Tag Archives: OpenSource

Developers: builders or explorers?

via Arduino Blog


Last spring we collaborated with VisionMobile to run a survey on IoT developers and also the value that Open source has in the field.

We discovered that Between IoT developers there is a big chunk of open source enthusiast. 1/5 value the importance of using open source tools and platforms.

Developer that define themselves explorers cover a crucial role in the field. It is from them that all the truly new, out-of-the-box ideas come from.

Only by exploring seemingly crazy ideas can the Internet of Things reach its full potential. The open source ecosystem is often the area where these ideas bloom.

While open source is so valued between developers, there is still a lot of work to be done. 60% of the opensource enthusiast in fact, think that open standards are missing in IoT.

We are really happy that the connected Home is the most interesting vertical market for developers, and we can’t wait to see what this big group of explorers will develop in the next future. Hopefully the next big invention will be open source.

Find a full article on Developer Economics website.

On Casa Jasmina website you can explore the infographic in high-res with some  interesting data:


The most important role of Internet of Things developers is to explore new possibilities. The technology is widely available; in no small part because of open source software and hardware projects. Now we need to learn where we can take it. We can build it, but should we?

Open Source in Business


An evening of talks exploring different commercial aspects of open source — hardware and software — including crowdfunding an open hardware microenterprise, navigating licensing issues, trade associations, and building a business on free software.

Hosted in conjunction with the BCS Open Source Specialist Group.

Open Source Consortium - an introduction

OSC is a trade association which represents companies and individuals delivering solutions and advice based on Open Standards and Free & Open Source Software.

As a trade association, OSC gives its members greater influence than they could achieve alone by providing a collective voice, and by supporting initiatives such as the implementation of open standards in public sector IT, the inclusion of open standards in school curricula and levelling the gender balance in the industry. At the core of its vision, OSC campaigns for the use of Open Standards in all aspects of public and commercial life, promoting the unique advantages of Free & Open Source Software and the independent expertise offered by members.

Irenie White has been Chair of the Open Source Consortium since 2013 after working with the organisation for 3 years. This year she was appointed as MD of credativ, a free software consulting and services company, after running operations there for 6 years. As a STEMNET Ambassador and through her work with Advancing Women in IT, Irenie is committed to supporting bottom-up growth in the wider technology industry. Outside of work her family comes first, music a close second.

Notes from the first three months of an Open Source Microenterprise

—How I learned to stop worrying and love the Kickstarter

Starting an Open Source Hardware business is lot of work, even if you've spent 11 years running a different one. There are all sorts of things you've forgotten about and there are a whole host of new challenges as you try to do things the right way from the start. None of it is easy, but all of it beats having a 9-5.

Benjamin Gray is a proponent of Open Hardware, founder of MeArm, an open source robot arm manufacturer and phenoptix a recently retired maker business. Ben graduated from the University of Exeter with a chemistry degree and a fledgling phenoptix before moving to Nottingham to complete a PhD in theoretical physical chemistry. With 11 years of Maker business experience under his belt he's set out on a new adventure manufacturing the MeArm, a pocket sized robot arm.

But I didn't mean *that*

Accidents and incidents exploring relationships between corporations and the licenses they use to share, from Creative Commons to GPL.

Paul Beech used his graphic and web design skills to co-found Pimoroni, a maker company that does Raspberry Pi and Arduino stuff. Code: open source. Hardware: less so.

Giving it away: Free Software as a business strategy

Bytemark Hosting has been involved in building, fixing and publishing Free Software since its foundation in 2002. Back then, free Software was seen as an unquestionable part of a winning business strategy for big firms, but within years firms that bet too much on it were brought down to earth. Matthew Bloch, Bytemark's MD, narrates his own company's successes, profitability and changes in strategy around this important social movement.

Matthew Bloch is MD and co-founder of Bytemark Hosting, one of the UK's oldest and best-respected hosting and cloud providers, with its own data centre in York and staff of 23. Previous to Bytemark Matthew worked as a programmer on several Java virtual machines, and the PC emulator for Acorn computers.

Compered by:

Gareth Halfacree is a freelance technology journalist and the co-author of the Raspberry Pi User Guide, alongside project co-founder Eben Upton. He also writes the maker-centric Hobby Tech column for Custom PC Magazine, as well as numerous features in magazines including PC Pro, Linux User & Developer, Micro Mart, Computeractive and others.

