Talk:Open source hardware

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this article should be merged with the "open desighn" (sic) article[edit]

Open design these articles say almost the exact same thing, so having both is redundant 174.31.69.118 (talk) 23:54, 15 November 2010 (UTC)

IBM Cell Processor[edit]

What about the new promising IBM Cell Processor?

I read at many places, it is supposed to be "open source hardware":

  • Is it only the interface specification to the hardware, which is open?
  • Or is the whole hardware design (including verilog source code etc.) public available?
  • Or is even the hardware design licensed under a licence which fulfills the 4 freedoms of software/OS Definition?

If anybody knows sth. about it => Please add it here!!! —Preceding unsigned comment added by 194.95.147.244 (talkcontribs)

RONJA[edit]

I feel unfairly treated here because my project Ronja http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RONJA, which published open hardware full duplex 10Mbps/1.4km datalink already in the year 2011 under the GNU Free Documentation Licence, and is designed exclusively on free software, has 153 registered installations worldwide including commercial ISPs, 3 scientific articles on IEEE conference and 18 citations, including doctoral dissertation on the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, and sociologist Johan Soderberg claims has written into history because became the first open source hardware that made it into commercial usage, is not included here. And Arduino which according to my opinion is not open-source hardware, is included. -- Karel Kulhavy—Preceding unsigned comment added by 84.73.206.159 (talk) 14:58, 5 March 2011 (UTC)

RONJA is already covered on Wikipedia. It would seem reasonable to include it in this article. If you are knowledgable about it, then you might be an appropriate person to add coverage of it. Your project might have been ignored, but it has certainly not been "unfairly treated" or deliberately excluded.
As to the Arduino, then yours is the first claim I've seen that it's not open source hardware. It's certainly not a "gross disrespect" of you personally to claim that. It would be helpful if you might explain further as to what your opinion of open source hardware would constitute, and also why you think the Arduino is outside this. Andy Dingley (talk) 15:17, 5 March 2011 (UTC)

I have talked to colleague who works with Arduino and together we tried to find the Gerber files for Arduino, we didn't find them. He said also in his opinion Arduino is then not open source hardware. We found Freeduino: "Freeduino is a collaborative open-source project to replicate and publish Arduino-compatible hardware files." http://www.freeduino.org/freeduino_open_designs.html I assume if the hardware files for Arduino were published, there would be no need to make a project to replicate and publish Arduino compatible hardware files. I see even Freeduino as problematic, because the files are for a non-free software and as far as I know, there is no way to read Eagle files by free software.

What I perceive as gross disrespect is claiming that I accept something I don't accept. Even when referring to me indirectly through the group of all people doing open source hardware. If the sentence was instead "it's universally accepted as so by everyone doing open source hardware I KNOW", I wouldn't feel disrespected at all.

Regarding Ronja I am afraid if I cover Ronja in this article I will have tendency to blow up it's importance. I think better if someone independent does it. But if noone is available for this, I will do it. -- Karel Kulhavy

OpenRISC Comment[edit]

I have removed a comment after the bullet point for OpenRISC which said, "one sufficiently good that there is no need to apologize for any part of its design". Was there any good reason for it being there? If so an explaination would be useful. --Dave104

I think it was trying to be a roundabout way of saying it was hoping to be competitive with commercial systems. --maru (talk) contribs 04:23, 8 March 2006 (UTC)

Terminology[edit]

Is it really true that all of this is strictly open source and not Free software? I see a GNU project mentioned, and I doubt they'd ever allow their stuff to be merely open-source. --Maru (talk) Contribs 03:23, 26 October 2005 (UTC)

Openhardware.net deceased or down?[edit]

openhardware.net appears to no longer function, or at least for me. Has it disappeared? --Rspanton 01:06, 7 June 2006 (UTC)

Here it is 6 years later and it works for me.. --Guy Macon (talk) 08:53, 9 March 2012 (UTC)

Open design and open source hardware[edit]

