“Why (and how) public institutions should release more of their hardware designs as Open-Source Hardware”


Javier Serrano of the Open Hardware group at CERN has written a new blog post:


Preliminary note: this article is co-authored with Carlos Serrano. Javier is with CERN, the European Laboratory for Particle Physics in Geneva, Switzerland. Carlos is with LBNL, the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, CA, USA. Both CERN and LBNL have public statements on their mission, which includes the maximisation of positive impact of their developments on society. The means employed for reaching those goals differ, of course, as a function of the circumstances of each development and, to a lesser extent, are also subject to opinion. This article presents the personal opinions of the authors, hoping to foster productive discussion, and is in no way intended to represent an official communication from either LBNL or CERN. A pdf version is available in the Open Hardware Repository, with a few extra footnotes in places where more detail might be welcome by some but could otherwise interfere with the reading flow in Medium.
“Why (and how) public institutions should release more of their hardware designs as Open-Source Hardware”

New CERN Open Source Hardware Licenses Mark A Major Step Forward

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From Michael Weinberg on the Open Source Hardware Association (OSHWA) blog:

New CERN Open Source Hardware Licenses Mark A Major Step Forward

Earlier this month CERN (yes, that CERN) announced version 2.0 of their open hardware licenses (announcement and additional context from them). Version 2.0 of the license comes in three flavors of permissiveness and marks a major step forward in open source hardware (OSHW) licensing. It is the result of seven (!) years of work by a team lead by Myriam AyassAndrew Katz, and Javier Serrano. Before getting to what these licenses are doing, this post will provide some background on why open source hardware licensing is so complicated in the first place.

New CERN Open Source Hardware Licenses Mark A Major Step Forward

CERN updates its Open Hardware Licence

Version 2.0 of the CERN Open Hardware Licence has been released, introducing three variants meant to cater to different collaborative models:


CERN updates its Open Hardware Licence

Nine years after publishing the first version of the CERN Open Hardware Licence (CERN-OHL) – which governs the use, copying, modification and distribution of hardware designs and the manufacture and distribution of any resulting products – CERN has now released version 2.0 of the licence. The latest version uses simpler terminology, introduces three variants of the licence, and broadens its range to include designs that go from artistic to mechanical to electronic, as well as adapting the licence to cases such as application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs) and field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs). It can even be used to license software.

“The CERN-OHL is to hardware what the free and open-source licences are to software,” explains Myriam Ayass, legal adviser for the CERN Knowledge Transfer group and one of the authors of the CERN-OHL. “It defines the conditions under which a licensee will be able to use or modify the licensed material. It shares the same principles as free software or open-source software: anyone should be able to see the source – the design documentation in the case of hardware – study it, modify it and share it.” ‘Source’ includes schematic diagrams, designs, circuit or circuit-board layouts, mechanical drawings, flow charts and descriptive texts, as well as other explanatory material.

“Open hardware gives designers and users the freedom to share hardware designs, modify them, manufacture products based on the design files and commercialise those products. This freedom enables collaboration among engineers, scientists, researchers, hobbyists and companies without the risk of vendor lock-in or other issues present in proprietary development,” explains Javier Serrano, an engineer in the Beams Department at CERN and the founder of the Open Hardware Repository (OHR).

Version 2.0 of the CERN-OHL introduces three variants of the licence – strongly reciprocal, weakly reciprocal and permissive – which aim to address specific constraints caused by different collaboration models currently used in open-hardware projects. The first two variants mean that if any product is made using an open hardware design, the design of that product, including any improvements or modifications, should be made available under the same licence as that of the original product. Permissive licences do not impose this condition.

Andrew Katz, a lawyer and “open” specialist from Moorcrofts LLP, who has also been involved in the drafting process, said he believes the new drafts adopt best practices from the world of open-source software, while adapting to the specific and uniquely complex challenges presented by open hardware. “We’re particularly excited by the enthusiastic response we’ve had to the drafts from members of communities in all sectors of open hardware, and we’ve been very grateful for their valuable comments and input.”

CERN will soon submit the CERN-OHL for endorsement by the Open Source Initiative (OSI) and the Free Software Foundation (FSF).

CERN updates its Open Hardware Licence

KiCad at FOSDEM 2017

KiCad project leader Wayne Stambaugh talked at FOSDEM 2017 about KiCad’s current status and future roadmap:

KiCad Project Status

Wayne’s slides are available on Google Drive:

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Tomasz Wlostowski of CERN talks about the SPICE integration that was added to KiCad in 2016:

Integrated Spice Simulation


Maciej Sumiński walked through the KiCad source code:

Diving into the KiCad source code

PDF of the slides is available for download:


KiCad at FOSDEM 2017

Gathering for Open Science Hardware


The Gathering for Open Science Hardware (GOSH) is new annual conference for those building and using Open Source Hardware (OSHW)  for scientific research:

The GOSH movement seeks to reduce barriers between diverse creators and users of scientific tools to support the pursuit and growth of knowledge.

GOSH 2016 took place at CERN last March with an excellent keynote by Javier Serrano:

Open Hardware at CERN – a quick introduction


Video of talks at GOSH 2016:

GOSH 2016 Day 1 part 1: Grand Challenges

GOSH 2016 Day 1 part 2: Grand Challenges


You can apply to attend GOSH 2017, 22-25 March 2017 at the Innovation Centre at Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile in Santiago, Chile:

GOSH 2017 Application Form

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Gathering for Open Science Hardware