Open collaborative design/Intro

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Open collaborative design involves applying the highly successful free and open-source software methodology to the design of machines and systems in the physical world using a principle called 'copyleft' Copyleft.png. This employs normal copyright to apply terms to the works saying that they will be freely available for anyone else to make use of, customise, or build upon, and additionally any derivations will also inherit the same copyright license. So 'copylefted' works, whether they are designs, text, artwork or computer code, are gifted to humanity permanently.

The principle of copyleft completely changes the way that people think about contributing their time, creativity and efforts to these projects because it is contributing to a huge universal 'commons' available to all, that other are similarly contributing to. What goes around, comes around.

These new collaborative principles are leaking out from the domain of open source software development into the physical world. New generations of open-source CAD programs will allow people to easily construct their own designs and make use of vast libraries of components, assemblies or whole artefacts from the commons - making the design process much faster and avoids the huge duplication of effort that occurs at the moment.

These design principles can apply to the simplest things that can be made by individuals, all the way up to large-scale and complex systems of national or global infrastructure. Because the designs are not closed and proprietary, people will be encouraged to contribute knowing their involvement not only benefits themselves but anyone else who chooses to use the results of their efforts.

Creating the designs physically will be fast and easy due to emerging high-speed, flexible manufacturing techniques. As a result the open design ecosystem will effectively become an internet for physical objects — and its impact is likely to be as great as the web has been for information.

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