Version 1.1 of the definition has been released. Please help updating it, contribute translations, and help us with the design of logos and buttons to identify free cultural works and licenses!


From Definition of Free Cultural Works
Revision as of 00:53, 17 July 2010 by (talk) (Adding my name)
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Open Source Hardware (OSHW) Draft Definition version 0.3

OSHW Draft Definition 0.3 is based on the Open Source Definition for Open Source Software and draft OSHW definition 0.2. The definition is derived from the Open Source Definition, which was created by Bruce Perens and the Debian developers as the Debian Free Software Guidelines. Videos and Documentation of the Opening Hardware workshop which kicked off the below definition are available here. Please join the conversation about the definition here


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:

1. Documentation

The hardware must be released with documentation including design files, and must allow modification and distribution of the design files. Where documentation is not furnished with the physical product, there must be a well-publicized means of obtaining this documentation for no more than a reasonable reproduction cost, preferably downloading via the Internet without charge. The documentation must include design files in the preferred form which a hardware developer would use to modify the design. Deliberately obfuscated design files are not allowed. Intermediate forms analogous to compiled computer code -- such as printer-ready copper artwork from a CAD program -- are not allowed as substitutes. Should the documentation be created utilizing a proprietary CAD program, an open document format shall be provided, ex. pdf; iges; step; etc.

2. Necessary Software

If the hardware requires software, embedded or otherwise, to operate properly and fulfill its essential functions, then the documentation requirement must also include at least one of the following: The necessary software, released under an OSI-approved open source license, or other sufficient documentation such that it could reasonably be considered straightforward to write open source software that allows the device to operate properly and fulfill its essential functions.

3. Derived Works

The license shall allow modifications and derived works, and shall allow them to be distributed under the same terms as the license of the original hardware. The license shall allow for the manufacture, sale, distribution, and use of products created from the design files or derivatives of the design files.

4. Free redistribution

The license shall not restrict any party from selling or giving away the project documentation as a component of an aggregate distribution containing designs from several different sources. The license shall not require a royalty or other fee for such sale. The license shall not require any royalty or fee related to the sale of derived works.

5. Attribution

The license shall require derived works to provide attribution to the original designer when distributing design files, manufactured products, and/or derivatives thereof. The license shall also require derived works to carry a different name or version number from the original design.

6. No Discrimination Against Persons or Groups

The license must not discriminate against any person or group of persons.

7. No Discrimination Against Fields of Endeavor

The license must not restrict anyone from making use of the hardware in a specific field of endeavor. For example, it may not restrict the hardware from being used in a business, or from being used in nuclear research.

8. Distribution of License

The rights attached to the hardware must apply to all to whom the product or documentation is redistributed without the need for execution of an additional license by those parties.

9. License Must Not Be Specific to a Product

The rights attached to the hardware must not depend on the hardware being part of a particular larger product. If the hardware is extracted from that product and used or distributed within the terms of the hardware license, all parties to whom the hardware is redistributed should have the same rights as those that are granted in conjunction with the original distribution.

10. License Must Not Restrict Other Hardware or Software

The license must not place restrictions on other hardware or software that may be distributed or used with the licensed hardware. For example, the license must not insist that all other hardware sold at the same time be open source, nor that only open source software be used in conjunction with the hardware.

11. License Must Be Technology-Neutral

No provision of the license may be predicated on any individual technology or style of interface.

12. Consideration of Future Licensing Version(s)

As long as the future license version satisfies the criteria that a contiguous compatibility lineage exists starting from the license version of the original covered work, the original license shall automatically migrate to said future license version.


The signatories of this Open Source Hardware definition recognize that the open source movement represents only one way of sharing information. We encourage and support all forms of openness and collaboration, whether or not they fit this definition.


OSHW Draft Definition 0.3 is endorsed by the following persons and/or organizations. Please feel free to add (your own names) to this section. Listing your affiliation is optional for personal endorsements, and endorsements are presumed to be personal unless the organization name is listed separately.

Please join the conversation about the definition here

  • David A. Mellis, MIT Media Lab and Arduino
  • Limor Fried, Adafruit Industries
  • Phillip Torrone, Make and Adafruit Industries
  • Leah Buechley, MIT Media Lab
  • Chris Anderson, Wired and DIY Drones
  • Nathan Seidle, SparkFun Electronics
  • Alicia Gibb, Bug Labs
  • Massimo Banzi, Arduino
  • Tom Igoe, Arduino, ITP/NYU
  • Zach Smith, MakerBot Industries
  • Bre Pettis, makerBot Industries
  • Andrew "bunnie" Huang, bunniestudios
  • Becky Stern, MAKE
  • Windell Oskay, Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories
  • John Wilbanks, Creative Commons
  • Jonathan Kuniholm, Open Prosthetics Project/Shared Design Alliance
  • Ayah Bdeir, Commons
  • David Ford, Blue Labs
  • Vitorino Ramos, LaSEEB - Evolutionary Systems and Biomedical Engineering Lab., IST, Technical University of Lisbon, Lisbon, PORTUGAL.
  • Charles Gantt, The Makers Workbench
  • Dave Hrynkiw, Solarbotics Ltd. / HVW Technologies
  • Raúl C Oviedo - Ayuda Electronica Company - Spanish version of the license
  • Stephen Eaton, Strobotics, Australia
  • Brent Picasso, Autosport Labs
  • Will Pickering, FunGizmos
  • Ronen Kadushin, Open Design
  • Aaron Nielsen, .:oomlout:.
  • Jay Woods, Woods R&E
  • Barton Dring, - Open Source Laser Cutter
  • Diego Spinola, Hackeneering
  • Shigeru Kobayashi, Gainer and Funnel
  • Sean Auriti, Alpha One Labs
  • Shashikiran Ganesh, India
  • Sébastien Bourdeauducq, Milkymist
  • Eric Pan, Seeed Studio
  • Paul Youlten, Open Moto X
  • Nathan Oostendorp,
  • Don Wilcher, MaDon Research
  • Chris Prince, Regulus Tech
  • Daniel Reetz,
  • Harland R. Coles, Energy X Systems Ltd.
  • Julián da Silva Gillig, RobotGroup
  • Charles Collis,
  • Andy Gelme, Connected Community HackerSpace, Melbourne, Australia and Geekscape Pty. Ltd.
  • Jonathan Oxer, Freetronics
  • Daniel Garcia, Protostack
  • Fletcher McBeth, President, VHDL Inc.
  • Joseph S. Terry, Jr., [1]
  • Marc Alexander, Freetronics
  • Rhys Chinchen, Melbourne VIC Australia
  • Florin Cocos, Youritronics
  • Catarina Mota, openMaterials
  • Bryan Bishop, Open Manufacturing Group
  • Lubos Medovarsky, Accelera Networks
  • Ben Leduc-Mills, Craft Technology Lab, CU Boulder
  • Chris Walker, Secret Labs
  • David Gapen, Handmade Circuits
  • Tiago Rodrigues, LusoRobótica PORTUGAL
  • Michael Stephens, FLAKElabs
  • Constantin Craciun,
  • Alessandro Lambardi,
  • Michael Provenzano, CEO Progunn R&D Industries
  • Matt Howard, CIO, eTech Ohio
  • Michael Eber, CTO, Kineteka Systems / PodGizmo
  • Andrew Plumb, ClothBot
  • Brian Jepson,
  • MakerBlock MakerBlock