We're going to let this post ride for another day - the conversation going on below is great. Please continue to discuss this! And don't forget to take the survey!
Catarina Mota, David Mellis, and John De Cristofaro have put together a survey for the open source hardware community. The goal of the survey is to have a better understanding of who we are as a community, as well as why and how we use/make open-source hardware. If you participate in OSHW, and are interested in giving us a better description of the community, please take the survey! The survey will be up until April 15, and the aggregate results will be made publicly available in the form of a report consisting of graphics, percentages, and anonymous quotes.
On a separate note, I want you to come visit me in DC! I will be attending a nifty get together called OH/DC put on by Michael Weinberg of Public Knowledge on Friday April 20th, 1 to 5PM. I plan to be part of panel to speak to policymakers about open source hardware - what it is, why it's a good thing, etc. Michael assures me there is nothing to be worried about but I'm slightly terrified to breakout the one button-down shirt I own and head to the capital, so please come help!
The public is invited! For the Hill/policy people, this will probably be their first contact with OSHW. The best way to make this a success (and myself less terrified) is if we can get OSHW fans to attend. It will reinforce to the policy folks why people are excited by this new type of business model.
After the panel there will be a bit of a science-fair feel as the various businesses demo what it is they do and talk to the various movers and shakers on the Hill about why it's important. Michael's goal of the panel is to expose policymakers to OSHW so that when legislation comes up, they will have some previous knowledge about why OSHW is good. I think this is a fantastic idea and a great way to plant some seeds before OSHW becomes mainstream.
So if you're near Washington DC this lovely spring please swing by the Rayburn House Office Building and say hi! This will be a great way to get a glimpse of how policy is made.