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Comment That's the whole point, isn't it ? (Score 1) 117

First, let me try to shed some light on what "hardware project" is, comparing it to a "software project". But before that, let me introduce myself, and introduce what I do in regards to Open Source, and my still active projects.

I am the author of ZPUino, which is a SoC (System on a Chip) targeted at FPGAs although it can be built on an ASIC. ZPU (Zylin CPU [1], which is the "core" of ZPUino) was not designed by me, in terms of its ISA (Instruction Set Architecture). The ZPU core inside ZPUino is however much different from the original ZPU, featuring a fully pipelined design and yielding very very good performance, whilst maintaining the "small" footprint as originaly designed. It would not be possible to design, implement and "ship" this version of ZPU unless Zylin had a highly permissive license - BSD.

ZPUino merges this enhanced ZPU core (ZPU Extreme core, written by me) with a huge set of devices, as commonly seen in a SoC. So we have, as open-source hardware: UART SPI Timers Interrupt LED HDMI VGA I2C, Memory SRAM SDRAM DDR plus many other eccentric controllers you cannot find in regular SoCs like those in rPI. All those are Open-Source, and the HW design is released on BSD license - so anyone can benefit from them even without giving back. [sorry for lack of commas, the lame filter kicked in]

This is a hardware project. The designs are hardware designs, and despite being written in VHDL, does not make it software. You can not say that, since it's not a printed circuit board, and no wires to see, that it is not a hardware project. Hardware projects describe hardware primitives and interconnections.

Still, they are described using languages, much similar to how software is (for example, VHDL is very close to ADA, which is still widely used in the space industry). PCBs, schematics, can also be described in languages (think EDIF) - as well as their outputs (thing GERBER and DRILL). So there is no much difference between software and hardware here.

Now, back to the "cloning" topic: someone said "chinese clone them all, does not need to be open source" - and this is correct. Your design is not protected just because you did not open it. If you require protection, seek patents and trademarks. And if someone massively clones your HW and SW, you're a hell of a lucky guy you made something people want (cause it does sell, otherwise no one would clone it), you just seem to miss the target price point.

Plus, you can for sure give added value from buying the original product. Arduino (they seem to have reach an agreement today) sells their own HW at 20x price you can buy from china. Still they do sell, and they are not bothered by it - it is expected.

If you want to go open, go open and they clone. If you want to close it, they will open it and clone. How can you benefit from all those clones ? That's the big question.


Comment Re:WTF is open source hardware? (Score 1) 83

Although you have a point on RTL, much more is needed to deliver a RTL design to chip level. And most of those designs are also fab-dependant - a 24nm bulk to be manufactured at let's say TSMC is different from a 24nm bulk at Samsung.

There is not much difference between analog and digital here. Unless your plan is to use an FPGA for the digital part - but even there, your luck may vary depending on the FPGA manufacturer and tools.


Comment Re:OS designers, not the customers are stupid. (Score 1) 391

> Only a moron will design an Operating system that automatically runs software on a USB stick.

Sorry ?

Lots of USB/driver vulnerabilities can be triggered without running "software" on the USB host (PC), in case you don't know. USB stack is quite complex (and the drivers above it even more), so even without the ability of "autorun" on USB mass storage devices, the USB devices (usually non-mass-storage) can inflict potential, severe damage to the target computers.

I can crash many computers (most Windows actually) with a simple USB device running on a cheap Arduino. I can crash many apps in Linux (eventually kernel, too) the same way. All crashes may allow to run code on the target computer, often with high privileges. Read : "may". Not stating that it is possible, but might be possible indeed - many factors influence this.

All without a single executable on the USB device.
All without any filesystem on USB device.
Just an USB device.

Comment Re:Tiny? (Score 1) 187

Indeed. My point was that despite being considered "tiny", you have to contextualize it. It's tiny if it's a single event (well it's rather big even for a single event), it's huge if such errors accumulate.

Comment Tiny? (Score 2, Insightful) 187

"(...) reported a deviation of 13.7 microseconds. While this is tiny (...)"

Tiny ? It's huge.

If such an error occurs every hour, the total accumulated error would be more than 7 seconds. It's tiny if you look at it individually (well, not so tiny - your 2GHz CPU clock has a period of 500ps (picosseconds) - that's 0.0000005 microseconds).

The atomic clock period (based on Cs-133) is 108.78278 picosseconds. So this is very very large.


Comment What's left ? (Score 1) 418

Back in ol' good late nineties, I used mostly Pine. Most our servers were either DEC or Sun, and connected through serial ports or telnet. That meant you had same client and behaviour independenly on where you were.

Then email GUI clients appeared. Most of them were quite bad. I still recall using Pegasus and Eudora. I stook to Eudora at the time.

Eudora then evolved, went open-source, and eventually became Thunderbird. Which I use (actually, I use Icedove, but it's the same app).

And each time I have to use Outlook I wish I could just shoot myself. That's no email client - that's a huge mess of a bad product which evolved in the wrong direction - still is not able to do anything right.

I see Thunderbird split from main Mozilla web browser (this is what it's at stake here) as a good thing. Perhaps now they can evolve Thunderbird without sticking to everything-is-a-browser paradigm.

Or I'll eventually go back to Pine. Or implement my own mail client (not as hard as you may believe).


Comment We had it, he lost it (Score 2) 818

All started with arrest of a young man at school for a hand-made, digital clock brought to school. Ended up not being that hand-made, was just some reassembly of some parts. Not much interesting, actually.

It caught attention due to alledged racism or religion issues (still to be confirmed?). Even the White House and President of USA have spoken on behalf of this young, intelligent man.

Which apparently was not that intelligent, techically speaking.

And now he seeks damages of, what ? 15 million ?
I would agree if he'd seek for 5 to 10K. But even then, after all publicity he got around him, probably not so much.

There's a word for what he (his family) is seeking. The word is "extorsion".

He had it (a plausible reason). He lost it. Nohing more to see here, really.

Comment Re:How? (Score 1) 486

" Col Patrick Ryder, a spokesman for US Central Command, said the Russian air strikes in recent days targeted more IS areas, including the group's oil infrastructure.

But he added that "the majority of Russian air strikes are still against moderate Syrian opposition forces, which is clearly concerning, and those strikes are in support of the Syrian regime" of President Bashar al-Assad. "

Sorry, /. seems to be eating parts of my posts.

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