Open Hardware Repository - Introduction
The Open Hardware Repository ohwr.org is a place on the web for electronics designers at experimental physics facilities to collaborate on open hardware designs, much in the philosophy of the free software movement.
The Manifesto on the ohr-support project wiki page explains the numerous advantages to working in a completely open environment, while on these same ohr-support wiki pages you can find how you can set up your own project. Note that all information on this site is accessible to anyone; you will not be able to access more material by registering.
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. Other open licence types may be used for projects on the OHR site.
Open Hardware can be commercial
|Open||Winning combination. Best of both worlds.||Whole support burden falls on developers. Not scalable.|
|Proprietary||Vendor lock-in.||Dedicated non-reusable projects.|
Statistics (January 2013)
There are 100 projects on ohwr:
- 52 hardware projects
- 39 HDL or Software projects
- 9 other projects
There are eleven instititutes leading the different projects: CERN,
Soleil, GSI, Brazillian Light Source, University of Bristol, Warsaw
University of Technology, University of Zurich, University of Pavia,
Rockefeller University, University of Cape Town, Heidelberg
And there are 16 commercial companies are involved who develop, produce and/or test open hardware products.
What CERN writes about OHR
- 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)
- ORCONF 2015, interview with Javier Serrano, October 2015: 9 minutes giving a good overview of CERN OSHW activities.
What others write about OHR
- Milkymist: [Milkymist-devel] OHWR - Open Hardware @ CERN (Feb 2011)
- The first CERN Press Release CERN launches Open Hardware initiative in July 2011 gave a large impact.
- For the good of all of us: CERN launches open source hardware effort, Ars Technica, (July 2011)
- Blog from Javier D. Garcia-Lasheras
Introducing CERN's Open Hardware
- EEtimes, December 2013
- Blogs on All Programmable Planet
- Technology Born @ CERN, October 2013
- Introducing CERN's Open Hardware Repository
Open Source Hardware Advances
- EETimes, January 2015
Open Doors for Universal Embedded
- Embedded Systems Engineering, June 2017
- Brief History of Open Source Hardware Organizations and Definitions
Companies using the OHR site
In December 2012 sixteen companies from eleven countries were actively using the OHR site to develop or produce open hardware, software and drivers. These companies may be paid for the open developments. Actually in July 2014 the number is the same.
Open Hardware Repository
- OHR Home page
- OHR Getting Started
- Real examples that show that being Open improves quality, generates new developments and new collaborations
Licences used for CERN Open Hardware designs
CERN uses the following licences for most Open Hardware designs:
GNU General Public License - GNU
GPL for Software (Python,
- Example of use in the OHR project PTS, Production Test Suite
GNU Lesser General Public License - GNU
- Used in projects where a strong copyleft license will result in reduced adoption, such as the masterFIP library.
GNU Lesser General Public License - GNU
LGPL for Gateware,
i.e. HDL designs whose purpose is to end up as FPGA bistreams or
ASICs (VHDL, Verilog, ...)
- Example of use in an OHR project
- Note: we think that there is curently no perfect copyleft license for gateware. We are trying to contribute to remedy that situation. See Document. In the meantime we are using LGPL as many other people do, including many projects in opencores.org. We are also, for some cases where we need to be more formal, temporarily switched to the Solderpad 2.0 license (a permissive, i.e. non-copyleft license) while we work on CERN OHL v2, which should provide a reliable licensing solution for projects which need either strong or weak copyleft.
Manuals, images and logos
See also:* Final Report of the Open Source Software Licence Task Force that formulates recommendations on which licence should be used for software developed at CERN.
Open Hardware Workshops
- FOSDEM 2018 devroom on CAD and Open Hardware (and the original call for participation).
- FOSDEM 2017 devroom on FOSS EDA tools (and the original call for participation).
- FOSDEM 2016 devroom on FOSS EDA tools (and the original call for participation).
- FOSDEM 2015 devroom on FOSS EDA tools (and the original call for participation).
- From Do-It-Yourself to Do-It-Together, TEDxPlaceDesNations, Javier Serrano, Dec.2014
- ICALEPCS 2015 workshop on FOSS EDA tools.
Articles about Open Hardware
Open Source Hardware (OSHW) Statement of Principles and Definition
- Note that the CERN OHL is compliant with the OSHW definition criteria.
- MakingSociety, documents the rise of open soure hardware companies
- Manuel Castells on Open Source.
- Open source business models in the P2P Foundation website.
- Journal of Open Hardware
Other Open Hardware sites
- Dangerous Prototypes, a new open source hardware project every month
- Instructables: Make, how-to and DIY
- Kickstarter Open Hardware, a funding platform
- OH&A products, wiki
- Open Hardware Facebook community (not related to ohwr.org)
- Open Hardware Hub, a place to post and contribute to open source hardware projects
- OpenHardware.io, a place to share, explore, remix and buy/sell open source hardware.
- Qi, promoters of Copyleft Hardware
- Solderpad, a place to share, discover and collaborate on electronic projects
- Wevolver, building and sharing hardware projects
- Commons-Based Peer Production directory, directory of many types of Commons Based Peer Productions (CBPP).
- Open Business Directory, promoting Open-Source as a business model. (there is a nice presentation; it is not yet really a Directory)
Open Source Hardware Organizations
- Free and Open Source Silicon - FOSSi - Foundation
Open Source Hardware Organization
- Brief History of Open Source Hardware Organizations and Definitions mentions ohwr.org and the CERN OHL
- OH&A - Open Source Hardware and Design Alliance: web, wiki
Open Source Meta Research Projects
- OPEN! Methods and tools for community-based product development
- Open Hardware: White Rabbit Case Study
31 July 2018