"Open source, open licensing, free redistribution,
collaborative, and community-based development – many hands
make light work. They've done wonders for Linux, but can these
concepts apply to hardware as well as software?
"As reported on Linux.com in 2007, the inspiration for open
hardware has been around quite awhile, almost exclusively in
embedded and server hardware. A free SPARC implementation produced
in 2000 (the LEON processor) and released under a dual GPL/LGPL
license was the first open hardware platform.
"The open hardware movement took off in 2005 with the advent of
the popular Arduino microcontroller released under a Creative
Commons license. And today dozens of open hardware projects exist,
many capable of running Linux. Phillip Torrone has wrritten
excellent overviews of the state of open hardware for Make:
magazine in 2007, 2008, and 2009."