Open-source hardware standards set formally
Bangalore: The open-source hardware community has received its first set of standards recently. Dubbed the Open Source Hardware Draft, it's in version 0.3 and has 11 rules.
The rules include documentation, necessary software, derived works, free distribution, attribution, no discrimination against persons or groups, no discrimination against fields of work, distribution of license, not limiting a license to a specific product, allowing use on other hardware or software and making the standards technology-neutral.
Before this, there were varied opinions about what open-source hardware is, as there were no defined rules or standards. There are at least 13 companies making open-source hardware, with annual revenue in the $1 million range. Despite the nature of open-source hardware, which allows anyone to take an existing design, modify it and sell it, the category has yet to take off. Companies have often instead rolled money into customer service. Open-source hardware advocates often point to users improving on the original's design.
Under the new rules, those who copy a design will need to give full and fair attribution to the original device, possibly leading to original devices getting more credit and business for being first.
The standards were officially issued by a group of signatories that included Wired magazine editor and DIY Drones' Chris Anderson, Phil Torrone of Make magazine, David Mellis of MIT Media Lab and Arduino, Limor Fried of Adafruit, and Ayah Bdeir of New York's Eyebeam.