[Discuss] curious statement on github about oshwa certiification

Matt Maier blueback09 at gmail.com
Fri Jul 8 12:35:34 UTC 2016

Javier, no worries. I thought you were just expanding on my explanation.

We need to keep explaining this stuff, over and over again, because most of
the people who want to participate in open source (whether software,
hardware, whateverware) never bother to license anything. Open source
software has a problem with that even though it's a couple decades old.
People just publicize and use; they don't license and they don't check

However, companies (ie: lawyers) obsessively check licenses. Open source
software has gotten away with it for so long because the costs are so low.
If open source hardware wants to be taken seriously it needs to be used in
business, which means companies (ie: lawyers) need to have certainty on its
status. The thing is that hardware is inherently more expensive than
software, so we probably have to get this licensing thing to happen in more
of the community faster. Otherwise it just won't be low enough risk for
companies to invest dollars and years in.

So we'll have to keep explaining it at various levels of complexity because
it takes more than one explanation to get it all.

On Fri, Jul 8, 2016 at 3:28 PM, Javier Serrano <Javier.Serrano at cern.ch>

> On 07/08/2016 02:08 PM, Javier Serrano wrote:
> > On 07/08/2016 01:37 PM, Matt Maier wrote:
> >> ... so "hardware licenses" in open source hardware aren't nearly as
> >> useful as open source software licenses.
> >
> > Of course licensors and licensees should bear in mind that while the end
> > product in software (the binary) is subject to copyright law, the end
> > product in hardware (the piece of hardware) isn't in most cases.
> > However, I can look at the sources of the Linux kernel and write my own
> > functionally equivalent kernel from scratch using everything I learnt,
> > without infringing the GPL that protects the sources of the original
> > kernel, exactly the same process you described for hardware. So the
> > difference is not so big after all.
> Sorry Matt, I agree with you more than I managed to convey. Most of the
> economic activity in both software and hardware involves distribution of
> products (binaries in the case of software, or tangible products in the
> case of hardware). Because (simplifying quite a bit here) tangible
> products are not subject to copyright, you cannot in principle attach
> obligations to the act of distributing them. That's a big difference.
> Cheers,
> Javier
> _______________________________________________
> discuss mailing list
> discuss at lists.oshwa.org
> http://lists.oshwa.org/listinfo/discuss
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.oshwa.org/pipermail/discuss/attachments/20160708/dd941bd1/attachment.html>

More information about the discuss mailing list