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SparkFun discusses open source hardware and goes down an hardware memory lane. Checkout our spin on open and what projects are currently available for download.
It was great to get picked up by Lady Ada, Hack-A-Day, Make (who's Nathan Sheidle?) for open sourcing our ClockIt kit. Thank you very much Make/Lady Ada/Hack-A-Day! Traffic is good. Here's some background on what's going on in the background.
Over burgers at Luger Steak House (amazing!) with my girlfriend, Limor, and PT, we discussed open source hardware - doesn't everyone? PT asked me if SparkFun was up for 'open sourcing' some of our products. I was confused because I thought we had been for awhile...
Flashback to 2004:
You see, SparkFun is a part of all of these. We think what we do is cool, we love bandwagons, there's possibly errors on the layout, it's not all that original, and really, it's not all that original. But hey, if we can be the launching pad for you and your project, please feel free to use our stuff.
Here's the deal: all our boards are released (or should be - let us know if we forgot to mark the files) under the Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike v3.0 license. Why this license? It's horrible, but it's the best I can find.
Actually, I'd rather have a beerware license on stuff:
I used the beerware license on the ADXL project listed above back in 2004, and I swear, I've actually had a beer purchased for me! (Thanks Stephen!) You say, just one beer? I say it was possibly the best beer I've ever had.
Why not disallow commerical use in our CC license? Well, this sort of goes against what we're trying to accomplish here at SparkFun. You are welcome to take our stuff, make it better, and sell it like crazy. We hope you make ten million theoretical dollars. But you have to maintain attribution (stick our name on there somewhere). And you have to realize we can take your improvements and then come out with an ever better revision of our own. It's awesome the power of open source. Everyone should have the opportunity to make money, and the customer should always get a better product. If we limited the license to non-commercial use, it really hinders the entire process.
Let's say you use one of SparkFun eagle files, modify it, and create a new product. The license says you have to give 'attribution' What should attribution look like?
We do what will let us sleep well at night - we hope you do the same. If you use our eagle files, please maintain the license, give us a link back, a hat tip, a beer, etc.
And for your general open enjoyment, here is a short list of projects in which the eagle files are included (and have been for some time):