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Sound bites from Open-Source Hardware Panel

SparkFun kicked off Open Source Hardware (OSH) Month by hosting a panel of experts. Here's what they had to say!

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The OSH panelists ranged from product and business developers to artists and educators. Here are some written sound bites from the panel:


On creativity and innovation

"It is about the speed of innovation. Open source hardware has made SparkFun a better company - we must come up with ways to innovate at a faster pace." - Nathan Seidle

"Open source hardware opens the opportunity for people to look into how something is built - it creates a space for creativity and innovation." - Arielle Hein

"Art students are told to go copy a Monet - they are told not to worry because it is public domain. Artists copy the masters - they learn and build from the masters. Open source hardware is about building from the masters." - Alicia Gibb


On documentation

"We all have to be a better example: document where you fail. If you find something out of date, submit a pull request. If you hate that something does not include photos, take photos." - Toni Klopfenstein

"The practice of documentation is not just for a record, but to support continuous iteration." - Arielle Hein

"Education is a natural fit for open source hardware - documenting work, sharing, referencing others. In education, there is an inclination to build off each other’s work." - Arielle Hein

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On business

"I have to have the conversation with people and it goes something like: 'Congratulations! You open sourced appropriately. Now, are you emotionally ready to be copied?'" - Alicia Gibb

"I used to think there were domains where open source did not apply; now, I do not think there is a field that would not benefit from open source. The Open Insulin Project is a great example of this." - Alicia Gibb

"Open source companies are becoming much more sophisticated with what they bring to market - software, services, integrations, ecosystems..." - Harris Kenny

"Ninety-eight percent of the problems an open source company encounters are the same as any other company. Most of my clients have OSHWA-certified products and they are generating a profit." - Harris Kenny

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On the future of open source

"Open source hardware will evolve, just like open source software has evolved." - Harris Kenny

"I am hopeful for the future. I believe there will be significant change in global patent law." - Nathan Seidle

"People are really paying attention to the open source hardware movement...entire countries are trying to figure it out." - Alicia Gibb

"Open source is literacy for the 21st century - the next generation will come from libraries opening up a lot more learning opportunities." - Alicia Gibb

"I believe we will see more open source hardware rolling out in consumer markets." - Alicia Gibb

"With the sheer volume of knowledge, content, and products being generated by the community, it will grow." - Toni Klopfenstein


Meet the Panelists

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All panelists are current or former OSHWA Board members, and each individual brings a unique perspective and expertise to the conversation:

  • Alicia Gibb (@pipix / aliciagibb.com ): Advocate for open hardware, researcher and hardware hacker; founder of the Open Source Hardware Association

  • Arielle Hein (@coloringchaos): Artist, educator and technologist whose work explores the imaginative use of emerging technologies and spans the fields of human-computer interaction, interaction design and art

  • Harris Kenny (@harriskenny / kennyconsultinggroup.com): Principal at Kenny Consulting Group, a business development consultancy that works with B2B technology and service companies

  • Toni Klopfenstein (@ToniCorinne): Open Source Supporter and Developer Advocate at Google, Toni has been a frontline OSHW advocate for over a decade

  • Nathan Seidle (@ChipAddict): Founder of/engineer at SparkFun Electronics, which designs and manufactures open source hardware

To see extended bios, please visit our event page. .


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