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OpenSPARC and Power.org, Who has it Right? 125

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the fight-to-the-death dept.
Andy Updegrove writes "Last summer, IBM set up Power.org, to promote its PowerPC chip as what it called 'open hardware.' This year, Sun launched the OpenSPARC.net open source project around the source code for its Niagara microprocessor. But what does 'open' mean in the context of hardware? In the case of Power.org, Juan-Antonio Carballo said, 'It includes but is not limited to open source, where specifications or source code are freely available and can be modified by a community of users. It could also mean that the hardware details can be viewed, but not modified. And it does not necessarily mean that open hardware, or designs that contain it, are free of charge.' True to that statement, you have to pay to participate meaningfully in Power.org, as well as pay royalties to implement - it's built on a traditional RAND consortium model. To use the Sun code, though, its just download the code under an open source license, and you're good to go to use anything except the SPARC name. All of which leads to the questions: What does 'open' mean in hardware, and which approach will work?"
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OpenSPARC and Power.org, Who has it Right?

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  • by jellomizer (103300) * on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @01:29PM (#15115327)
    Who has it right?

    I hate that question because it assumes that One is Right and the other is wrong.
    It is like asking a student what is the Square root of 9

    One student says 2 and the other says 5. Well there is no consensious so one of them has to be correct right? No both are wrong.

    In an other class that asks the same question
    One student says -3 and the other says 3. So one of them has to be wrong they are different answers. No both answers are correct.

    Just because they are multiple view points it doesn't mean that there has to be a write or wrong answer for one of them.

    Open your mind people!
  • Hardware deisgn freely available, as in beer.
  • Well... (Score:5, Informative)

    by nweaver (113078) on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @01:33PM (#15115354) Homepage
    Open source cores for full processors are actually old news.

    The LEON 2 SPARC-compatible core has been around for years.

    Anyone doing a real chip design, however, can afford to pay for a real supported core.
    • Re:Well... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by georgewilliamherbert (211790) on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @01:42PM (#15115420)
      Hey Nick, it's been a while.

      The difference here is that we're seeing current generation high end processors start to appear here... there's a huge difference between low end, embedded CPU class cores being available and a Niagra T-1 SPARC. T-1 isn't the fastest single thread CPU out there, but it may well be the fastest total multithreaded throughput CPU out there on the market today. Whether that's appropriate for most users / workloads or not, it is clearly a huge difference compared to embedded CPUs.
      • This actually makes the open SPARC less relevant.

        Anyone using an FPGA would use a smaller hardcore built into the FPGA or something like a MicroBlaze softcore. You couldn't fit a synthesized, OOO SPARC on all but the biggest FPGA.

        Anyone doing an ASIC which has a use for a high performance CPU would just buy the IP anyway, as it gets into the noise compared with all the other costs.
        • Re:Well... (Score:3, Insightful)

          I think it's clear that they're not addressing the same market space. But my point was that this release by Sun is qualatatively different than prior embedded CPU releases under open source rules. Fewer people may end up synthesizing and using T1's than will use either FPGA or synthesized embedded CPU designs, but the availability of T1's design does open up interesting new possibilities.

          For which, I agree, the "market demand" is unclear. At the very least I know that a lot of researchers are looking at
          • I did see a mention of some small outfit that was making noises of doing a single core version of the T1 - presumably small and low power. I was not able to find out anything more of the company mentioned.

            Would be nice to have a low power (say 5 to 10 watts) Sparc board to run Solaris - something like a Sparc equivalent to the Soekris boards.

        • T1 isn't OOO. It 8 cores essentially cut and pasted across a die. You could build a much smaller processor based on the T1 design using say 2 cores. However as far as I know you could not use something like Microblaze softcore because it is 32bit only.
    • "Real design" (Score:3, Interesting)

      by MoxFulder (159829)

      Anyone doing a real chip design, however, can afford to pay for a real supported core.

      I remember reading ~1992 that anyone doing real software development could afford to pay for a real supported compiler. They were downplaying the benefit of GCC and the other GNU tools. Well as hardware has gotten cheaper and faster and the Internet has expanded and more people have gotten tech-savvy, guess what? Lots of people are doing *REAL* software development with FLOSS software tools.

