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
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Definition version 0.1 (work-in-progress)

Open-source hardware is that for which its designer:

  • provides design files (in the preferred format for making modifications to them)
  • 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 designer must publish any documentation and release under an open-source license any software it has developed that is essential to the proper functioning of the device.

The designer may require others to:

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

Manufacturers of a derivative device must not:

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

We recognize that open-source is only one way of sharing information about hardware and encourage and support all forms of openness and collaboration, whether or not they fit this definition.

Definition version 0.2 (please insert)

Definition version 0.3 (please insert)

Signatories of version 0.1

The following people have endorsed this definition of open-source hardware:

  • David A. Mellis, MIT Media Lab and Arduino
  • Limor Fried, Adafruit Industries
  • Phillip Torrone, Adafruit Industries and Senior Editor - MAKE magazine
  • Chris Anderson, DIY Drones and Editor in Chief --WIRED Magazine
  • Massimo Banzi, Arduino and Tinker it!
  • Ken Gilmer, Bug Labs
  • Jonathan Kuniholm, Open Prosthetics Project/Shared Design Alliance
  • John Wilbanks, Creative Commons
  • Zach Smith / Bre Pettis / Adam Mayer, MakerBot Industries
  • Nathan Seidle, SparkFun Electronics
  • Alicia Gibb, Bug Labs


This definition originated with discussion between attendees of the Opening Hardware workshop at Eyebeam (New York City), March 17, 2010, in particular (listed alphabetically by first name):

  • Alicia Gibb, Bug Labs
  • Ayah Bdeir, Eyebeam
  • Benjamin Mako Hill, MIT
  • Bunnie Huang, Chumby
  • Chris Anderson, Wired Magazine and DIY Drones
  • David A. Mellis, MIT Media Lab and Arduino
  • Gianluca Martino, Arduino
  • John Wilbanks, Creative Commons
  • Jonathan Kuniholm, Open Prosthetics Project/Shared Design Alliance
  • Ken Gilmer, Bug Labs
  • Ken Gracey, Parallax
  • 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

These people haven't necessarily endorsed the definition, but all had a hand in helping to draft it.