OLIMEX is approved to have Open Source Hardware stand at FOSDEM 2014

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FOSDEM is the biggest Open Source event in Europe. With lot of presentations, talks and workshops it is worth to visit. We wanted to have stand there where to present OLinuXino and all other OSHW boards we do, so applied for stand and today we got e-mail that our request is approved :) yay!

Another good news is that Olliver Schinagl will have talk about Allwinner SoCs at FOSDEM named: The most opensource (friendly) SoC :)

Qt5.2 running on A13-OLinuXino-WIFI OSHW Linux computer

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Miroslav Bendik posted again nice video with Qt5.2 running on A13-OLinuXino-WIFI and A13-LCD7″TS

 

 

New Product in Stock: MOD-HMC5883L Digital compass with UEXT connector

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MOD-HMC5883L is new Open Source Digital Compass breakboard. It comes with UEXT connector and cable so you can connect it to any of our development boards which have UEXT connector, but if you want you can use it also with breadboard as all HMC5883L signals are available in two rows at 0.1″ step on the two sides of the PCB.

MOD-HMC5883L is with 12 bit precise ADC and allow you to measure north with 1-2 degree error.

The board is in stock and cost EUR 9.95

Demo code for OLinuXino in C and Python and for Arduino, MAPLE, Pinguino will be available on our web, the Eagle CAD files and schematic is also there.

What licensee to choose for Open Source Hardware?

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Last few years we do a lot of OSHW and in my talk at OpenFest I explained my motives why we do it.

I see many people are encouraged to do OSHW, but hesitate what licensee to use.

I know how hard for me was this stuff as well at the beginning so I want to share my experience.

There are tons of licensees for OSHW now, many of them quite confusing if you have no law background.

For instance I did my best to understand what is the difference between Cern OSHW and MIT license but failed and most important I wanted to do something interesting instead to lose time reading this boring stuff!

In other hand everybody hesitates – these licenses may be important, what if I open my design?

Will I do any return of the money I put in it at all or thousands of Chinese better equipped factories will start producing my product leaving me with bunch of components in stock?

Do not worry my friends, to make something requires money and unless these volumes hit thousands you will be far away from these factories radar. Opening your design will just add more value to your project in the eyes of your customers as they will have better documented product which they can improve, modify and learn from.

If your design hit thousands sales you are not protected from being copied anyway – just look what happend with Cubieboard they got popular and one of their distributor Iteduino released similar design no matter Cubieboard is closed hardware.

So bottom line is: they will copy you no matter if you are open or closed hardware, probably Iteduino team hired same engineers who Tom Cubie hired for Cubieboard design.

So back on the topic of the licensees, under what licensee to release your OSHW?

My experience with OLinuXino is that no matter under what licensee you open your design, everybody will abuse it shamelessly, so you should not care too much.

Do not get me wrong, our OLinuXino sale are great, and these are one of our most popular products, but there are hundreds of derivative designs based on OLinuXino now made by commercial companies which neither give credits to Olimex (as our licensee require) neither contribute back, not even mention that their design is based on ours.

How do I know this? I know, because some of them are bold enough to send us derivative work made from OLinuXino for quote on manufacturing … :)

Some even do not do any changes than to replace silkscreen with their company name instead Olimex.

And there are some which ask US to replace our name on the OLinuXino boards with theirs :) and promise to order XXX pcs if we do so.

So the bottom line is – if you want to give away just do it and do not search anything in return.

Open Source is state of mind, no matter what you write as licensee terms they will be abused and if you want to spend your money to lawers good luck, but what is the point to spend some money to force someone who replaced your name on the silkscreen to bring it back ?

Few days ago I spotted WTFPL licensee http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WTFPL and I love it!

I think this is the most appropiate licensee for OLinuXino and we will release A10-OLinuXino-LIME under “Do What the Fuck You Want to Public License” and all application software around it (obviously Linux will be under GPL ;) )

Now example of bad choosen OSHW licensee: Today I read great news that imx6 SOM module is released as OSHW (http://www.cnx-software.com/2013/11/19/imx6-rex-open-source-hardware-som-designed-to-teach-schematic-and-pcb-layout-design/).

I said to myself – great job, finally there is something non trivial released as OSHW, but the initial euphoria was waived by the ridiculous licensee they have choosen: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported

WTF? No commercial use? No derivative work? Why? Guys are you serious? Based on our 18 months OLinuXino experience I can bet with you that everybody will abuse your terms and you will not be able to do anything to change it, so why did you choose this ridiculous licensee? It just make you look ridiculous and half confident in Open Source spirit and ideas?

Open source is state of mind – either do it either not! But please don’t do it in such shitty halfway matter. This just shade your great intention to share you knowledge with the others.

Better close the sources of the SOM rather to release it under these ridiculous terms which everybody will abuse.

Second fail – CAD files are made with Altium – how many contributors who will spend EUR 6000 for CAD product do you expect?

It’s really most weird OSHW project I’ve seen.