There is another article about 'Open design' which covers open-source physical goods beyond electronic items in more detail - focusing more on mechanical design and the tools needed in that field. The term 'hardware' can be fairly subjective of course, but most of this (the Open source hardware) article focuses on computer and electronic hardware. I'm just mentioning this for those that didn't know of the existence of the other article and perhaps its worth making more of a distinction when adding links to projects? Naturally there are always going to be some projects that overlap, but perhaps the more overtly mechanical projects should be in the open design article? Although the subjects are obviously closely related I think there is enough of a difference to warrant the separate articles. Of course, feel free to disagree - CharlesC 12:47, 6 January 2007 (UTC)

Using "hardware" in the title of this article was a mistake. It's too vague. The person probably meant it to mean "computer hardware". As Wikipedia has grown, the need for clarity has increased. Would anyone object to this article being renamed to "open-source electronic hardware design" or similar? Gronky 18:26, 30 May 2007 (UTC)
I agree that the title is problematic, but we should come up with something less clunky than "open-source electronic hardware design" before we do a move; I think even "open source hardware" is better than that. -- intgr #%@! 18:39, 30 May 2007 (UTC)
I just made a significant addition to the article: the opening paragraph about Kiani, Nayfeh and Vallance, the founders of "open design." We should respect the historical or commonly-accepted terms. "Open design" has become the standard term for open-source tool design (particularly machine design). "Open hardware" or "open source hardware" are the two terms commonly used for open design of integrated circuits, which is a very special subject. "Open hardware" is thus a sub-set of "open design." To try to blend these two articles into one would make quite a mess of it all. Redeyed Treefrog 20:36, 5 October 2007 (UTC)

Open Hardware or Technology?[edit]

"Open source hardware" as defined seems to limit discussion to computers and the components that make up a computer with perhaps a nod to computer peripherals and no nod whatsoever to other types of open source technology like the Oscar project, for example. In short, the entry seems to have morphed into something that the entry title no longer describes.

This is a bit of a problem because many types of technology contain "computers" but can't be considered a computer for practical purposes in any reasonable manner. Modern automobiles, for example, will have as many as seven microprocessors that manage the engine alone.

I think, perhaps, we need to think about how we categorise all of this and have something like "Open source technology" of which "open source {computer} hardware" is a subset.

Ideas? Feedback?

Plaasjaapie 18:22, 16 January 2007 (UTC)

Did you notice the comment just above, that discusses the distinctions between open source hardware vs open design? :) -- intgr 20:55, 16 January 2007 (UTC)
As can be seen in my addition to the preceding section, I completely agree with Plaasjaapie that "open hardware design" is a subset of "open design." But he seems to be saying that "open microcircuit design" is in turn a subset of "open hardware design", whereas the latter term is often used to refer exclusively to the former. A similar observaton was also made by Gronky above. Redeyed Treefrog 20:45, 5 October 2007 (UTC)

Cars not hardware[edit]

It is stated that "Open source hardware refers to computer and electronic hardware that is designed in the same fashion as free and open-source software. "

As such, cars would need to be removed and moved to the open design-article.

Please look into it.

Best regards,

81.245.167.252 16:21, 29 October 2007 (UTC)


Vehicles are Green Computing, open source hardware doesn't apply to automotive mechanics. Please create a new article if you want to develop on this section. --Ramu50 (talk) 23:38, 13 November 2008 (UTC)

Vehicles[edit]


  1. ^ Homepage
  2. ^ OSCav - Compressed Air Wiki - a Wikia wiki

Questions[edit]

Is the following Hardware Open Source?

--Ramu50 (talk) 23:41, 13 November 2008 (UTC)

I don't see how or why they would be considered open source. Did you have a reason to believe they were? —Mrand TalkC 22:48, 18 November 2008 (UTC)

Sorry, 2 of my edit summary were the same, because my browsers accidentally crashed during editing. --Ramu50 (talk) 21:44, 18 November 2008 (UTC)

I reverted those two edits. Those items do not appear to have anything to do with open source hardware that I can tell - they are limited to allowing the user to direct what features the items have. An open source design would have, at a minimum, the schematics available to everyone. —Mrand TalkC 22:48, 18 November 2008 (UTC)

regarding interconnects[edit]

Why is interconnect removed OMI (Open Microprocessor System Initiative) is an open source interconnect, just because ISO and IEEE use it, doesn't mean they are the creators.

