Open Source Hardware Definition released, first Open Hardware Summit in NYC, Sept 23

The Open Source Hardware folks are making progress toward a unified movement. Today, they announced the first public draft of the "Open Source Hardware Definition" (mirroring OSI's Open Source Definition, which sets limits on what is and isn't open), and announced the first Open Hardware Summit in NYC for Sept 23.
Open Source Hardware (OSHW) is a term for tangible artifacts -- machines, devices, or other physical things -- whose design has been released to the public in such a way that anyone can make, modify, distribute, and use those things. This definition is intended to help provide guidelines for the development and evaluation of licenses for Open Source Hardware.

It is important to note that hardware is different from software in that physical resources must always be committed for the creation of physical goods. Accordingly, persons or companies producing items ("products") under an OSHW license have an obligation not to imply that such products are manufactured, sold, warrantied, or otherwise sanctioned by the original designer and also not to make use of any trademarks owned by the original designer.

The distribution terms of Open Source Hardware must comply with the following criteria:

Open Source Hardware Definition

Open Hardware Summit

(Thanks, PT!)


  1. there is still hope for humans!!! aaaaand one more thing: google to stay not evil and we will gonna conquer space:)

  2. Gee, I seem to have written most of that definition. It would have been nice if they’d cited me. – Bruce Perens

    1. hey bruce, you’re linked (TAPR) on the first sentence of the page.

      “OSHW Draft Definition 0.3 is based on the Open Source Definition for Open Source Software and draft OSHW definition 0.2, further incorporating ideas from the ***TAPR Open Hardware License***. ”

      would you like this to say anything more?

  3. There’s also a community (mailing list) for open source hardware that readers might be interested in pursuing called open manufacturing. From time to time there are some particularly interesting discussions listed here.

    – Bryan

  4. “The indented, italicized sections below appear as annotations to the Open Source Definition”

    Are these the ‘Rationale:’ parts? They’re not italicized or indented for me.

  5. What’s the difference between this and the Open Design Definition drafted in 2000?

    I don’t get how open design and open source hardware are different. I originally thought the latter was a subset of the former, more focused on electronic hardware, but this definition covers “machines, devices, or other physical things”

Comments are closed.