Meet the Minnowboard – Open Source Hardware platform based on Intel Atom E640 released by Intel’s Open Source Technology Center (!). The board feature 1Ghz processor, 1GB RAM, Gigabit Ethernet, SPI, I2C, CAN etc.
There is dedicated web site about this board http://www.minnowboard.org/
The company which will produce the board is Circuit Co. same company which produces Beagle Bone, the sales will start in July and the price of the board is USD 199.
It’s great to see such big player in Industry as INTEL is stepping in Open Source Hardware and set an example for other companies to follow.
Open Source is great for sharing knowledge and there is no better way to learn new stuff. The popularity of Arduino which is the most significant and popular Open Source Hardware project become a target for many marketing managers working at Commercial closed source companies.
So we have been witnesses of abuse of Open Source term on daily bases. Every one try to incline Open Source or Open in their product description, hoping this will attract Arduino community, while they do not meet at all the standards and definitions which Open Source Hardware sets: http://freedomdefined.org/OSHW
To call your board or hardware Open Source you should open your CAD schematic and board files.
Its not enough if you publish your schematic like PDF or image file, as you have to enable everyone to open, edit, modify your project, then to have rights to re-distribute the derivative work. When you provide your schematic as PDF or image this is not possible, so you shouldn’t call your design Open or if you do so you just cheap cheat :)
Neither running Open Source Software or Linux on your board/hardware make it “open”, if this was true then my laptop which runs Ubuntu should be called Open Source Laptop which is non sense.
We have been seen lot of: Open Source Board, Open Source Community Board, Open PC etc. claims written on boards which are completely closed with just released schematics as images or PDFs.
Surely everyone from open source community can see the difference and judge for himself if this is open source board or not, but this just wears off the Open Source words, make them cheap and confuse the novices which just enter in the Open Source World.
Texas Instruments set standard with Beagle boards what Open Source Hardware boards should be. Now INTEL is also entering this field.
Let’s hope with such big companies entering in Open Source and setting standards this will restrain the cheap cheaters to stop using Open Source as buzzword and to show them what they should do if they really want to call their boards/hardware Open Source :)
I would love to hear your opinion on this too!