OMI was an ESPRIT research programme in the 1990s. [3] Just because it had the word "Open" in the name doesn't mean it has anything to do with open source or open design. Letdorf (talk) 13:24, 26 November 2008 (UTC).

Also I am not allowing non-notable sources to be removed from this article, since Wikipedia doesn't have a specific guidelines for technologies that are still under development, this type of issues is similar to what is happening at Cloud Computing right now, since most people are still very confused how to define it and few have step in about the explanation, I have attempted once, but failed because my explanations is way too technical. Moreso, a lot of industry corporation are expressing each of their own view differently and not agreeing on one another, so therefore talk page is where we resolute on the spectrum of the topics, not take matters to wikipeida policy of notable, it simply is a bunch of apple and oranges, the policy is not detail enough to pose a guidelines. --Ramu50 (talk) 00:57, 26 November 2008 (UTC)

Ramu, do you want to fight about this? How often does consensus go your way? I am keeping WP from including God-knows how many items on all its pages, because everyone wants their interest listed. It doesn't have a WP page, so it does not need to be here. The lists are not, nor are they meant to be, exhaustive. They give some examples. We don't need an indiscriminate number of examples of open source hardware. There have been at least two additional editors touching the page since I removed your cruft, and they seem to have had no problem with my edit. Do you honestly think you are going to end up with this being included on the page? Carl.bunderson (talk) 02:30, 26 November 2008 (UTC)
Ramu50, I'm unclear. I don't see how OMI relates to open source hardware. Could you explain why you think it does? The history of buses and interfaces is littered with fully documented items, so simply because it uses the word "open" doesn't mean it belongs in this article. Also, what do you mean by "non-notable source?" That sounds like you are mixing two terms: "non-notable", which has to do with topics (not sources), and "sources" (which are references at the bottom of an article to provide proof that a topic is notable AND presented accurately). Thanks! —Mrand TalkC 14:54, 26 November 2008 (UTC)


Guidelines for open source hardware determination[edit]

We may need to develop some very general guidelines or criteria to help quickly decide if something might be open source hardware, because this kind of thing is going to come up from time to time. Just to get the conversation started, off the top of my head, I'm thinking of something like this:

  • For physical hardware, at a minimum, schematics with easily identifiable component values must be available. I almost said that PCB layout files need to be available so that people can easily fab boards, but after thinking about it, that seems just a hair too restrictive.
  • For non-physical hardware (firmware that goes into programmable devices like FPGA's or CPLD's), preferably the source code is available (typically an HDL like VHDL or Verilog), but at a minimum, a schematic of the circuit being implemented would be sufficient.
  • When a piece of "open source hardware" (it has available schematics) has an FPGA or CPLD on it, it gets a little more tricky. If what makes the open source hardware notable is the contents/functionality provided by the FPGA/CPLD, then its source code or schematic must be available as well.
  • Open hardware has nothing to do with the software that might run on it. Closed-source software can be run on open source hardware, and open source software can be run on closed-source hardware (TiVO and many other Linux-based "closed" hardware devices)

Technically eval and demo boards would fall into this, but since the vast majority of them are not notable, they wouldn't be mentioned. Comments? —Mrand TalkC 14:54, 26 November 2008 (UTC)

That all sounds reasonable. Stipulating availability of PCB layout data would rule out most eval boards/reference designs though. Letdorf (talk) 15:14, 26 November 2008 (UTC).
Of course, another way to distinguish eval boards and reference designs from open source hardware could be that the former are generally designed in order to sell chips and the latter usually have no such commercial motive. Letdorf (talk) 10:43, 27 November 2008 (UTC).
My opinion is to keep the guidelines as simple as possible - and to use ones that contain almost no exceptions. For example, I can imagine an open-source hardware board that could have a commercial motive, and I can imagine eval/reference boards that have little commercial motive. My worry about the PCB layout data is that some worthy open source hardware may not provide it either, so we don't want to make that a requirement. What do you think? Any other comments out there? —Mrand TalkC 14:06, 29 November 2008 (UTC)

