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Open Source Hardware Definition 1.0 released


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Version 1.0 of the Open Source Hardware Definition (OSHW definition), first initiated in July 2010, has now been published. Originally planned as a singular licence, the process expanded to cover a range of licences by creating a definition of what open source hardware is. The OSHW definition attempts to codify a definition for hardware that has a design made publicly available for others to study, modify, distribute, make or sell things based on that design.

The definition, based in part on the OSI's Open Source Definition, covers the requirements for availability of documentation, necessary software and optional attribution. It also covers what attributes the licence used should have such as not being specific to a product, not restricting other hardware or software and being technology neutral.

However, the OSHW definition does come with an important caveat; in the USA copyright does not apply to electronic designs, unlike software, and are covered by patents instead. Because of this an Open Hardware licence "can in general be used to restrict the plans but probably not the manufactured devices".

Despite this, a number of organisations and individuals involved in open hardware have endorsed the definition; more endorsements from organisations and individuals are welcomed. A logo is also being selected which can be used to identify designs which comply with the definition.

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