This is a draft proposal under construction. Please edit and contribute - it's an exciting time to jump in on the ground floor.

Which project would you rather pursue - Summer of Make, or the Open Making License?

Idea 1: Summer of Make[edit | edit source]

In a nutshell[edit | edit source]

Similar to (and hopefully partnering with) Summer of Code and Summer of Content, Summer of Make jumpstarts, coordinates, and funds small, short-term projects in open-licensed engineering and architecture. Every summer (Jun-Aug for the northern hemisphere, Dec-Feb for the southern hemisphere), the program matches interns with volunteer mentors from local engineering/technology/architecture groups to complete a paid, full-time project in designing and fabricating an appropriate, sustainable, and/or educational technology device for a local nonprofit and releasing that project into the open making ecosystem. There is a special emphasis on recruiting student interns, interns from underrepresented populations in architecture, engineering, and open making, and participants from the developing world and non-English speaking populations.

Interns, mentors, and mentor organizations (which oversee projects done for their group) can be located anywhere. Although local and in-person collaboration is encouraged and most mentors will come from the same country as the interns they sponsor, the program is designed so that the work can be completed independently by communicating via email or some other medium. SoMake provides matchmaking, coordination, help with publicity, and assistance to mentor orgs in securing and distributing stipends for interns. And, of course, t-shirts for everyone).

Pieces of the puzzle[edit | edit source]

  • Local nonprofits': The clients. They provide domain expertise and the problem. For instance, a Guatemalan NGO might be looking for an improved cookstove design to distribute to the villages they work with.
  • Young engineers and architects: The designers. They know how to make things and run their own technical/architectural projects independently (we would look for people with prior project experience) but may not have worked on appropriate technology or open making before.
  • Experienced engineers and architects: The mentors. They have the know-how, but not the time to do these projects. Ideally they will have appropriate technology or free culture development experience. It may be possible to assign two mentors to each project - one technical mentor who can help with details of functionality, and one "open licensing" mentor, who can help with legal and documentation issues.

Why SoMake does more than traditional appropriate tech[edit | edit source]

Because all freely available technology is ultimately appropriate.

I don't want to peg this as a 100% humanitarian thing because I want it to become a pervasive commercial model - open making should be for companies who primarily want to "do (financially) well" as well as ones who primarily want to "do good." Look at the status of open source, and (increasingly) open content. There are some very successful commercial business models based on open licensing.

Most open source and open content projects weren't initially intended for humanitarian use, and still aren't. (apache never said "hey, let's make a webserver because it'll contribute to ending world hunger!") The power is that they're *available* for use in that sector for free because they're open-licensed ("I'm a nonprofit in Ethiopia and I want a website... hey, a free webserver! I save money!") This happens with increasing frequency as technology and infrastructures "trickle down" and become more pervasive; think of homeless people blogging from cell phones, Indian farmers using the same to check crop prices. They were *not* the primary demographic that cell phone inventors were thinking of, yet they benefit eventually. A lot.

So if some kids want to build a virtual reality glove rather than a wood-burning cookstove for Honduran farmers, cool. Maybe someday the Honduran farmer's daughter will be developing a bomb defusing robot and can use that VR glove as a control mechanism without having to pay a pretty penny for IP. It all saves the world eventually.

For a Summer of Make pilot, we need to have at least 50% of the projects be clearly not traditional "save the world" ones - car engines, playground equipment, electronic gadgets that don't have "...for the developing world" appended to their descriptions. People are smart and resourceful. If things are freely available for them to use, they'll find a way to use it for Awesome eventually.

Advantages and disadvantages[edit | edit source]

  • A huge undertaking. Great outreach, but may require time, resources, and contacts we don't have yet.
  • Creating physical objects is different from creating virtual ones. We don't yet fully understand the implications of doing this (on the other hand, unless those implications could be disastrous/dangerous, there's only one way to find out.)
  • There's a need - not urgent, but a gap to fill - within the Summer of <X> ecosystem. Nobody has an infrastructure to support creation of open-licensed physical hacksing.
  • The licensing infrastructure is not complete (this may be a good way to force it to completion faster).

Idea 2: Open Making license project[edit | edit source]

Given that there are many groups working on appropriate technology projects, an alternative to Summer of Making (or a first step, depending on how you look at it) is to start an Open Making licensing project to make an appropriate license for releasing these projects under, and making it very easy for projects to be released under these licenses.

