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What criteria an "open" gadget should fulfil



The advantages of open firmware are listed in the previous chapter. The following criteria should be met as far as possible:
  • The author or the name of the underlying software should be mentioned.
  • The original source code or the authors' website should be linked on the manufacturer's website.
  • If changes were made to the source code, the changed source code must also be published and linked on the manufacturer's website.
  • Instructions for compiling the source code and flashing the software thus generated should be available.


If additional software is required besides the firmware to operate a device, this must work with open, non proprietary software!  


Hardware must be repairable, so the following should apply:
  • Screwed is better than glued.
  • Standardized components are better than special parts.
  • As many components as possible should be replaceable.
  • All parts should be easy to source.


The following should apply to the electronic components:
  • Pluggable components are better than soldered ones.
  • No exotic processors should be installed.
  • Circuit diagrams should be accessible.


Short note on the subject:
No, a person that is granted a patent is not necessarily an inventor! Patent offices neither check whether an invention is new, nor whether the submitter is the (first) inventor, nor really whether the patent needed a major intellectual effort to write. If you don't believe that, you should read the patent application forms carefully - including the small print, the footnotes and the linked documents.

My personal assessment:
Technical development also takes place without patents! The best example are the FDM 3D printers that emerged from the open, patent-free RepRap movement. I therefore react particularly sensitively when a manufacturer of these printers claims patents for themselves and thus undermines the free access he had to all previous technology!  


Does the manufacturer operate a website and offer current firmware and the source code of this current firmware on it? Is advertised with owning patents on a device?

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