Author Archives: alicia

2014 OSHWA Board Nominations Open until Oct. 15

via Open Source Hardware Association

OSHWA is looking for 2 new faces to join the board of directors for the Open Source Hardware Association. Please fill out this form to become a nominee or forward the link to the person you wish to nominate for them to fill out. The purpose of this form will be to tell voting members a bit about yourself. We will be publishing the nominees and their answers on Oct. 15th. Board members hold a 2-year position. Once board members have been chosen by the community, the current board will appoint a new President, VP, and Secretary. Board responsibilities include fundraising, advising on goals and direction, and carrying out compliance of the organization’s purposes and bylaws. Board members David Mellis, Star Simpson, Emile Patron, Jeffery Warren, and Addie Wagenknecht will remain on the board. We thank Danese Cooper and Windell Oskay for their years of service. Nominations will be open until Oct. 15th.

Nominee form.

Member voting will take place Oct. 20th and 21st. Want to vote in the election? Become a memberif you’re not already! Please note that only individuals can vote, corporate members cannot.

OSHW Quick Reference Guide

via Open Source Hardware Association

The Open Source Hardware Association (OSHWA) has developed a Quick Reference Guide for open source hardware.

The folder contains:

- a checklist for opening your project

- a May and Must poster to remind the community of what must be done to consider a project open hardware and what other options you may use.

- a folder of many different file types of the open source hardware logo.

- a copy of the open source hardware definition and best practices

- a “What is Open Source Hardware” infographic

You can find the Google drive folder here:

If you find this useful, please consider contributing to OSHWA through membership or donation!


On Creative Commons and Open Source

via Open Source Hardware Association

When you ask someone what license they are using for their open source hardware project, you’re quite likely to hear the answer “Creative Commons.”  And unfortunately, that doesn’t fully answer the question.

The reason is that there is not a single entity called the “Creative Commons license.” Rather, Creative Commons offers a number of different licenses that can apply some rights and protections to your work, including the CC-BY and CC-BY-SA licenses which reflect open source values closely.  In the 2012 and 2013 surveys these licenses were, in fact, the most popular licenses used for open source hardware documentation. (Creative Commons licenses cannot be applied to the hardware itself.)

Creative Commons also offers licenses that carry restrictions — against commercial use and/or derivative works — that are strictly incompatible with open source¹.  The open source hardware definition states that a license for open source hardware “[...] shall allow for the manufacture, sale, distribution, and use of products created from the design files, the design files themselves, and derivatives thereof.” Thus, if you choose to release hardware under the banner of “open source,” that means that you agree to allow others to use your design commercially, as well as to create derivative works (and to use them commercially). Consequently, you cannot advertise your project or product as “open source” if it carries restrictions against either of those uses.

To enumerate the particulars, the following licenses are compatible with open source values:

  1. Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY)
  2. Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike (CC BY-SA)
  3. Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication (CC0)

While the following licenses carry restrictions that are not compatible with open source:

  1. Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs (CC BY-ND)
  2. Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial (CC BY-NC)
  3. Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives (CC BY-NC-ND)
  4. Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike (CC BY-NC-SA)

Here are some more resources about the issue of NC and open source:

To continue the discussion we’ve also posted this topic in the forums.

¹The Open Source Hardware Definition itself is a derivative work of the Open Source Definition (for software), and its language regarding commercial use and derivatives of OSHW is directly adapted from the language in the software context. Restrictions against commercial use and/or derivative works are incompatible with open source hardware, and also incompatible with open source software.

How to Host a Symposium with your Congressperson

via Open Source Hardware Association

DSC_0839Photo credit: Aleph Objects, Inc.
CC BY SA 4.0

The Front Range Open Source Hardware Symposium was a success! The purpose of the event was to educate the public about open source hardware. Ten open source companies (Sparkfun, Lulzbot, Open Tech Collaborative, Road Narrows RoboticsModrobotics with their open manufacturing system, Great Scott Gadgets, Cryptotronix, Pcduino, Sparky’s Widgets, and representation from Mach 30) were present along with around 50 attendees. We had an excellent discussion with House of Representatives Congressman Jared Polis. The main topic brought to the attention of Congressman Polis was that innovation moves faster with open source hardware which is why it is important as in IP alternative. Many people also voiced the need for more openness in publicly funded research to enhance the copy-ability of experiments and use open source hardware alternatives within the education system for the benefit of transparency and longevity. There was also mention of the inhibiting cost that some governmental regulations can have on open source hardware. And Jared Polis voiced his concern about making sure open source hardware stays accessible and open in the face of new IP reform. You don’t take our word for the success of the event, Here’s a write up from Aaron Harper.

We wanted to share the process for inviting a member of Congress / government official to speak with the open hardware community where  you live. While OSHWA can not currently help with funding these events, we can assist by sharing fliers, email copy and the information that it takes to host an event.

1. Contact your representative to ask if they would be willing to participate in an event talking with the open source hardware community. Schedule a time (be prepared to wait a few months for a time slot). Check with their office that the signage for your event is appropriate and notify them of the location.

2. Set up a way to RSVP (we used Eventbrite), and promote the event. The event should be a public event to educate the public about open source hardware. OSHWA can include your Open Hardware Symposium with your congressperson on our events page and mailing list.

3. Communicate with the people involved, those asking to show their open source hardware projects and your congressperson (or their staffers). Here is a copy of the logistics email sent and the agenda email.

4. Contact OSHWA to mail you fliers [flier 1, flier 2]:

5. Rent tables, chairs, and venue if needed. We had snacks because of the time of the event. You may also need to purchase power strips and extension cords if the venue does not provide those. You may want to ask the open source hardware companies in attendance to assist with the costs. Here is the break down of this event’s costs:

Venue $225
Table/Chair Rental $178
Ice, beverages, snacks $130
Total: $533

6. Thank people for coming, tell everyone what open source hardware is, remind people to stay respectful and on topic, and start your discussion! If you need help along the way, don’t hesitate to contact