One important thing that was discussed in class this past week was the difference between hardware and software open source infrastructure designs. Some of the differences were that the marginal cost for producing new software is relatively low, supply chains are difficult to manage, and there must be stricter quality and safety standards.
Different Open Source models were also discussed with one being essentially an open source community. The models will be designed by a community for distribution managed by a foundation to make ensure the products meet quality and safety standards. This kind of expertise and experience based model gives users the experience of making their own products and teaches how everything works. This also cuts some costs of the provider as they do not necessarily have to build or provide the materials.
There is also a manufacturing centric model where industrial efficiency is the key component. Along with a partially open product design that relies on products being under a Creative Commons Non-Commercial license so only their creators can commercialize them.
Personally, I have used Arduino and Raspberry Pi in the past and they are incredibly reliable and good at what they do respectively. However, I feel that they are more of a niche market. In Macroeconomics, we are discussing the modern growth theory which emphasizes private property rights as an institution needed for economic growth. I feel that although certain Open Source Hardware’s have found success in the economy, it might be a stretch to implement Open Source for every form of hardware and expect to maintain economic growth.
I do not deny the good that Open Source Hardware provides by any means, but I still believe that it succeeds in niche markets with strong communities that contribute to the furthering of products and services.