Congratz on being slashdotted

Wolfgang Spraul wolfgang at sharism.cc
Sat Jun 5 23:46:14 EDT 2010


Christopher,

> http://www.sparkfun.com/datasheets/Components/LD1117V33.pdf
> 
> The diagram on page 1 of this spec sheet shows the behavior of this common
> voltage regulator part. I assume the diagram itself isn't copyrighted or
> restricted for redistribution or modification, which would make it fit my
> idea of "copyleft".

I'd say a good test is whether an easily replacable regulator exists from
another, financially independent company. So that the two manufacturers are
only connected through the free knowledge they are sharing, but not through
patents or copyrights that one is licensing to the other under whatever
terms.

The hardware industry is very tricky on those things, some components are
adding mechanical 'hoops' only for the purpose of patenting that hoop.
Unfortunately under political pressure every trivial nonsense passes patent
examination so this system just perfectly makes sense. The result is that
components are hard to change, and there is no alternative for that
overpriced part because the way it is built is patented.
We are (also work-in-progress) replacing all such parts with ones that are
made without these kinds of proprietary intellectual property tricks.

Whether this regulator falls in one category or the other I wouldn't know
right away. If there is a drop-in replacement for it, at least another
company can make the same thing, hopefully only using freely available
knowledge.

Wolfgang




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