      Back when you needed $10000 w

    • by Anonymous Coward
      I just stepped into OpenSPARC.net and read this:

      For the first time in history, developers gain access to the chip multi-threading (CMT) technology unique to the UltraSPARC T1 processor, which will be released under the OSI-compliant GNU General Public License (GPL).

      I can't help but wonder, when will be the second time in history developers can gain access to the chip multi-threading (CMT) technology unique to the UltraSPARC T1? Is that even possible as per definition?
      Sun is big, they should know better than

    • If you want to sell devices with Leon2 inside it you have to pay money to the owner of the code. Also its LGPL. All modifications have to be sent back to the owner of the code. But it is a fine piece of VHDL Code. Good for learning how to code and in the same code how not to code hardware
  • by AKAImBatman (238306) * <akaimbatman AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @01:36PM (#15115370) Homepage Journal
    All of which leads to the questions: What does 'open' mean in hardware, and which approach will work?

    I think you're confused. "Open" has traditionally been shorthand for "Open Standards". Thus your hear terms like "OpenWindows", "OpenLook", and "Open Group". They're all referring to the standards being available to all, and not any sort of Open Source Software take on those standards. Open Standards make the world spin 'round, and are a key reason why we have so much compatibility in our daily lives.

    What you're thinking of is "Open Source", also known as "Free (as in freedom and game show prizes) Software". This is a very different category of of openess that relies on a developer to give up some of his rights to support the greater good. This is a laudable goal, but it is often not shared by coorporations and businessmen.

    For what its worth, Wikipedia has a fairly good article on the concept of Open Standards [wikipedia.org].
    • What you're thinking of is "Open Source", also known as "Free (as in freedom and game show prizes) Software".

      Wait, you mean I'm required to pay tax on the value of the free software I recieved? It's a good thing I still have 5 days to correct my tax return!


    • I believe "Open" in the sense of hardware means that you know how it works because its documented. NVidia graphics cards are NOT open. One of my microphone preamps is open. It has a pseudo-schematic that shows the signal flow through the device, so I know what control does what and where it is in the signal path. Without the schematic, I would still be under the assumption that the output knob adjusts the output on both the digital and analog outputs, but the schematic clearly shows me that its only on
    • Actually "Open" source is more along the lines of the standards approach rather than the FSF one. OSS != FSS as many activists on either side will tell you.

      Opening the source allows people to expand on it. The Open hardware model lets you do the same, because OSes and drivers are, in a way, an extension on hardware much like plugins extend software functionality. By having more development focus around a certain hardware platform more demand can possibly arise. So SUN and IBM can make more money out of 'ou
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @01:39PM (#15115398)
    In my dream for America I would like to put control of computer hardware and software companies firmly in control of the government - exactly where it should be. At the moment terrorists have way too much access to the inner workings of computers and software - especially with regard to open source software.

    Just imagine what could happen if terrorists used the freely and openly available source code in Linux for example to create some sort of super weapon. The results could be catastrophic.

    I am pushing like crazy for the US government to take full control of all USA based computer hardware and software companies, effectively creating one large mother company. There would be no more OS wars as there would only be one. Consumers would have the benefit of knowing that their hardware and software was US GOVERNMENT APPROVED (TM) and terrorism free.

    To take it perhaps one step further, the government could even enable monitoring devices within the equipment to further prevent any crime or terrorist attacks.

    As the old saying goes: IF YOU HAVN'T DONE ANYTHING WRONG YOU DON'T HAVE ANYTHING TO WORRY ABOUT.
  • Right/Practical (Score:3, Interesting)

    by starseeker (141897) on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @01:48PM (#15115465) Homepage
    OK, obviously by the definitions most of the Slashdot crowd will go along with, the Sun release is the "open" one.

    The more interesting question is "what use is an open core?"

    Open source software has obvious utility in that it can be used by millions of people for a wide variety of jobs. All you need is a computer to get started.

    Open hardware, on the other hand, is useful only for education or simulations unless you happen to have a fab plant.

    If education and experimentation can be served by a "non-free" license then is there really any benefit to having a "free" license? I suspect by the time off the shelf technology is available to create CPUs based on current designs, they will be centuries obsolete. Even US copyrights and patents will have expired by then (unless they change the laws again) so it's a bit of a moot point.

