Guidelines for sharing FPGA designs published

OSHWA is concerned with all types of hardware designs. This includes designs which target Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs), typically expressed using Hardware Description Languages (HDLs) like VHDL, Verilog and SystemVerilog.

While finding a place on the Web to host your HDL code is straight-forward, reusability of these designs has in some cases suffered from a number of issues. These include absence of ancillary files, lack of high-quality testbenches and documentation, awkward licensing choices and publishing of all-rights-reserved code automatically generated by the tools provided by FPGA vendors.

OSHWA has teamed up with the FOSSi Foundation to provide a set of guidelines to help designers share HDL code efficiently. For those of you who are starting with FPGA design, the document provides an introduction and a short section on nomenclature before moving on to the best practices proper. These guidelines may become the basis for an HDL certification program in the future. For the time being, we hope they are useful to all FPGA designers and we invite you to post questions and comments in the forums to help us make them better.

New Resources at OSHWA

OSHWA is excited to announce two new documents in our Resources file: The Evolving Aspects of a Welcoming Community and How to Write a Code of Conduct.

These documents were produced as the summation of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice research done this summer by LeeLee James and Alicia Gibb on behalf of the Open Source Hardware Association and various entities at CU Boulder. The two documents are The Evolving Aspects of a Welcoming Community, and as requested by some of the labs on the CU campus, How to Write a Code of Conduct. These documents are cross posted at the Blow Things Up Lab where the research took place.

As OSHWA works with many communities as well as having it’s own, we hope these tools are useful in creating welcoming environments.

OSHWA is hiring a Community Coordinator

The Open Source Hardware Association (OSHWA) is looking for a Community Coordinator to connect OSHWA with the Open Hardware Community. This position works directly with the community and our Executive Director to expand and communicate OSHWA’s initiatives, partners, and visibility. The position is a part time contractor at approximately 5-10 hours per week. The pay is $20/hour. OSHWA pays travel expenses related to the Open Hardware Summit, our annual community event.

OSHWA strongly encourages all people to apply (please circulate widely), especially those who hold the following intersecting identities: Black, Native or Indigenous, People of Color, LGBTQIA+, non-binary, persons living with disabilities, neurodivergent, young, speak English as a second language, and others with lived experience in overlooked and/or underestimated communities.

Primary Responsibilities: 

 Maintain, support, engage outreach efforts

Connect community organizations

Support OSHWA’s DEI+J initiatives

Assist with the Open Hardware Summit, specifically Hopin / Streamyard and Coordinate speakers and sponsor booths, updating website with their info.

Assist with Open Hardware Month within the community and website updates

Create tweets (specifically news, membership, certification, events etc.)

Scheduling certification tweets with images

Assist in navigating online resources and providing connections to additional resources

Emailing board members signed up for Twitter/Make article

Replying to queries in info@oshwa.org

Adding endorsements for the definition and SPI resolution

Write the occasional Mailchimp newsletter

Add features and review PR’s for Open Source License Facts Label Generator

Keep WordPress server up-to-date

Post news on oshwa.org

Update our various sites with new content and yearly changes for OHS and OHM

Discord – watch for spam, answer the rare question posted there

Generating membership reports when needed 

Manually add subscriptions missing in MemberPress

Report to the Executive Director

Specific In-progress projects include:

Open Hardware Glossary

Certification evangelization

Open Hardware Month

Required Qualifications: 

Ability to build relationships

Strong communication skills 

Working knowledge of Libre Office or open source equivalent, Mailchimp, and programs in the Google suite 

Working knowledge of WordPress

Familiarity with social media tools 

Helpful Experience: 

Conference and event management

Community building experience

Apply

To Apply, please fill out this form. OSHWA will begin reviewing applications on Oct. 11th and then on a rolling basis until the position is filled.

Equal Employment Opportunity Statement

OSHWA is an Equal Opportunity Employer and is committed to a policy of equal treatment and opportunity in every aspect of its recruitment and hiring process without regard to age, alienage, caregiver status, childbirth, citizenship status, color, creed, disability, domestic violence victim status, ethnicity, familial status, gender and/or gender identity or expression, marital status, military status, national origin, parental status, partnership status, predisposing genetic characteristics, pregnancy, race, religion, reproductive health decision making, sex, sexual orientation, unemployment status, veteran status, or any other legally protected basis. Women, racial and ethnic minorities, persons of minority sexual orientation or gender identity, individuals with disabilities, and veterans are encouraged to apply for vacant positions at all levels.

OSHWA 2021-2023 Board Nominations Open!

