Open to Reverse Engineering

I just thought of something today, in fact I wrote a comment (as dynamodan) on hackaday that summed up my thoughts on an open-source hardware topic that has been bugging me for years.

Here’s the problem.  Many of my projects here on the have a very thin sketch of information, but they do have pictures.  (Isn’t there a saying that goes “a picture is worth a thousand words” ?)  I feel a lot of pressure (even if not many people ask) to sit down and write plans for some of my projects, and submit them as open source hardware.  But I don’t have time.  I wish I did.  It’s a real conundrum.

So I propose a solution: The Open to Reverse Engineering license, or O.R.E.  This is a way to express my thoughts about the issue of the “missing source code”.  Source code for software is one thing.  It must exist before the compiler has anything to compile from.  We just assume it exists, because it does.  Source code for hardware is a different matter altogether.  You can make a tool, a machine, an invention and not have the source code at all.  Even if it’s “in your head” it’s not really source code.  (It would be more analogous to machine code.)  I henceforth refer to my projects as O.R.E. or more simply, just ORE.  Feel free to use any of my ideas.  They are indeed open to reverse engineering.  But many of them are only ORE and not OSH.  You will have to dig for them just like a miner digging for ore in a mine.

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