    Now I grant this might be a bit of a narrow viewpoint - for example some of the Lisp hardware designs would be very interesting to work with - but since the hardware costs of this sort of manufacture make the information needed to do it only one component of the (EXCEEDINGLY expensive) whole, I'm not sure the marginal benefit of having "free" cores will be very interesting, at least for something like a modern CPU.

    Of course, there are non-economic considerations, but I don't really see overwhelming benefits for the "free as in freedom" model as opposed to the "free except for producing your commercial product based on them" model.

    • Open hardware, on the other hand, is useful only for education or simulations unless you happen to have a fab plant.


      Or MOSIS [mosis.org]....

      A few thousand bucks and a working chip design will get you parts these days, in suprisingly modern fab processes (a few tens of thousand for 0.13u and 90nm).
      • Cool! I hadn't heard of that before, but it sounds like a great idea!

        I'm a bit out of it on the latest design requirements for CPUs - is the technology of these folks actually good enough to make a reasonably modern CPU?
        • I'm a bit out of it on the latest design requirements for CPUs - is the technology of these folks actually good enough to make a reasonably modern CPU?

          You could probably get something in the P3 coppermine range with the 130nm tech. The 90nm will get you theoretically get you P4 or opteron systems but Intel and AMD use a lot of custom tweaks that MOSIS won't do. I think you'll need to assume that you need a generation better to match commericial cpu cores. E.g. a commericial cpu produced in 130nm would

        • I'm a bit out of it on the latest design requirements for CPUs - is the technology of these folks actually good enough to make a reasonably modern CPU?

          Yes. I believe that the best MOSIS process is the IBM 90 nm process [mosis.org], which is 7 metal layer, pretty flexible. The T-1 SPARC we're talking about (Niagra) is a 90 nm, 9 metal layer Copper wire fab design (see Sun's Specs [sun.com]). You can't quite fab a T-1 as Sun laid it out with IBM's process, but it's pretty close. You could produce a roughly the same size,

          • Having seen a couple things here and there about CPU design, I can tell you that transforming a 9 layer design into a 7 layer is far from trivial, so I guess you can forget about this.
    • Well, say someone really liked the design of the SPARC (or PowerPC), and they wanted to develop their own version for use in environments, say, far different than desktop or server room environments, and perhaps with some value-add on the die itself as well. Say its a company that has already done work at hardening or ruggedizing silicon for different environments, so they've already sunk the capital into the processes etc to make it happen. Say AMD and Intel aren't interested in licensing their chip design
    • THe same way Free Software works. Free Software tends to be higher quality due to its open nature, with fewer bugs per LOC. Hardware could recieve the same attention. In fact, it would be an even greater gain- software may take more man hours to fix once its released, but its still just manpower cost. Finding bugs in test silicon is expensive.

      Open Hardware would also lead to growth in open hardware design tools, as companies won't be viewing their design tools as secrets that need to be kept anymore.

      Be
      • Good points. Maybe it could be made to work, although I'm not sure how the changes could take place - in an industry with so much $$ tied into their current methods, it could be hard to get them to risk their crown jewels on a new development methodology.
      • Beyond that- you don't need to own a fab plant to take advantage of this, you just need to be able to purchase the output. While its not economic to buy 1 CPU off an open design, it would be economic for an embedded hardware manufacturer, or a PC manufacturer to buy a lot of CPUs. These CPUs would be cheaper as there is no middle man in the picture.

        I don't see this at all. It costs a bunch of money (250+K) to create a mask to test your silicon. To produce a commercially viable cpu, you'll probably go thr

        • I don't see this at all. It costs a bunch of money (250+K) to create a mask to test your silicon. To produce a commercially viable cpu, you'll probably go through a few masks resulting in a fairly high cost for development.

          A pc manufacturer or embedded hardware manufacturer would probably find it cheaper to just buy the cpus from a cpu maker like ARM or Intel then to finance cpu development. Besides any open source cores available would be pretty out of date due to time and financial constraints.

          Either the

    • Having a CPU core stuffed into your FPGA along with the glue logic for your device means one less micro on the board. You could even lop off the core bits that don't get used if you're that concerned about space. You may think this is outlandish but Altera already does this with their NIOS II soft-core embedded processor.

