Geneva, 7 July 2011. Four months after launching the alpha version, CERN has today issued version 1.1 of the Open Hardware Licence (OHL), a legal framework to facilitate knowledge exchange across the electronic design community.
In the spirit of knowledge and technology dissemination, the CERN OHL was created to govern the use, copying, modification and distribution of hardware design documentation, and the manufacture and distribution of products. Hardware design documentation includes schematic diagrams, designs, circuit or circuit-board layouts, mechanical drawings, flow charts and descriptive texts, as well as other explanatory material.
Version 1.0 of the CERN OHL was published in March 2011 on the Open Hardware Repository (OHR), the creation of electronic designers working in experimental-physics laboratories who felt the need to enable knowledge-exchange across a wide community and in line with the ideals of “open science” being fostered by organizations such as CERN.
“For us, the drive towards open hardware was largely motivated by well-intentioned envy of our colleagues who develop Linux device-drivers,” said Javier Serrano, an engineer at CERN’s Beams Department and the founder of the OHR. “They are part of a very large community of designers who share their knowledge and time in order to come up with the best possible operating system. We felt that there was no intrinsic reason why hardware development should be any different.”