OSHWA, the Open Source Hardware Association, recently released a proposal for what they are calling Open Source Hardware Certification. With some paraphrasing and handwaving, their proposal boils down to this:
- OSHWA will create a new logo and trademark it.
- To license this new trademark, you would need to agree to a contract that says:
- We will only put this trademark on open source hardware (as defined in the open hardware definition).
- If we use the logo otherwise (and do not stop when OSHWA repeatedly asks to stop), we agree to pay a hefty fine.
OSHWA has not yet fleshed out the details — neither the new logo nor the exact contents of that license contract. It’s easy to be cynical about stuff like this. But instead, let’s please give them the benefit of the doubt and suppose that when those details arrive, it turns out that they’ve done a superb job: the contract ends up to be simple, well thought-out, straightforward and does just what it says.
Maybe the new trademarked logo would look something like this mock-up:
Given all of that, would there be a good case for some people to use this certification process? I have mixed thoughts on it. But on the whole, I’m tending towards a “probably.”