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14 July 2010, 15:51

Draft Licence for Open Source Hardware published

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A number of well known developers from the open source hardware scene have published a draft of a new licence under the name of Open Source Hardware (OSHW) for free hardware projects. The group of signatories include Wired Magazine's Chris Anderson, Phillip Torrone of Make magazine, Adafruit's Limor Fried, Ayah Bdeir from the Eyebeam art and technology center, David A. Melli from the MIT Media Lab and Arduino.

The draft license, currently at version 0.3, is a mixture of the GPL licences, Creative Commons and the TAPR Open Hardware License. The latter licence only addresses the concerns of the hardware itself, such as the disclosure of the necessary documentation, circuit board layouts and other relevant information, but not specifically the release of software firmware files that are required for nearly all microprocessors. This is the hole which the authors of the Open Source Hardware definition draft hope to close by, for example, requiring that firmware and software necessary to operate a device be licensed under an Open Source Initiative (OSI) approved licence.

The draft definition currently consists of eleven criteria that Open Source Hardware must comply with, ranging from providing the necessary documentation and software, to free distribution and non-discrimination requirements. According to Bdeir, the group hope to unveil version 1.0 at this year's Open Hardware Summit taking place on the 23rd of September in Queens, New York.

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