Formerly a system administrator working in the education sector, Gareth's passion for open source projects has followed him from one career to another and he can often be seen reviewing, documenting or even contributing to projects including GNU/Linux, LibreOffice, Fritzing and Arduino. He is also the creator of the Sleepduino and Burnduino open hardware projects and numerous small software tools, all released under permissive licences.

Note: Please aim to arrive by 17:45 as the first talk will start at 18:00 prompt.

Hackerspace/makerspace/fablab panel discussion


For the fourtieth meeting we will be hosting a panel discussion which will explore the organisation, operation, challenges and benefits of creative spaces known as hackerspaces, makerspaces and fablabs. There will be representatives from Makespace Cambridge, South London Makerspace, So Make It (Southampton), Fab Lab London, London Hackspace and the UK's innovation agency, Innovate UK.

Makespace Cambridge

Dr Laura James is co-founder and Director of Makespace Cambridge, a non-profit community inventing shed and hackspace. She is currently consulting on a variety of technology and innovation activities.

Laura has worked in technology and leadership roles in a wide variety of organisations. After R&D work at AT&T Labs in both Menlo Park and Cambridge, Laura developed high speed optical networks with Intel Research for her PhD. She was the first employee and VP Engineering at AlertMe.com, developing an easy to use innovative connected home platform and security system. At True Knowledge, Laura was part of the senior management team leading the company through a pivot, to apply their unique semantic technology to next generation search, creating Evi, a revolutionary conversational search app. Laura has also worked as Chief Operating Officer at CARET, a dynamic innovation department of the University of Cambridge, developing open source systems to support teaching and research. Most recently, Laura was CEO of Open Knowledge, a civil society organisation dedicated to opening up knowledge to empower people. Laura is an advisor to Open Knowledge, Product Health, Good Night Lamp, and the ContentMine.

Laura holds Masters and PhD degrees in Engineering from the University of Cambridge, received the Royal Academy of Engineering Leadership Award and a NESTA Crucible Fellowship, and is a Chartered Engineer.

South London Makerspace

Tom Lynch is a Designer/Maker based in London, after completing his MA at the Royal College of Art he went on to start Elephant & Castle Mini Maker Faire at the London College of Communication where he now works as a Physical Computing Specialist Technician. Living in South London, Tom is a founder and trustee of South London Makerspace, a social, community workshop in Herne Hill.

So Make It

Jem Gillam is an iOS programmer turned stay at home mum, and a trustee at So Make It. She has always had an interest in programming and hardware hacking, her first projects involving circuit bending and wearable electronics. Her current project is working with a large team to build a life size remote control Dalek, which meant finally learning to use the power tools at the makerspace!

Fab Lab London

Tony Fish is co-founder of Fab Lab London, investor, entrepreneur and an author with a background in electronics, computing and design.

London Hackspace

Jonty Wareing is co-founder and trustee of London Hackspace, and co-founder of Electromagnetic Field. He is currently hacking on IRC Cloud after three years at Lumi, and five years at Last.fm.

Innovate UK

Nikos Pronios is Lead Technologist for Information & Communication Technologies (ICT) at Innovate UK which he joined in early 2014. He has a diverse background in the ICT sector with experience in US and Europe, both in the industry and academia. After obtaining his PhD from the University of Southern California, he worked for Bell Communication Research in New Jersey, before moving to INTRACOM in Greece. Nikos has worked in various industry positions covering before moving to INTRACOM in Greece. Nikos has worked in various industry positions covering civilian and defence sectors, and he is currently using his diverse experience of more than 20 years to help organisations innovate and compete.

Chaired by:

Dr Jeremy Bennett is Founder and CEO of Embecosm, an open source compiler and silicon chip modeling consultancy, that are a strong supporter of the makerspace movement as sponsor of So Make It, Chip Hack and regular workshops that serve to introduce people to embedded computing.

Note: Please aim to arrive by 18:15 as the event will start at 18:30 prompt.

Sponsored by:

Radio Pt. 3 (OpenBeacon, HPSDR, Ruling Drones)


The thirty-ninth meeting will feature an update on the HPSDR project, which we first heard about back in October 2010 at OSHUG #5. There will also be talks on Bluetooth Low Energy programming and OpenBeacon, and making drones play by the rules.

Low Power to the People - take back Bluetooth Low Energy control!

 —Programming BLE the hard way: bare metal programming of nRF51 BLE tokens for fun and profit.

