Open source sustainable technology

We love open source and believe it is a better way of doing things. This page explores what it means to us and how the value of openness informs this project.

In open source technology

Openness is the focus value

Practically open source means opening the designs, CAD, drawings, source code for a technology.
 

And the result of this simple action gives rise to whole range of important benefits. From learning, the empowerment that comes from learning, the ability to build upon others work, the resultant innovation. Collaboration and community.

Openness actually recognises the nature of innovation as building upon others work, it frees us to attribute others work fully and to collaborate when the opportunity arises.

It is a better way of doing things because it is a way in which we can all get involved in developing and making technology, creating technology that helps us live our lives better.

Another value based technology movement is the sustainable technology movement where environmental sustainability and often more specifically low carbon is the focus value.

Like open source, low carbon or sustainable technology has a strong single value which provides a clear way of assessing whether a particular technology is better or worse.

Taking the open source approach to sustainable technology gives us the best of both worlds.

In this project we are developing a fully open source hardware and software energy monitoring platform which is one of the fundamental technologies needed in the open source sustainable technology ecosystem.

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The Open Source Sustainable Technology ecosystem

Including projects that may not be explicitly about sustainability but are never the less key projects in the open source hardware movement, project that underpin developments in open source sustainable technology.

                       

  

Core

Arduino - the project that laid the key foundation to the open hardware movement? The Arduino microcontroller platform can now be found at the heart of almost all open hardware projects including this project.

Jeelabs - A lot of our hardware and firmware is built upon the work of Jean Claud Wippler of jeelabs. The EtherShield library and the use of rfm12 wireless transceiver in particular. Jeelabs hardware and software is in turn built upon the arduino platform.

 

 Sustainability

 

Manufacturing / Production

  • Reprap - the first open source 3d printing project which has inspired many others.
  • Lasersaur - an open source laser cutter.
  • Open Source Ecology - A visionary project to develop the 50 different Industrial Machines that it takes to build a small, sustainable civilization with modern comforts.

 

Transportation

 

Open Projects, Kits and Learning

  • Adafruit - are a really inspiring New York based open hardware company that are a really big support to the open hardware community, with learning resources, excellent kits and many useful software libraries.
  • Make magazine and the maker faire's - a big source of support and inspiration for the open hardware/maker movement.
  • Dangerous prototypes

Foundations

Open Source Hardware Association

Free Software Foundation - supporting and working towards software freedom.

Open Source Initiative - formed to educate about and advocate for the benefits of open source and to build bridges among different constituencies in the open-source community. 

To quote Richard Stallman who launched the GNU Project to create a free Unix-like operating system in 1983, which was also the beginning of the free software movement and has since grown to considerable success with free and open source software running most of the internet and now inspiring and spilling over into the world of atoms of open hardware. it really sums up the importance of free and open source technology:

"...but something that humanity could tremendously benefit from knowing, I mustn’t withhold. You see, the purpose of science and technology is to develop useful information for humanity to help people live their lives better. If we promise to withhold that information–if we keep it secret–then we are betraying the mission of our field. And this, I decided, I shouldnt do." Richard Stallman

Following the principles of the Free Software Movement the software source code and hardware designs for this project are available at no cost to everyone under the GNU General Public License.