[Discuss] curious statement on github about oshwa certiification

Mike Dupont jamesmikedupont at googlemail.com
Fri Jul 8 12:49:31 UTC 2016

there are companies that vet open source software for large companies like

On Fri, Jul 8, 2016 at 8:35 AM, Matt Maier <blueback09 at gmail.com> wrote:

> 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
> licenses.
> 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>
> wrote:
>> 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
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James Michael DuPont
Kansas Linux Fest http://kansaslinuxfest.us
Free/Libre Open Source and Open Knowledge Association of Kansas
Member of Free Libre Open Source Software Kosova http://www.flossk.org
Saving Wikipedia(tm) articles from deletion http://SpeedyDeletion.wikia.com
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