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Re: changes made/thanks (re hardware designs)
[this mail forwarded to rms since still related to his article.]
> Anyway, RMS does not attempt to refute the argument that there is no
> moral criteria to say that software should be open, but hardware not.
> Esentially they both should be open because they both allow your
> fellow human beings to "be all they can be."
I agree. I think his argument on this is purely a practical one. If
FPGAs or other hardware that can be altered at no cost become more
common, there will be no difference in position. And for the practicalities
for other types of design there is currently a long discussion on the
ppc-mobo list (how to finance board production); it won't be long before
we found out how much of a killer manufacturability is in practice
for large designs. Well, until the Freedom CPU people want to get
their processor out in silicon... :-)
> is a direct copy). As long as the perception is that court will not accept
> simple (possibly automated) reworking of software, the GPL works, and
> until the perception is that the court will not accept simple reworking
> of hardware design, OpenHardware will not work. We need an OpenNDA and
> we still don't get as favourable a situation.
Re the OpenNDA: one (possibly) positive point and a whole load
of doubts [but insert 'IANAL' everywhere].
1) Some people really react badly to the name (eg Andy); how about
cancelling the double-negative and simply calling it a 'Disclosure
2) The OpenNDA might limit peoples freedom to combine designs.
Whatever the final conclusions on how effective
the gpl is for hardware designs, gpl-ed designs already exist.
As I understand it, you couldn't build on them and then distribute
the result under OpenNDA - you'd be violating clause 6 of the gpl.
And vice versa, someone who didn't like the OpenNDA couldn't
develop an NDA-ed design and rerelease it under gpl - even if you wrote
clauses in the OpenNDA to allow it, releasing it under the gpl would
stop it being a trade secret and invalidate the OpenNDA itself.
3) If someone took your design and closed off a modified version,
you couldn't sue them unless they'd signed the NDA - you'd have to
prove who gave the design to them, and sue that person. So presumably any
company with a subsidiary could sign the NDA, give the design to
the subsidiary, let them do what they wanted with it, and you'd
have a really hard time proving who'd passed the secret on. Or an
employee could ask a friend to sign it, then give the design to the company.
How could you possibly track that? And what good what it do anyone
to sue the friend anyway? Its different from 'real' commercial
secrets, where a company can be very picky about who they allow
to sign an NDA in the first place.
4) Since NDAs depend on trade secrets, is a court likely to accept that
you've made a reasonable effort to protect a secret if you've deliberately
got very large numbers of people to sign the NDA?