Subject: Re: [ppc-mobo] Re: GPL-like hardware design license?
From: "Stephen J. Turnbull" <turnbull@sk.tsukuba.ac.jp>
Date: Tue, 5 Oct 1999 10:39:44 +0900 (JST)

>>>>> "John" == John Metzger <john_metzger@worldnet.att.net> writes:

    John> If someone is willing to invest the money and time it takes
    John> to modify the chips and produce better chips, but is
    John> unwilling to publish the design, would you rather not have
    John> the improved chips?

Yes, but only in a short-sighted sense.

    John> If they sell the chips at what ever price they think is fair
    John> isn't that enough?

No.  Having to redevelop the product is a significant cost we would
like to avoid.  Having the design available as a model would create
competition to make improvements, which should come faster.  If the
designs were publically available, they would be useful in education.
Etc, etc.

Undoubtedly there is a tradeoff, but it's worth thinking carefully
about where to draw the line.

    John> I'd certainly like to have the improved designs published
    John> but not at the expense of not being able to buy an improved
    John> design, be it a chip or motherboard.

But it's not an issue of "impossibility."  You're simply a fellow
who's unwilling to pay the entire development cost for the only unit
ever produced of the improved design.

Looked at that way, the issue becomes one of finding ways to
compensate designers for their work.  In software, to a great extent
the work is its own reward, as the GNU Project has proved.  Hardware
has other costs beyond the designers' time, and may be more difficult.


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