Open IP Licensing Guaranteed by Non-Profits

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Discussion

Guarantee of Openness of the technology through Open Hardware H2O licensing

Cesar Harada:

"Having the IP licensed by a non-profit, guarantees the un-retractable openness of a technology. That means essentially being faithful to the community and the original founding ethical values.

A good example of this is the relation between the Mozilla Foundation (non-profit) and their main community generated product Firefox (free open source software). The Mozilla foundation being a non-profit guarantees that the code remains “eternally” open even if the commercial activities were to fail. Thousands of people continuously voluntarily contribute code understanding it is a collective effort for general interest.

A counter example would be recent events at Makerbot industries. Makerbot has been producing amazing open hardware 3d printers, but after significant external investors and functioning on heavier structural cost (adding admin, legal, machines, rent, salaries etc) making the machine “less hacker friendly, but more user friendly”, the price tag of the machine had to go up. Eventually another manufacturer entered the market announcing they would produce a copy-cat technology faster and cheaper. Not cool, not following “the [unspoken] rules of Open Hardware“. Makerbot industries had to close the source of the project, at the disappointment of many in the Open Hardware community. Being a respected brand and Open Hardware is great, but it might be more critical to be the best, fastest and cheapest in the market. I believe that’s made easier by separating the cost of research and manufacturing to prevent being step on by a vulgar copy cat cloner. We do not want that to happen to us, ever. To finish, I really want to give respects to the Makerbot team for all they’ve done for the movement, by linking to the response on the topic by Bre Pettis." (http://www.cesarharada.com/protei-inc-and-open-h2o/)