OSHWA is looking for 4 new faces to join the board of directors for the Open Source Hardware Association. The nominee form is, as always, for self-nominations only. Please fill out the nominee form (deactivated 11:59PM ET on Oct. 12) to become a nominee or forward the link to someone you want to nominate. Do not fill out the form for someone else. The purpose of this form is to tell voting members why you want to serve on the OSHWA board. We will be publish the nominees and their answers on Oct 14th. Board members hold a 2-year position. Once board members have been chosen by the membership, the board will appoint a President, VP, and Secretary. Board responsibilities include fundraising, promoting OSHWA, advising on goals and direction, and carry out compliance with the organizations purposes and bylaws. Board members must follow our Code of Conduct. See the board member agreement to get a sense of the responsibilities. Board members are expected to adhere to the board attendance policy and come prepared having read the board packet. Board members are expected to spend 5-10 hours of time per month on OSHWA. Nominees can submit questions to info@oshwa.org. Nominations will be open until Oct. 12th.

Member voting will take place Oct 19-26th. View our election policy.

Want to vote in the election? Become a member! Please note that only individuals can vote, corporate members cannot.

Revoking Certification for ES000022

Today OSHWA is revoking the certification for the Atmel SAM D10C Breakout Board by San Antonio Technologies, ESPJ, UID ES000022. We are taking this action because the documentation is no longer publicly available and the parties responsible for the hardware have been unresponsive to our requests to republish it.  This was brought to our attention by a member of the open source hardware community.

An effective certification program requires ongoing monitoring of certified hardware, both by OSHWA and by the larger open source hardware community.  OSHWA prefers to work with responsible parties to resolve problems with certified hardware and views decertification as a last resort. 

We discuss the decertification process in more detail in our blog post about the first decertification.  You can learn more about the certification program on the certification page and certification FAQs.

OSHWA is looking for an Open Hardware Summit Chair

The Open Source Hardware Association (OSHWA) is looking for a Chair to the annual Open Hardware Summit set for April 22, 2022 in NYC @ NYU. This is an excellent opportunity to help shape the first in-person Summit since 2019, as well as to connect with the Open Hardware Community.

The Summit Chair helps to oversee the annual Open Hardware Summit. They work with OSHWA’s Executive Director, the Speaker Chair, and venue staff to produce the Summit.  The Summit Chair is also an ex officio member of the OSHWA board for the duration of the position. 

The Summit Chair is a paid, part-time position of $10,000. It begins in September of 2021 and concludes in early May of 2022.  The Open Hardware Summit Playbook establishes milestones that allow for flexible time commitments in the months leading up to the Summit. The Chair should expect to be on site and work full days on April 20, 21, and 22 of 2022. As we approach the Summit dates, the time commitment of the position will ramp up. OSHWA pays travel expenses related to the Summit.

OSHWA strongly encourages all people to apply (please circulate widely), especially those who hold the following intersecting identities: Black, Native or Indigenous, People of Color, LGBTQIA+, non-binary, persons living with disabilities, neurodivergent, young, speak English as a second language, and others with lived experience in overlooked and/or underestimated communities.

The main tasks for the Summit Chair are:

  • Regularly updating the Summit website (runs on WordPress) 
  • Promoting the Summit to open hardware and open hardware-adjacent communities in the NYC area and around the world
  • Overseeing the Summit social media presence 
  • Recruiting Summit keynote speakers
  • Managing the Ada Lovelace Fellowship application process
  • Designing the Summit staging and visual identity (either directly or by coordinating with an outside designer) 
  • Planning any pre or post parties (COVID permitting)

The Summit Chair is not expected to:

  • Fundraise for the Summit
  • Make venue or catering decisions
  • Manage venue A/V
  • Manage ticketing infrastructure
  • Maintain Summit website infrastructure
  • Manage the non-keynote speaker selection process

Candidates for this position must have:

  • Demonstrated experience organizing and managing community events
  • A connection to the open source hardware community
  • Demonstrated ability to set and meet deadlines
  • The ability to be in NYC for the Summit (COVID permitting)

Ideal candidates for this position will also have:

  • Experience promoting events 
  • Experience with community building
  • Experience designing stage and event spaces either directly or as a collaborator with other designers

To Apply, please fill out this form.  OSHWA will begin reviewing applications on August 16 and then on a rolling basis until the position is filled.

Equal Employment Opportunity Statement

OSHWA is an Equal Opportunity Employer and is committed to a policy of equal treatment and opportunity in every aspect of its recruitment and hiring process without regard to age, alienage, caregiver status, childbirth, citizenship status, color, creed, disability, domestic violence victim status, ethnicity, familial status, gender and/or gender identity or expression, marital status, military status, national origin, parental status, partnership status, predisposing genetic characteristics, pregnancy, race, religion, reproductive health decision making, sex, sexual orientation, unemployment status, veteran status, or any other legally protected basis. Women, racial and ethnic minorities, persons of minority sexual orientation or gender identity, individuals with disabilities, and veterans are encouraged to apply for vacant positions at all levels.

