Has anyone seen the bhoreal grid controller?

  • http://goteo.org/project/bhoreal/

    looks interesting

    still can't beat an honest to goodness monome

  • i do wish it were more original, but 250 euros seems like a pretty good price.

  • I saw that too. Aren't there a ton of open source arduinome things out there already? It also looks huuuge as shit.
    For that price you can buy a couple launchpads!

  • they're running boiing at the very start of the video....

    saw that the "pro" version is wireless with an internal battery?

  • arduinomes don't come with a nice case. that's a a big plus for this. sparkfun buttons are ass though.

  • Does the "pro" version come in kit form?

    (The "pre-assembled and ready to use" versions, unless they're being sold at cost, violate monome's non-commercial license, and presumably octinct's as well)

    That last point's in debate over here:

  • how does this violate monome's license?

  • bleh i would never buy a launchpad over an OSC device. looks a little "knockoffish" to me. (plz excuse my diction) although im always in support of those that allow their users to modify the uses of the device. i like how the original link has non econmic needs as well. to allow for early release app and user development. good idea.

    @greater than i was hoping for kit versions :/

    PS. aesthetically reminds me of "apple" if you know what i mean.

  • @salamanderanagram,

    Short version:

    It's built up from Octinct, which was built up from Arduinome, which was built up from Monome's published source files. Monome's files specified a non-commercial license. As did Arduinome, to avoid running afoul of that. As did Octinct at the time Alex Posada took that project over from unsped. Alex helped develop bhoreal. So, bhoreal is tainted by exposure.

    Slightly longer version:

    "BHOREAL is inspired by Arduinome, the Arduino version of Monome controller, and it is an evolution of Octinct, a review of Arduinome replacing the monochrome LED with RGB LEDs."

    So, let's trace back a step, to the Octinct it evolved from.

    Alex Posada writes:
    "Ours first prototypes were based on the unsped's and Jonathan Guberman (original developper) PCB"

    Again, you should recognize Alex's name from the bhoreal team listing:
    (bottom of the page)

    So now, if you follow back to unsped's Octinct project, you see this:
    "The Octinct is free for non-commercial purposes, with the understanding that you will have the pcb's made domestically wherever that may be in the spirit of monome.org"

    And of course, unsped's name is synonymous with Arduinome, as his shield design is used in nearly all of them.

    "The plans for the Arduinome are released under an open source, non-commercial use only license."

    ...which was pretty much out of respect for this:

    "all source materials strictly for non-commercial use only."

    Or here, if you prefer:
    "all source materials strictly for non-commercial use only. e-mail tehn@monome.org with questions or discussion. we are reasonable people."


    Monome probably doesn't own the idea of arranging buttons in an 8x8 grid, but they do own their source files, both for the firmware and the printed circuits. Those files come with a license agreement.

    Now, we have ways around that. Run a quick search for the rules of reverse engineering; it's pretty much that. your team simply needs to develop their product without any exposure to the original material, nor to any derivative materials which carry the same license. And especially not to a project whose lineage traces directly back here.

    Alex worked on Octinct before helping to develop bhoreal. Bhoreal thus fails that test.

    Which leaves one final way that selling bhoreal could be legit: if they got permission from Brian to sell it.

    I'm guessing they didn't ask him. If they did, and he gave his blessing, they'd have mentioned that...


    That's where I'm coming from, anyway.

    I don't have a lot of details as to what is or isn't allowed with the license. (vague memory from other threads: It seems to allow distribution in kit form, though even there, I want to say the user is expected to source their own components unless it's a group building theirs together as part of a workshop. I feel like some of our group buys were on shaky ground with that, and that it specifically came up during the Starfire debacle)

    I also know that if you announce on this forum that you're buying or selling a PICnome, you'll hear all about it.

  • Anyway, this well-edited advertising with a pretty girl showing the brand new bhoreal doesn't seem very 'open source' to me....

  • I'm not trying to start a witch-hunt but it seems exceedingly disrespectful, at the very least, for them to not have even acknowledged Brian and Kelli's work in laying the groundwork for this concept... The only reason I can see for not doing so is because they know they've gone against the terms of the monome license and how much of their design is based upon that foundation.

