[Discuss] Misuse of "Open Hardware" term?

Josh Datko jbd at cryptotronix.com
Wed Feb 11 00:59:53 UTC 2015

1. Whether or not you like GNU, this is one of the reasons RMS is
pedantic about terminology. AFAIK, "open hardware" has no agreed upon
definition[1]. "Open Source Hardware" is defined here:

2. This is the cathedral vs. bazaar thing[2]. The cathedral style is
to have a certification program, much like the FSF's Respect Your
Freedom certification. The Bazaar style is the OSI model where
individuals pick an OSI approved license w/o asking anybody's

I do think companies *would* pay to receive a certification b/c they
believe in OSHW. But this leaves the individual maker on Tindie, who
might be following all the rules better than some
companies/organizations in a pickle. Maintaining the database of
registered OSHW takes effort as well and that effort requires funding.

How to get people to play by the rules? I don't know. The FSF
continuously tries to get people to say "GNU\Linux" and as a FSF
paying member, I'll put myself on report in that I'm not consistent
with the term. I think getting people onboard with saying "Open Source
Hardware" vs "Open Hardware" will take some education. Which I do
think OSHWA is very actively doing.


[1] I did google "open hardware" and there were links, circa 2011,
talking about the release of the "open source hardware" definition
[2] With apologies to ESR for bending his analogy to fit my use-case.

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