"Source"[edit]

Is the word "Source" appropriate here? In open source software I assume the source refers to source code. For hardware, there is no source code, but there are other forms of design or diagram which might be considered the source. Is that why the title is currently Open source hardware rather than Open hardware ?

I'm not greatly committed to using or not using the word source, but I think it's worth getting it right, so we can have a common term to refer to the same thing.

I've come across the issue in appropriate technology - see Appropedia: Open Source Appropriate Technology. This term is popular among some advocates for the concept, but I think a better term might be "Open Design Appropriate Technology" instead. Thoughts appreciated! --Chriswaterguy talk 07:10, 2 December 2008 (UTC)

We go by the most commonly-used name, not the most "accurate" one. "open source hardware" is commonly used because it's a more obvious analogue to "open source software"; frankly I'd love a world where both were referred to just as "open" and not "open source", but it's not the world I'm in. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 10:40, 2 December 2008 (UTC)
There is a more general article about Open design which deals with open source principles applied to all kinds of design. I think "open source hardware" is probably a more descriptive term for what we are talking about - "open hardware" sounds a bit vague, and could merely refer to the use of open standards for interfaces etc. But I'd go with whatever appears to be the most common name. Letdorf (talk) 11:19, 2 December 2008 (UTC).
I agree with Chris Cunningham. Chriswaterguy's original question is certainly valid - although I think it is for different reasons: I can easily think of a schematic as a netlist, which I think could be referred to as "source code." And then of course, we have HDL's (or netlists), which is certainly source code for for ASIC/FPGA/CPLD designs. If you look at Open Source Definition, it's pretty obvious that the term "open source" has become over-used, especially in relationship to hardware. But as Chris said, Wikipedia uses the most commonly-used name. —Mrand TalkC 13:38, 2 December 2008 (UTC)
Is open source hardware the most commonly-used name? Google trends points to open hardware being vastly more commonly-used name. Going through the sources (those that works and are not blogs), most do use the name open source hardware, with some using both open hardware and open source hardware mixed. Is Google trend then wrong, or is the sources old data, or are they a biased selection? Belorn (talk) 07:26, 9 March 2012 (UTC)

May I have a word? We (Elphel) are an "open hardware" company, but not an "open source hardware" company. We offer "Imaging solutions with Free Software and Open Hardware" for more than a decade, our products are released under Free Software (GNU GPLv3) and CERN_Open_Hardware_License, not an "open source hardware" one. Elphel (talk) 23:19, 22 November 2012 (UTC)

