[OH Updates] Promoting Open Hardware

phillip torrone pt at oreilly.com
Sat Sep 24 18:49:58 PDT 2011


i'd like to make it clear i value your work and what you're doing, i want the best for open source hardware. if we can use something you're working on, great! 

most of us here are busy running companies and making open hardware, we're not legal and licensing experts. that's your expertise. you've actually been in the court room defending open source.

we collectively did a good job over the last few years getting the idea of open source hardware out there in a big way, working to define it, ship it and celebrate it - *that* was our goal and we did it.

anyone who wants to use the open source hardware logo and call their works open source hardware or open hardware can. they can choose creative commons and be done with it. most of us use our own company logo/url for branding and protection if needed. this is what most of us have done over the last few years.

if someone wants something very specific, more enforceable and structured they'll likely consider applying what you're working on and looking at new licenses like TAPR/CERN, etc. choices and options are good for all of us.

personally, i do not want two almost identical "organizations" out there -open hardware vs open source hardware- and pretty sure most of us here don't either.

the open source hardware logo and name open source hardware are free for anyone to use, none of us are going to go to court over it or try to stop anyone. i realize that is essential for what you're working on and for those who want that type of protection they should have that as an option.

at this time i am asking the OSI about the history of their logo since it appears to be based on mine, designed 5 years prior to theirs. i did not receive a response yet. i'll continue to give out badges with the oshw logo, put it on our circuit boards at adafruit and use it as the symbol of the desire to share hardware. you're using it on openhardware.org as well, it's good to see in so many places at the moment where people are interested in sharing hardware.


On Sep 25, 2011, at 4:00 AM, Bruce Perens wrote:

> I thought I'd write a statement of my own intent because the third-party versions seem very garbled.
> I am interested in promoting Open Hardware in places and ways that it isn't currently being promoted.
> I am interested in protecting Open Hardware from abuse of the license terms. This is a technical problem that can't reliably be solved by copyright as it is for software.
> One of the avenues for enforcing our licenses is trademark. We could apply a trademark to a work such as a PCB, tool, or other made object, and we could associate it with license terms through contract law and use it to prosecute license violators. In this way, we could have Open Hardware licenses that actually work in the absence of strong copyright law protection of functional designs.
> The logo you folks have right now is great for an "unrestricted use" trademark, but could not at this point be made into a restricted-use one, nor do I think you'd want to restrict its use or sue anyone for using it. Having a mark whose use has always been restricted from the day that it has been created is essential for what I'm proposing, because if it hasn't, it is going to be difficult to successfully prosecute for its misuse.
> I am interested in introducing some rigor into the licenses and license use. That means promoting a minimal set of licenses that comply with the definition, and also with the Four Freedoms of the FSF and the Open Source Definition, so that we're aligned with Free Software and Open Source. I would like to have a legal expert group including attorneys examine and recommend these licenses. Using a minimal set is necessary due to the license combinatorial problem.
> I would like to promote a list of projects and products that comply with those licenses fully.
> I am not proposing to represent the Open Hardware community. Because the community is amorphous, there can never be any such representative. The most we can do is to be "cat herders". The constitution I've written for my project makes this clear.
> I am not interfering with the activities of this group. I submit that I have a right to do what I'm doing, and that this group can do what it wishes in peace with my project. But I am also not proposing to put my project under the direction of this group. One reason is having a tight focus on a set of goals that are already set out and can be implemented in a short term. Another is just about doing things differently. And the final reason is that I am pretty sure that dealing with a particular member of this group on a long term project would make me absolutely hate the job. I have taken the liberty of setting up a volunteer project so that I'll like doing it, and other people will like it as well. You are welcome to help, but, I'm sorry, not to hinder.
> Early work on my project is at openhardware.org and wiki.openhardware.org .
> There are also some peripheral issues that are worth discussing. One of them is that someone I have never heard of trademarked "Open Source Hardware" for use in social networking management. You folks might want to file some sort of opposition of that with the USPTO. I won't need to because I am not using that name.
>     Thanks
>     Bruce
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