      Yes, it won't perform as well as a real processor but there are times when CPU performance is not the bottleneck. Electromechanical systems spend a lot of time waiting for the motor to get
    • Well, open cores certainly are of some use. For one thing, they lower the barrier to entry to a new company with some capital and some good ideas about how to expand an existing design. Just look at http://opencores.org/ [opencores.org] for examples of companies that have actually fabbed chips using their cores!!!

      No, they don't yet make it possible for me to churn out SPARC chips in my basement. But I work in academic electronics research, and I've recently seen a talk on a machine that can be used to print (medium-scal
  • by Kohath (38547) on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @01:51PM (#15115493)
    - "Nigeria" is an African country. A prince there will soon be making me very rich.
    - "Viagra" is a sex drug. I ordered some from a nice company that emailed me. It will also be here soon.
    - Sun's chip is called "Niagara"

    "Niagera" is none of these things.
  • by ChrisGilliard (913445) <christopher.gilliard@gmai l . c om> on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @01:53PM (#15115508) Homepage
    I guess I don't get why IBM would have a problem with other people using their hardware specs for free. The barriers to entry are pretty big for one thing. It's not like your average Joe has a Billion dollar fab in his back yard and can use IBM's code to create a processor. The real trade secrets are in the manufacturing process. There's a big difference in making a chip and making millions of chips that cost less than $100 to mass produce.
  • e-iOpenBuzzword.com (Score:3, Interesting)

    by fortinbras47 (457756) on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @02:12PM (#15115650)
    It used to be everything was e: etrade, e-mail, e-commerce, ebay ...

    Then there was the i craze. iPod,iMac,ivillage.com, BMW's iDrive, ....

    Maybe "open" is the new cool prefix to use. I'm sure anyday now someone will be selling OpenPods, sending openMail...

  • by postbigbang (761081) on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @02:19PM (#15115703)
    The phrase 'Open" means nothing. It implies many things, ranging from whether you're RMS to Steve Jobs. Developer programs have been mutating for years, starting way back in the '80s. The real depth of the programs, and their usefulness is pretty simple. Take an example: Intersil releases their specs for their chipsets for WiFi. These chipsets have more WiFi code in BSD and LinuxLand than any other, bar none. Proxim/Lucent/Terabeam/others have huge and cool software basis in the open source world. By contrast, others that mandate you swear fealty and pay staggering amounts of money for code, pragmas, instruction sets, timing info, and so on, get left in the dust.

    If you RTFA, you'll find quite a contrasting amount of difference between two top vendors. But read the licenses carefully. Then, where lucky, look up code that others have done before starting to conjure up apps, drivers, and so on. This is the beauty of being open: code, reuse code, share code, improve code, make closed source knotheads look like the idiots they are.
  • "Open" hardware is a design I can download to my FPGA. Covered only by GPL at most - no patents, other copyrights, or other restrictions on use and redistribution. That I can change and redistribute (possibly requiring publishing my changes, as per GPL). There's other kinds of open hardware, but I know the kind that I recognize: the same as open software.
    • I know the kind that I recognize: the same as open software.

      You're confusing firmware with hardware. If hardware can be programmed (as with an FPGA), then the firmware is indeed like software. But the hardware itself is still immutable. Most hardware components are not amenable to modification. No matter how much I try, I can't reprogram a SPARC as a PowerPC.

      p.s. But I do want the hardware *specification* to be open. That's what this article is about.
      • That's not firmware. Firmware [google.com] is the software stored in ROM, like a BIOS. FPGA is reconfigurable HW, which is open hardware. I'm not going to get into a philosophical argument about whether FPGA HW is "immutable", or whether other HW like even CISC CPUs are "immutable". I pointed out a specific example of HW that is certainly open. Running a CPU on a FPGA, like a MicroBlaze "soft" CPU on Xilinx FPGA (running uCLinux) is "open hardware" by any reasonable definition. If I could download a SPARC or PowerPC spe
        • If I could download a SPARC or PowerPC specification to an FPGA, that would be really great - and really open.