It also seems that Wikipedia has only information about Open_Hardware_License (3 different ones) but it knows nothing about even a single Open_Source_Hardware_License. So I strongly believe that using "source" is unneeded here, it adds nothing to the meaning, does not come from the industry, and search querries return with more results for the shorter name. So is it just politics to enforce this alien name on us? Elphel (talk) 23:36, 22 November 2012 (UTC)
When I google them, they get very similar numbers of hits. There is for example a Open Source Hardware Association. I think this has to be one of those "it really doesn't matter as long as we know what we are talking about" issues. Unless of course there is some hardware RMS out there with a stern lecture to us all about the difference. — Cheers, Steelpillow (Talk) 17:34, 23 November 2012 (UTC)
I believe that "the similar numbers" (and you see, that the lack of "source" is still - inspite of the current Wikipedia article - MORE popular - contrary to what Chris Cunningham stated above) are caused primarily by exactly this Wikipedia article named as you mentioned RMS - "anti-RMS" zealots. Yes, you found an association that uses "open source" in their name, (Open Source Hardware Association), but if you scroll down that page - it talks about "2012 Open Hardware Summit" - no "source" again. You write that "it really does not matter...", but accuracy is one of the most imporrtant assets of Wikipedia, and this title is not the name used by those who produce Open Hardware, who develop "Open Hardware Licenses". So I was really surprised when I followed "open hardware" link on the Wikipedia page about our company and got here. It is just some artificial name that is much less accepted than an alternative. I already pointed out that Wikipedia shows 3:0 for "Open" vs. "Open source" hardware licenses, you may probably investigate companies and organizations involved in the field - how they prefer to call themselves. So I can not find any explanation for this Wikipedia inaccuracy but the politics.Elphel (talk) 06:11, 29 November 2012 (UTC)
The context in which I suggest it doesn't matter is the context of what to call it on Wikipedia. We have a similar difficulty with "aeroplane" vs. "airplane" because the English-speaking world is split on which term it uses. Accuracy is not at issue, since both terms mean the same thing. So rather than fight endlessly, Wikipedians decided that it doesn't matter which you use in any given article. I have not seen evidence that "open hardware" and "open source hardware" mean different things, say in the way that "open source" and "free/libre" do. Indeed, about 10% of those Google hits included both phrases, "open hardware" and "open source hardware". Examining a few of those pages I see them used more or less interchangeably and here we find their plainly-stated equality, "open hardware = open source hardware". So until I do see evidence of some key difference (and I freely admit that is quite possible, my view is purely evidence-based and I have not researched deeply), I stand by my suggestion that it doesn't matter here. But it's good, verifiable sources of evidence that are the key (hence my quip about a "hardware RMS"). Wikipedia honours Verifiability not truth. — Cheers, Steelpillow (Talk) 21:27, 29 November 2012 (UTC)
I believe you know plenty of words that you may say "they mean the same thing" but the "does not matter which one to use" is not exactly correct :-) Elphel (talk) 06:17, 30 November 2012 (UTC)

Digital audio players[edit]

some dap's are open source, I recall the Minty MP3 player (www.ladyada.net/make/minty/hardware.html ) aswell as some other players as the Daisy MP3 player

also internet radio devices as the elektor internet radio (http://www.elektor.com/magazines/2008/april/elektor-internet-radio-(eir).399000.lynkx) and the portable networked player seen here: http://devices.natetrue.com/musicap/ are open source —Preceding unsigned comment added by 81.245.164.170 (talk) 12:42, 6 March 2009 (UTC)

Medical devices[edit]

Seems that there are relatively few medical devices represented here. Can someone please suggest another inventory of active OS medical device projects? We're at the Univ of Wisconsin and trying to benefit from accumulated experience and skills in respiratory device design and development. I tried to post more info about our project on this page but it kept getting cut. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Dvansickle (talkcontribs) 23:34, 5 April 2009 (UTC)

I am also interested in open-source medical projects. Please tell me if you find a good web site for OS medical device projects. I've come across the following sites that seem to be close to what you are looking for, but they are all either (a) single-project sites, or (b) sites with many open-source projects, but very few related to medical devices, or (c) sites with lots of information on not-yet-open-source medical products.

Should this open-source hardware article link to these places, or the list of open source hardware projects article? --DavidCary (talk) 20:15, 11 January 2011 (UTC)

Free Hardware vs Open Source Software[edit]

I added a paragraph about free hardware vs open hardware and site a reference to the freeio.org website. I also added the various open source hardware boards developed on the site to the list of open source hardware. I noticed my edits were removed as "self-promotion" a day or two later. Dhiel Martin, the creator of the FreeIO site and the hardware designs there, died sometime back of pancreatic cancer. So it was not him come back from the afterlife to promote himself, just me trying to add something to the page. Is the alternate "Free Hardware" name a forbidden topic (I believe the open source software page also mentions the original free software terminology) or did I just violate protocol by not discussing here first? I think the label and the historical value of the FreeIO hardware designs are relevant to the history of open hardware even though the site itself is no longer active. Any thoughts? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 173.57.5.170 (talk) 15:02, 7 August 2009 (UTC)

