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The Stribe is a really cool open source music controller. It takes some serious soldering skills to make one, but the end results are fantastic. Check it out at Maker Faire in Austin.

Eight touch-sensitive strips are flanked by dual columns of LEDs, providing subtle fingertip control coupled with illuminated feedback. The Stribe’s firmware communicates via USB with music programs such as Max/MSP and Reaktor.

More about The Stribe

[Editor's note: Not actually open source it seems, non-commercial license - pt]

Marc de Vinck

I’m currently working full time as the Dexter F. Baker Professor of Practice in Creativity in the Masters of Engineering in Technical Entrepreneurship Program at Lehigh University. I’m also an avid product designer, kit maker, author, father, tinkerer, and member of the MAKE Technical Advisory board.


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Comments

  1. Limor says:

    the stribe is very cool but unfortunately it isnt in fact open source due to the ‘non-commercial’ license it uses. (see http://www.ladyada.net/library/openhardware/license.html for more detail than you want :)

  2. ultrajosh says:

    If not “Open Source,” then what is the correct term for a project with completely open documentation and design, including the source code?

  3. Jim Confused says:

    I his source code is open, the design is documented etc.. Since when did open source mean that the autors had to let others reap comercial gain from there efforts? Seems that a great number of previously “open source” projects, hardware and software are not being redefined as closed source by Limor and PT. When did the rules change? What is the correct name?

  4. kevin says:

    getting nit-picky about the OSI standard seems trite to me, as it was clearly developed for software.

    ladyada’s arguments are interesting, but like the OSI, they neglect the distinction of physicality between hardware and data (software).

    calling hardware open source to begin with is an abuse of the term that has people considering schematics to be code. gerb files, sure, code. cadence capture files? sure, code. a pdf of a schematic used for hardware design? not really. analogous to code, fine, but not code in and of itself. you can’t compile a schematic and get a piece of hardware.

    saying that the stribe isn’t open source is like saying the organic tomatoes i buy at the farmers market aren’t organic because the farmer isn’t CCOF certified. if the ‘non-commercial’ clause is removed from the license, there is no change to the open documentation or code.

    for the sake of discussion, i would assume that both of you (limor and phillip) do not consider Qt to be open source? http://trolltech.com/about/open-source-business-model

  5. Phillip Torrone says:

    here’s what i posted

    =======

    hiya, pt from MAKE here – josh emailed me just now so i’m going to pop in and try and join this great discussion.

    first i should say that my comment on the project was just to clarify for our readers, when folks see “open source hardware” they assume they could take the schematics, source, everything and if they wanted – and manufacture for profit. since that’s exactly *not* what josh wanted, i added it to the post that another author put on the site.

    so i hope you can tell that it wasn’t “pissing on the project” or anything even remotely close to that. to be even more clear – i’ve been a huge fan of this project, josh has been at my place in nyc, i’ve covered the project a lot, stribe was at maker faire, it’s a fantastic project from a cool maker. there was a stribe fan club, i’d be in it.

    i’m bummed that a lot of people piled on and assumed the worst, that josh didn’t email me or chat at maker faire, that’s how it goes – stuff online gets intense — but i’m glad i can hopefully clear up some stuff now.

    the problem that many brought up is that this is all very new. i’m not sure what open source hardware is going to evolve to be. i don’t think anyone knows – there isn’t a linus or stallman of osh either (maybe that’s a good thing?) – we are all figuring it out as we go along.

    i’ve tried to catalog what everyone is collectively calling “open source hardware” in a series of articles, and it’s evolving. i think that a lot of makers are using creative commons and i personally think that’s the way a lot of projects are going to be released because a lot of makers want to get everything out there, but they’re worried about someone doing a knock-off and making tons of money. that hasn’t happened yet, but that’s the thing most folks tell me they’re worried about.

    http://blog.makezine.com/archive/2007/04/open_source_hardware_what.html

    if you look at the linux world, anyone can make money with linux and that basically changed the world of operating systems, programming, etc. some makers have done that with hardware, chumby, adafruit, arduino…

    “open hardware” might be a better term if some or most of the project is released, but at some point as a community we should try and figure out a way to say exactly what you can and can’t do. josh did and i posted that, but someone how got spanked for clarity.

    when folks talk about open source, they usually refer to this:
    http://opensource.org/docs/osd

    ==No Discrimination Against Fields of Endeavor==
    The license must not restrict anyone from making use of the program in a specific field of endeavor. For example, it may not restrict the program from being used in a business, or from being used for genetic research.

    microsoft can release “open” projects, but they’re not going to call vista “open source software” since everyone for the most part agrees “open source software” means you can make money from it.

    but hardware is different in a few ways, and here we are.

    at make we certainly don’t have 100% open source everything, we follow what the makers want and ask for – there are many many levels of “open”. the stribe is an open project, but the maker said don’t make money from it, we have makers that make kits that say the same thing, there are also copyrights and trademarks on things (arduino for example is trademarked by the arduino folks). it’s not “evil” or “bad” like some have suggested, it’s what the maker wants, there’s no club or certification for open source hardware, it’s all new and i’d only like to see more projects like the stribe.

    i’ll check this thread and hopefully can answer any questions or comment more, great discussion!

    cheers,
    pt

    phillip torrone
    senior editor
    MAKE magazine

  6. Phillip Torrone says:

    @kevin and all, in my update to the post i said it was “open source” to clarify exactly what the maker wanted (don’t sell versions of them) — i also just posted a bigger note once josh told me there was a heated discussion about all this.

    as far as the QT goes i’d likely say it’s an open project, i have one of these phones, but i don’t they’d even call it a “100% open source hardware” project when describing it if someone asked, they would be clear so folks know that they can’t just go and sell a hardware clone of the phone or download the pcbs and sell them.

  7. Phillip Torrone says:

    @Jim Confused – there isn’t a definition that everyone agrees on yet, maybe there will never be — i wanted to clarify, for everyone, that the maker said don’t sell versions of this. in “open source software”, like linux you can.

    i think this project is just about as open as you can get and the maker used creative commons which a lot of makers use to make sure others don’t sell other versions of it.

    what is that called? good question. creative common’ed hardware?