[Open Design] The first draft of the Open Design Definition

Aymeric Mansoux aymeric at kuri.mu
Tue Mar 19 17:01:37 UTC 2013

Hello Massimo,

Massimo Menichinelli said :
> Yes, some elements will probably be joined together if not erased
> from the definition. A typical aspects of the Open definitions is
> that they focuses only on the knowledge items, and not on the
> practice, the culture, the tools... so it won't cover everything, I
> agree on this.
> At the moment they are just placeholders for text or for reminding
> some topics that we can discuss if they should be included and how.
> But in any case we should focus a bit on the different kind of
> design that is already using Open Source strategies: we already have
> graphic and font design cases that are open for example, so they are
> part of Design and therefore of Open Design. I think that we don't
> have to go very deep in each field, the definition itself can be
> forked so there maybe some derivative and more deep definitions (for
> example an Open Fashion Design Definition based on the general Open
> Design Definition). There is still a lot of time for developing
> this.

I would keep it simple and generic so as to 1. make it adoptable by
groups that have been already busy with the topic (you are taking the
example of fashion, so following this train of thought, it could be
nicer for a group such as the open wear project to naturally adopt and
appropriate the open design definition instead of giving a ready to use
local translation) and 2. limit the definition pollution (there is
already license fragmentation).

> There are some interesting points in your proposal, thanks! For
> example about RoHS certification and so on, we should discuss if we
> want to include some more values beside Openness. For example: do we
> agree that open design of guns can be called Open Design? Is it only
> a technical definition or does it have some other values like social
> and environmental sustainability?

My definition was really meant as a possible template to kickstart a
discussion, and in that sense I added the RoHS bit having thought that
you were already considering the ecological aspect of the project.

Personally I am a bit split on the topic. 

I once suggested the idea of "Fair Trade Hardware" a couple of years ago
in the Bricolabs network to address the issue of conflict minerals and
the economical dark side of the semiconductor industry. But I doubt that
the open design definition is a place to dictate a particular ethic or
means of production. If we look at similar attempts, at the level of
software licensing, we can see that it did not work very well beyond
the value of such initiatives to highlight these very issues to a
limited audience (ethical-GPL, copyfarleft, anti-evil free software,

If Defense Distributed -- I guess you are referring to them with open
design guns --  wants to use the open design logo if they are following
the definition, then so be it. If you want to make a definition that is
really in the lineage of free software and open source, then it really
should be "for any purpose." For the record, the latter condition
was not part of the original free software definition. RMS added it, as
freedom "0" at a later stage, realising that it was an essential

The open design definition, and the licenses it will depends on, are
objects with different properties. Depending on their use and context,
these properties, whether they are economical, political or social will
produce different values. The same Linux kernel can take kids off the
street when used for creative and empowering activities in a
hackerspace, and help Google to bootstrap a mobile empire.

> One more thing about requiring the use of Open Source Software or
> Open Source Hardware for developing an Open Design project.
> Unfortunately there are a lot of technologies and softwares that are
> used and needed by designers (and in FabLabs as well) that are not
> open source, if we require only open source tools there would be
> very little of real Open Design. 

"real Open Design"

That's the interesting bit here. 

If you want the definition to have an impact, then it should not
describe a present limitation, but instead propose a direction for the
future. In that sense I have no problem asking for a complete no
nonsense free production pipeline.

Or do we already need a fork for a free design definition? ;)


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