Fuzebox[edit]

This is just a small gripe, but shouldn't someone update Uzebox to Fuzebox, seeing is that is what it is now known as? Dessydes (talk) 08:41, 26 August 2009 (UTC)

If that is the case, please feel free to make the change! —Mrand TalkC 16:01, 26 August 2009 (UTC)

I'd also like to suggest replacing the Uzebox prototype picture, but with a more recent commercially available version:[4]. Wondering if a single snapshot of both Uzebox/Fuzebox would be better. Also, is Uzebox an open design or open source hardware? Technically it's a reference design, but then there's two hardware implementations available. Uze6666 (talk) 18:24, 26 October 2009 (UTC)

Arduino[edit]

Is Arduino really open hardware? The AVR chip it is entirely based on is proprietary. The rest of the design is trivial and just like a reference design that you can find in AVR and other microcontroller datasheets for 10 years, and manufacturers never care if you copy them as it merely enables them to sell more chips. To me, Arduino is the worst example of open hardware and ironically this article cites it in many places. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 89.3.84.250 (talk) 08:20, 2 November 2009 (UTC)

Yes, Arduino is open source hardware, it's universally accepted as so by everyone doing open source hardware and is one of the leading examples in just about every publication on open source hardware. The Arduino team has decided to completely publish all the source, schematics, firmware, software, bill of materials, parts list, drawings and "board" files to recreate the hardware - they also allow any use, including commercial. Similar to open source software like Linux, but this hardware centric. The Arduino does not need to depend on the chip structure itself (to the extent that nearly all microcontrollers have 'timers' and 'pin direction') and that since its abstracted quite well you could easily replace the AVR with say, an ARM Cortex M3. In fact, people have done this, it only requires porting some of the Wiring core (which is distributed). It also requires porting the hardware files (which are distributed) but it's not any more work than porting software which happens all the time in open source sofrware (often hidden in squicky Makefiles, config files and #ifdefs) Ptorrone (talk) 15:49, 15 December 2009 (UTC)

I feel grossly disrespected by this claim "Arduino is open source hardware, it's universally accepted as so by everyone doing open source hardware". I am author of open source hardware project Ronja http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RONJA and do not accept Arduino as open source hardware. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 84.73.206.159 (talk) 15:01, 5 March 2011 (UTC)

FIRST Robotics Control System[edit]

Parts of the control system for FRC FIRST Robotics have been quietly released as "open source". Designs are listed with a Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 3.0 license, and are available at http://www.usfirst.org/roboticsprograms/frc/content.aspx?id=11838

What would need to be done for these to qualify as open source hardware? I want them to be available, but I don't really know how to appropriately go about doing it. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 208.65.175.197 (talk) 18:29, 15 December 2009 (UTC)

Requested move (January 2010)[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: page moved. Anthony Appleyard (talk) 16:21, 19 January 2010 (UTC)


Open source hardwareOpen-source hardware — like Open-source software — Neustradamus () 19:31, 11 January 2010 (UTC)

  • Support. Unless it's a trade name (in which case the "s" in "source" should be capitalised), the normal English grammar rules should apply. Wikipedia is not required to use bad grammar unless it is specifically intended. That doesn't appear to be the case here. — AjaxSmack 05:09, 14 January 2010 (UTC)
  • This is not an issue of trade names. As the nominator mentioned, those are not affected by this move proposal. If you check WP:HYPHEN, you'll notice that hyphens are used "to link related terms in compound adjectives and adverbs." This is standard English usage on both sides of the pond (e.g., see Betty Schrampfer Azar. Understanding and Using English Grammar. 2nd ed. p. 203.) Your are incorrect that the Open Source Initiative organization doesn't use a hyphen. When used as an adjective as it is used in the titles here, it uses the hyphenated form ("...all other programs distributed on the same medium must be open-source software.", "Therefore we forbid any open-source license from locking...") Your Google results don't discriminate between noun and adjective usage and, frankly, are not a good yardstick for grammar usage anyway. — AjaxSmack 17:38, 14 January 2010 (UTC)
  • I have not request for Open Source Initiative and Open Source Definition because it is good name you can see the capital letter (you do not mix name and adjective) — Neustradamus () 16:38, 14 January 2010 (UTC)
  • I am sorry, but I have absolutely no idea what you just said. -- kanzure (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 00:46, 15 January 2010 (UTC).
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

