If you want to host an open source hardware project today, you have to cobble together wikis, forums, online polls, blogs, and online file storage to share your materials. Then you have to send the link (or links) to your “system” to the people you already know who might be interested in participating. For a person who just wants to start designing and building cool stuff all that pre-work is a giant pain in the you-know-what.
So is it any wonder that most makers interested in open sourcing their designs tend to skip that step, do all the work themselves and then just release the final designs on the web when they get around to it?
There has to be a better way.
In order for open source hardware to become as prevelant and infulential in the hardware community as FOSS is in the software community we need a way to integrate the required services into a single system, as well as provide a destination for users looking for open source hardware projects to build or to extend to get involved in the community.
Enter Open Design Engine.
If it takes a forge to develop open source software, then you need an engine to develop open source hardware. Introducing Open Design Engine (ODE). ODE is a web based engineering project management system created to facilitate the design and development of openly licensed hardware projects. ODE provides a critical service to the growing open source hardware community, similar to the role Source Forge played in the early growth of open source software.
ODE is based on the open source software Redmine and is licensed under the GNU General Public License v2 (GPL). ODE is being distributed in a similar manner to WordPress. Which means there will be a version available for download that users can install on their own servers (like http://wordpress.org) and a hosted version where users can register accounts and host projects (like http://wordpress.com).
Version 0.1 of the site is up and running at https://opendesignengine.net, but before user accounts can be made available to the public, V0.2 must be completed.
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