[LINK] Open Source PC Design

Richard Chirgwin rchirgwin at ozemail.com.au
Tue Jun 3 07:52:43 AEST 2008

stephen at melbpc.org.au wrote:
> Hi Richard and all,
>>  .....  I'm asking (original Stephen L) "what is there about the 
>> "source code" of a house that isn't open source?", because if the base 
>> information is common, then there's no benefit from adding the magic 
>> words "open source" to housing... 
>> So I ask again - the question which I asked earlier in the weekend, and 
>> which is still unanswered in the echo-chamber - "what part of building 
>> engineering is proprietary information now, which therefore requires an 
>> open source housing movement to set it free?" Richard Chirgwin
> Moving in thoroughly new idea areas here Richard and teminology is evolving
> We agree basic building engineering information is open source, but where 
> can we download world creative-commons green house plans? 
You might try the Open Architecture Network:

A straw-bale house, for example, qualifies as green, and the architect 
describes it as open source, and provides the design files. I guess 
there will be others, but for the slowness of the site.

But what creates the engineering and build cost is not that house design 
is closed-source, nor is it the pernicious influence of copyright on 
architecture. The house design isn't like (say) recorded music. In the 
CD business, the aim is to elevate the price of the object by preventing 
copying, because the business works on a mass-marketing model.

There is small-scale "mass resale" in the housing market (ie, project 
homes), but in any bespoke project, copyright is a side issue. The price 
you pay for a house design is one of compliance: the design passes the 
general regulations of a jurisdiction (safety, BASIX rules, etc), it 
passes specific local government regulations, and so on. A "generic open 
source" house design might well pass without the bat of an eyelid out in 
a country council - and if the house is sufficient distance from a road, 
the rules become very relaxed indeed - but still will be thrown out if 
presented to a council in Toorak or Paddington.


> So, i say again, 
> a gov/uni led open-source creative-commons 'plan-developers' net community,
> logically super green, might seem a Nobel level world's future initiative. 
> We'll work out world IP issues, but I don't think the environment can wait
> Cheers Richard
> Stephen Loosley
> still waiting to build
> a green car in my shed
> --
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