Free Hardware in USSR...

Posted 8 Mar 2001 at 11:23 UTC by Malx Share This

Here "free" means the same as in GPL. Electronic/electric devices (especially for home use) was sold with complete el. scheme and with list of all components.

Just want to note, that USSR have had for a long time this type of device distribution.
Every recorder of lamp or TV package contained full description and scheme of it's inside circuts.
Also there was a list of used elements and compatible elements - so you could buy and replace any broken element yourself

Also it was popular to build additional devices for thouse you have buoght.
IMHO this was only in "made-it-yourself" packages in other countries.

Same in most other places I gather, posted 8 Mar 2001 at 13:02 UTC by k » (Journeyer)

You'll find that old televisions also had a copy of their circuit diagram stuffed inside them for the service techies to use.

I fondly remember opening up a dead philips K9 TV and discovering the circuit diagram inside. It kinda sparked off a little electronics fun for me. :-)

These days you won't find circuit diagrams inside TVs and other hardware, basically because it is either a throw-away product, or a modular product. Like PCs have been for quite a long time, instead of finding the dead electronic component its cheaper to replace the module which is faulty.

that said, you can generall pull up circuit diagrams for consumer-avaliable hardware by purchasing the service manuals from the manufactuers. Sometimes they are cheap, sometimes they are expensive, and most of the time a lot of the functionality is hidden away inside LSI/VLSI chips..

It's like a circle., posted 8 Mar 2001 at 16:05 UTC by suso » (Journeyer)

I was thinking about this a week ago when I sent my monitor back for a replacement. I knew that the support agent that I talked to on the phone only had to ask me a few questions, had limited knowledge and was probably only authorized to tell me where to sent the bad monitor to for a replacement. So since all that probably happens to my (or any) monitor that gets sent back is that they dispose of it and send me a new one, the only people that know much about the workings of the monitor are the people who designed and built it.

This leaves a huge gaping hole between the manufacturer and the consumer and in my opinion think this helps lead to the dumbing down of people in general. Maybe this is a good model though because it is almost analogous to a server/client relationship. This makes for a rather flat circle though.

With a more open system like the products with schematics in the box, etc. You have the people who just want to use the product, those who design/build it and then those who both use the product and want to know more about it and get involved with it. So the circle becomes more round and there is a flow of involvement from one end to the other.

I think that the open source community is a pretty good example of a complete circle. But the circle is a little uneven on the consumer side of things because there is too much tempting to the development side of things. As soon as someone becomes part of the circle all the other people in the circle try to coax that person into thinking that if they aren't developing or writing free software that they aren't really participating in the circle.

used to be common everywhere, posted 9 Mar 2001 at 18:04 UTC by graham » (Journeyer)

As far as I can remember, this used to be general practice, at least in the UK: you would expect to get a circuit diagram, even if you never used it. Then during the 70s and 80s they gradually became rarer and rarer. Now it's not considered a right of the consumer to have access to the details of what he's bought, but a right of the manufacturer to keep everything secret, I assume to slow down competitors and clone makers. But its also partly a technological change: what do you do to fix a 4-layer PCB with surface mount custom devices on it? Even if you had the circuit details, its pretty near impossible.

What I'd love to see would be a change back to emphasizing repairability of devices (I mean, making it a selling point that something CAN be fixed when it goes wrong instead of just being thrown away), together with the automatic right to get at least interfacing, if not internal, details of any device you buy. But since manufacturers depend on disposability to maintain sales, and have every incentive to shorten time to market, cut costs, and reduce size, and almost none to make repairability a priority, I guess this isn't likely to happen. I hope someone can prove me wrong ;-).

flamebait on
Otherwise, this lack of schematics is just one part of making information a commodity, the same as closed source software. I hope countries like Russia which still have some of the old traditions can stand up to the US and either get out of implementing the worst parts of the TRIPS agreements altogether, or at least take the least damaging interpretation of the looser clauses... But I don't think I would put any trust at all in Putin to do that given his behaviour otherwise :-(
flamebait off

Does anyone know what has actually been done in Russia regarding changes to copyright law, patent law, etc?

law in RU., posted 10 Mar 2001 at 00:23 UTC by Malx » (Journeyer)

>Does anyone know what has actually been done in Russia regarding changes to copyright law, patent law, etc?

I do not know for certain. I'm from Ukraine. Just hear about some rumors...
The have closed some of CD plants (most of them was not pirates). And have some success in pursuting schools and unprofit organizations for piracy :(

IMHO they began from video/audio pirates.

Also someone (it could be MS, or some organization developing for MS platform) have made funny anti-piracy ad -

"Computer piracy in Ukraine is agains law.
Aren't you afraid that you could be sued for using of illegal product and of being examined in court? And how about your and your firm image?
Save your company from computer piracy!".

Funny thing about this , that other poster says - "If you are using illegal software you 100% will loose your data becous of malfunction and be threaten by viruses" .... I thinks it is targeted to bosses of computer firms..... Also It is strage that company threaten their future users......

Bold term in Ukrainan means not "software you are using illegaly", but "the software which is illegal itself" :-)

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