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Open Source Hardware

Measuring the Value of Open Hardware Designs 18

An anonymous reader writes: Industry knows open source software has an immense value, but how valuable is an open hardware design? To answer that question, Dr. Joshua Pearce, an associate professor at Michigan Tech University, analyzed three methods to quantify the value of open hardware design in the latest issue of the journal Modern Economy. The methods are summarized in an article at
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Measuring the Value of Open Hardware Designs

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  • by tlambert ( 566799 ) on Tuesday February 10, 2015 @02:36AM (#49023637)

    He listed three, but missed the obvious one.

    His 3:

    1. downloaded substitution valuation
    2. avoided reproduction valuation
    3. market savings valuation

    While 2 & 3 could include this, his paper didn't claim they did. It's the primary value which I've seen applied to selection of Open Source Software valuation in many of the companies where I've worked:

    4. time to market reduction

    Even if you are leveraging a single part, the time savings vastly outweigh in many cases the R&D cost savings. Admittedly, this is only applicable to markets where there is a benefit to "first mover advantage" (typical software/internet startup problem), but it seems to apply equally well to hardware, if the open hardware in question is being utilized as a component of a larger system.

  • hardware could prevent us from paying exorbiant prices for decent performance and allow us to get the full value out of the hardware we invest in. I had to allow scripts from "" to view the text of the first link if anyone else runs into the same blank page I did when I clicked on it.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by cas2000 ( 148703 )

      i'm sick of sites that require javascript just to read the content of the site or for simple navigation. javascript is for optional bells and whistles, not for basic functionality.

      my attitude is that if they demand the ability to run scripts on MY computer then they are inherently untrustworthy and untrustable.

      that's what the close tab or close window button is for.

  • Votes on how long it will be until we see this:

    A washing machine or other appliance that comes with USB stick with design files for replacement parts?

    • Next 5 years - maybe sooner for the brands with CEOs under 30
      • Next 5 years - maybe sooner for the brands with CEOs under 30

        I am less optimistic.

        Unless the parts are all things that have to be sintered by a repair shop, most of the value in being an appliance dealer is in the repair business for intentional wear parts. It's what you get in exchange for selling the appliances in the first place. It's no mistake that the repair truck "happens" to have the part you need on the truck.

        I suspect that it's going to take as long as it takes to get a portable system truck-mounted in something a small as a panel-van.

        The major benefit to

  • "The first method is the easiest. Making 3D printed products costs less than purchasing them, so the value of a design is the savings users generate by substituting open hardware scaled by the number of downloads. Many free design repositories (e.g. Youmagine and Thingiverse) track the number of downloads," says Pearce."

    that's actually bollocks. injection molded pieces can be sold at lower price than 3d printing them at home.

    I have a 3d printer, too.

    the real value is in that I can buy the controller board f


  • Why on earth would anyone want open hardware, when they can get the latest Intel chips offer vPro and ATM (Active Management Technology) which provides government mandated (via NSL) hardware backdoors? It is a lot harder to hide wireless spying in open hardware, which makes it useless to me.

    I personally prefer these new Intel chips, because I like knowing that big brother has full remote access to my computers, independent of OS and disk encryption, in case I do anything in the future which upsets them.


To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk. -- Thomas Edison