key is that open source is self policing. My take: naivete^2.

I'm doing all my stuff as open source, but I fully expect it to be ripped off. The only other options are closed source and get ripped off, or get a patent and get ripped off and lose your savings fighting it in court which will only benefit some lawyers. Might as well leave it open in the vain hope that someone in the process of ripping it off will at least improve the design and you can do a counter rip.

Smiley

FREE TUTORIAL: 'Quick Start Guide for Using the WinAVR C Compiler with ATMEL's AVR Butterfly' AVAILABLE AT: http://www.smileymicros.com

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