Why bother?[edit | edit source]

Question: why do we need a license, rather than, say, public domain?

Answer: Why do we have open content/source licenses, rather than, say, public domain?

Being able to keep one's copyright and reserve some rights is a good and powerful thing to have, and brings in more contributors, at least initially.

Personally, as an engineer: Attribution, Share-Alike, Derivative Works, and Non-Commercial are things I want to have the ability to turn on and off on the engineering projects I make. Maybe I have to deal with patents and can't just abandon copyright. Maybe my company insists their name remain attached to the project (Attribution). Maybe I'm a copyleft fan and want to require share-alike so all derivative works have to be open-licensed too (which public domain doesn't require). Plenty of reasons here.

Personally, as an open-license enthusiast: I'd rather have a million books under CC-SA than a thousand in the public domain. I feel the same way about open making. Public domain exists already; there's a reason more engineering/architecture projects aren't public domain now (and it's not all lack of marketing).

Advantages and disadvantages[edit | edit source]

  • Smaller, less ambitious, but less resource-intensive.
  • More focused - clear endgoal.
  • Less redundant with existing appropriate tech internship programs than Summer of Making.
  • Legal expertise - do we have the resources & contacts to get the legal knowledge we need?
  • Would be a useful thing for a large number of hackers out there - potentially explosive lever that can "unlock" a lot of the making that's already going on.

Contacts[edit | edit source]

I'm interested in summer of make[edit | edit source]

  • Mel Chua - from Summer of Content founding team. I can't be the primary person running this (at least not for the first few months while Summer of Content is starting) but can help develop the infrastructure for Summer of Make in parallel with developing a long-term one for Summer of Content - my primary interest is in Summer of Make/Content/Code collaboration as well as the open making license component of a future Summer of Make.

I'm interested in the open making license[edit | edit source]

  • Mel Chua - from Summer of Content founding team. I've been looking for something like this for a long time and want to help with some kind of initiative directed towards an open making license and outreach for the same. I'm excited about learning and helping out, but have no legal experience/knowledge and would need a lot of help and advice, or (preferred) help out on someone else's project directed towards the same goal.

Groups and people we should contact once we figure out which we're doing[edit | edit source]

Original email from Mel[edit | edit source]

I've also been toying with the idea of a third kind of "Summer of," which Appropedia would make a very logical organization to start from - we have summer of code for software, summer of content for content, but there's no summer of <blank> for engineers, architects, and budding hackers who work on physical objects. What if there was? What if Vinay could sponsor some teenagers in Zimbabwe to do materials testing for the Hexayurt, or Chris could get a physics teacher in Guatemala to refine a water pump design over her summer break?

The exciting thing about that idea is not so much "hey, more people are building open-source engineering work for goodness and justice!" but that people doing those projects will force an infrastructure for those kinds of projects to come into being. There is a very poor selection of tools for engineers, architects, etc. who want to make openly-licensed work. As a coder, I can easily run 100% open source software and learn from open-licensed content tutorials, to make a piece of open-source code I want to release.

As an engineer, I'm out of luck. There are few open-content instructional books on engineering, architecture, and creating physical things in general. (This is a pet project of mine - spent most of my last year in college on it.) There's no real good open-source CAD tool, robotics toolset, pcb layout, numerical simulator (oh, I know there's stuff out there, but it's hard to use, and octave can't compare to matlab's libraries yet). I have to use lots of closed-source things to make something open-source.

It's also hard to open-source the stuff once I do make it. Current open licenses aren't made for things like building designs or board layout specs - there are apparently some holes in the IP that make it hard to release plans and physical products under an open license. On top of that, it's hard for me to find a place and way to easily and cleanly document my work... Doing a Summer of Making (tentative name) program means all this infrastructure *will* come into existence because it *has* to, and it'll be built in direct response to the needs of actual projects.

Thoughts? Summer of Making a viable option? I think it might be a good Appropedia fit. It would take a *lot* of work, but would be a good outreach project, good chance to get funding, and good chance to get more international participation and new contributors. Also dovetails nicely into a triad - Summers of Code, Content, and Making can feed off each other & create an ecosystem of projects.

Page MediaWiki:TemplateDatabox.js has no content."{{#metadata:GoogleAnalyticsPageviews}}" is not a number.

Cookies help us deliver our services. By using our services, you agree to our use of cookies.