The rise of Free and Open Source models for software development has catalyzed the growth of Free and Open Source hardware (also known as “Libre Hardware”). Libre Hardware is gaining significant traction in the scientific hardware community, where there is evidence that open development creates both technically superior and far less expensive scientific equipment than proprietary models. In this article, the evidence is reviewed and a collection of examples of business models is developed to service scientists who have the option to manufacture their own equipment using Open Source designs. Profitable Libre Hardware business models are reviewed, which includes kit, specialty component, and calibration suppliers for makers. The results indicate that Libre Hardware businesses should target technically sophisticated customers first and, as usability matures, target expanded markets of conventional consumers.
Journal of Open Hardware
Pearce, J. M.
Emerging business models for open source hardware.
Journal of Open Hardware.
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