Quote from obarthelemy on September 22, 2011, 21:30
Actually, it may not be a bad thing for people to make money off their jobs ^^
Absolutely it is not a bad thing! However beagleboard.org is interesting as (I believe - it certainly used to be true, but may have changed) all the Texas Instruments (TI) guys that work on beagleboard.org also have day jobs.
beagleboard.org started off as a TI skunkworks project by one of the lead Engineers to try and increase the popularity of their OMAP processor line by reducing the barrier to entry, in the hope that this would lead to more, successful, high volume products using the technology.
The team behind beagleboard.org understood that a small number of projects that start off as hobbyist or skunkworks R&D projects end up becoming successful high volume products. It may only be a small number that succeed, but when it comes to SoC-based projects, the volumes (and associated SoC manufacturer profits) for those that do succeed can potentially greatly outweigh the cost of supporting the skunkworks and hobbyist projects (it is also worth considering that the beagleboard design uses a number of TI-supplied parts, not just the SoC).
There are also some less tangible ecosystem benefits, such as availability of a wide number of software distributions for the OMAP and DaVinci product lines; ease of locating skilled contractors; robustness of hardware reference designs and software; and wide driver and peripheral support.
In the podcast, Jason hints at the visibility of beagleboard.org within TI now, and how it influences corporate strategic direction.
It would be interesting to know what kind of difference beagleboard.org makes to the bottom line for the the OMAP project - is it still a loss leader, or is it now a cash cow, or somewhere in between? Perhaps even TI doesn't know for certain. So its hard for me to call whether beagleboard.org pays the mortgage for those TI staff involved in the project.