2014 OSHWA Board Nominations Open until Oct. 15

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.

OSHWA is Officially a Non-Profit Organization!

Open Source Hardware Association (OSHWA) is thrilled to announce we have just received our official non-profit status! To celebrate this honor, we are launching a Membership Campaign to double our members of like-minded individuals and companies between now and December 31, 2014.

You can actively support open source hardware by becoming a member of OSHWA. Membership gives you visibility within the community for yourself and/or your company. Membership also allows you to vote on the organization’s board members and create positive momentum within the larger open source movement. How cool is that? Additional benefits include fun schwag like stickers, and a discount to all OSHWA events. Members receive priority access to events which typically sell out in the community, such as the Open Hardware Summit.

Now that we are a non-profit, your membership gift is tax-deductible. Until now, our generous supporters have made financial contributions to enable our work because they truly believe in what we do. We could not be more appreciative.

OSHWA aims to be the voice of the open hardware community, ensuring that technological knowledge is accessible to everyone. We encourage the collaborative development of technology that serves education, environmental sustainability, and human welfare.

When you join as a member or make an additional donation, your tax-deductible support allows us to:

  • Organize conferences and community events
  • Pay for travel so women and people of color who would not otherwise be able to attend our annual Summit Conference are able to do so
  • Create educational initiatives for the public on topics around open source hardware and its long-term impact on innovation
  • Organize the open source hardware movement around shared values and principles
  • Facilitate STEM education through the use of open source hardware conferences and other events
  • Collect, compile, and publish data on the open source hardware movement and communities of practice.

Feel free to reach out to info@oshwa.org with any questions/thoughts/ideas about collaboration.

Don’t forget: Some awesome companies will match a gift their employees make to a non-profit. Please check if yours is one of them. That will allow your gift to go twice as far.

If you made a contribution retroactive to the date of OSHWA’s incorporation on May 25, 2012, contributions made after that date are tax deductible to the extent permitted by law.


OSHW Quick Reference Guide

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: https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0B_f25OKVb0TCb3BKQ053RV9DcU0&usp=sharing

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


On Creative Commons and Open Source

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

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]: info@oshwa.org

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 info@oshwa.org


Open Hardware Summit 2014: ROME

We are thrilled to announce the Open Source Hardware Association’s annual Open Hardware Summit: the Fifth annual Summit will be held September 30, 2014 and October 1, 2014 in Rome, Italy.


It is intended as a community to discuss and draw attention to the rapidly growing Open Source Hardware movement on a global scale. The Summit is a venue to present, discuss, and learn about open hardware of all kinds. The summit examines open hardware and its relation to other issues, such as software, design, business, law, and education. It is the one time a year which the community can come together.

Why Europe? We felt it was important after receiving feedback from community outside of the United States to bring the Summit to a larger global audience. The Open Hardware Summit this year will be held in parallel with the Innovation Week in Rome. This will give attendants the opportunity to attend multiple events in a relatively short period of time in the city. Last but not least, thanks to the collaboration with Rome’s Innovation Week we will be able to make the fifth Open Hardware Summit an open event with no admittance fee. We hope this choices will help bring more attention and cooperation to the key topics of open source hardware and open manufacturing.


Pablo Garcia demos the Neolucida at the 2013 Open Hardware Summit.

In line with this effort towards inclusion and global reach the Open Source Hardware Association will in addition be launching and leading a Session at the Upcoming OuiShare Fest in Paris to announce its expansion and plans to open international branches.
The call for talks and workshops for the Open Hardware Summit is forthcoming at 2014.oshwa.org and will serve to bring inspiration from several key Open Hardware leaders to the community. The call will also be an opportunity to propose workshops and co-creative sessions that can produce knowledge and action in the community.

OHS 2013 at MIT

OHS 2013 at MIT

OSHWA launches International Branches plans at OuiShare Fest 14 in Paris

Later on this May, OSHWA will be leading a Session at the Upcoming OuiShare Fest in paris.

OuiShare Fest is a conference about the collaborative economy that will feature sessions ranging from cooperatives to shared mobility, from p2p travel to collaborative finance, from Open Value Networks to Open Source Hardware and more. As I’m also being OuiShare Fest program fellow, I really thought this was an amazing opportunity to connect with the European community. Indeed OuiShare Fest has many amazing open source hardware projects featured such as Open Source Beehives, P2P Food Lab, OSVehicle and more.

Addie and I will participate and co-moderate a session that will be dedicated to potential solutions to scale OSHWA impact and, in general, awareness on the Open Source Hardware topic in Europe.

For this occasion, we are also releasing with you for the first version of the OSHWA BRANCHING CHAPTER: there you can find the vision and the duties when creating an OSHWA branch in your city or country.

We basically require three members to kick off a branch that puts together some community engagement and education program.

At the OuiShare Fest we will likely announce the formation of the first three or more new European branches (Italy, The Netherlands, Germany, Spain and France are already working on it) so we really look forward to get your feedback and see if we can finally be able to announce more, or just put you in touch with the upcoming branch leaders.

So if you’re interested to evaluate and eventually kickoff an official Open Source Hardware Association branch in your city, please fill in this form here and EXPRESS YOUR INTEREST TO CREATE A OSHWA BRANCH.

If you’re interested to join OuiShare Fest we have a special – limited number – 20% discount for OSHWA community that you can ask by getting in touch directly with me (mail to Simone at Ouishare dot net)!

An analysis of Open Source Hardware Community Survey 2013

I had some time to look into the interesting data coming out of our 2013 Survey (you can find all the raw data here):

As you may know, just few weeks ago OSHWA published the results from 2013 Open Hardware Community survey. You can find original datasheets and everything here. Despite raw data is good, I thought it was good to spend some time looking at the data trying to gather more insights, when possible, still keeping in mind that the survey samples a very limited and polarized (OSHWA centric) chunk of the community. But we need to start from something in a way.

Full post is available here: A Look into the Open Source Hardware Community | Open Electronics.


An Interview with the recently appointed OSHWA President Gabriella Levine

I had the chance to interview newly appointed President of OSWHA Gabriella Levine for Open Electronics magazine. A cool interview with a focus on OSHWA plans and major challenges in Open Source Hardware.

An excerpt:

Few words about OSHWA plans, in detail

[SC] What are the overall plans for OSHWA in 2014 – 2015 under your presidency?

[GL]First of all, work on standardization. The definition states what is Open Hardware, but I believe that there needs to be more documentation for people to turn to in order to know HOW to release their work. What are the best ways to release hardware and what are the standards for documentation? There is a lot of work happening on this (especially by Catarina Mota, David Mellis, and Limor Fried). See OSHWA’s “best practices” and Adafruit’s “Open Source Hardware Overview”.

I think of OSHWA’s initiatives is to produce some available documents, like a standard toolkit for releasing open source hardware, that can help companies and individuals understand some of the confusion and loose definitions. One example might be a “laundry list” that can allow companies producing products to document all of the hardware components for that product and how they are licensed.

OSHWA is increasing its public presence, in order to educate people and companies about the fact that there is indeed the option of open source hardware, to clear up some confusion surrounding the definition, to promote OSHWA as a resource for providing support and education and to represent the community. This public awareness will come from planned workshops, educational events, and an international summit this year.

OSHWA will continue to work together and with some advice from attorneys who are open to discussing some of the legal options and licenses available, compile some clarifying documents that can help companies and individual see what some legal options are available for producing and distributing open source hardware.

OSHWA also is in the planning to continue to conduct business surveys to provide data about open source hardware companies, as well as lead more educational programs and summits, possibly including an Open Manufacturing Summit.