Invitation for Collaboration


A Viral Open Source Hardware Manual?


my name is lars. I am an artist interessted in developing the field of open source hardware for many reasons. I founded the OWi project, created the OPENiT Festival and cofounded the Open it Agency. This is a collaboration/feedback request.

Background: the owi project I work on is about „open source for an ecological economy“. The idea: informations about products have to be open to arrange a circular flow and waste free economy. So for this project people needs to be convinced to open up their products. Thinking about that I realized, that I would have to explain to them how to do that. I was searched for a simple manual to do the job and found that it is missing.

Wouldn’t it be great to have such a manual that was made by many people to go viral? An easy to understand manual to share and spread the ideas and techniques of open source hardware. Something that works somehow like a manifesto but since we are not living in the 19th or 20th century anymore – for open source hardware a manual should be just the best thing.

I was looking at the creative commons licenses and the buttons they use and provide. If you use one of the licenses just put the button on your page. The button and the creative commons license is an ambassador for open content showing up on many pages, spreading the idea. It builds an infrastructure of understanding and acting possibilities between different people. Wouldn’t it be great to have such an „shared infrastructure of understanding“ for open source hardware – in the shape of a manual – going viral with a button?

In my mind the open source hardware definition and statement of principles on the pages of the OSHWA is something like that and I use it somehow in this way. But it does not really work as a manual, it does not teach enough. A more worked out and manual-like text would be great; it would also meet the essence and goal of open source hardware: to enable people.

So how about creating a manual text and a button for people to embed in their pages with a link to the manual. Give them an easy way to explain how their open source hardware project works and at the same moment teaching people how to do one yourself. A shared language for the community to grow strength through understanding.

I definitely would love to have something like that and need it for my work.

I would like to ask you to help building something like that.

I created with help from some people a first draw/sketch of it using a lot of information from the OSHWA’s Best Practices and other sources. I also made a button and uploaded everything to a special website for it just to get a better grasp on how it cold look like and what could work in the end.

But this was just the start. As I said, now I need your help. I think more people have to join the process of creating a better manual text so it is really good in the end and something many people could agree on. Lets try to create a shared program to reach out for more people and create our game with each other.

You can visit the version and webpage i created for it here:

Please share your knowledge and ideas.

I will also try to invite some more people to the task, and you can help me with that.

Right now the best way to provide feedback and suggestions to the manual is the comments-section under it. You can also write an email to the OWi project If needed in the future a forum could be set up quick.

Thank and looking forward to your feedback ”

Lars,  Jan. 15. 2014

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