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08 July 2011, 11:24

CERN launches Open Hardware Licence 1.1

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Open Hardware Repository's logo
Open Hardware Repository's logo
Source: CERN OHR
Taking their inspiration from Linux development and community feedback, CERN engineers have updated their Open Hardware Licence to version 1.1 to better reflect open principles. Javier Serrano, an engineer at CERN's Beams Department and founder of the Open Hardware Repository at CERN said: "For us, the drive towards open hardware was largely motivated by well-intentioned envy of our colleagues who develop Linux device-drivers. They are part of a very large community of designers who share their knowledge and time in order to come up with the best possible operating system. We felt that there was no intrinsic reason why hardware development should be any different".

In March, Serrano and others at CERN created the Open Hardware Repository for electronic designers working in experimental physics to encourage the exchange of knowledge within the community. The repository used a newly created Open Hardware Licence (OHL) to enable the sharing of hardware design documentation in the repository. This includes schematics, circuit and circuit board layouts, mechanical drawings, flow charts and other documents.

Now, after feedback from the community, they have released OHL 1.1 "in order to follow generally accepted principles of free and open source movements", according to Myriam Ayass, legal advisor for CERN's Knowledge Transfer Group. Ayass adds that the new version should be "even more easily usable by entities other than CERN". The licence is also compliant with the Open Source Hardware Definition, a general statement of the principles of what open hardware is. The General Counsel of the Free Software Foundation Europe, Carlo Piana, said CERN's efforts to build an "ecosystem for Open Hardware certainly bode well for more freedom in the digital space". The CERN OHR engineers are also planning an Open Hardware Workshop to be held in Grenoble, France on 9 October.


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