    I'll hang back and wait to see what Brian has to say about it before completely condemning bhoreal as an illegitimate rip-off. I'm hoping that we're wrong and that the monome license hasn't been violated and, if applicable, Brian and Kelli are getting, or will get, the acknowledgement and credit they are due.


    If all is legit, then the bhoreal coming onto the market, with what looks like a decent sized production house behind it, could be a very good thing for the world of grid controllers and open source hardware in general, opening the doorway wider for more exposure, adoption and development.

    The price point and the fact the bhoreal is RGB is potentially damaging to future sales of monome, but monome has such a head start, with the numerous apps, this community and a pedigree already established, that hopefully the status as the best and original is safe and will continue to be held in wide regard. Perhaps monome will become the premiere open source controller, in some regard, like a collectable guitar or analog synth.

    And to give bhoreal a little credit, the pre-built model is a nice looking design, very sleek.

  • They do acknowledge it.

    "BHOREAL is inspired by Arduinome, the Arduino version of Monome controller"

    Right there on the front page.

    Again, Brian generally doesn't seem to have a problem with kit distribution (within certain restrictions -- including the enclosures may or may not be an issue). It's only the pre-built units I'm calling out.

  • mm, that doesn't seem too convincing an argument to me, but not knowing the ins and outs of the legalities, my opinion doesn't count for much.

    what you seem to be saying is that anybody who has ever made an arduinome can't develop their own commercial grid controller. i don't really think that holds up, personally.

    now, if the boards they use clearly rip off the arduinome or monome files, you have a different story.

  • quickly:

    i wasn't contacted.

    the conviction that they're going to make their own user community is a strange promise.

    i'm wondering if they're using a variant of serialosc.

    the whole "non-commercial" clause for me is not trying to prevent innovation. it's to dissuade people from starting little businesses built on our work, that burden us and this community quite directly. ie providing support. it will happen.

    RGB grid controllers have been on the market for quite a while now. i wouldn't call this a sufficient innovation to merit some sort of differentiation. also i haven't seen a compelling use case for RGB short of clip launching-- everything else is glitz. this said, ableton is doing a terrific job developing controllers that match their software.

    these maker-DIY ventures to clone everything is a bit disappointing-- all that effort could go towards exploring new ground. this isn't about legality. i didn't get a patent on purpose. this is about worthwhile energy. and maybe respect.

    that said, i have better things to do than worry about this. ie. ezra is here. and i imagine you all do as well-- go make something beautiful. ok bye.

  • bhoreal does seem like a huge waste. nothing new here. regarding use cases for RGB beyond clip launching, this-


  • My skin crawls when I hear of companies blatantly stealing work the work of people devoted to the open source idea. It's especially grating and disingenuous when it's all packaged and polished into a slick promo video that feels like you're watching a commercial for a car manufacturer. At least it's comforting to think of Brian and Ezra creating something that companies like this can't even imagine.

  • I had almost forgotten about the monome/ezra project

    I wonder when we will here something about it

  • thanks tehn, very good to hear that spirit called out explicitly. Thats exactly how to compete here in the future. Be efficient. Devote your effort towards pushing things forward. Succeed by amazing people.

  • "i'm wondering if they're using a variant of serialosc."

    for better or worse, the licenses of both serialosc and libmonome permit this.

  • far for the better is the support and enthusiasm of the monome community. If these other folks want to put time into building and supporting their own analog, then well to the good. If not, then well...what good is another bunch of buttons? ;D

  • @visinin: yes, and i'm glad for this. more just curious about guiding principles.

  • chapelier fou: the "pretty girl" is one of the most prolific activists for netlabels, experimental radio, organizer of festivals etc. in Barcelona. Bad luck she isn't a bearded nerd and lost her credibility by good looking.

  • @pepezabala - I think that @chapelier fou's issue was with the style of the video, not the pretty girl herself.

    In a world where we're bombarded with "slick" it's easy to end up being cynical against anything the slightest bit slick.

    And what are you saying about bearded nerds? @tehn hasn't lost an ounce of credibility by looking that good.

  • let's get off the attack train, there's no need. to be clear i'm not upset by this development and don't intend to inspire a backlash. it's simply not worth the energy.

  • I suddenly feel inadequate at sporting the thin, bald moby look. Beards are in?