          But you can't! That's my point. Despite your desires to the contrary, most hardware is NOT an FPGA. But more than that, even the ones that are, are not generic program-whatever-you-want boards! I have an FPGA based video card hear at work, and try as I might, I cannot get it reprogrammed as a sound card. To do so involves relaying out the board with different chips. The central Altera chip may be th
          • I have a Xilinx Spartan II FPGA board, and I can config it as a "soundcard", a "videocard", or a MicroBlaze CPU that runs Linux. Or a combo of all of them. Because my board is extremely open, and those configs are also completely open. Those are extreme cases of what I'm talking about. Less extreme is less open, but not closed.

            I have not desired that all current HW be open. I merely talked about [slashdot.org] "what is open", while also acknowledging there is other "open HW": "There's other kinds of open hardware". Your "
  • Does it matter? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by metamatic (202216) on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @02:31PM (#15115798) Homepage Journal
    I don't honestly see what making SPARC or PowerPC "open" is going to achieve at this point.

    SPARC and PowerPC are pretty clearly niche and/or legacy architectures now. IBM has ceded the mainstream desktop to x86, and SPARC lost that battle a long time ago. The only question most people care about now is whether their x86 system is 32 or 64 bit, Intel or VIA or AMD.

    Right now, most open source software tends to be tested and hacked on to at least make it run on PowerPC, for the benefit of Mac users. As the PowerPC Mac users switch to x86, who's going to care about PowerPC compatibility? I remember what it was like running Linux on PowerPC before OS X, and it wasn't pleasant--lots of stuff x86 Linux users took for granted didn't work, or you were stuck with old versions, because nobody had bothered to port, test or debug it.

    SPARC and PowerPC will continue in the high-end server niche, but I think that niche is increasingly going to be squeezed by x86 too. Why deal with the possible risk of having your enterprise application break on PowerPC Linux, or being stuck with old versions of software, when you could run it on a big x86 Linux system and run the same binary 90%+ of the app's users are relying on every day? Sometimes there's safety in numbers.

    PowerPC has the embedded space, of course, and maybe that'll be enough to sustain it as a target for general purpose code. I guess video game toolkits and related libraries will continue to be ported to PowerPC, at least.

    But to go back to "openness"--in the embedded and video games space, who cares if the design is "open" or not? All the PowerPC video game consoles are locked down proprietary systems, as are various other embedded PowerPC systems like TiVo and car computers. And in the high end server space, I don't know that anyone cares there either--System i and System z seem to do OK without having open standard CPUs.

    [Opinions mine, definitely not IBM's, obviously... and I may be completely wrong, perhaps openness is important in those niches?]
    • I'm not sure you should be touting the general purpose computer market as anything but niche. There are far more embedded processors then desktop/laptops/servers.
      • I'm not sure you should be touting the general purpose computer market as anything but niche. There are far more embedded processors then desktop/laptops/servers.

        Especially given that most pc's have several embedded computers built into them, think ATA, RAID, FDC (do computer's still have those?), system watch dogs, some lan cards, printers and tv tuners, for a start.
    • SPARC and PowerPC are pretty clearly niche and/or legacy architectures now. IBM has ceded the mainstream desktop to x86, and SPARC lost that battle a long time ago. The only question most people care about now is whether their x86 system is 32 or 64 bit, Intel or VIA or AMD.

      Unless we're talking about the 100x or so more machines in the embedded space. Just because the chip isn't in a PeeCee doesn't mean it's not a computer. And embedded designers DO care about this stuff.

      • Can you give an example of a chip design that has succeeded in the embedded space because of its openness?
        • ARM is practically the canonical example of an open architecture.
          • ARM can hardly be considered an "open" architecture. Very old ARM architectures, yes. For some years, ARM (the company) have been aggressively blocking independent implementations of the later ARM architectures, even incomplete subsets, from being distributed.

            One of the most interesting open hardware projects to be pulled from distribution was an incomplete ARM clone, due to legal pressure. You're not [eetimes.com] allowed [opencores.org] to independently design a circuit which implements the ARM instruction set.

            You're not even a [gnu.org]

            • I'm sorry to hear that. I must have only been familiar with the very old ones. Nevertheless I've always heard that ARM became popular through its openness and the vast number of clones. Is that wrong, or did they suddenly bring the hammer down?
              • I don't know of any hardware ARM clones; I suspect chips implementing the instruction set all incorporate sub-licenced designs from the company, or designs done in cooperation with the company (e.g. StrongARM). But I don't know the field well.

