Trying to understand what's open source and what is not

Hi All…

I am looking into building a special purpose board to collect data from a sensor network and publish it on a wifi based web site. I was thinking I could perhaps base it on the FEX Panda II, but I’m not clear on whether the design in open source or not, and what .NET drivers and apps are available for me to use. Is there a document explaining what’s available and what’s not?


Hi and welcome to the forum.

An overview of the hardware with what is open source and what is not can be found here:

All is explained here:


welcome new user ! Sorry, don’t know what else to call you until you update your profile or sign off a message :slight_smile:

As a quick intro, FeZ Panda is based on USBizi, which is a closed source chip with two different pin-counts (Panda uses USBizi100, there is also Fez Domino using USBizi144). There are open source designs for both Panda and Domino boards that you can take and enhance/modiify for your own requirements.

There really isn’t a USBizi device that can handle WiFi. These chips aren’t big enough to have enough memory to run the TCP/IP stack, so you can have either a Wiz5100 based ethernet network card plus a ethernet-to-wifi bridge ( but this is a somewhat limited solution. You might find that the RS21 solution on a more capable board or netmf chip is actually a more comprehensive solution… is the wifi module that currently works with Fez Spider (EMX module based device). Perhaps in the future this might be working with Cerb40 or the upcoming G120 - onl GHI can comment on that, but it apparently is only an SPI device (S socket) and there’s been plenty of progress in that area of the firmware for the Open Source hardware platforms.

G120 will surly support wifi, it is a premium offer.

Thanks for the info everyone…

So if I understand this right, the FEZ hardware is all open source, so I can use those designs as a starting point for my own board. Adding wifi is easy. I just need to use a wifi module like a GainSpan, H&D or Roving Networks that is an SoC and has TCP and everything else needed built on to it. I can use SPI or a UART to connect the ARM to the wifi SoC. That leaves the ARM free to run .NET and my own code, and talk to the wifi SoC using a command set.

As far as the software, I’m still a little confused. I don’t understand why some boards require the “premium” .NET library. Could I not run the open source .NET library on the Corba, for example?

Also, where are the licensing terms for the premium .NET library?

And finally, can I code to the ARM using bare metal or put something like FreeRTOS on to it? How about Linux?


Oh wait, I think I get it… I buy the SoC module that has what i need and then use it on my boards. So the cost of the SoC includes the use of the premium library.

So if the G120 module supports wifi, do you mean by use of an additional wifi module or is it built on to the G120? Is TCP implemented on the wifi module or does the uC on the G120 handle all that?

You need g120 and wifi modules on your product but we give you open designs that use them so you can add them easily. Other products like hydra are open 100% and you do not need to buy anything from GHI if you fo not want to! But these 100% open are not premium offers.

Please take another look at the offers page.

Hi Gus, and thanks. I did take another look at the offers page. I have no objection to buying your modules if they meet my needs, and it does look like the G120 does, or will. As for the wifi portion, I am strongly leaning toward either H&D or GainSpan, which I can talk to using SPI or a UART.

Are the “common designes” you referred to posted on your web site, or are they available elsewhere?

Finally, I am still confused about the licensing of the premium library. How does that work?

Premium library is free. I suggest you call GHI and we will happily explain all details.

The Premium library only comes on certain chips and modules. So you buy that module, and it comes with GHI’s premium library. That’s USBizi, ChipworkX, and EMX today, and G120 soon. Basically the code GHI develop is on those modules, and preloaded is the only way to get that capability.

Open design for the EMX module can be the Cobra. Check out the catalog page and then downloads tab, you’ll find the downloadable design files in eagle format.

USBizi100 reference design is the Panda II at
USBizi144 reference design is the Domino
ChipWorkX reference design is the ChipworkX devsys, although I don’t explicitly see a design file there (given it’s actually a DIMM module that may not be overly relevant anyway).

Ah, the premium library is embedded! Now I get it, thanks!

And thank you for the other links, I’ll check all that out this weekend.