Documentation Session


Session Title: Documentation
Date: March 23.
Attendees (who was there?): Jeffrey Warren, Yuenyong Nilsiam, Tobias Wenzel, Dorn Cox, Rafael Peretti Pezzi

Overview of topic (3-6 sentences): Documentation is often the real “source code” of open hardware in that it is required for an open source hardware project to be built and re-built.


  • Rafael from CTA in Brasil: Creating a methodology for documentation: Hyperobject (check chapter 8 for this concept)

    • They will be holding the Hardware Liberation Hackathon to help document existing projects that people are willing to share
  • Tobias: Created a platform for open source hardware documentation: Docubricks

    • Modular structured documentation platform that tries to be general without being overbearing
    • Brick is the basic element of the modular structure
    • A name field describes the purpose of the “brick”
    • Step by step section or customized instructions
  • Kaspar:

    • Platform to share circuit designs in a uniform way that allows people to easily replicate projects.
  • Yuenyong from the University of Michigan: in their research group the say “if it’s not documented it didn’t happen”

  • Dorn Cox: Working on a couple of platforms:

    • Farm Hack: for documenting farming technology
    • Farm OS: also linking to sensor data
    • structure is wiki based
    • interested in working together to figure out cross polination between platforms
  • Jeffrey from Public Lab and VP of OSHWA:

    • People cast a pretty narrow net on what OSHW means
    • Openness can be part of the design process: built into the design
    • On public lab stories and people are starting to become a focal point
    • Is there a Canonical design for something? E.g. the best chair.
    • Public lab are working on re-usable Javascript widgets to try and get over the issues of Wikis (they are not welcoming to everyone)

#How do you do version control on your platforms?

  • Docubricks: versioning is not built in yet but is planned. XML documentation files can be put into Git
  • Not interface yet but git backed with planned support in the interface

#How can we improve attribution?

  • Kaspar: Not really sure but an interesting concept is the three dimensional printing open source license where you embed an attribution mark into the license:
  • Tobey: Attribution isn’t even the biggest problem, the problem is that people don’t even give feedback when they replicate
  • On public lab people are encouraged to post their replication

#How do we invite people to “own” projects other people created?


  • In docubricks the answer is the modularity and helping people document re-building.


  • Have been experimenting with what are the minimal fields.
  • Also a mobile application for doing photo documentation and


Come together again during GOSH to figure out cross pollination between different platforms and solutions.