The talk will start with a brief overview of the Bluetooth Low Energy advertisement protocol and how to implement bare-metal BLE on top of the ARM-based nRF51 chip — without using the manufacturer provided Bluetooth stack. The general development flow will be explored along with some useful examples, closing with some mischief that can be caused using this knowledge :-)

The latest version of the OpenBeacon tag design is supposed to be the ultimate hacking, fuzzing and pen testing tool for Bluetooth Low Energy. The hardware schematics and the PCB layout were released under the CC attribution license. We strongly believe that the future of the Internet of Things can be privacy enabled and can work distributed, without selling your soul to large cloud services.

Milosch Meriac has over 20 years experience in the information security business and hardware design. He is currently living in Cambridge where he works for ARM on securing the Internet of Things. In his private time he loves making and grokking things. He is currently playing with RGB strips to create light paintings.

Milosch is the co-founder of active and passive RFID open source projects like Sputnik/OpenBeacon, OpenPCD and OpenPICC, and is committed to RFID related security research. He broke the iCLASS RFID security system and was involved in breaking Mifare Classic security.

As a member of the Blinkenlights Stereoscope Core Team Milosch designed the 2.4GHz OpenBeacon-based dimmmer/Ethernet dardware that was used in the Toronto City Hall Installation. As one of the three maintainers of the former Xbox-Linux Project he helped to break Xbox security and to port the first Linux system to the Xbox. His focus is on hardware development, embedded systems, RF designs, active and passive RFID hardware development, custom-tailoring of embedded Linux hardware platforms, real time systems, IT-security and reverse engineering.

OpenHPSDR Update

A review of hardware and software progress of the High Performance Software Define Radio, an open source hardware and software project being developed by an international group of ham radio enthusiasts.

John Melton has held a ham radio license since 1984 and has developed several open source Linux applications, including ground station software for working digital satellites and software defined radios. He is a retired software engineer after 48 years developing software for several computer manufacturers including Burroughs Corporation, ICL, Sun Microsystems and Oracle Corporation.

Ruling Drones

The danger of drones not sticking to regulations have been a challenge that has been recently in the news. An attempt is being made to see if it would be possible to produce notification when regulation is breached. The plan is to use ArduPilotMega and use a modified version Arducopter so geofencing could be achieved in various areas and a GSM interface is going to be used communicate to the ground monitoring station. The modification of flight controller and ground controller in future would involve the ability to verify authenticity of the geofencing and update the geofencing over the air using GPRS/3G/433 Mhz link and usage of TPM to verify the changes to the code applied.

Anish Mohammed has been an electronics hobbyist and software hacker since his early teens. He spent almost a decade in research and development in security and cryptography. He has most recently developed an active interersts in crypto currency space and ethics of AI (Dexethics.com). He is currently on the board of advisors for Ripple Labs and EA Ventures. He is a confirmed UAV addict who owns a dozen AHRS/Autopilots, both open and partially closed, with interests in multicopters, fixed wings and rovers.

Note: Please aim to arrive by 18:15 as the first talk will start at 18:30 prompt.

Sponsored by:

Energy (Exploring "open" in energy, Electricity from Woodchips, OpenTRV)


The thirty-eighth meeting will take a look open source technologies in support of the generation and efficient use of energy.

Exploring "Open" in Energy

Arcola Energy builds energy systems using fuel cells powered by hydrogen. Fuel cells are one of those great ideas that has yet to gain much traction in real markets. They put men on the moon, but since then commercial progress has been slow. One way of opening up uses of fuel cells is to involve a much wider developer community. To explore this Arcola has developed a fuel cell developer kit and started on the road to working with open source groups. This talk will look at our journey, the success to far and the challenges ahead.

Richard Kemp-Harper is a former research scientist who spent several years managing web development, including open source systems at Oxfam. He then moved into technology and innovation, working at Innovate UK running innovation programmes in intelligent mobility, rail and energy. He specialises in not being a specialist.

Electricity from Woodchips — An Edwardian Idea — Tamed with 21st Century Microelectronics

First studied in the 1820s, gasification is the process of converting a hydrocarbon solid fuel, such as coal or wood, into a low calorific value gas suitable for running an internal combustion engine. Used for vehicle transportation during World War 2 — gasification has enjoyed a renaissance at the start of the 21st Century. Low cost, open source microelectronics are used to tame this technology, from a labour intensive manual process, to a fully automated turnkey system.

In January 2012, Ken Boak quit his UK electronic design job and travelled to Berkeley, California, to work on a new biomass energy project — an open source, microcontroller based control system for a wood chip fired CHP system.

