[Freedombox-discuss] why choose new OSHW (Open Source HardWare)

Jonas Smedegaard dr at jones.dk
Wed Jul 3 10:42:11 UTC 2013

Hi Nick,

Quoting Nick Hardiman (2013-07-03 10:18:09)
> I got a couple questions -
> What is the point of choosing new hardware? Will picking a different 
> hardware target help to spread the software development? Will a small 
> percentage of the million RPis get used for privacy work?

For each individual user of FreedomBox there is no point in choosing 
hardware yet, as the product does not exist yet.

For each individual developer of FreedomBox there are several points of 
changing choice of hardware, including price and exploration of various 
technical options.

For the FreedomBox project I see no reason to change the current 
relatively broad choice of hardware: Cheap, low-power computers that 
work well with Debian and can be made dead easy to use.

...where the "work well with Debian" part includes preferrably being 
Open Hardware.

> Is OSHW - Open Source HardWare - an acronym with a known definition (I 
> saw it when checking out https://www.olimex.com/Products/OLinuXino/)? 
> Is it a marketing sticker or does it imply there are no resale 
> restrictions, designs are available and modification is encouraged?

Wikipedia has an article about the matter, including some licenses: 

I am pretty sure that there is no "official" stickers to brand Open 
Hardware, just as there is no "official" stickers to brand the kind of 
"Free" defined by Debian.

As I understand it (from brief discussion with Olimex CEO on the matter 
about 6 months ago) Olimex has not yet chosen a specific license for 
their hardware, simply because they are uncertain which licensing is 
best in line with the spirit of the "Free" movement that they want to 
support and be part of.  Any help there is no doubt much appreciated.

> It seems to me the world of SBCs has evolved in the last few years 
> (http://cubieboard.org/2013/06/22/the-2nd-pcb-model-cubietruck-discussion/), 
> but the Dreamplug did not 
> (http://www.newit.co.uk/shop/All-DreamPlug/DreamPlugs) . Did the 
> hardware get upgraded or the price drop?

Not to my knowledge.

Seems (from editing http://wiki.debian.org/FreedomBox/TargetedHardware) 
that prices generally stay the same for any specific board - including 
Cubieboard (until, I guess, going out of production where I can imagine 
the price will drop in shops to get rid of obsolete boards).

I expect _new_ boards to be cheaper than older ones (or provide more 
computing power at same price), and when I see that happen I intend to 
lower the bar at above referenced wiki page from its current "lower than 

Opinions are quite welcome.

 - Jonas

 * Jonas Smedegaard - idealist & Internet-arkitekt
 * Tlf.: +45 40843136  Website: http://dr.jones.dk/

 [x] quote me freely  [ ] ask before reusing  [ ] keep private
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