Modified BSD license for Hardware

The Modified BSD license is pretty much the same as the MIT license plus it prohibits using the name of the copyright holder for promotion.

I am getting most of my information about these licenses from here.

For myself, I don’t care if someone uses my name for promotion.  This license doesn’t help me over the MIT license.

If someone else submits designs, or software to the project, they may use this license without any conflict with the MIT license.

MIT License applied to hardware

The MIT license gives a lot of freedom to developers to use the intellectual property in any way they want.  This includes manufacturing, selling, and modifying the design. It does not require or restrict attribution. It does give the designer some protection for liability.  This is not compatible with more restrictive licenses.

The reasons I want to design this product include:

  • Teaching about electronics design
  • Create a low cost universal In Circuit Chip programmer

If some company picks up this design and produces it at a fair price then both objectives are met. This would create a well documented hackable device for a very reasonable price.

The MIT license for software and hardware is compatible with my goals.

If I want to integrate some other design with more a restrictive license, I would have to switch to the more restrictive license or separate the other design into a module or in the case of software a library.

I will continue to look at other software and hardware licenses.

Don’t reinvent the wheel

There are a lot of hardware and software designs that can be used for your own project. Sometimes this design may fit your needs without any modifications. Of course you could also end up spending more time modifying the design than you would have spent designing it yourself.

Research is important when deciding whether or not to use designs developed by someone else. It is important to look at licensing to decide if the license is compatible with your license choices. Readability and documentation are also important factors in the decision.

If you have the budget, you can buy the design.  There is also public domain and open source designs to choose from as well.

This project is not very exotic.  There is probably a lot of free and open source designs available that I will be able to incorporate into the design, especially in the software. I still haven’t decided on the licensing for this project.  There are several common open source licenses for software and probably similar hardware licenses.

Radio Option 4

The EMW3162 is a Wifi module with an integrated ARM Cortex M3 processor running at 120 MHz.  Having the processor integrated into the module eliminates some of the more difficult layout requirements. Most of the potential RF problems are already taken care of by the module designers.

The clock for the SPI will be running around 30 MHz in extreme cases.  At this frequency I might have to treat the signal paths as RF and will probably need filters and shielding.

Note: RF means Radio Frequency. It is used here to denote any signals that could escape the system as radio waves and cause interference.

Device Advantages

  • Integrated ARM processor with 30 Mbps SPI interface
  • 5 V tolerant pins
  • USB capabilities (possibly used to update firmware/or configure wifi)
  • simplifies hardware design
  • About US $10 each
  • 1 MB Code space(should be more than enough providing WiFi Stack is not huge)
  • Several different library options.

Device Disadvantages

  • Share processor with WiFi stack
  • Will need better understanding than stand alone wifi/bluetooth stack (This means longer learning curve)
  • I am unfamiliar with STM32 processors