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It’s not the license we choose, it’s the communities we build

It’s not the license we choose, it’s the communities we build. In open source hardware and software circles a lot of time is devoted to figuring out the best license. For license enthusiasts this is a passionate topic with unlimited debate on mailing lists, for folks shipping open-source hardware, the majority of shipping Open-source hardware still uses Creative Commons-Share-Alike-Attribution to display their intent. Maybe that will change one day as new licenses are written.

We think what really matters in the community we all build, the support we offer to our customers and the code we publish. Our guess is that most of the issues with open-source hardware will not be solved in court or with lawsuits. Creating and celebrating a community of people & companies sharing hardware for the benefit of each other is where the real action is at. Putting a strongly worded text file on a download page makes intentions clear (always a good idea) but in the end – it’s the community of people we’re part of that will be the most benefit when things go incredibly good, or the rare times when someone just wants to be a jerk.

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  1. Right on. I want to make open hardware to help make more and better open source. I’m a hardware geek, not a license geek, I really don’t care about the license. I’ve taken to releasing most hardware public domain now because it’s the least amount of fuss for reuse. Firmware that is for tutorials is always public domain too, but sometimes complicated firmware (often the real work) is CC BY-SA simply so I don’t need a written public domain release from firmware contributors.

  2. Yep. I’ve been saying that for a while. My “Open source license” is a proxy for “These are the people I hang out with.”

    Oh, and for us EEs, reading the resistor would be a LOT easier if we could just type 150 10% (for the resistor below). I don’t even think about them as numbers anymore. It’s just a 150 ohm resistor, not a 1 5 X 10E1 resistor.

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