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Public Invention: Free hardware inventions “in the public, for the public”

Robert Read, Marc Jones


Public Invention is a new nonprofit that hopes to create a movement to help humanity by bringing the values that power the free software movement to hardware and math. The basic tactic is to form teams of inventors that work publicly, in the light, with free licenses.

This talk will be accompanied by a demonstration of physical devices that embody the public-invention project-based approach. These projects will be explained as a motivation of our intellectual property policies and specific operating practices. We will briefly touch on the six most advanced projects supported by Public Invention, and briefly mention some of the forty invention ideas that have been donated to Public Invention to develop and build. We will place Public Invention in a historic context, discuss the mission, and explain our vision for the future: a world where inventing “in the public, for the public” is the norm.


3 years, 7 months ago

Tagged with

free hardware · public invention · Marc Jones · Robert Read · Free the Future · LibrePlanet conference · LibrePlanet 2020 video · LibrePlanet 2020 · LibrePlanet · lp2020 · video · FSF


CC BY-SA 4.0


This talk was presented at LibrePlanet.


LibrePlanet is the Free Software Foundation's annual conference. The FSF campaigns for free/libre software, meaning it respects users' freedom and community. We believe that users are entitled to this; all software should be free.


We do not advocate "open source".

That term was coined to reject our views. It refers to similar practices, but usually presented solely as advantageous, without talking of right and wrong.


Richard Stallman launched the free software movement in 1983 by announcing development of the free operating system, GNU. By 1992, GNU was nearly operational; one major essential component was lacking, the kernel.


In 1992, Torvalds freed the kernel Linux, which filled the last gap in GNU. Since then, the combined GNU/Linux system has run in millions of computers. Nowadays you can buy a new computer with a totally free GNU/Linux system preinstalled.


The views of the speaker may not represent the Free Software Foundation. The Foundation supports the free software cause and freedom to share, and basic freedoms in the digital domain, but has no position on other political issues.