The Open Design Foundation

Licensing Open Design

There are various licenses developed for open source software including the one developed by the Free Software Foundation (or GNU). More general description of what an open source license requires was developed at We barrow heavily from these approaches.

Since our project often incorporate software we recommend using the copyleft or GPL from GNU for most cases. In some situations, however, the LGPL is more appropriate.

Again GNU has a good model here and we recommend following the GNU Free Documentation License.

As far as we can tell there is no exact model to follow here. In fact hardware design is not clearly covered by copyright laws. Designs disclosed but not patented are basically placed in the public domain, which is close but not exactly the goal of Open Design. We have developed a parallel to the Open Source Definition for hardware: the Open Design Definition. We have also put together a license document (coming soon) that is called the ODHL (Open Design Hardware License).

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