6. Should certification require fees


The Open Source Hardware Association is taking input on the proposal for an open hardware certification in this forum. This thread is devoted to question # 6, which reads: “Should certification require fees? If so, should those fees take into account the size of the person/company behind the project, the commercial nature of the product, and/or the number of units sold?” For other question forums, as well as a general comment forum, click [here].


My vote is no. Requiring fees, even for products or companies only past a certain size, will provide a strong dis-incentive to adopt the certification. In the spirit of building a rich commons, the certification should be open to anyone to use, without restriction or fear of fees, so long as they meet the requirements of being an open source hardware project.

Taken to the other extreme, this could easily polarize the community should a monetarily successful project that otherwise meets the criteria for being an open source hardware project refuse to pay the certification fees.


Self cert? No. If you guys do a review, you need to be compensated in some way, but keep it down to a minimal amount to cover the costs.


It shouldn’t to require fees from people/companies, but use could request a small compensation from companies that insist to use the open hardware logo without comply with the open hardware requirements. It should be used to pay lawyer and processes taxes.


Absolutely not. There must be a zero-fee option to encourage the flow of open source hardware from students and hobbyists.

Trying to impose fees on a commercial organisation goes against the OSHWA definition. Not to mention that OSHWA is happening all over the world. Are you ready to assume global responsibility in many different legal jurisdictions?

However For a commercial organisation that wants to use an external independent certification body, it should be possible for an external body to perform this. We should end up with a open source model that allows a host of certification bodies to handle this. These could be asked to be trained/certified by the OSHWA (do we have people able to do this?). For end users using an independent certification service, at best, any fees could take into account the complexity of the product.

After all, an open source aircraft or car would be more complicated to certify than an open source shoe.


As a founder and board member of a non-profit, I sympathize deeply with the motivation to seek income streams for OSHWA. Plus, I don’t think the idea of registration fees for certification (self-certified or completed by OSHWA) is out of line with other organizations or industries. And, unlike open source software and the creative commons, OSHW has developed a very common business model (give away the bits and sell the atoms) that would easily support a sliding scale model. If it was run on the honor system, it would require very little overhead for registrants and for OSHWA.

Finally, for new projects there wouldn’t really be any difference between a sliding scale and no fee if the sliding scale started at $0.00. So, I think it could be managed in a way that would address the concerns above about impacting adoption of OSHW.


Nah, we should just keep contributing dues to OSHWA, and OSHWA should maintain community standards, and each individual project should self-certify for free against those public standards.


When some indiviual or organization is open and clear that they want to leverage ‘open source’ for commercial business interests, it should be absolutely okay to charge fees to facilitate self-certification.

There must be No Certification Fees but there should be means of charging fees for facilitating certification.

There must be No certifying authority - but should be enablers of self certification . Care should be taken that in no way such fees/ process should differentiate hobbyists, DIYers or students works.


My humble answer: “no”, no need of fees, fees management will be a nightmare.

Again, I prefer a Creative Commons like automatic declaration process (see previous answer to previous questions)


Only a onetime fee when certification it is done trough a pre-approval process. The fee should not be much higher that the costs of the approval process.