AN OPEN SOURCE HARDWARE (OSHW) group has published an updated draft definition. It has issued version 0.3 to give developers guidelines when evaluating licenses for OSHW.
Like open source software, OSHW companies design products with an open license. Anyone can download and share their code, CAD files, circuit layouts and schematics. This means other companies as well as geeky boys and girls can mod and share the results.
While there are many ways to interpret open source hardware, the OSHW group wants to make it more concrete with the 0.3 draft definition. The current update is based on the draft OSHW definition 0.2 but has been tweaked with ideas from another OSHW group, the TAPR Open Hardware Licence.
Version 0.3 has 11 points for OSHW gurus to observe in order to ensure that they're following the right criteria to develop a hardware licence. The hardware must now be released with all the necessary documentation, software and derived works, and it has to be redistributable for free.
The licence must attribute original developers and must not be discriminatory against groups or fields of endeavour. The rights attached to the hardware must apply to all and the license must not be specific to a product or restricted with respect to other hardware or software. It must also be technology neutral.
The draft comes with a long list of OSHW signatories who have endorsed it.
Timing for this stamp of approval is good. We already reported back in May that it is possible to make money from open source hardware projects. Thirteen companies worldwide have already made millions from their OSHW work, and it is set to be a billion dollar industry by 2015. µ
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