Which Parts of opensource.com ‘Ultimate Open Source Gift Guide’ are Actually Free, Libre and Open

Posted on 5 December 2013


I was disappointed to find that most of the products in opensource.com’s ‘ultimate open source gift guide’ are not free, libre and open. I wanted to create a complete list, but I struggle to find the information or I get confused – particular when it comes to hardware.

(See also for Creative Commons)

(I got some help from jebba on the Free Culture Reddit)

Here’s what I’ve got, please let me know where I’ve gone wrong:

LulzBot TAZ 2 3D Printer: ‘Respects your freedom’: This product is totally free, libre and open. Link

Ouya Game Console: Some code has been released under Apache 2.0, some will be released under Apache 2.0; some will remain proprietary for ‘security’ reasons. Link

I assume the hardware is not open hardware.

SparkFun’s RedBot Kit/SparkFun’s Learn to Solder “Simon Says” Kit: It looks like SparkFun has released some stuff under free, libre and open content or hardware licences link, but I’m struggling to figure out what. Photographs of the designs are non-free, libre and open (CC BY-NC-SA).

O’Reilly Media Books and eBooks: Some O’Reilly books are free, libre and open (I know of two examples,Producing Open Source Software and Free as in Freedom), but the recommended book (Cooking for Geeks) is not.

HTML5 Belt Buckle: Technically not open hardware/free, libre and open, but I’m not sure it has any components that are restrictable.

FLORA Wearable Tech: Described as ‘Arduino-compatible’, but I’m not sure what that entails.

The tutorials do not appear to be free, libre and open.

Spotify Music-Streaming Subscription: The music is not free, libre and open. Spotify itself is not free, libre and open. Some of Spotify’s internal projects are free, libre and open.

BeagleBone Black Board: All free, libre and open. The hardware specs are available; the website is under CC BY-SA; the operating system appears to be GNU/Linux.

I couldn’t figure out if the textbook is free, libre and open. The website on which the textbook appears is (CC BY-SA).

PacktPub Books and eBooks: Donates to free, libre and open projects. The products it sells do not appear to be free, libre and open.

Cards Against Humanity: Great game, but it’s under a non-free, libre and open CC licence (CC BY-NC-SA).

Arduino Board: I always get confused about this one, but I believe it’s free, libre and open.

BladeKey Pocket Key Organizer: The Thingiverse design is under CC BY, but is patented and commercial use is forbidden.

Seems perverse to be advertising a patented product in the ‘ultimate open source gift guide’.

MAKE Magazine Subscription: Non-free, libre and open.

HexBright Flashlight: The code is open source. The specs are publicly available; not sure if they are or need to be openly licensed.

littleBits Electronic Kits: From what I can tell, some are open hardware and some are not.

Raspberry Pi Small Computer: Does not seem to be free, libre and open.

GitHub swag: Not free, libre and open. Mostly protected by trade marks rather than copyright or patent law, I suspect (where the products are protectable at all).

ThinkGeek products: As noted in the guide, mostly non-free, libre and open.

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