Friday, January 8, 2010

Open Source Hardware Book Volume 2 - Table of Contents Sneak Peek

Justin, Tristan, Paul and I have been writing up our notes from our interviews and coffee discussion over the past couple of weeks. I think we've finally settled on an official table of contents that covers all of the topics we've heard and talked about.

I tried my best to schedule discussions over the phone, and when that didn't work, over email, with as many people as I could find who had interests in Open Source business, economics, intellectual property, and theoretical experience. This included people in small and large companies, educational institutions, academic research and think tanks, and even some government strategists. Justin's been talking to people around the world, almost all day long for the past 2 weeks straight.

I didn't expect there to be so many people thinking about Open Source Hardware, but I was wrong. It's funny how little gets captured on the web sometimes, despite the vast numbers of blogs, wikis, and forums. In the Internet era, I can vouch first hand for the fact that a lot of the best thought on Open Source Hardware (on economics and business models) is offline, off the web, and off blogs. I've had to really dig around to collect it all together in one place.

That's where the book comes in.

The first volume, titled "Open Source Hardware Volume 1" was about introducing projects people could do when they first picked up an Arduino and wanted to learn how to program and code it. It taught about transparency, openness, modularity, and re-usability of hardware components. "Open Source Hardware Volume 2" is a different kind of book. While there are many books out there that examine and dissect the nature of the software and tools that allow people to build Open Source Hardware, there hasn't been nearly as much discussion about the fact that hardware and tinkering in the "real world" with real components costs "real" money. So this volume is about the economics side of Open Source Hardware, and about the "business models" people are experimenting with.

The book isn't for everyone. It likely isn't going to teach anyone Justin or I interviewed a tremendous amount they didn't already know. Instead, the book is meant for all those new folks coming on the field, or people who are really interested in the theory and concepts behind Open Source Hardware. It's also meant for anyone who's trying to build and distribute Open Source Hardware to the community.

Without further ado, here's the table of contents. If you think there's something missing, please email me, and Justin, Tristan, and I will try to incorporate some materials into the book, or readjust the chapters... (it's structured like a 5-act play, or opera). First, here's the high level book structure:

Overture: The Backdrop
Act I: Cast of Characters
Act II: Open Source Strategy
Interlude: A Day in the Life of a Hardware Hacker
Act III: A Hacker in King Arthur’s Court
Act IV: The Macro Economic Time Machine
Act V: Deus Ex Machina
Curtain Bows: The Future of Open Source Hardware

...and here's the full set of subchapters and subsections...

Overture: The Backdrop
About this Book
What is Open Source?
Open Source Software vs. Hardware
The 9 Schools of Open Source Hardware
Open Source and Intellectual Property
The Limitations of Intellectual Property
Enforcing Open Source Rights

Act I: Cast of Characters
Let’s Meet the Soprano
Introducing the Chorus
The Tangible Man Month
The Great Economic Divide
Does Open Source Hardware Scale?
A Grand Unifying Theory of Information Rights
Not All Licenses Are Created Equal
Open Source Hardware Business Models
Innovation and Open Source

Act II: Open Source Strategy
Enablement and Open Source Hardware
Shaping the Landscape 1 Project At a Time
Herding Cats and Hackers
Where is Silicon Valley Hiding?

A Day in the Life of a Hardware Hacker

Act III: A Hacker in King Arthur’s Court
The DIY Budget and the Quantity Monopoly
Capital Expenditure and Inventory Challenges
Marketing Open Source Hardware
Non-Zero Cost of Replication

Act IV: The Macro Economic Time Machine
Innovation and Openness
Open Source and its Discontents
Open Source, the Unknown Ideal
The Economic Commons

Act V: Deus Ex Machina
Capital Experiments and the Invisible Hand
Freetarded: Why Free Hardware Isn’t the Answer
Open Source Hardware Strategy and Strategies
The Silicon Generation Meets the Web Generation
The Role (or not) for Venture Capital
Micro Competition

Curtain Bows: The Future of Open Source Hardware
Challenges and Threats to Open Source Hardware
A Roadmap of Open Problems: Where are the Tools?
The Future of Open Source Hardware

Now that that's out there, it's time to get back to writing... right now, the book is one target to be over 200 pages... and climbing.

Oh and one more thing, if you want to be the first to know when the book is done, just email me at inthebitz at gmail.


Matt said...

Now that was probably the fastest 20 emails I've ever gotten back on one topic... Thanks for writing back comments and ideas, I'll get right on them.

kanzure said...

Interesting, Matt. Here's some people you might want to talk with:

- Bryan
1 512 203 0507

Anonymous said...

Two questions:

1. You talk about the books that already exist. Care to list them?

2. What the chapter about "where are the tools?" about?