This is first a response to @JxA’s post about the OSHW Definition Draft and second just general thoughts brewing post-OSHW


Your definition of proto-hardware and hardware could be boiled down to ‘when do I start inviting the world to collaborate?’ . It is a gray area that you probably saw a lot more sharing of at OSHW due to the mutual understanding and passion of the attendees (seriously OSHW was such an awesome time!). Your ‘proto’ seems close to platform, ‘hardware’ close proto + documentation, and ‘product’ close to hardware + usable software + full documentation. At such early stages in design these blur, as there is another type of consumer that has different expectations of ‘the product’.

A while ago my father asked why open source wasn’t advertised. To make a long story short and relevant to this conversation, we agreed that the maker-consumer cares most about the hackability of a product - to the point that the product doesn’t really have to do anything out of the box. Seeing OSHW-stamped boxes would inform the maker ‘hey do not worry about hacking this thing its gonna be easier and we encourage you to do so!’. This stamp should mean the same thing regardless of the stage of development of the product.

I am not quite sure where I am going with this, just that although I like the direction your thoughts are going, describing something clearly that is complex necessarily requires complex description. It is why this definition is taking a while to solidify (though it has ‘gelled’ a whole lot in the past few months).

Defining the goals of the definition will bring about a clearer scope, which can definitely be found through discussion like this.

If you don’t mind, I would like to link to this post and yours in the forums.