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From Definition of Free Cultural Works
Revision as of 22:36, 6 July 2010 by Bunnie (talk | contribs)
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I like the spirit of the definition, but I would propose two amendments for clarity:

  • provides design files -> provides all relevant design files (otherwise hardware where only partial or incomplete design information is available would qualify)
  • software it has developed that is essential to the proper functioning -> necessary or required instead of essential ("essential" is a very strong word, potentially allowing to exclude software that is usually required, but not absolute essential under all circumstances)

--Christian Siefkes 16:02, 21 April 2010 (UTC)

I like that you're riffing off the Open Source Definition, but let me give you a heads-up that the OSD talks about the license under which software may be distributed. The assumption is that if certain legal permissions are preserved, that the desired open source effect of collaborative development will occur. That is not necessarily true. Something more is needed, but we're not yet clear on how to put that into contract / agreement form. 14:57, 3 May 2010 (UTC) (Russ Nelson)

OSHardware vs OSDesign

I am looking for a CC-BY or CC-BY-SA type license for the Open Moto X project. However after spending a few hours time reading about TAPR, OSI, c,nn,m, CC and others my brain is struggling to understand if the various open source hardware licenses (including the OSHW license) are specifically for Hardware i.e: processors and associated systems that run software or if it might also be applied to physical objects in general that are also "hardware" but are more often referred to as "Designs". Of course the OMX bike will include a Battery Management System that will include hardware and software but I would prefer to use one (simple to understand) license if possible. I am hoping that OSHW might eventually be it. --Payo 13:55, 12 May 2010 (UTC)

CC Grant Application

CC is offering grants to help move projects such OSHW forward. Would such a grant be at all useful? see <> for more information.--Payo 15:48, 3 June 2010 (UTC)

Broadening the definition (bunnie)

I like the definition in principle, but I think for broader commercial adoption the license needs a couple of tweaks.

First, the clause about requiring all OSHW to be released with essential code prevents any OSHW design from using proprietary sub-components. In an ideal world we could demand that all the vendors comply to OSHW so that we ourselves can release OSHW-compliant designs. However, in reality restricting all designs to only use OSHW-compliant hardware essentially relegates OSHW to only a small subset of components; unfortunately, some of the most interesting components -- high-end CPUs, cellular modems, wifi chipsets -- do not comply to this. So unless we want to define a world of OSHW that explicitly excludes using such components, I think the definition needs a little refinement.

Softening it up to requiring the release of all essential code created by the distributing body, system integrator, or immediate author would be fine by me. This means that the value you or your organization that's attempting to create OSHW adds should be distributed and released, but you don't have to require vendors to also comply. It's a chicken and egg problem, and if enough people start releasing with OSHW eventually the ecosystem will convert, but for starters we are plugging into a closed ecosystem so this interoperability clause is essential for broad adoption, in my opinion.

Second, the clause about the preferred format for modification doesn't set well with me either, because there is no universal preferred format for modification in the hardware world (in the software world, ASCII text seems to be pretty common). I don't want to bake into the OSHW license any implicit "champion" for OSHW design tools, or to inadvertently promote one design tool over another. I'd suggest that the least common denominator for information exchange in hardware is a printed or printable schematic (PDF, PS, ASCII art, JPEGs) and that should the minimum for OSHW distribution; CAD-specific binaries are a nice plus when possible. To wit, the way the clause is written, certain large companies that make their own proprietary in-house design tool can distribute their schematics in their internal format, which nobody else can read because the CAD tool is proprietary, and yet claim to be compliant because they've released it in the form preferred for their hardware designers. Also, I don't want to have to install or license one copy of every possible CAD tool simply to view schematics, even if the tools are open source. As a first cut, a PDF is good, and then on follow-up I'll ask for binary CAD once I've had a review of the schematic.

Despite these concerns, I think that the definition overall is great progress and I'll sign it personally to keep the momentum going.