We actively cultivate: Free Technology, Free Information, Free Education, Free Knowledge, Free Culture, Free Arts, etc. The goal is giving back the freedom associated with technology back into the users hands. The word "Free" here does not talk about the price, the English language has no word like the French "libre" or German "frei" which does not talk about the price of something but the liberty associated.
The freedom we endorse means that everything we create shall be free to be used for any purpose, free to be studied how it works, and free to change it, free to the redistribute copies and copies of your modified versions to others. To ensure this we release most* of our software under the GNU General Public License V3, our documentation under the Creative Commons License and the hardware under the Cern Open Hardware License.
Why open only "most" and not everything?
We have to accept, that circumstances have arisen when a 100% open practice is not possible.
As an example, certain elements in our hardware are not open and we have been required to sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) with the manufacturing companies in order to purchase their chips and receive accompanying documentation. The NDA prevents us from sharing this documentation. For some interfaces we have to use proprietary protocols which we can also not disclose in the code (eg. “industry standard” but proprietary battery communication protocols).
Be as open as possible, only close what is absolutely necessary.
We are establishing apertus° as a business to act in the interests of the global apertus° community. This business needs to attain a fair profit in order to survive and provide the community with new long term possibilities and security.
Due to our own experience with related open hardware businesses, we are hesitant towards giving others the ability to sell cheap clones of our hardware without helping us recoup nonrecurring-engineering (NRE) costs or valuing our philosophy (eg. employing fair labour and using eco friendly “green” materials). Open hardware is a new way of doing business and there is little international experience in this field as of 2013. New ideas and approaches must be invented to deal with this. We are open to any contribution that might help here. Please join the discussion and provide additional input.
The DIY Spirit
apertus° started in the garages and workshops of a handful of enthusiasts who built parts for their own apertus° camera prototypes. They then shared images and plans of their camera rigs with the community and others joined in to improve them or make their own variations. This was the beginning of the apertus° project as we know it today.
Maintaining the DIY spirit by the apertus° pioneers we still share our designs and ideas with the community but instead of individual garage-solutions we now distribute professional 3D CAD drawings of our parts that can be manufactured at a local fab lab or by a professional manufacturing facility.
We accept our responsibility!
For a sustainable present and future!
- We will focus on that no toxic chemicals will be used in our manufacturing and assembly process as hazard to our workers and the environment. A policy of constant supervision will be put in place when the construction of our products has actually begun and we are choosing manufactures that follows these rules.
- Reuse instead of reproduce. We will make sure all our parts/products will be properly recyclable and if not otherwise possible properly disposable.
Think Globally, Act Locally!
- We try to use local facilities and services wherever possible. Bringing the final product closer to its end users also reduces carbon emissions.
- We endorse fair labor. We do everything we can to make sure people are not exploited when working for us so we will elect companies that endorse fair labor as contractors. This also means Fair Trade.
What we care about:
Why Open Source Matters!
OK lets be honest who in the film industry cares about something being "open source"?
Unfortunately: hardly anyone. But everyone should. They don't know what they are missing!
Consider "Open Source" to be like an App-Market (Apple Appstore or Android Play Market) where everything is free and extensible. Just download new software or hardware features to your camera. Anyone can develop new apps or improve existing ones. Everyone benefits! That summarizes what free software and open hardware is all about.
We mean ‹free› as in ‹free speech›, not ‹free beer›!
Although, we have nothing against the concept of free beer
This is not limited to classic accessories. Extendability ranges from simply changing the background color of a graphical user interface to your favorite one to completely revamping something for a purpose it was not originally intended to.
Always Together - Never Alone!
Just imagine the manufacturer of a device you rely on in your every day work goes bankrupt. There are no repairs, no replacements, no support from now on anymore. You’re screwed. With an open and free product that can never happen. Any other company can continue to support the product or offer services around the original product or even start production itself. In addition there is always a community around an open source product that can support each or improve the product independent of the company associated with a product.
Especially in a creative branch like the cinema industry its all about doing things that people have not seen before. You need to amaze your audience with a new story, unseen perspectives, incredible images or special effects. Working with tools that allow you to expand your possibilities rather than limiting them is therefore essential.
With an open hardware product its rather difficult to rip off people - by design. If you do try to charge much more than the value of a product someone else will just start to produce and sell it as well for less. So with open hardware you add transparency to the price of a product that ensures you always pay a fair price.
With a proprietary closed source product the company that creates the product is the sole entity in power of its owned products. When the device does not work the only one who can now turn your product healthy again is the manufacturer. You are at the full mercy of the manufacturer. What do you do if the manufacturer does not care about your problems? Openness shifts power to the user. It guarantees a customer that he really “owns” what he paid for. The company transferred “ownership” to its customers giving them full control and full power over their devices. And this control is not just a temporary offer this control is eternal and irrevocable.
Sharing is cool
We are not a religion but still we believe in the "spirit" of sharing. There can't be anything wrong with that, can it?
