On 15 January 2021, the Open Source Initiative (OSI) approved, as OSI Certified, the CERN Open Hardware License 2.0, a family of open source licences that make it easy for the designers of open hardware to share their work. OSI is a Californian (USA) non-profit organisation with a global scope, created to advocate for the benefits of open source and to build bridges among the different constituencies in the open source community. The endorsement of the CERN OHL v.2 suite of licences by OSI will ultimately make its selection and application easier, as they are now included in the definition of OSI-approved licences, a concept often used in agreements.
The latest version of the CERN OHL was updated in March 2020: it uses simpler terminology, introduces three variants of the licence, and broadens its scope to include designs that go from artistic to mechanical to electronic. It has also been adapted to cases such as application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs) and field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs), and it can be used to license software that has been embedded in, or used in conjunction with, hardware. All these aspects granted the CERN OHL 2.0 a place among the OSI certified licenses, under the Special Purposes category.
The CERN OHL 2.0 took on special relevance in 2020 for the CERN actions against COVID-19, allowing for the dissemination of face masks and face shields designs across the world. The ultimate goal of the CERN-OHL suite of licences is indeed to enable people to bypass any worry about licensing issues and instead collaborate on designs that have the potential of significantly improving people’s lives.
One of the OHL creators, Javier Serrano, an engineer in the Beams Department at CERN and the founder of the Open Hardware Repository (OHR), will speak about the CERN OHL 2.0 at the OpenUK Future Leaders’ Training event on 5 February 2021, at 13H00 CET.
Read more about the new version of the CERN OHL here.