CERN Open Hardware Licence - Introduction
Myriam Ayass, legal adviser of the Knowledge and Technology Transfer Group at CERN and author of the CERN OHL:
In the spirit of knowledge sharing and dissemination, the CERN Open Hardware Licence (CERN OHL) governs the use, copying, modification and distribution of hardware design documentation, and the manufacture and distribution of products.
The CERN–OHL is to hardware what the General Public Licence (GPL) is to software. It defines the conditions under which a licensee will be able to use or modify the licensed material. The concept of ‘open-source hardware’ or ‘open hardware’ is not yet as well known or widespread as the free software or open-source software concept. However, it shares the same principles: **anyone should be able to see the source (the design documentation in case of hardware), study it, modify it and share it.
In addition, if modifications are made and distributed, it must be under the same licence conditions – this is the ‘persistent’ nature of the licence, which ensures that the whole community will continue benefiting from improvements, in the sense that everyone will in turn be able to make modifications to these improvements.
The CERN Open Hardware Licence was originally written for CERN designs hosted in the Open Hardware Repository. It can also be used by any designer wishing to share design information using a licence compliant with the OSHW definition criteria. If you would like to contribute to make it better, please subscribe to the Discourse forum and submit any issue you may have.
CERN Open Hardware Licence
- CERN OHL version 1.2. Contains the licence itself and a guide to its usage.
- CERN OHL version 1.1. Contains the licence itself and a guide to its usage.
- Example of usage in the Simple PCIe FMC carrier project.
- Unofficial translations of the CERN OHL
- CERN Knowledge transfer - CERN Open Hardware Licence
- Frequently Asked Questions
CERN OHL Users
What CERN writes about OHR (the site) and OHL (the licence)
- Open Science at CERN - Fabiola Gianotti, CERN Director-General at EPFL Open Science Day (Oct.2019)
- CERN Brochure: Open Hardware at CERN (pdf, 1MB, March 2015)
- CERN Courier: Hardware joins the open movement (June 2011)
- CERN Bulletin: Open hardware for open science (July 2011)
- CERN Press Release: CERN launches Open Hardware initiative (July 2011)
- Message from the President of Council (page 4)
- Making an impact (page 32)
- CERN updates: CERN releases new version of open hardware licence (September 2013)
- CERN KT: New version of CERN open hardware licence, Version 1.2 of CERN OHL is lighter on the users (September 2013)
- Licences used for CERN Open Hardware designs
- OHR Meta project (about Open Hardware and related subjects; CERN)
- Brief History of Open Source Hardware Organizations and Definitions
- TAPR Open Hardware License (another OH licence; non-CERN)
- Free HDL License (project for licensing Free Software in HDL forms; non-CERN)
- Katz, Andrew (2012) 'Towards a Functional Licence for Open
IFOSS L. Rev., 4(1), pp 41-62, DOI: 10.5033/ifosslr.v4i1.69.
- Software Package Data Exchange, a standard format for communicating the components, licenses and copyrights associated with software packages.
- Defensive publications
20 November 2019