Free Hardware

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Hardware is a general term for the physical artefacts of a technology. It is commonly used for the physical components of a computer system (computer hardware).

[edit] What is Free Hardware

Free Hardware consists of physical artefacts of technology designed and offered in the same manner as free and open source software (FOSS)

  1. Information about the hardware is easily discerned and shared.
  2. Hardware designs are all released in a similar manner to FOSS.
  3. The software that drives the hardware is also released as FOSS.
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[edit] Copyleft Hardware

Copyleft hardware is hardware that attempts to apply the Free Software Foundation's GNU GPL concept of copylefting software to the hardware layer.<ref name=qi></ref>

It is quite similar to the term free hardware, some people consider it a more precise definition.

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[edit] Open Hardware Difference

The distinction between copyleft hardware and open source hardware is very similar to the distinction between Free Software and Open Source Software. Copyleft hardware is essentially requiring that all plans for Hardware design (i.e.schematics, bill of materials and PCB layout data) are released under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license and that the software needed to both manufacture the device and at least some software, including drivers, necessary to use the hardware is released under the GNU Public License. Technology for copyleft hardware are to be patent-free.<ref name=qi></ref>

[edit] Examples

Here are some examples of Free Hardware / Copyleft Hardware projects listed:

  • Arduino and Freeduino - are free and open-source electronics prototyping platforms based on flexible, easy-to-use hardware and software
  • FreedomBox - is a community project to develop, design and promote personal servers running Free Software...
  • RBOS3D - Development of a first generation copyleft 3D printer.
  • RepRap - is a Free/Open Source 3D Printer

[edit] References


[edit] See Also

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