Back in October of 2014, I was lucky enough to be elected to the Open Source Hardware Association (OSHWA) board. Because the association received its nonprofit status, the board is finally able to begin increasing its reach in the community. Many new initiatives are being discussed, and we've been collecting a lot of community input on what is needed in the open source hardware world. One of the main objectives the board has in mind for the next year is to continue building up the community interaction and awareness of the association.
Recently, there's been a lot of activity on our mailing list, which is very exciting. The community is stepping up and getting involved, discussing various topics such as hardware projects and whether they actually qualify as open source hardware, as well as planning a meetup to work on improving the development of open source CAD programs. There is also great movement from the community on working toward an open hardware repository to be a resource for all open source hardware users, hackers, and creators.
If you would like to contribute to these efforts or would simply like to learn more about what is going on in the open hardware community, please join the mailing list. Alternatively, if you'd like to have a direct say in the activities of the association, please consider becoming a member. Keep in mind that many companies offer donation matching, so you can potentially stick it to the closed source man by donating and having your company match it!
Another exciting development is how many groups and companies are beginning to reach out to the board. We recently heard from the Open Source Circular Economy Days and are excited to see other groups are not only embracing the concept of open hardware, but also working diligently to encourage the use and development of open hardware in their individual communities.
An additional point of excitement was the release of the book Building Open Source Hardware. This book is a great introduction to the development and manufacturing of open source hardware, and proceeds from its sale go back to supporting the association and its outreach activities.
Finally, the board has also been working diligently on preparing the 2015 Open Hardware Summit, which will be held September 19th in Philadelphia. As always, the board wants to hear from the community about what we can do to improve the open source hardware experience. If you have suggestions, concerns, complaints, or issues, let us know. We'll continue incorporating your input and working toward making open hardware the standard, not the exception.
This article is part of the Open Hardware Connection column coordinated by Rikki Endsley. Share your stories about the growing open hardware community and the fantastic projects coming from makers and tinkers around the world by contacting us at firstname.lastname@example.org.