Saturday, July 9, 2011

CERN Launches Open Hardware initiative

Geneva, 7 July 2011. Four months after launching the alpha version, CERN1 has today issued version 1.1 of the Open Hardware Licence (OHL), a legal framework to facilitate knowledge exchange across the electronic design community.

In the spirit of knowledge and technology dissemination, the CERN OHL was created to govern the use, copying, modification and distribution of hardware design documentation, and the manufacture and distribution of products. Hardware design documentation includes schematic diagrams, designs, circuit or circuit-board layouts, mechanical drawings, flow charts and descriptive texts, as well as other explanatory material.

Version 1.0 of the CERN OHL was published in March 2011 on the Open Hardware Repository (OHR), the creation of electronic designers working in experimental-physics laboratories who felt the need to enable knowledge-exchange across a wide community and in line with the ideals of "open science" being fostered by organizations such as CERN.


"The CERN OHL is an exciting achievement, with the potential of being the lead licence for new hardware projects, like the GNU GPL has been for free software," said Alessandro Rubini, Free Software developer and co-author of "Linux Device Drivers".

"Version 1.1 integrates feedback received from the community in order to follow generally accepted principles of the free and open source movements," said Ayass, "and purports to make the CERN OHL even more easily usable by entities other than CERN".

"By sharing designs openly," said Serrano, "CERN expects to improve the quality of designs through peer review and to guarantee their users - including commercial companies - the freedom to study, modify and manufacture them, leading to better hardware and less duplication of efforts."

"CERN efforts to build an ecosystem for Open Hardware certainly bode well for more Freedom in the digital space," said Carlo Piana, Digital liberties advocate and General Counsel of the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE).

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