Open source software is just a step in the evolution of technology. It has now reached maturity. The next logical step is opening the designs of hardware OSS. Open Design Hardware can extend the capabilities of open source software, and vice versa. Furthermore, the two together puts powerful technology in the hands of people for whom it would be otherwise inaccessible.
One somewhat unique aspect of our design philosophy is our belief that functionality should be taken out of hardware as much as possible and put into software. Software is easier to mass produce than hardware. This can simplify hardware design and make it less expensive, easier to manufacture, more compact, etc. While microcontrollers have a well established place in automation applications, they also have drawbacks. By using a Linux computer for a majority of code execution, the designer is not limited to a small collection of programming languages nor is their program complexity limited by flash ROM size. This also simplifies integrating multiple devices in an automation system by centralizing data acquisition, storage, and processing. Using a well established platform with a vast, open source code base simplifies integrating an automation system with a user interface, networking, output devices, and other applications such as database and web.