Parallella $99 Supercomputer is now Open Source Hardware!

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Parallella is $99 16-core supercomputer which was funded by successful by Kickstarter campain http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/adapteva/parallella-a-supercomputer-for-everyone

On June 29th they opened their hardware on GitHub http://www.parallella.org/2013/06/29/parallella-open-source-hardware/

https://github.com/parallella/parallella-hw

Now everyone can look and learn how this supercomputer was made, the schematic, the board files, the Verilog sources for the FPGA on board all is open and you can view.

Kidos to the guys at Parallella for joining OSHW :)

A13-OLinuXino-MICRO first prototypes are ready

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Here is the first look at A13-OLinuXino-MICRO assembled prototypes.

It took a lot of time as our assembly machines are overloaded and we run them on two shifts to meet the demand for our development boards, so the blank PCBs were made and sitting for two weeks waiting on tail for the assembly window.

What we have here is:

- A13 Cortex-A8 processor running at 1GHz
- 256MB of DDR3 RAM
- USB host
- USB-OTG
- VGA output 800×600 @ 60 Hz
- SD-card
- Audio Out for headphones
- LCD connector
- GPIO connector 1 and 2
- UEXT connector
- 100×85 mm

The goal is to release A13-OLinuXino-MICRO in production at EUR 35 retail down to EUR 28 for 50+ pcs OEM order.

For those who will say that 256MB is small amount of memory I would say that we run pretty amazing stuff now even on iMX233 with 454Mhz processor and 64MB RAM, so with x4-6 times faster processor and x4 times more memory lot of projects could be complete in Linux. Well, we will probably not run Andoriod 4.0 nor Open Office and Ubuntu with Chrome, but for this purpose it A13-OLinuXino-WIFi where you have double the RAM and 4GB NAND flash disk.

MICRO have no Ethernet by default but supports MOD-RTL8188CU WiFi adapter and the AX88772B USB to wired LAN adapters which will be for sale next month.

We try the SD card with the Debian image and as expected the bootloader starts then the kernel stops as there is no enough memory. So the goal now is to disable MALI400 and the GPU which alone take 200MB :) and to make kernel which fits in smaller footprint.

We assembled few of these and the first who report that disabled the Mali and GPU and managed to ran Linux-Sunxi in 256MB will get one of the first assembled MICROs :)

A13-OLinuXino first prototypes are ready for testing

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Today we assembled the first A13-OLinuXino OSHW Linux computer prototypes and now prepare to test them with Android and Linux image.

The board on the picture above is the BASE model, there will be also A13-OLinuXino-WIFI-4GB which will have on-board RTL8188CU WIFI 802.11n 150Mbit module + 4GB NAND flash on board.

If everything is OK with the tests we will send few prototypes to selected developers and prepare to run production in September.

Our target is to release A13-OLinuXino for EUR 45 and A13-OLinuXino-WIFI-4GB for EUR 55.

A13-OLinuXino routing complete!

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Today we completed the A13-OLinuXino routing and I push the CAD files to GitHub. Note that these are not the final, we have to make some final touch and to add text, logos etc, but I know how many of you waiting for the CAD files with no patience so I push these work CAD files for your review.

If everything goes well we may have prototypes by end of next week :)

A13-OLinuXino board routing progress

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We decided to re-format the PCB in standard Nano-ITX form factor 120×120 mm.
The high speed DDR3 memory part is completely routed now, the board will be 4 layers, so generally most of the work is done.
Now the peripherials have to be routed and next week we may be ready for prototype PCB run.

iMX233-OLinuXino-Micro Doube Side Design works at full speed

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Our first attempt to route DDR memory at 2 layers in iMX233-OLinuXino-Mini didn’t went very well as we wanted to put all components on one layer thus to make manufacturing with single reflow for lower cost.

Unfortunately the board didn’t work reliable at higher than 64 Mhz DDR data bus clock as with the 2 layers design we couldn’t make all signals lenght same, but split it on two groups, anyway. We decided on iMX233-OLinuXino-Micro to try again 2 layer design but this time to put the DDR memory under the iMX233 chip and to make signal paths not even but very short. After all this is just 133Mhz not 1333Mhz as it will be on A10-OLinuXino ;)

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We routed the board and run prototypes which got assembled on 23th of May 16.00 oclock, so we could’t test them until today due to our Holidays.

Today we run the tests and board works great at 133Mhz DDR clock.

First the board was designed with USB-mini connector for taking 5V power supply, then I told our developers to change it to standard power supply barrel jack, but they didn’t understood correctly nor I have double check the PCB files before we ran the prototypes, so now first prototypes have USB-B connector for power supply :D, don’t worry it will be fixed in the production run, which is to follow. Also these prototypes were produced in Green color instead Red as they will be in production.

The CAD files of this working 2 layers design are uploaded on GitHub.

We are about to run few other tests tomorrow and put this board on tail for mass production. This means we will have these boards in stock about end of June (or earlier ;) ).

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