Open source hardware defined by credit

Open source hardware defined by credit

Summary: The idea is that innovations should build communities, innovators should get credit, but that the innovations themselves should be available. Just as with open source.

SHARE:
8

A "gold" (Version 1.1) definition of Open Source Hardware has been released, and it's pretty interesting.

While open source software is mainly defined by usage rights, it seems, open source hardware is defined in large part by credit.

(Shown is an Adafruit starter kit, from Adafruit.com. Think of them as the Heathkit of the new age. If you're really clever you can be the Steve Jobs of open source hardware. Or at least the Ed Roberts.)

Of course, open source hardware as a class is nowhere near where software is. The effort spearheaded by Wired magazine editor Chris Anderson, Phil Torrone of Make, David Mellis of MIT Media Lab, Limor Fried of Adafruit and Ayah Bdeir of Eyebeam is only setting standards for what will become open source hardware licenses.

They're at the Tim O'Reilly, Eric Raymond, and Richard Stallman stage of open source. And perhaps in keeping with this the first Open Source Hardware Summit will be held September 23 at the New York Hall of Science on the grounds of the old World's Fair. (Mets game afterward optional -- I'm hoping the Braves will have clinched by then.)

As Daniel Terdiman notes over at CNET, this is well overdue, because open source hardware companies are actually starting to make some money.

The group acted in part because open source hardware has been moving in a FOSS direction. Right now someone could take a design from say, Adafruit, produce a clone, and Adafruit would see nothing from it.

The idea is that innovations should build communities, innovators should get credit, but that the innovations themselves should be available. Just as with open source.

Right now hardware is very much stuck at the patent office. People can't see something new, often, until the government has a copy and has begun the long drawn-out process of protecting the invention. The hope is that, with standards and eventually licenses, open source hardware can move more quickly.

It's a wonderful dream. Can it become reality?

Topics: Hardware, Open Source

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

8 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • RE: Open source hardware defined by credit

    "The group acted in part because open source hardware has been moving in a FOSS direction. Right now someone could take a design from say, Adafruit, produce a clone, and Adafruit would see nothing from it."<br><br>You don't getting it. FOSS and open source are same things. What you are trying to bash is GPL, but you are failing. <br><br>Furthermore, reason why GPL does not work for hardware is because finalized product (chip, circuit board, etc) can not be copyrighted, so it can't get counted as derivative work of GPL'd verilog code. Sun releases UltraSPARC T1 and T2 under GPL, but GPL defectively makes redistributors of verilog code to opensource their modifications, but distributors didn't had any reason to give verilog code to customers who buy chips becase chips are not considered to be derivative work of the design... by copyright law. That would make it work like BSD license if they company has to use foundy like TSMC and does not have its own fabs.

    But OpenCores are releasing OpenRISC 1000 under LGPL,

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OpenRISC
    gnufreex
    • Open source and FOSS are not the same thing

      @gnufreex That's the first lecture I got on taking this beat, directly from Richard Stallman himself. The whole point of open source is distinct from GNU.
      DanaBlankenhorn
      • RE: Open source hardware defined by credit

        Yes but but GPL defectively makes redistributors of verilog code to opensource their modifications, but distributors didn't had any reason to give verilog code to customers who buy chips becase chips are not considered to be derivative work of the<a <div href="http://www.fromgaza.com/"><font color="light&height"> home</font></a> of google update <a <div href="http://www.billdavisphotography.com/"><font color="light&height">site</font></a> compare with linux <a <div href="http://www.logmyblog.net/"><font color="light&height">contact site</font></a> from another big company <a <div href="http://www.sponsoredfan.com/"><font color="light&height">website</font></a> which upgrade always <a <div href="http://www.yadiario.com/"><font color="light&height">home page</font></a> is the best design.
        zdnet lover
      • RE: Open source hardware defined by credit

        Whoever<a href="http://www.pulloutthepin.com/"><font color="light&amp;height"> about it</font></a> is bank that <a href="http://pvcentral.net/"><font color="light&amp;height">website</font></a> attacked from the <a href="http://tvprimavera.com/"><font color="light&amp;height">site support</font></a> from any soldier <a href="http://www.acaciathorns.net/"><font color="light&amp;height">site</font></a> to the light <a href="http://www.shufflelovers.com/"><font color="light&amp;height">home page</font></a> is great
        zdnet lover
      • RE: Open source hardware defined by credit

        Totaly first lecture<a <div href="http://www.mechamochi.com/"><font color="light&amp;height"> home</font></a> of google update <a <div href="http://www.ittot.us/"><font color="light&amp;height">site</font></a> compare with linux <a <div href="http://www.doubletapblog.com/"><font color="light&amp;height">contact site</font></a> from another big company <a <div href="http://www.nelotteryapps.com/"><font color="light&amp;height">website</font></a> which upgrade always <a <div href="http://www.virgo-blackstilettos.com/"><font color="light&amp;height">home page</font></a> is the best
        zdnet lover
    • RE: Open source hardware defined by credit

      The idea is that innovations should build<a href="http://www.pulloutthepin.com/"><font color="light&amp;height"> about it</font></a> is bank that <a href="http://pvcentral.net/"><font color="light&amp;height">website</font></a> attacked from the <a href="http://tvprimavera.com/"><font color="light&amp;height">site support</font></a> from any soldier <a href="http://www.acaciathorns.net/"><font color="light&amp;height">site</font></a> to the light <a href="http://www.shufflelovers.com/"><font color="light&amp;height">home page</font></a> is great communities
      musdahi
      • RE: Open source hardware defined by credit

        CNET, this is well overdue, because open source hardware companies are actually starting to make some<a <div href="http://www.mechamochi.com/"><font color="light&amp;height"> home</font></a> of google update <a <div href="http://www.ittot.us/"><font color="light&amp;height">site</font></a> compare with linux <a <div href="http://www.doubletapblog.com/"><font color="light&amp;height">contact site</font></a> from another big company <a <div href="http://www.nelotteryapps.com/"><font color="light&amp;height">website</font></a> which upgrade always <a <div href="http://www.virgo-blackstilettos.com/"><font color="light&amp;height">home page</font></a> is the best money.
        Juliety
      • RE: Open source hardware defined by credit

        but GPL defectively makes redistributors of verilog code to opensource their modifications, but distributors didn't had any reason to give verilog code to customers who buy chips becase chips are not considered to be derivative work of the<a <div href="http://www.fromgaza.com/"><font color="light&amp;height"> home</font></a> of google update <a <div href="http://www.billdavisphotography.com/"><font color="light&amp;height">site</font></a> compare with linux <a <div href="http://www.logmyblog.net/"><font color="light&amp;height">contact site</font></a> from another big company <a <div href="http://www.sponsoredfan.com/"><font color="light&amp;height">website</font></a> which upgrade always <a <div href="http://www.yadiario.com/"><font color="light&amp;height">home page</font></a> is the best design.
        zdnet lover