Take a fresh look at your lifestyle.

Open-source IP designers ought to be rewarded says Arduino founder

One from the progenitors from the open-source hardware movement is warming up to the idea of designs that are not free.

Massimo Banzi, among the co-founders of Arduino, required ways to strike commercial licenses for open-source hardware. He also sketched out an idea to have an online store where Arduino users could sell IP that they create on the new Arduino FPGA board.

Arduino fast-prototyping boards were among the first big successes in open-source hardware and became the poster child of the maker movement. However, the group behind it's also been the victim of some rip-offs wherein larger rivals take open-source Arduino designs and make cheaper versions of them as commercial products.

Arduino is not alone. “There are smaller open-source hardware designers who release the things they design, and larger companies go making it more cheaply, they don't realize that it's something where we contribute, they just take and say, 'Screw you,'” he explained.

“My personal opinion is that hardware should be released within non-commercial license, but when someone wants to make a product, they ought to talk to us and license it for professional use, we would like a method where someone can license what we should do commercially very easily.”

Since its inception in 2003, Arduino has utilized an innovative Commons license. Many new licensing designs include emerged since then, opening doors with other possibilities, said Banzi in reaction to some question concerning the state of open-source hardware.

“There needs to be a bigger discussion of methods we engage with people and encourage them to contribute more,” he said.

Banzi's talk focused on the Vidor 4000, the first Arduino FPGA board. It lets users download Arduino libraries that load and run IP with an Intel Cyclone 10 while not having to write in the relatively arcane hardware description languages that FPGAs typically use.