[Discuss] discuss Digest, Vol 10, Issue 13

Matt Maier blueback09 at gmail.com
Sun Mar 3 14:43:37 UTC 2013

Okay, lets back up a bit. My impression was that we were discussing an
OSHWA mark that the open hardware community could rely on as a guarantee of
openness. More specifically, as a guarantee that a commercial project
actually qualifies as open source. Nobody's worried about the hobby
projects being open, they're worried about the for-profit projects (see

Is a self-selected openness-mark really going to accomplish anything? At
the moment anybody can claim openness just by, you know, claiming it. They
could write it on their PCB or inside their case if they felt like it.
Would providing them with a professionally designed glyph to say the same
thing make any difference?

Perhaps I'm missing something, but it seems to me that only a curated
openness mark can possibly achieve any level of value. The users want an
objective assessment of a project's openness and the competing producers
want a consistent standard. Anything short of that is ripe for the same
"open washing" that inspired the discussion, right?

I agree that raises the level of commitment necessary from whatever
organization wants to be in charge. But I don't see how anything short of
that will make any difference. Besides, at the end of the day if a
standards-based openness mark is a conflict of interest then maybe it's
just not worth pursuing.

The escrow idea isn't an integral part of the openness mark idea. I just
thought it could be useful. After sleeping on it an escrow does seem a bit
too coercive for this context; kinda jumping the gun. It would really only
be relevant if people were abusing an openness mark and the community
wanted to make an extra effort to enforce standards.

On Sun, Mar 3, 2013 at 6:03 AM, Tom Igoe <tom.igoe at gmail.com> wrote:

> I see a few problems with that:
> * it implies that the files are done in advance of the product release.
> You really don't want to release half-baked files, even to escrow.
> * projects hit delays. You could say"we plan to release by x" and for
> various logistical reasons not be ready to release the product by x. Better
> to choose a goal than a date, e.g you'll release the files when the product
> goes on sale. That doesn't work for non- commercial members though.
> * who is responsible for maintaining the files in escrow? The oshwa board
> is made up of folks who both collaborate and compete with each other and
> other oshwa members. I trust them all because I know them personally. But
> is my experience universal? You're introducing a big potential conflict of
> unrest there.
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