Graphic representation of the open source hardware universe as being larger than just microcontrollers

The State of Open Source Hardware in 2021

Today OSHWA, in collaboration with the Engelberg Center on Innovation Law & Policy at NYU Law, is excited to launch The 2021 State of Open Source Hardware.  This graphic report builds on data from OSHWA’s Open Hardware Certification Program, the annual Open Hardware Summit, and the annual Open Hardware Community Survey.

Map showing the geographic reach of open source hardware registrations over time.

The state of open source hardware is strong.  In the eleven years since the first Open Hardware Summit we have seen open hardware grow, with new communities creating new hardware for new uses around the world.  Hundreds of pieces of open source hardware have been certified as compliant with the Open Hardware Definition from countries on every continent except Antarctica. 

Chart linking the types of certified open source hardware to the countries where the hardware comes from.

A wide range of companies have been built and grown on the foundation of open source hardware.  Dozens of Ada Lovelace Fellows have helped to diversify the open hardware community.  Nonprofit organizations in academia, conservation, science, medical, and more have helped to broaden the impact of open hardware in innumerable ways.  

The results of the community survey makes it clear that people come to open hardware for a range of reasons and use open hardware to address a range of needs.  However they start with open hardware, once they start using it they are hooked. Community members study designs, adapt them, and build upon existing designs in order to achieve their goals.  Open hardware is used in teaching, the development of commercial products, and everything in between.
What are you waiting for? Click over, check it out, and let us know what you think.  While the state of open source hardware is strong in 2021, we think it may get even stronger in the future.

hardwarex + OSHWA certification logo

HardwareX Integrates OSHWA Certification into Paper Submission Process

Today we are excited to announce that the open hardware journal HardwareX is integrating OSHWA certifications into their paper submission process.  

HardwareX is an open access journal that focuses on free and open source designing, building, and customizing of scientific hardware.  It has long used the Open Source Hardware Definition as a requirement for submissions.  Now HardwareX is also integrating the OSHWA hardware certification program into the paper submission process.

First, HardwareX has updated its guide for authors to encourage (although not require) authors to certify their hardware for open source compliance before, during, or after submitting to HardwareX.  This is a win for authors and for HardwareX.  Authors can use the certification process to make sure that their hardware meets the Open Source Hardware Definition.  Certification is often an iterative process where OSHWA helps creators meet all of the Definition’s requirements.  HardwareX can rely on the OSHWA certification to confirm that hardware complies with the Definition, freeing up resources to review the papers themselves.

Second, OSHWA and HardwareX are standardizing ways to connect HardwareX articles to the Certification Directory.  HardwareX will include OSHWA certification UIDs in their specification tables for articles that include certified hardware.  Creators can update their certification directory listing with the “#HX” tag in the project description, and add a link to the HardwareX manuscript.

As the open hardware community grows, so too do our institutions.  We look forward to finding new ways to collaborate with all of the parts of the community in the future.  If you would like to connect with the certification program, please reach out at info@oshwa.org, check out our certification program API, or just certify your own hardware directly!

Open Source Hardware (and Gateware) for 5G

OSHWA recently sent a response to the 5G Challenge Notice of Inquiry published by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) in the US. The Notice of Inquiry focuses on the development of an open-source software stack for 5G wireless communication. In our response we highlighted the role that Field-Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs) can play in the path from the radio receiver to the 5G software stack and conversely from the software stack to the radio transmitter. FPGAs can cope with very high data rates, for which pure software solutions can be suboptimal.

It is therefore important that FPGA designs are made part of the challenge, and also that these designs be open-source for the same reasons that it makes sense to open-source the software stack. FPGA design is typically done using Hardware Description Languages (HDLs). HDL code is fed to synthesis, place & route and bitstream generation tools. The bitstream file then configures the FPGA, so its logic gates and flip-flops implement the circuit specified in the design. HDL code is sometimes called “gateware” (a reference to the logic gates it targets) to distinguish it from software.

If researchers and developers are going to collaborate on common open-source gateware and software, they would ideally do so using an open hardware platform. This would democratize access, enlarging the talent pool which can contribute to the effort. It would also protect the development against vendor lock-in and save time and effort on porting to different imperfectly-compatible platforms.

Finally, this could be an opportunity to improve the Free and Open Source Software tools for gateware design. There are thriving communities of open-source software-defined radio and FPGA tool developers, and we believe including them in this challenge and having hardware and gateware in the picture will result in a better 5G for everyone.