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Open Source Hardware Definition 1.0
Open Source Hardware (OSHW) is a term for tangible artifacts --
machines, devices, or other physical things -- whose design has been released
to the public in such a way that anyone can make, modify, distribute, and use
those things. This definition is intended to help provide guidelines for the
development and evaluation of licenses for Open Source Hardware. Hardware is
different from software in that physical resources must always be committed
for the creation of physical goods. Accordingly, persons or companies
producing items ("products") under an OSHW license have an obligation to make
it clear that such products are not manufactured, sold, warrantied, or
otherwise sanctioned by the original designer and also not to make use of any
trademarks owned by the original designer. The distribution terms of Open
Source Hardware must comply with the following criteria:
1. Documentation
The hardware must be released with documentation including design files, and
must allow modification and distribution of the design files. Where
documentation is not furnished with the physical product, there must be a
well-publicized means of obtaining this documentation for no more than a
reasonable reproduction cost, preferably downloading via the Internet without
charge. The documentation must include design files in the preferred format
for making changes, for example the native file format of a CAD program.
Deliberately obfuscated design files are not allowed. Intermediate forms
analogous to compiled computer code -- such as printer-ready copper artwork
from a CAD program -- are not allowed as substitutes. The license may require
that the design files are provided in fully-documented, open format(s).
2. Scope
The documentation for the hardware must clearly specify what portion of the
design, if not all, is being released under the license.
3. Necessary Software
If the licensed design requires software, embedded or otherwise, to operate
properly and fulfill its essential functions, then the license may require
that one of the following conditions are met: a) The interfaces are
sufficiently documented such that it could reasonably be considered
straightforward to write open source software that allows the device to
operate properly and fulfill its essential functions. For example, this may
include the use of detailed signal timing diagrams or pseudocode to clearly
illustrate the interface in operation. b) The necessary software is released
under an OSI-approved open source license.
4. Derived Works
The license shall allow modifications and derived works, and shall allow them
to be distributed under the same terms as the license of the original work.
The license shall allow for the manufacture, sale, distribution, and use of
products created from the design files, the design files themselves, and
derivatives therof.
5. Free redistribution
The license shall not restrict any party from selling or giving away the
project documentation. The license shall not require a royalty or other fee
for such sale. The license shall not require any royalty or fee related to the
sale of derived works.
6. Attribution
The license may require derived documents, and copyright notices associated
with devices, to provide attribution to the licensors when distributing design
files, manufactured products, and/or derivatives thereof. The license may
require that this information be accessible to the end-user using the device
normally, but shall not specify a specific format of display. The license may
require derived works to carry a different name or version number from the
original design.
7. No Discrimination Against Persons or Groups
The license must not discriminate against any person or group of persons.
8. No Discrimination Against Fields of Endeavor
The license must not restrict anyone from making use of the work (including
manufactured hardware) in a specific field of endeavor. For example, it must
not restrict the hardware from being used in a business, or from being used in
nuclear research.
9. Distribution of License
The rights granted by the license must apply to all to whom the work is
redistributed without the need for execution of an additional license by those
10. License Must Not Be Specific to a Product
The rights granted by the license must not depend on the licensed work being
part of a particular product. If a portion is extracted from a work and used
or distributed within the terms of the license, all parties to whom that work
is redistributed should have the same rights as those that are granted for the
original work.
11. License Must Not Restrict Other Hardware or Software
The license must not place restrictions on other items that are aggregated
with the licensed work but not derivative of it. For example, the license must
not insist that all other hardware sold with the licensed item be open source,
nor that only open source software be used external to the device.
12. License Must Be Technology-Neutral
No provision of the license may be predicated on any individual technology,
specific part or component, material, or style of interface or use thereof.
The signatories of this Open Source Hardware definition recognize
that the open source movement represents only one way of sharing information.
We encourage and support all forms of openness and collaboration, whether or
not they fit this definition.
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