Are there any other applications of Open Source other than on software/code?

I guess you could apply the same idea to any other intellectual property (creations of the mind/intellect). But are there any real life examples outside the software industry and community?

  • There is a arduino hardware which is open source, though that is still close to the software Jun 24, 2015 at 10:25

4 Answers 4


Wikipedia notes that there are loads of uses, from transportation to robots to beer. Some fall under the umbrella of open source hardware.

My favorite of these is the Hyperloop, first pushed forward by Elon Musk, the co-founder of PayPal and founder of SpaceX and Tesla Motors (some of the latter's ideas are open-source). Numerous groups have done studies and simulations on the design, allowing more progress to be made than any one group could make. Said Musk,

"I really hate patents unless critical to company survival. Will publish Hyperloop as open source," he wrote on Twitter.


In the 3D graphics world, there are free-licensed models, textures, and the like. When building a 3D graphical work, they're the rough equivalents of code libraries and the like.

There's also the open-source hardware movement (OpenCores, RepRap, etc.), though particularly in computing hardware, the line between "software" and "not software" gets a bit fuzzy.


On the surface not, as the source is an integral part (every OSS license is demanding release of source code, not binaries). That is obviously not directly applicable to other copyrighted works, like for example stories.

But the ideas of freedom, permission for everyone to copy, modify, redistribute and remix has arrived in other areas. Namely the Creative Commons licenses are heavily influenced by the idea of Open Source. But also many people also simply use OSS-licenses for other stuff than software, although it isn't a perfect fit. And there were developed also licenses in this spirit for other areas, for instance for open hardware.


Simply, yes.

Software is the industry in which the open source industry is strongest, but other industries or arts can also be licensed openly.

A related industry is hardware. Some microcomputers are open-source licensed.

DIY is one such industry: when you make a product, you can release the documents you used to help make it under an open source license.

A lot of computer-related arts are also open source-able: video editing, animation, copywriting, etc.

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