As the V3 thread should probably be focused more on the "cleaning up" bits, and the discussion on open licences could be quite complex and in depth, a new thread seems in order.daniel_reetz wrote:I am still weighing the options, but the idea at the moment is to make the design available under an open license so that any person with access to a laser cutter can reproduce it and improve it. There is a bit of work to do as far as cleaning up the art and making all pieces fit properly, but not too much.
If the community wants to weigh in on this (the desirability of having a similar scanner and thoughts on open licensing) I would be very interested to hear what you all have to say.
I have some thoughts on this process. I hope that they can serve as a jumping off point for others to provide their own suggestions and input about where we might want to go from here.
Open licensing of the design seems, to me, to be the most logical first step. After all, we have already seen most of the open source style of design happening, right in that thread. People made comments, suggestions, and the good ones got built into the final project. I think that there will likely be very little controversy on whether there should be an "open source" license applied to the design or not - though, of course, the final decision would be Daniels, not ours.
What license is a more difficult question, and I'm afraid it is one that is fraught with pitfalls. Additionally, there are some sub-issues that would need to be tackled as well - single person or multiple person copyright ownership is probably the most severe of them. (Defensive patenting might be a second one, though I would want an IP lawyer to weigh in on the need for that.) The need for revision control management is another issue that would have to be dealt with, though this can be mitigated by the use of distributed revision control systems such as git, mercurial, etc.
The matter of which license to use is not only complicated by the usual $LICENSE fan wars, but by the fact that the fundamental principles of open source hardware are different than the principles of open source software. While software is covered by copyright (and to a lesser degree, software patents), hardware is almost exclusively covered by patent. I am not qualified to discuss the consequences of that, but I can tell you what other organizations with similar aims have done. Some have selected an OSS license that fits their wishes - RepRap, for example, uses the GPL to cover their designs. Others have designed a new license altogether, such as the TAPR Open Hardware License. There are advantages and disadvantages to choosing each of the different licenses, as well as choosing a OHL v. OSS license.
Fundamentally, we must ask ourselves another question. The purpose of open source is to ensure that a product can be continually retuned and added to. Is this even a desirable outcome? After all, each of Daniel's designs are radically different from the other. Do we gain something by building a community around V3, or will we merely stifle future development of other designs?