Thanks AjaxSmack, you are correct. For the record, the reason why I objected so loudly to Neustradamus's request was because he provided absolutely no reason for the move beyond "look at this other article, let's copy that" -- intgr [talk] 18:27, 19 January 2010 (UTC)

Need for a patent[edit]

The following was added in good faith. It needs a supporting reference. The USPTO link does not directly address the issue of whether or not a reliable source has made the particular criticism that releasing a design under an open hardware licenses place the design in the public domain.--Nowa (talk) 18:14, 13 December 2011 (UTC)

Attempts to protect hardware designs with an Open Source Hardware License may merely place the design and/or idea into the Public Domain by effectively publishing it before securing the benefits of patent protection.Novelty And Non-Obviousness, Conditions For Obtaining A Patent: US Patent and Trademark Office
You've removed this twice now, even after it was expanded with the direct quotation and further explanation.
There is no suggestion that an open source licence places a design into the public domain - such a thing is impossible in the US anyway. Under US law you can't dedicate something into the public domain (which is why CC needed the CC Zero licence instead), only by expiry. The critical point is the combination of two things: the unenforceability of an open source licence, and the use of any publication making future patenting impossible (in some jurisdictions). Breach of copyright or patents falls under criminal law, to which all are subject, so it's easier to enforce against such breaches. A licence also forms a contract between two parties who agree to it, so it's a matter of civil law to enforce breaches of some term (maybe required attribution) of a mutually agreed licence. However a straightforward ignoring of a demand to accept a licence has little weight behind it: it's not a criminal breach of copyright, nor is it breaking a contract that hasn't been made.
What such a licence does do, and the ref is quite clear on this, is that a prior licence can make a succeeding US patent difficult, as novelty (i.e. no previous disclosure) is a requirement for US patents. It's not a given that a licence will require disclosure, at least not if the patentable claim isn't externally obvious during use (although the licence does need to be specific enough to make it plain just what is being licensed), but this is something to be borne in mind and is thus a valid criticism.
This section should be restored - the reference already there, especially with the quotation of the relevant point, is adequate. Andy Dingley (talk) 20:39, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
The section is well-referenced enough to keep in while we discuss this, but I would really like to see some more citations to reliable sources, especially if they address this specific question. I am on a hot project right now, but in a few days I should have time to do more research In the meantime, are there any cases where a court has placed a hardware design in the public domain after it was licensed with any kind of open license? Are there any cases where a court has upheld the license in the face of claims that it is in the public domain? --Guy Macon (talk) 22:43, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
Why would we need either of those things? PD is irrelevant here.
The point is not about PD, it's about protection of non-PD material, and whether this practically enforceable protection can be weakened by the use of a FOS licence, even if it doesn't make the material PD. Andy Dingley (talk) 22:47, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
Right, and what we need, as Guy correctly points out, is a reliable source that addresses these issues. The USPTO site doesn't. As the article stands now, this section is a textbook case of synthesis. See WP:SYNTHESIS--Nowa (talk) 22:57, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
This article from Wired, for example, might be a good place to start.[5]--Nowa (talk) 23:01, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
Re: "The point is not about PD, it's about protection of non-PD material" the section that we are discussing reads "Attempts to protect hardware designs with an Open Source Hardware License may merely place the design and/or idea into the Public Domain by effectively publishing it before securing the benefits of patent protection" How is my question ("are there any cases where a court has placed a hardware design in the public domain after it was licensed with any kind of open license") not related? --Guy Macon (talk) 13:58, 14 December 2011 (UTC)
Then the text shouldn't say "places into the Public Domain". PD has a specific narrow meaning, and this is narrower than what is meant here.
The risk here is that the information enters the domain of published materials (which isn't the same thing as PD) and that has two risks: first that it's now simply "easily known" and available to unscrupulous copyists. Secondly that "the domain of having been published" is a barrier to future US patents, thus reducing the scope for legal protection. Dan Brown's novels have been published and I could now scan them and make illegal ebook versions of them, but they haven't entered the public domain, as defined.
Removing the section wholesale also leaves the article badly POV, as it appears that there are no criticisms of this licensing. Andy Dingley (talk) 14:14, 14 December 2011 (UTC)
Right, but all you need to do is find some reliable sources that present criticisms of Open Hardware, and you can create a criticism section based on what they say.--Nowa (talk) 15:34, 14 December 2011 (UTC)
If we can find citations, this could be a very, very useful section. When someone is pondering whether to commit a lot of time toward creating open source hardware, they really could use information about criticisms and pitfalls, and they aren't going to find that by looking at other open source hardware projects. --Guy Macon (talk) 00:13, 15 December 2011 (UTC)
It is self-evident (without our narrow permissible meaning of such) that if (as is supported by the PTO cite) disclosure affects future ability to patent, then that is enough to amount to a criticism. It would become OR to read any more into that, in terms of the value or costs of registering or defending such a patent. Andy Dingley (talk) 00:21, 15 December 2011 (UTC)
Right, but it is your criticism, not that of a reliable source. What we need is the reliable source making the criticism.--Nowa (talk) 00:42, 15 December 2011 (UTC)
Nowa is right. Even saying that disclosure affects future ability to patent, which appears to be a true statement, is covered by WP:ORIGINALSYN. --Guy Macon (talk) 00:51, 15 December 2011 (UTC)
No, there's a direct quote from the PTO, "an invention cannot be patented if: “(a) the invention was known or used by others in this country, or patented or described in a printed publication in this or a foreign country, before the invention thereof by the applicant for patent,” " Andy Dingley (talk) 09:02, 15 December 2011 (UTC)
And it says that releasing a design under an open source license constitutes disclosure... where? (Please note that I am not saying it isn't true; I did the same synthesis you did and came to the same conclusion. Alas, we need a citation to a reliable source, not two Wikipedia editors' synthesis.) --Guy Macon (talk) 11:50, 15 December 2011 (UTC)
Gentlemen, for what it's worth, you can both patent an invention and release the design under an open hardware license. All you have to do is file your patent application before you release the design.--Nowa (talk) 13:30, 15 December 2011 (UTC)