Regular Release Cycle
Any good software — whether Open Source or not — will involve updates, refinements and the release of newer versions. As technology evolves, Open Source software can easily survive and be ported to new environments.
Open Source software has a tradition of involving its community in beta testing and trying prerelease software so of course this impression of unfinished software can manifest itself easily in contrast to closed source software that nobody can look at until it has already completed a long list of internal iterations and is officially released to the general public by its creators.
Modern User Interface
Android, Ardour, Audacity, Blender, Chrome, Darktable, Firefox, Gimp, Inkscape, Open Street Maps and/or Processing are all open source software and at the edge of providing us with a modern tidy convinient graphical user interface.
The Open Source movement was started by programmers who saw function before form. So naturally they spent their efforts on creating new functionality not improving existing functionalities visual presentation. Now that the open source movement has spread into many more professions and is now being carried by a huge community of visual artists and designers Open Source has arrived in whole new level of visual language that is defining the future of graphics design.
Did you know that the infrastructure behind Google and Facebook runs on Open Source technology? Read this ZDNet article.
NASA uses the Linux operating system (Open Source), both in space and on earth bound missions. Yes, critical Mission Control tools used for controlling
orbital satellites worth billions are based around Open Source code.
Organizing Open Source Efforts at NASA.
NASA Open Source Code repository.
Wordpress is the most popular content management system for websites and blogging. It is also entirely Open Source. In 2011, it has been evaluated that 22% of any new domain created in the US uses Wordpress (See this TechCrunch article).
Open Source has expanded from highly specialized areas like web servers and scientific applications into everyday use from web browsers to media players, and has also adapted its usability to meet the needs of a broader audience. Because Open Source doesn't hide it's more specialized software from the general public, people still see the interfaces for scientists or server administrators that are full of cryptic number/symbol columns and associate this with open source software only.
Or we could tell you that even Apple, that so many people think as the completely cool stuff, uses Open Source massively in Mac OSX. Yes, you under your Mac, you are using Open Source right now, and you don't know it! Are you a nerd?
Windows users too, did you know that Microsoft gets more and more interested in OpenSource every year?
The open source movement definitely started with the geeks, nerds and programmers, but these times are long over... loooooong over.
Sometimes some software editors release figures about their security fixes, where we can see for instance how Mozilla is about 3 times faster than Microsoft to fix a security issue which has been disclosed: Washington Post Article.
All this is not the fresher news, but unfortunately most proprietary software releases very scarce, partial or biased figures. And this last point — called "security by obscurity" — is the worst problem for security. Because while users might feel safer because big companies would rarely admit their bugs, unless when it is too late (which is when malevolent people already exploited them massively), they are actually simply vulnerable much longer. Indeed if you think that "not speaking of a vulnerability means it does not exist", then why hurry to fix what does not exist? This is most proprietary software editor's politics. And this is also how, for instance in 2006, whereas Mozilla Firefox was considered critically unsafe (time before which a known critical security flaw is fixed) for 9 days, Internet Explorer has been considered unsafe for... 284 days Another Washington Post Article.
Company Backed Efforts
While it’s true that many people develop Open Source software in their free time because they love their work and like to create awesome programs, many people are also paid to develop Open Source Software. As mentioned earlier, Wordpress for instance is a huge deal. It is backed by a company, (Automattic) and many people are working with/for Wordpress daily.
If we go more on the system side, people working with Linux are also hugely requested, as this shows 2012 Linux Jobs Report. Reports about the share of developers of Linux itself are released every year, there we can see for instance that in 2012, 800 companies participated. And believe it or not, 75% of all Linux developers are paid to do so. A real salary, monthly, not as a hobby. At the top of companies who hire developers to work on the Linux kernel, we find Red Hat, Intel, Novel, IBM, Texas Instrument, Broadcom, Nokia, Samsung, Oracle and Google. If you’ve heard of them, you’ll know they’re not in it for the fun.
We could go on and on, for instance with the Apache Foundation (whose main software, also called Apache is by far the most widely used web server on the Internet), backed up by pretty big names, but we'll leave you to do the research.
Communism? Commercial Application!
In fact the very term “Open Source” is designed to highlight how for-profit companies can benefit from it. By working together where there are common interests, different groups can become more productive. This way, they can reduce costs by not reinventing the wheel. Open Source lets individuals and companies alike reuse existing tools for already solved parts and focus their efforts on unique and new problems. Open Source can be a great source of competitive advantage, while making everyone more productive. Often, it’s easier to build on a shared base and contribute one’s improvements back than keeping them private or starting from scratch, which is why Open Source works: many willing parties working together often for their own personal benefit.
Google on their whole infrastructure, IBM, NASA on flying spaceships, more than 70 % of web servers in the world (Apache and nginx), 22% of new websites in US (Wordpress), 75 % of smart-phone users (Android) are relying on Open Source Software. The Blender foundation created several open movies entirely with Open Source Software (the above image shows their Mango Open Movie Project: "Tears of Steel").