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From Definition of Free Cultural Works
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Definition (work-in-progress)

Open-source hardware is that for which its creator:

  • provides design files in the preferred format for making modifications
  • allows the modification and redistribution of the design files
  • allows the manufacture, sale, distribution, and use of devices from the design files or modifications of the design files

without discrimination against persons, groups, or fields of endeavor. Additionally, the manufacturer must release under an open-source license any software it has developed that is essential to the proper functioning of the device.

The manufacturer may require others to:

  • provide attribution when distributing design files based on the original manufacturer's
  • provide attribution when manufacturing devices based on the original manufacturer's design files or derivatives thereof
  • release as open-source hardware devices based on the original manufacturer's design files or derivatives thereof

Manufacturers of a device derived from the design files must not:

  • imply that the device is manufactured, tested, warrantied, guaranteed, or otherwise sanctioned by the original manufacturer
  • make use of any trademarks owned by the original manufacturer without explicit permission


This (draft) definition is the product of discussion between attendees of the Opening Hardware workshop at Eyebeam (New York City), March 17, 2010, in particular:

  • Ayah Bdeir, Eyebeam
  • Benjamin Mako Hill, MIT
  • David A. Mellis, MIT Media Lab and Arduino
  • Gianluca Martino, Arduino
  • Limor Fried, Adafruit Industries
  • Massimo Banzi, Arduino
  • Nathan Seidle, SparkFun
  • Phillip Torrone, Make and Adafruit Industries
  • Thinh Nguyen, Creative Commons
  • Tom Igoe, ITP and Arduino
  • Zach Smith, MakerBot
  • Ken Gilmer, Bug Labs
  • Alicia Gibb, Bug Labs