This article is part of the TechXchange: Embedded Open-Source Solutions.
There's a revolution going on in the electronic design space, driven by disruptive advances in core technologies at almost every level, from materials to topologies to software and methodologies. Integrating the most appropriate technologies to address an issue and optimizing the resulting design is a significant effort, expending a tremendous amount of time and resources to accomplish.
Creating advanced embedded solutions to address the latest applications in today’s design environment can be a daunting task. It's complicated and compounded by various industry needs, regulatory demands, and market compliance.
To address these complex issues during the early years of software development, programmers would often share software to learn from one another and grow the field of computer programming. Organizations like the Free Software Foundation (which evolved into the Open Source Initiative) and open-source software projects like Mozilla Firefox helped designers with tough development issues and fomented best practices in the industry.
Those organizations were joined by communities of Makers, semi-pros, and engineering developers like SparkFun, Kitspace, and Fritzing. More groups that grew to support the open-source development world included the Linux Foundation, the Android Open Source Project, and others.
Hardware Joins the Fray
The hardware side of the open-source community came from hardware projects like Arduino and Raspberry Pi, promoted and supported by a community consisting of people from every walk of life, from hobbyists and students to professional designers and engineers around the world. Such Maker-rich environments have been recently supplemented by organizations promoting open-source embedded electronic engineering development, like the RISC-V microcontroller ecosystem and the LoRaWAN IoT infrastructure community.
These and related open-source development communities can assist in aggregating and integrating the various sets of IP that you need to create your own solution for any given application, with support and information to help you achieve your goals. Open-source engineering development may not be for everyone, but it may be for you.
Read more articles in the TechXchange: Embedded Open-Source Solutions.