Subject: GPL-like Hardware Solution: Remeber the CAD file
From: Braddock Gaskill <>
Date: Tue, 5 Oct 1999 09:43:08 -0400 (EDT)

We have a missing link in our discussion:

First there is a schematic.  This is so conceptual that to restrict
derived work from it is almost a patent.

Last, there is the Gerber photoplot file, which gets sent to the
fabrication house.  This is not really a human editable file.  It is the
end a GCC binary, usable to make non-free stuff (the
hardware).  An OEM assembly needs not be "Open Source", just like a
GNU/Linux distribution needs not be "Open Source".

In between these stages, however, is a CAD file which contains the design
in a form useful for deriving new designs.  The obfuscation comes from the
fact that no widely used industry standard exists for this this CAD file.

This intermediate format CAD file is what should be "GPLed".  Sale or
distribution of any item produced with the CAD file
requires that the CAD file be made available.

	-Braddock Gaskill