The definition of "open" in the realm of hardware and software has a long and contentious history. The goal for the Parallella hardware project is to set a new standard for open collaboration on a global scale. Here is a summary of the steps the tean has taken so far in terms of "open" and "free" hardware to date:
1. Open Documentation:
2. Open Source Software and Hardware:
Initially the plan was to only release the design files after the Parallella board had reached production status. This way the team would have the flexibility to make changes up to the last minute and they could "look professional" in the process. Holding early and formal design reviews with a select few critical colleagues is a necessity. The thought of sharing a potentially inadequate design with the whole world just seemed too painful.
The team is now quite happy with the state of the Parallella design and they could really use a few thousand sets of eyes to review the design and make it perfect. The team has a small window to make changes to the design before the design files have to ship off to the factory. Today the team begins the process of converting the Parallella into a true community based project. The team looks forward to your feedback and criticism. Any constructive feedback will serve to make the project better.
More information is available at http://www.parallella.org/2013/06/29/parallella-open-source-hardware/