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Thread: Okay I want to release it Open Source, need some help on what that means

  1. #1
    Insider Curt's Avatar
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    Okay I want to release it Open Source, need some help on what that means

    I am not quite ready to drink the Kool-aid on the FreeBeer MIT licence. Or am I? I've already resigned myself to releasing hundreds of hours of development effort for free, but I'm not sure I want someone to take it and put the code into a commercial application without at least telling me.

    Had that happen once (outside of paintball) don't want my inventions creating millions (not exaggerating) for someone else without getting a cut.

    The tools I am writing will work on any AVR controller, doesn't need to be the DNA board. In particular the OLED testbed I am putting the finishing touches on could be used by anyone working with these modules for any reason.

    Maybe "so what". I would like to hear thoughts.

  2. #2
    Absolutely, no one should profit from your efforts without you profiting as well. Sadly I do not know how that could be arranged.

    Maybe by you authorizing a "lite" download with text saying it is a beta product not intended for commercial use without a license?

  3. #3
    Can you embed a secret code that will only work with your boards. Forgive my general lack of knowledge of this subject

  4. #4
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    If you don't want others to profit off your work when you could be, don't open source it. I don't mean this to be snide at all, I really see no advantage for you to give all this work away. You deserve to profit from your own work. I don't know what your overarching plans are for DNA, because obviously building a community tends to be easier around open source, and it tends to create new and interesting solutions.

    But if you're selling into paintball and RC car markets as a drop in but expandable solution, I'm not sure it benefits you.

    The Pico Loader, for example, is something that Simon got a lot of positive publicity off of, with a relatively low investment in materials (I don't know how long it takes a man of Simon's talents to design that).

    I don't know where I'm going with this. Call me a curmudgeon.
    Last edited by Lurker27; 08-01-2013 at 12:13 PM.

  5. #5
    Insider Curt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BTAutoMag View Post
    Can you embed a secret code that will only work with your boards. Forgive my general lack of knowledge of this subject
    No not really, having the source code makes that impossible. At best I could obscure certain portions by providing them as a library, but then it's not really open source.

  6. #6
    Insider Curt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lurker27 View Post
    If you don't want others to profit off your work when you could be, don't open source it.
    I think part of the power of this project is to allow hobbyists to re-purpose the hardware. The purely mercenary gamble is that it will create more demand for the product, at the cost of potential dollars made customizing apps.

    I think it's an excellent trade-off here, since while the hardware design is hard, fabricating a DNA is basically impossible unless you are making hundreds at a time. Setting aside the fact that anyone with the expertise to design one should be able to program one.

    Perhaps I'm just mired in the past where this was all new and I was creating code and techniques that did not exist. Now it all does. Sure it might be easier with my libraries, and I have quite a few tricks and "oh THAT'S how he did it" that will now be revealed, but so what? The cat has been skinned.

  7. #7
    I'm a media guy not software but can you license something like this under Creative Commons? Use a non-commercial share-alike one. People can reuse it as they like but not for commercial applications.

  8. #8
    Insider bronc's Avatar
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    To open source the code, you'll first need to select the open source license you want to release it under: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compari...tware_licenses

    Most likely you'll want to use one of the GPL licenses, since they limit someone from taking your code, modifying it, then releasing it under a new license (i.e. for profit): http://www.gnu.org/licenses/license-list.html

    What you want is a common codebase where people who change/modify/improve the code then contribute that code back to the community, if I understand correctly.

    You'll need to make sure people agree to the terms of the license before they download the code, and then a copy of the license must be bundled with the code itself.

    The GPL license is revokable, either in part or as a whole. This means you can change the license later on; say you wanted to have a commercial version and a free version, you would change the license so the one version would be for profit. Or say you no longer want to include the OLED code as part of the free version and wanted it remove that part of the code after it had been released in pervious versions. The license also allows you to strip people from their rights to use your work if they break the terms of the license (i.e. someone starts charging for it).

    I work with open source licensing all the time

  9. #9
    Even with the GPL, someone could take your code/design, modify it and sell it and make money. They just have to provide the source code also.

    Creative Commons may have a license more suitable if you don't want any derivative commercial products, but are OK with other open source derivatives. Check out this page to find a CC license option that may work better for you.

    There's the other option of just releasing binary libraries that others can link against and interact with to use your interfaces without having access to the code. I'm not 100% if/how that would work with the AVR toolchain.
    Last edited by sumorai; 08-01-2013 at 03:42 PM.

  10. #10
    This is why I made these open source forums and the files I provide fall under the Creative Commons "Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 unported licence" as per http://inceptionforums.com/showthrea...m-these-forums

    Here's the license chooser I used to decide on how to do it. http://creativecommons.org/choose/ I said yes to allowing modification if people share alike, and said no to allowing commercial use. International jurisdiction.

    You would need to zip the files up with a copy of the license and a "read me" as per the downloads I made for the Pico hopper system.

    I am fine with the community using the open source stuff here for their own benefit, but I firmly believe that if someone is going to reap financial rewards then those decisions should stay with the inventor/developer and that they should have the option to benefit from their works if they choose to.

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