Tom Cubie is an ex Allwinner software developer who helped a lot in the beginning Linux-Sunxi community with information about Allwinner chips, when the initial Linux support was done.
He together with another Allwinner employee made Cubie Tech startup and start developing low cost Cubie boards with Allwinner chips.
At one point of time Tom become interested in Allwinner direct competitor – Rockchip, but it was problem to implement inside Cubie Tech board with Rockchip as this would cut all connections between Cubie Tech and Allwinner, so he decided to split and made new startup Radxa dealing only with Rockchip boards.
I know that Tom as being Linux developer loves in his heart Open Source, but at the same time he was very afraid to take the final step and move his projects as OSHW as in China everyone copy everything.
It’s common practice when you have successful product other companies to make inferior quality clones, made with lower quality and lower grade components but at lower than your price, and because many people look at China just as low cost source they prefer to buy the lower cost clones than the originals although most of these clones are pure junk, (but hey I got Allwinner board for $12.34 and Arduino clone for $1.23 on Alibaba!). This makes the business in China very difficult and everyone hides his designs and knowledge to have advantage toward the copycat competition.
This is also big obstracle for the OSHW movement in China, if you check on Kickstarter/Indiegogo all projects which come from China and claim to be Open Source Hardware are just marketing and pseudo OSHW they publish just the schematics as PDF file and eventually software sources, and “promise” to release everything when they complete the project … which usually never happens.
Let’s take as example the populart Vocore project which inspired RT5350F-OLinuXino 😉 they claim on Indiegogo this is OSHW project : https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/vocore-a-coin-sized-linux-computer-with-wifi
They got funded, produced the boards and shipped them, on their site vocore.io you can read:
You will not only get the VoCore but also its full hardware design including sch, pcb, bom; full source code including boot loader, os(openwrt), applications. You are able to control EVERY BIT of your VoCore
then on download page you have access just to PDF files.
I write all this above just to show you what big step Tom decided to move forward yesterday! He wrote on G+ :
Here is the G+ original post.
Obviously Tom follow my blog posts and after my post yesterday for the differences between Pi and OLinuXino and what benefits OSHW gives to the Business he finally decided to go OSHW for his new Radxa Rock Pro/Lite design (at least looking at the commit timestamp). This is something I just could just applaude! Good work Tom and Welcome to OSHW movement!
Keep the good job going! Sharing the knowledge just increase our power!