Coming soon! First ever certification for open hardware

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Open hardware in green, yellow, pink

The month of October this year will be Open Source Hardware Month with the Open Source Hardware Association (OSHWA)!

Open source hardware is hardware whose design is made publicly available so that anyone can study, modify, distribute, make, and sell the design or hardware based on that design. The hardware's source is the design from which it is made, and it is available in the preferred format for making modifications to it.

Open Source Hardware Month will host three significant events in an effort to bring greater clarity to the open source hardware definition, invite more people to contribute to the movement, and provide education about how to publish a project or product as open source hardware. These events include the Open Hardware Summit, an open source hardware certification, and a series of documentation days.

The annual Open Hardware Summit in Portland, Oregon will be on October 7, 2016. Mark your calendars! Tickets to the Summit are available, and we’re currently looking for speakers and sponsors. Documentation days are now open to any individual or company, and this is the perfect time to document that project you just haven’t gotten around to. Follow us on Twitter or Facebook to stay tuned. 

New open source hardware certification

At the Summit, OSHWA will launch the first ever (version 1) of the open source hardware certification, administered by OSHWA. This certification is designed to benefit at least two parts of the open source hardware community.

First, it benefits purchasers of open source hardware by making it easy to identify truly open source hardware in the marketplace. Projects and products obtaining certification and displaying the certification logo clearly communicate a commonly agreed upon definition of openness with customers and users. While certification is not a condition for openness, obtaining certification is a way to make it clear to others that a given project is open source hardware.

Second, the certification benefits creators of open source hardware. By giving creators specific guidelines, certification allows open source hardware creators to confidently declare their projects and products as open source hardware. Certification also allows creators to defend that declaration by pointing to compliance with specific criteria defined in the certification process.

Users will self-certify compliance in order to use the certification logos. Self-certification will give creators the right to use the OSHWA open source hardware certification logo. As part of the self-certification process, creators will agree to subject themselves to penalties for non-compliance. OSHWA will be responsible for enforcing those penalties.

The Open Source Hardware Association is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to being the voice of the open hardware community, ensuring that technological knowledge is accessible to everyone, and encouraging the collaborative development of technology that serves education, environmental sustainability, and human welfare. Become a member of OSHWA today!

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Alicia Gibb is an advocate for open hardware, researcher, and a hardware hacker. Alicia has worked within the open source hardware community since 2008. She is the founder and Executive Director of the Open Source Hardware Association (OSHWA), an organization to educate and promote building and using open source hardware.

1 Comment

Great article Alicia! I'm sharing this with all my open hardware loving friends.

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