Open Design Definition

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From the Open Design Foundation

"Any open design license should satisfy the requirements in the Open Design Definition [ODF].

The Open Design Definition allows any individual or organization to use an open design as an element in a proprietary machine, as long as they inform purchasers that a portion of the proprietary machine is an open design. The total machine remains proprietary, but redistribution of modified open design elements requires that revised design documentation be publicly available. An organization or individual can produce or sell an open design if the purchaser is informed that they are purchasing an open design and the seller publicly distributes or provides a simple path to all the design documentation." (


"Shortly after the launch of the Open Hardware Certification Program, David Freeman announced the Open Hardware Specification Project (OHSpec), another attempt at licensing hardware components whose interfaces are available publicly and of creating an entirely new computing platform as an alternative to proprietary computing systems (Freeman 1998). Also in 1998, Troy Benjegerdes made public his intention of starting an entrepreneurial venture to apply the principles of open source software to the design and development of hardware (Benjegerdes 1998)⁠. On the same year, Reinoud Lamberts launched Open Design Circuits, a website dedicated to collaboratively designing low cost and open design circuits (Lamberts 1998)⁠. And between 1998 and 1999, Graham Seaman made several attempts at defining open source hardware (Seaman)⁠.

In early 1999, Dr. Sepehr Kiani (a PhD in mechanical engineering from MIT), Dr. Ryan Vallance and Dr. Samir Nayfeh joined efforts to apply the open source philosophy to machine design applications. Together they established the Open Design Foundation (ODF) as a non-profit corporation, and set out to develop an Open Design Definition (Wikipedia).

Despite this initial burst of activity around the nascent concept of [[Open Source Hardware, most of the initiatives mentioned above faded out within a year or two and only by the mid 2000s would open source hardware again become a hub of activity." (