14 votes
Accepted

Can you open source firmware for closed hardware?

To answer your question with a question: "Can you build the firmware without needing to violate the copyright or trade secret protection of the target hardware?' The answer to this question is the ...
  • 4,119
13 votes

How do open-source concepts apply to hardware?

You'll have to start by defining what your 'source' is. Data-sheets are usually not restricted, but only the author contributes to it. If you make your data-sheets a shared effort, you are already ...
  • 427
9 votes
Accepted

Can hardware have a license?

Yes. Examples include: Chumby HDK1 The TAPR Open Hardware License1 The MIT License2 Various BSD licenses2 Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 and Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.02 GPL2 Note ...
  • 1,555
7 votes
Accepted

How do open-source concepts apply to hardware?

The Open Source Hardware Association has a list of guidelines that should be met to call a project Open Source Hardware. Electronics is different from source code in that circuits themselves cannot ...
  • 452
7 votes
Accepted

Does a license apply to both the design AND the physical object (if it is made)?

TL;DR The .CAD model would be characterized as artistic, even if it is not exactly what people would expect as "art". The act of 3D-printing the object would be characterized as a ...
6 votes
Accepted

Does open source clothing exist?

Yes, open source sewing patterns exist, but there aren't many. A search for "creative commons sewing pattern" yields several hits, and "open source sewing pattern" yields a few more. I won't link ...
6 votes

How do open-source concepts apply to hardware?

If you mean computer hardware, then yes, communities exist. The problem is that writing hardware is not nearly as intuitive as writing software, debugging is a much more involved process, and writing ...
6 votes

Is it possible to build free open hardware desktop PC?

I suggest taking a look at EOMA68 computer cards. They're expected to receive RYF certification, and you can order a desktop housing kit to go with yours.
6 votes
Accepted

How should I structure a new open source group

If you have not already, read through Producing Open Source Software and/or The Open Source Way - they have lots of good information about all of the things that people tend to forget when running an ...
5 votes

Does open source clothing exist?

The answer is a bit convoluted and I don't claim to understand all of the subtleties. I think the answer is, essentially: No, you cannot copyright clothing designs Yes, you can copyright design ...
  • 452
5 votes
Accepted

Using the (L)GPL as an open-source hardware license?

I ended up choosing the GPL / LGPL for hardware, too. I asked this question on some other sites and the following answer was spot on: I spent quite a bit of time looking into this, and there is not ...
5 votes

Can you open source firmware for closed hardware?

To add to bmargulies's answer you need to consider that firmware is a special breed of software. Firmware, by it's definition, runs on special-purpose hardware. This hardware platform may have ...
  • 6,745
5 votes

Can you open source firmware for closed hardware?

Firmware is nothing more than software that lives on a difficult to write to medium. Just as you can can run free software on non-free processors, for example Linux on an Intel i5 processor, you can ...
  • 9,036
5 votes

LGPL HDL in larger FPGA design

The aim of the LGPL license is that people can replace the LGPL code in a larger project, without requiring that the complete source code of the larger project is disclosed. I am not familiar with ...
4 votes
Accepted

When building an open sourced hardware project what documentation do I need?

Open source hardware means that the designs and specifications (shape, size, materials, contruction methods) are open source. This could be one or several of various available formats: technical ...
4 votes

Can I distribute related software and hardware under the same license?

The essential principles of open-sourcing hardware and software remain the same: primarily, to ensure everyone has the right to use and reuse what you've created. You do, however, need to pick (or ...
  • 8,870
4 votes

What parts of the Novena are not open source?

The official website containing the documentation can be found here. It seems that they have not made official documentation yet. However, The article you linked to, is over a year and a half old. ...
4 votes
Accepted

Is there an institution that accepts and promotes open hardware licenses?

I think the Open Source Hardware Association (OSHWA) is probably one of the top organizations out there. They are active in the open hardware movement, increasing awareness and spreading information ...
  • 1,555
4 votes
Accepted

Can a mouse be "free software"?

Trivially, a mouse can't be free software, because a mouse is not software. So what other questions could this be? Can a mouse's drivers be free and or open source software? Can a mouse's design be ...
  • 9,036
4 votes
Accepted

Open Source licenses in the Dominican Republic

You seem to be misunderstanding a fairly fundamental point about open source licenses: they are just a license to use something, like any other license. The default position (at least in any country ...
4 votes
Accepted

Does an FPGA design in Verilog / VHDL count as software or hardware in terms of copyright law?

Most modern hardware designs are a combination of both hardware and software and like anything we create, both the hardware and software components can be covered by copyright. According to wikipedia ...
  • 1,455
4 votes

Is it legal to "simulate" Yubikey OTP authentication with an Arduino in own product?

IANAL so I obviously can't give you a legal answer, but this sort of thing would seem to fall under reverse engineering. If it's possible to observe the behavior of a product and then copy that ...
  • 403
3 votes

Can a mouse be "free software"?

You're thinking along the right lines but I think you're minifying the scope of your actual problem toward running a "wholly free system": GPUs have proprietary firmwares (many required even for free ...
  • 260
3 votes

Can a mouse be "free software"?

A mouse's design can be free or not free. Software inside of a mouse can be free or not free. This is not related to your ability to use it. There are standard protocols for USB 'human interface' ...
  • 4,119
3 votes

Is there an institution that accepts and promotes open hardware licenses?

I'm not sure I understand 100% but P2P Foundation is an instutition and posts their definition, license, and terms on their site. http://p2pfoundation.net/Open_Hardware_Licenses OSHW by Freedom ...
  • 392
3 votes

Is it possible to build free open hardware desktop PC?

I've just discovered the FSF Guide on Free Hardware. It appears to provide just enough information to make some informed decisions on hardware.
2 votes

When building an open sourced hardware project what documentation do I need?

Open sourcing generally means releasing the format that you designed the hardware in. For hardware this would be circuit diagrams, trace design, blueprints. Things like that. If you previously ...
2 votes
Accepted

How can a profitable business selling open source robotics parts be run if anyone can produce their own?

I'm not too sure if you're thinking of competition from other companies or from individuals producing their own parts, but it doesn't make too much difference really. Just because the designs are open ...
2 votes

How can a profitable business selling open source robotics parts be run if anyone can produce their own?

Many open source products are often crowd funded. This means making a profit from selling it is not the goal of the company. Although if they do want to make money selling parts, they could do this ...

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