Open Source License
Open Source for Hardware: Normal or New?
Is 'Open Source' hardware development something new or something normal? Sadly it the first. Hardware development, even when many have anonymously participated in it, still needs a costly legal protection if it should be kept in the realm of Open Source. Reason is that every follow-up step in design or development can otherwise be claimed as Intellectual Property of the person who made that last step. Thereby blocking freely accessible further development in Open Source by others.
The GNU-approach of giving a free licence "but-only-if-it-will-cover-all-added-changes" seems NOT to be applicable to hardware. Hardware licensing seems to be the realm of patents and patents are impractical, do not do what licensing could do and are too costly.
But of course, Open Source hardware development done in cooperation with others and without any property claims is as old as mankind. So it is really the most normal thing. Hardware development then was just a part of culture and that is what it should become again.
Reason to welcome attention given to its legal and practical aspects. The below shown links are related to this subject. Some more is to be found at web pages on Open Source hardware development, their URL's printed below.
- Demotech's involvement in Open Source hardware development:
- Design Science Licence
- A contribution of Arnoud Engelfriet, as he mailed to Demotech (10/20/03). The following sites refer to 'Open Source' Hardware. Most of the information is about electronic hardware and its development.
- The OS Car?-project is closer to Open Source hardware development - not an electronic design, but a car! . To get a PDF download on Oscar, click here.
- The Megasquirt Open Source development of the computer control module for the fuel injection for almost any engine. Now on second version. Many features, including ignition control, added. Many success stories. (Yes, this replaces the ECM on your car or motorcycle, whether your have a BMW, a Ford 460, or a 1 cylinder motorcycle.) basic site: http://www.bgsoflex.com/megasquirt.html discussion at:http://www.msefi.com
- The OAP Open Source development of a robot. The base is in production and several circuit boards have been made available. It is successful and is growing.
Better licenses to promote Open Source development in the field of hardware and crafts?
We should be looking for licences that better cover the commercial use of information presented as Open Source hardware. The below URL's contain a similar trail of thought.