OSHW - author was using Wikipedia to push a new acronym[edit]

A quick google search of "oshw hardware" returned updated wikipedia entries first and then references to the "Open Source Hardware Association" which it states is "coming soon" as a non-profit. It seems that OSHW is going to be a service mark to identify hardware as being covered by an open source hardware license. Not sure who is heading this up. Sparkfun perhaps.

So OSHW is a service mark, not a standard acronym. I am reverting his OSHW changes. let the original author add a section talking about this. Robert.Harker (talk) 20:48, 10 January 2013 (UTC)

I'm not sure that re-expanding this aids the article's readability. Whether or not the original editor did it to promote a particular organisations, editorial discretion suggests that using an abbreviated title reduces unnecessary repetition in the body and that this makes the article flow better. So long as we define the initialism before we use it, I don't think it matters a great deal how widely it's used in the real world. In the long run we're going to need to do something about the utterly ridiculous duplication in this domain on Wikipedia (I can think of another half-doze articles which cover much the same ground as this one), and doing so may get us to arrive naturally at the most well-known name. Chris Cunningham (user:thumperward) (talk) 13:47, 1 February 2013 (UTC)

**Page Needs Help**[edit]

I have seen many a page on Wikipedia with a post at the top calling for help to a page with needed work, for example there is no criticism cited as most "open" designs use proprietary chips and\or devices... Thank you. — Preceding comment added by Jamison2000e (talkcontribs) 15:51, 24 February 2014 (UTC)