Yes, it’s that time of year again — Open Hardware Month! Every October, the Open Source Hardware Association reaches out to the hacker community with information about Open Hardware, how to get your projects certified, and encouraging people to become members of the OSHWA!
Open Source Hardware is hardware whose source files can be freely shared, modified, and reproduced without encumberment. Anyone can study, modify, distribute, make and sell designs that are certified Open Hardware! This is a great way to help spark innovation and collaboration. There’s no reason to reinvent the wheel — if someone has already created the part you are looking for, you can extend or modify it as needed for your application.
Getting certified is easy! The OSHWA website has a very comprehensive overview of all the steps required to be certified. If you’re ready to certify, head over to the application page and set your hardware free for the whole world to use. You will get a registration number that you can use to show your project is certified, and if you sell on Tindie your project will even get into the special OSHWA-certified category! Here on the blog, we always keep an eye out for OSHWA-certified projects, so keep an eye on the blog and see what cool Open Source Hardware comes through the pages of Tindie.
Usually, OSHWA organizes or hosts events, but due to the ongoing pandemic, they have once again asked people to only organize events where it is safe to do so. Keep an eye out for events being promoted over on the OSHWA Twitter account and see if anything pops up near you! Another way to get involved is to join the OSHWA Discord server. You will meet hackers doing all sorts of cool open-source hardware stuff!
I wanted to also highlight one of my favourite tools OSHWA has developed: the Open Source Licenses “Facts” Generator. It creates labels in the style of typical nutrition facts stickers, but with all your licenses listed! It’s a great thing to put in your documentation, or in the README of your Git repo. This way, your users can quickly see which licenses are used.
Finally, the OSHWA are also doing their yearly survey. If you have the time to respond, please do! It helps them decide how to spend their time and resources most effectively.