Open source


I am currently writing the thesis subsection which presents open source, with particular focus on product design. According to open source principles I post the draft as a WIP to redistribution, remix or improvement.

Open source is a term coined in 1998 by founders of the Open Source Initiative (OSI) (1, 2) to describe the philosophy under the development and distribution of free software. It allows that an original software and its source code can be redistributed freely and modified by any individual according to the integrity of the author’s source code. Moreover, the license allows development of related works under the same terms of the original source. The goal is the development of better software, improved by community of users which promote use value.

Open source definition was adapted to hardware as follows:

Open source hardware is hardware whose design is made publicly available so that anyone can study, modify, distribute, make, and sell the design or hardware based on that design. The hardware’s source, the design from which it is made, is available in the preferred format for making modifications to it. Ideally, open source hardware uses readily-available components and materials, standard processes, open infrastructure, unrestricted content, and open-source design tools to maximize the ability of individuals to make and use hardware. Open source hardware gives people the freedom to control their technology while sharing knowledge and encouraging commerce through the open exchange of designs.

The open source concept evolved to a generic definition that ranges from software to hardware, services to goods, which can be summarised as a production philosophy that encompasses open access to the design and development knowledge, which can be continually improved and remixed by peer production.

Open source encompass a diversity of licenses (3, 4) which allow the commercial application of software or products developed. The difference from proprietary knowledge is that the author cannot place restrictions to users who modify the original product and who develop commercial applications from it.

Examples from open source hardware projects range from a diversity of artifacts and scales, which include among others, furniture, houses, machines, and vehicles.

The header image was edited by Mário Barros based on the source: