My Thoughts on Open Sourcing

Renee Cousins · March 22, 2022

The idea of open source is a nobel one and as long as everyone "plays fair," it works. It was our genuine hope that people could learn from our design – we thought PJIT has some rather novel ideas in it that could be a benefit to everyone. How was this made? How does it work? We thought people could maybe try and make their own boards, but this is a slippery slope – what if someone wants to make 20 for their friends out of their own funds? What if someone has no regard for our license and simply uses our work to make their own Buffee?

When the Buffee project was first conceived almost two years ago now, we had every intention of being fully open-source and transparent with everything we did. We searched around and found a license that we felt was a nice compromise between that as well as securing our business goals. Up until around v0.4 of the Buffee project, both the hardware and firmware were fully accesible online. I made it clear on both project sites that Buffee was licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike International License. In a nut-shell, this means you're welcome to look at it, welcome to work with it and welcome to port it to your own hobby boards, but under no circumstance may you attempt to use this commercially.

I suppose if I could afford an army of lawyers, I could defend myself, but this is the problem with any sort of IP protection in general – if you don't have the wealth to back it up, the Patent/Copyright/License means absolutely nothing. So the only real solution is to not publish the details. If I don't release a patent, people have to reverse engineer it. It doesn't stop cloning, but it does make it a bit harder.

So, sadly, Buffee hardware will remain closed-source until the design is abandonded. Buffee firmware (PJIT) may be open-sourced again, but I give no promises. If you came here hoping for Buffee to be open source, distrusting of closed source projects like the Vampire, then that's fine. I'm sorry this worked out this way, but if you're really upset about this, take it up with all the people who seek to exploit and profit from other's hardwork while doing none of their own.

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