TAPR Open Hardware License -- Public Comment Period

Hi all –

For the last several months, I’ve been working, as a TAPR project, to
develop an open-source-like license for hardware projects. We’ve
recently posted a 0.9 version for public comment, and welcome your

The license is aimed at “real” hardware (the stuff you solder on) rather
than firmware, VHDL, or other software-like elements. There are
significant differences in the legal approach you need to take with
hardware, and this agreement is aimed at those differences. As far as
we know, this is the first attempt to create an open source framework
around hardware.

You can download the TAPR Open Hardware License from
The TAPR Open Hardware License – TAPR.

While I’m happy for comments however I receive them, there is a
discussion forum at Bruce Perens site place-holder – This site will be developed and I’d prefer to get
input there so the discussion can be open. The public comment period
ends on March 7.

(In addition to the OHL, we’ve created a companion license, the TAPR
Noncommercial Hardware License, that is identical except that it limits
products to non-commercial use. While that’s not completely consistent
with Open Source models, the fact that it costs real money to offer
boards, kits, or complete products led us to think this would be
valuable in some situations.)

I really look forward to comments from all quarters.



I haven’t done much reading on Open Hardware licenses, but I am aware
of one other effort to develop an open hardware license.



Thanks for pointing that out! It looks like they were going in parallel
with our process; we first publicly mentioned the OHL at the Digital
Communications Conference in September.

After taking a quick read, though, it seems to be quite different from
what we are trying to accomplish. In particular, it seems to be quite
closed in that you can’t distribute to others outside the “group” unless
the developers contribute their work to the public domain. But in
general, it seems much more like a CYA document than a real open source

I’ll dig further into it, though.