Universal Production Set

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A proposal by Christian Siefkes

Update: Instead of the Universal Production Set, we now have Open Innovation Projects. It's not quite the same, but sufficiently similar to make another collection unnecessary.


Idea: In order to make it easier for everyone to produce what they like to have, build a comprehensive database of free design and production know-how.

The Universal Production Set (UPset) should cover designs, blueprints, and other production know-how for all areas of life, but with a special focus on the 8 Essentials.

The UPset should be a meta-project, integrating and connecting existing free design projects, whenever possible. Principles

  • Freedom principle:
         o Knowledge and data must be free/open according to the Open Knowledge Definition
         o Software must be free software
         o Used standards must be Free and Open Standards
         o Content should be stored in free file formats
  • Don’t do harm principle:
         o Don’t collect designs for things that are mainly useful for harming other people, such as weapons.
         o Don’t collect designs for things that could accidentally do enormous harm, such as nuclear energy.


  • Modularity: favor modularity and standard components/processes that can be combined in versatile ways. There is no need to re-invent the same (free) wheels again and again.
  • Affordable design: try to keep the barriers of entry low. Production shouldn’t require expensive materials/components/tools or rare skills, whenever possible.
  • Responsible design: favor designs that are
         o Sustainable and eco-friendly
         o Accessible
         o Child-friendly
         o Easy and safe to use
         o Easy to repair or replace


Details on the 8 essentials

The 8 Essentials: What is it that everybody needs?

  • Food
  • Clothing & shoes
  • Housing & furniture

  • Housing infrastructure:

o Energy

         o Water
         o Sewage, garbage removal
  • Communication:
         o Internet / Phone
         o Postal services
  • Mobility: transportation & traffic

  • Care:
         o Body care / Health care
         o Child care / Elder care
         o Emergency care
  • Fun & knowledge:
         o Learning
         o Sports, games
         o Books, music, movies, shows
         o Art & entertainment / Parties & events

Proposed Template Format

All fields with alternative values ("Yes/No") also include a "Don't know" entry which is preselected by default and that's omitted from the field definitions below.

  • Topic area: String (should correspond to the topic under which the project is listed)
  • Project name: String
  • Homepage: URL
  • Goal: String (1-3 sentences describing the goal of the project)
  • Status of Blueprints: Not yet published/Partially published/Fully published/Successfully used by others to build the product
  • License: Link (URL+Name, pointing to the main license used for publishing blueprints; must comply with the Open Knowledge Definition; for pseudo-licenses such as public domainWP, the corresponding Wikipedia article could be linked)
  • Depends on proprietary software: Yes/No/Partially
  • Depends on vendor-specific hardware: Yes/No/Partially
  • All used standards are Free and Open Standards: Yes/No
  • Data is published in free file formatWP: Yes/No/Partially
  • add some more fields about Guidelines Guidelines (accessible, child-friendly)
  • Description: long text (everything else noteworthy about the project, can contain multiple paragraphs and structural elements. Probably this goes below the normal template, i.e. the rest of the page is used as description.)



Christian Siefkes:

"The response I got from Lonny Grafman and other Appropedia board members about the UPset idea was very positive -- we therefore decided to realize UPset as a part of the Appropedia :-)

We've agreed, by e-mail, on a preliminary plan about how to proceed, which you can find at http://www.appropedia.org/Universal_Production_Set (bottom of page). I've also started defined a template for project descriptions: http://www.appropedia.org/Universal_Production_Set#Template_for_Project_Descriptions . The template should capture some useful information about the openness, general usefullness and practical relevance of projects, but without becoming overly long. Striking the right balance is going difficult, I think -- I'll appreciate any help/comments on what fields to include and what to omit!"