In our previous update, we laid out the basics of the licensing for ORWL. We now have some more details and some actual sources to share.
One practical change we’ve made is that the firmware will be licensed under GPL 3 rather than CC-BY-SA 4.0. This change is in line with the Creative Commons’s own recommendations regarding software licensing.
We also realized that some of our firmware uses libraries provided under NDA. We will clearly identify which components are protected under NDA and how to go about securing such an NDA.
In our original announcement, we offered only rendered versions of the circuit schematics and layouts under CC-BY-NC-SA 4.0 and the source files under an NDA with us. After feedback from some of you and more internal discussion, we’ve decided to open the schematics source files under CC-BY-NC-SA 4.0 as well. Our reasoning is that the benefit of being able to much more easily inspect the inner workings of ORWL far outweighs the minimal risk of infringement by a third party. Even if a third party does decide to copy ORWL for profit, they would quickly discover the real work is in the layout, not the schematic, as is the case in most hardware. So, without further ado, please check out the ORWL schematics on our wiki.
Finally, as you might already be able to guess, we’re trying to find the right balance between competing desires. On one hand, we want everything to be as open as possible. On the other hand, we are a small company and need to protect our investment in ORWL so as to recoup our considerable expenses. While this crowdfunding campaign certainly helps, our expenses are well beyond the funds raised here. This is to be expected - the point of this campaign was to get ORWL in the hands of the earliest adopters and we fully expect to recoup our investment and then some by selling to more traditional customers once ORWL is in production. To put an exact number on it, we’re committing to opening the PCB layout sources once we’ve sold a total of 3,000 ORWL units.
Please get in touch if you have any questions or ideas and thanks for all your input and support so far!