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From Open Source Software to Open Source Hardware

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The open source software principles progressively give rise to new …

The open source software principles progressively give rise to new
initiatives for culture (free culture), data (open data) or hardware (open
hardware). The open hardware is experiencing a significant growth but the
business models and legal aspects are not well known. This paper is dedicated
to the economics of open hardware. We define the open hardware concept and
determine intellectual property tools we can apply to open hardware, with a
strong focus on open source licenses and practices. We next conduct some
case studies in order to determine which licenses and business models are used
by open hardware companies. We show some strong similarities with open
source software and propose new opportunities for future works.

See paper for more details.

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  • 1. Faculté PolytechniqueOSS 2012From Open Source Software to Open Source HardwareDr Ir Robert ViseurThe Eighth International Conference on Open Source Systems (OSS 2012).Hammamet (Tunisia), September 10-13, 2012.
  • 2. Summary Context Definitions Intellectual Property and Business Models Methodology Results Discussion Future WorksUniversité de Mons Dr Ir R. Viseur | FPMs : Service dÉconomie et de Management de lInnovation 2
  • 3. Context First was open source software (OSS)... Next steps :  open access, open data and...  open source hardware / open hardware (OSH). Some well-known projects such as LEON free processor. With time :  growing interest of companies,  popular products such as Arduino.Université de Mons Dr Ir R. Viseur | FPMs : Service dÉconomie et de Management de lInnovation 3
  • 4. Definitions Recent definition by Open Hardware Summit (summit.oshwa.org) :  Open Source Hardware Definition.  Based on 12 criteria.  Clearly drawned on famous Open Source Definition (OSI, opensource.org). Two kinds of projects :  Open source IP  Electronic components : cores, controllers, processors,...  Open source designs.  More complex designs : specialized boards, prototyping boards, machines,...Université de Mons Dr Ir R. Viseur | FPMs : Service dÉconomie et de Management de lInnovation 4
  • 5. Intellectual Property and Business Models (1/2) Some items to protect :  Source code for electronics, source code for associated softwares, hardware design, aesthetic value, documentations and brands. Various IP tools :  Protection for the topographies of semiconductors, industrial design rights, patents, copyrights and trademarks. Expected similarities between OSH and OSS.Université de Mons Dr Ir R. Viseur | FPMs : Service dÉconomie et de Management de lInnovation 5
  • 6. Intellectual Property and Business Models (2/2) Open source softwares covered by licenses.  Based on copyright (sometimes : clauses about patents and trademarks).  Copyleft (LGPL, GPL, MPL,...) or not (BSD, MIT,...). Specific open hardware licenses such as TAPR or CERN Open Hardware License. Business models strongly influenced by licenses. In open source software, revenue creation by :  Selling services (new developments, training, hosting,...).  Selling softwares (dual licensing scheme or sale of add‑ons)Université de Mons Dr Ir R. Viseur | FPMs : Service dÉconomie et de Management de lInnovation 6
  • 7. Methodology Objectives :  Identify emergent practices (mainly about relations between companies, and between companies and communities).  Determine business models and licenses used by companies. Methodology :  11 case studies by analyzing organisations with commercial OSH activities.  Sources :  Projects websites and articles about projects owners (interviews, presentations).  Public documents about projects.Université de Mons Dr Ir R. Viseur | FPMs : Service dÉconomie et de Management de lInnovation 7
  • 8. Results (1/2) Business models :Université de Mons Dr Ir R. Viseur | FPMs : Service dÉconomie et de Management de lInnovation 8
  • 9. Results (2/2) Licenses :  Open source licenses used for source code : BSD, GPL and LGPL.  Hardware design also covered by Creative Commons (mainly CC-BY-SA).  One project covered by license for OSH (TAPR license). Implementation :  License not always clearly noticed.  Source code distributed with public tools (Github, Google Code or Sourceforge).Université de Mons Dr Ir R. Viseur | FPMs : Service dÉconomie et de Management de lInnovation 9
  • 10. Discussion (1/2) Protection provided by Creative Commons ?  Written for cultural contents, not for hardware.  No clause about patents (as GPL v3). Use of GPL (restrictive license) :  Less problematic for OSH ?  The companies sell tangible, manufactured products.  Need to control process from source code to out-of-the box products.  Kind of barrier to entry.Université de Mons Dr Ir R. Viseur | FPMs : Service dÉconomie et de Management de lInnovation 10
  • 11. Discussion (2/2) Forks are possible with hardware, too.  Cases :  OpenSPARC : simpification of the product (« friendly » fork).  Arduino : trademarks issues and search for lower prices.  Similar to forks in Open Source software field.  Possible with more complex machines ?Université de Mons Dr Ir R. Viseur | FPMs : Service dÉconomie et de Management de lInnovation 11
  • 12. Future works Increase the number of studied companies. Establish links with other theoretical frameworks (fablabs, peer-production,...). Study in greater detail the interactions between users communities and companies.  How do the companies overcome the barriers to contribute ?  Proposed methods : questionnaires sent to projects leaders or tracking of activities in collaborative tools.Université de Mons Dr Ir R. Viseur | FPMs : Service dÉconomie et de Management de lInnovation 12
  • 13. Q&A Thank you for your attention. Any question ? This slideshow is published under CC-BY-ND license.Université de Mons Dr Ir R. Viseur | FPMs : Service dÉconomie et de Management de lInnovation 13
  • 14. Acknowledgments This research was initiated by the Faculty of Engineering of UMons (www.umons.ac.be) and benefited of support from DG06 (spw.wallonie.be) with the CELLaVI project conducted by CETIC (www.cetic.be).Université de Mons Dr Ir R. Viseur | FPMs : Service dÉconomie et de Management de lInnovation 14
  • 15. Contact Dr Ir Robert Viseur Teaching Assistant @UMONS  UMONS, Faculté Polytechnique  Rue de Houdain, 9  B-7000 Mons  Mail : robert.viseur@umons.ac.be  WWW : www.umons.ac.be Senior Technology Advisor @CETIC  CETIC  Rue des Frères Wright, 29/3  B-6041 Charleroi  Mail : robert.viseur@cetic.be  WWW : www.cetic.be More information : www.robertviseur.beUniversité de Mons Dr Ir R. Viseur | FPMs : Service dÉconomie et de Management de lInnovation 15