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Open Source Hardware fitting into our extended model

posted Jul 28, 2012, 8:31 PM by Gabriella Levine   [ updated Jul 28, 2012, 9:45 PM ]
I've been thinking about this for a while, and I'm not sure I know exactly how to go about this, but from talking with Tom Igoe in March (Professor Tisch and Arduino Team) about running an Open Source Hardware business, he brought up a lot of good points, and one that I wanted to follow up with was: For our company members, and for our community, and for our consumers. This is especially important for our community, because not everyone will know what open hardware is or how to deal with it. So I hope that a lot of progress gets made to this document, but here is a start. This can also add to something like an FAQ about Protei and Open H2O.  And, we should have a Privacy Policy, like Arduino does, or at least transparency, especially once we have a forum and a wiki, with members who sign in. How will their information be used, what will be public, etc? 

What this will be: 
A document that defines where the Open Source Hardware definition fits into our business model of Protei- a product, and Open-H2O- a nonprofit community project. 
Please edit the document here

I decided to start from the OSH definition: 

ProteiOpen H2O
DocumentationWe will release all design files for the fully-documented hardware, including circuit diagrams and CAD files. We will have available all the mechanical CAD files for fabrication. We will document how-to guides for everything we release. We will not necessarily release the documentation during the R&D phase. We will not guarantee that the documentation be free of cost.All projects that Open-H2O supports will adhere to the Open-Source Hardware definition in varying degrees.
ScopeThe documentation for the hardware must clearly specify what portion, if not all, is being released under the open source license. However, there might be parts of the project that we have to protect. This includes work we do with peripheral companies that do not support the open source hardware definition, but whose engineering input will help advance the product and overall objectives.  Open-H2O will be transparent if there is an aspect of work or documentation that is not open.
Necessary SoftwareIf the licensed design requires software to properly operate, we will provide access and documentation on github.Open-H2O will do its best to foster a forum for available software for related projects for the preservation and monitoring of the oceans.
Free RedistributionWe shall not restrict anyone from selling or giving away documentation, and we shall not request a royalty. We require that our name be credited.Any work derived from any aspect of Open-H2O can be redistributed, as long as it adheres with our values, which we will document in our licensing.
Derived WorksWe allow any modification or derived work to be distributed under the terms of the original work’s licence.

Questions for Protei:

In what cases can we keep documentation and work private: In the R&D phase; if we are partnering alongside of another company who will benefit us in our objectives, but who do not support open-source hardware. This will be decided upon during the agreement with the external company, and no work that Protei ever does will be private, unless for the purposes of collaboration. This will be discussed by the members.

Where does Open-Hardware fit in our business Model (and why does it help move forwards our goals): 
Only under the open source hardware definition can our business model be realized. Protei's goal is to develop a robust, effective technology, then put it into the hands of the local communities, to enact social and environmental change.

And here is part of the FAQ on the Arduino site :
Can I build a commercial product based on Arduino?
Yes, with the following conditions:
  • Physically embedding an Arduino board inside a commercial product does not require you to disclose or open-source any information about its design.
  • Deriving the design of a commercial product from the Eagle files for an Arduino board requires you to release the modified files under the same Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike license. You may manufacture and sell the resulting product.
  • Using the Arduino core and libraries for the firmware of a commercial product does not require you to release the source code for the firmware. The LGPL does, however, require you to make available object files that allow for the relinking of the firmware against updated versions of the Arduino core and libraries. Any modifications to the core and libraries must be released under the LGPL.
  • The source code for the Arduino environment is covered by the GPL, which requires any modifications to be open-sourced under the same license. It does not prevent the sale of derivative software or its inclusion in commercial products.

In all cases, the exact requirements are determined by the applicable license. Additionally, see the previous question for information about the use of the name “Arduino”.

What do you mean by open-source hardware?
Open-source hardware shares much of the principles and approach of free and open-source software. In particular, we believe that people should be able to study our hardware to understand how it works, make changes to it, and share those changes. To facilitate this, we release all of the original design files (Eagle CAD) for the Arduino hardware. These files are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike license, which allows for both personal and commercial derivative works, as long as they credit Arduino and release their designs under the same license.

The Arduino software is also open-source. The source code for the Java environment is released under the GPL and the C/C++ microcontroller libraries are under the LGPL.