Will Atreus be open hardware?

Hi folks, I backed the Atreus on Kickstarter and I can’t wait to receive it :slight_smile:

I want to support open hardware whenever possible, and I am doing my best to prioritize open hardware with my purchasing power. We cannot continue with our disposable culture if the next generation is to inherit a livable world. Open hardware has strong advantages when maintaining/repairing technology, especially if your company should go out of business or stop supporting old products. It also drives modification+innovation and empowers people to take true ownership of their tools. (I’ve been considering modifying my Planck EZ to try out stenography with the open source Plover software, for instance. https://www.openstenoproject.org/ )

I saw this thread about the model 01: https://community.keyboard.io/t/is-m01-open-source-hardware/ Naturally I’d like the model 01 to be as open hardware as possible, but it’s certainly less relevant to me as I do not anticipate owning one (although I might order a model 100 in the future).

Do you intend to release the hardware design files for the Atreus under an open license? Might you pursue OSHWA certification? Is there anything I can do to encourage you to go further and push the envelope in terms of open hardware? I am speaking both in terms of money and volunteering my time/energy. I will be asking competitors such as ZSA (the new Moonlander looks sexy!) and System76 (they’re working on a keyboard) the same question :slight_smile:

Well, as far as I know, Atreus IS an open-hardware keyboard :tada:.

You can find all the technical stuffs (including Kicad PCB, parametric case to tweak the hardware, and original firmware and the QMK fork) and even a build logs with users experiences…

The Keyboard.io Atreus is made from there, using Kaleidoscope for the firmware, and Chrysalis has a graphical configurator (both softwares under GPL-3.0 License).

For Plover, the Steno plugin seems to already be part of it (I wish to try it too… one day !).

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Thank you for the info, I will read through these links. One thing that was not immediately clear to me was whether Keyboardio’s version was different in any significant way from other versions of the Atreus, such as the “classic Atreus”. One difference mentioned is

but each of the Matias switches in the classic Atreus has its own separate spring. The Keyboardio Atreus uses swappable Kailh key switches.

Of course, so long as the Keyboardio version is fully documented, the existence of other Atreus versions is not a concern.

This also does not answer my question about the possibility of OSHWA certification. Certainly one can make open hardware without getting it certified, but if you’ve already put in all of the work to make it open hardware, why not go one step further?

I have tried finding that info on the OSHWA website but I couldn’t.

What benefit does it have to go that extra step and do the extra effort to get a certification?

As far as I can tell, being a company that does open source well enough is - good enough for end users and the certification seems unnecessary and not worth any amount of additional effort.

Maybe I am missing or not understanding something.


I think they answer this question pretty clearly on the Basics and FAQ pages, but to summarize, they are an independent organization checking that a manufacturer is following the open source hardware definition. This means that everyone who has a certification means the same thing when they say that their product is open hardware. Otherwise, different companies, even if they are acting in good faith, could have different standards for what constitutes open hardware, confusing end users.

We have seen many efforts in the past to water down the definitions of free software and open source software and make them meaningless terms. In the food industry, we’ve seen similar assaults on words like “organic”, and it is not guaranteed that those words will continue to be meaningful. It takes a great deal of work to uphold standards, and while any individual farmer could save time and money by not certifying their food as organic, in the long run the industry and the people could suffer if people don’t trust it to stand for anything. I think this is a greater threat for open hardware, because it is a relatively new concept; most end users are not familiar with open hardware and have not encountered open hardware products in the wild. I believe that upholding a strong definition of open hardware is worth the effort.