                It saddens me too. The trend seems to be to use MIPS instructions instead of ARM, when implementing a CPU from scratch. Much less hassle. But even there, when Alteon implemented a MIPS-compatible CPU in their (now old) gigabit ethernet controller, they left out a c
    • Hacker appeal? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by MoxFulder (159829)

      I don't honestly see what making SPARC or PowerPC "open" is going to achieve at this point.

      Sure, everybody just wants a nice cheap powerful x86 box these days, even Mac users. But there'd be a lot of hacker appeal to having the source for the processors available. Everybody would tinker with their processors and implement them on FPGA [wikipedia.org] (a cheap way of fabbing chips on a small scale, basically). Instead of people boasting about their tuned kernel, we'd be boasting about our tuned processors. "I got my Ope

    • It's sad, but for the desktop and server world I'll have to agree with you. The strange thing is the timing. Different architectures have battled it out for years. Finally, with the spread of Linux, BSD, and OSS in general, the underlying architecture makes less difference - I can just port/recompile the bits I want, and my users see the same front. But all the other processors have disappeared, and we're left with x86.

      Maybe the Chinese will design something crazy, and radically different...
    • Right now, most open source software tends to be tested and hacked on to at least make it run on PowerPC, for the benefit of Mac users. As the PowerPC Mac users switch to x86, who's going to care about PowerPC compatibility?

      I'm hoping for more, not fewer PowerPC platforms. PowerPC continues to do more per watt than other hardware. It's better for the kinds of small, quiet systems most people really want. The Mac mini is a great example of the kind of system I'd like next. The same things make an attrac

    • With Windows goes the x86. If Open Source software (not just operating systems but applications too) really takes off, what particular platform you have won't matter nearly as much, since you can compile your own binary anyway (this of course depends on things being written in a reasonably architecture-independent fashion, which we know doesn't always happen). Since SPARC is apparently free to use, that means that Texas Instruments, Motorola, or one of those guys could start building SPARC chips for calcu
  • All I really want is a simple PPC CPU+Motherboard with AGP and PCI that'll fit into an ATX Case. For less than $600 US.

    I am NOT going to pay $2k for a reference board. It seems to me that for all of IBM's talk about openness with respect to the PPC architecture, it doesn't seem to have done an awful lot to bring it to the masses.

    LK
  • ... and require that all government computers run RedFlag on redSPARK.

    Please post your comments with your Redberry.
  • by NekoXP (67564) on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @03:53PM (#15116400) Homepage
    I work for a Power.org member, so maybe I am biased, but I think OpenSPARC is one of the best things Sun has ever done.

    But it's no way as cool as the Solaris port to PowerPC.

    Sun is involved in both, you see!

    So who cares? They're both right.
  • Sooooo since power.org really isnt free, as how most of us think of free, is there a free implementation out there somewhere like there is for SPARC ( leon2/3 )?
  • nowadays everyone likes "open" thigs - thats because open-souce software is so nice to its users... but I see more and more products being called "open" although they are only partially open or completely closed, but use open file standards...

    I say RMS should patent the word "open" in IT context and only GPLed stuff may be called "open"...
  • What does 'open' mean in hardware?

    Simple: patent-free, or at least patent-unencumbered. Hardware development is
    such a minefield of patents that no small player can seriously participate
    without getting big allies. Of course, there are many other reasons why
    small players would have a hard time, patents are only one. But they are
    determinant: a patent-laden "open" hardware spec is not really open. You
    either have freedom or you don't, the rest is mere nuance.
  • Hardware is never really free.
    If you want to use something like CANbus or I2C you have to pay royalties.
    Even MUX'es have to be paid (to generate data/strobe signals in high speed serial lines)

    So, Code is free; but if you want to sell it you have to pay royalties.
  • About a year ago, I wrote an introduction for free software writers to hardware design and the Free Hardware Design movement for a course on Free Software philosophy, theory, legal frameworks and politics held at Gothenburg University, Sweden. The article will later be published in a book together with some other articles written by other students at the course.

    It is of course available online, at http://redhog.org/Projects/School/FreeSoftware/fre ehardware.pdf [redhog.org].

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