The company — an East Bay area start-up — "All Power Labs", had a compact, self-contained biomass gasification system, close to commercialisation.

In the 6 month contract, Ken productionised the open source, control and automation system, using standard, globally available components and rationalised the wiring loom so that low cost, modular assembly was practical.

Ken started his career at BBC Research Department in 1986 working on digital signal processing systems for HDTV - and subsequently over 30 years, a mix of 10 other technology companies, both UK and US based, in the fields of instrumentation, automation, telemetry and telecomms.

Ken tries to live a low impact lifestyle in a modest Edwardian house in Surrey, with a little help from modern electronics.

Scratching the itch: saving the planet

When BigCo and .gov are not sorting your problem then open everything makes it easier for you to scratch your own itch, especially with the very positive innovation support around right now, possibly the best for 30 years. And when you can save the planet, be your own boss, and meet and work with lots of fabulous interesting people, what’s holding you back?

Damon Hart-Davis is lead on the OpenTRV open source project created following his 2012 presentation to DECC's smart heating workshop. He has freelanced in technology for over 30 years, delivering mission-critical products from design to BAU in the City for more than 20 of those, and has founded and been involved in several start-ups over that time with his creations seen on TV, the Web, and his pioneering Internet Service Provider helping crack open that market more than 20 years ago. A previous virtual/on-line credit-card company start-up that he co-founded as CTO, Ixaris, turns over ~£10m.

Mark Hill spent 15 years in the City after a solid grounding in IT at the chip level at the microprocessor manufacturer Inmos, designing and delivering highly complex systems. Project management, direction and governance are all part of his toolkit. He now speaks regularly about innovation, collaboration and IoT. Recently he founded a mobile phone software start-up and is now OpenTRV Ltd's co-founder.

Note: Please aim to arrive by 18:15 as the first talk will start at 18:30 prompt.

Sponsored by:

Chips Pt.2 (Chip Design for Teenagers, Cocotb, lowRISC)


Back in April 2011 we had our first meeting on the theme of open source chip design, and then around one year later we took a closer look at the OpenRISC Reference Platform System-on-Chip. The thirty-sixth meeting will feature talks on chip design for teenagers, an open source verification framework, and a fully open source system-on-chip that will be manufactured in volume.

Silicon Chip Design for Teenagers

These days we expect school students to learn to write code, and teachers are turning to tools like Scratch (for primary education) and Python (for secondary education). But why stick to software languages. Why not teach coding in Verilog and get children to design silicon chips.

Earlier this year Dan Gorringe attended Chip Hack II in Cambridge. Inspired by this he spent two weeks work experience at Embecosm in August 2014 modifying the Chip Hack materials for use by Year 9-11 students. His resulting application note, "Silicon Chip Design for Teenagers", is to be published very shortly by Embecosm.

In this talk, Dan will share his experience of learning silicon chip design, using Verilog for his first serious attempt at coding and encountering Mentor Graphics EDA tools for the first time.

Dan Gorringe has just started year 11 and faces the horrors of GCSE exams in 8 months time, so silicon chip design is just light relief. He has aspirations to a career in computing.

Cocotb, an Open Source Verification Framework

Verifying hardware designs has always been a significant challenge but very few open-source tools have emerged to support this effort. The recent advances in verification to facilitate complex designs often depend on specialist knowledge and expensive software tools. In this talk we will look at Cocotb, an open-source verification framework, and explore whether Python is a viable language for verification.

Chris Higgs has over a decade of experience working with FPGAs in various industries. His software background has shaped his approach to RTL design and verification and he now spends his time trying to bridge the divide between hardware and software development.

lowRISC — a Fully Open Source RISC-V System-on-Chip

The lowRISC project has been formed to produce a System-on-Chip which will be open source right down to the HDL, implementing the open RISC-V instruction set architecture. Volume manufacture of silicon manufacture is planned, along with creating and distributing low-cost development boards. This talk will describe the aims of the lowRISC project, summarise its current status, describe some of the features that are being implemented, and give details on how you can get involved.

Alex Bradbury is a researcher at the University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory where he works on compilation techniques for a novel many-core architecture. He writes LLVM Weekly, is co-author of Learning Python with Raspberry Pi, and has been a contributor to the Raspberry Pi project since the first alpha hardware was available.

Note: Please aim to arrive by 18:15 as the first talk will start at 18:30 prompt.

Sponsored by: