CERN puts its weight behind Open Hardware
CERN, the international nuclear research organisation, released version 1.1 of their Open Hardware License (OHL) this week. The goal of the OHL is to take the successes of the open source software model and apply them to hardware development.
I’ll leave it as an exercise for the reader to go through the details of the license (full text here) but essentially it reads like a hardware hacker’s Bill of Rights, providing “a legal framework to facilitate knowledge exchange across the electronic design community.”
Knowledge exchange is not new, but having a legal framework that allows an engineer to freely distribute the results of his or her labour without fear of that work being exploited is a relatively recent phenomenon.
There are at least half a dozen other open source hardware licenses already in wide use, but the fact that this one is being championed by perhaps the premier international science organisation is a very exciting development.
For an example of what can happen when you open up your hardware design, check out this fantastic documentary on the Arduino: