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× Egypt



  • What Open-Source really means
  • A bit of history
  • The open-source way
  • Copyrights and licenses
  • Pros and cons of open-source projects
  • Study: impact of open-source software
    and hardware on the EU economy
  • Why open-source hardware is important
    to us in Egypt
  • Examples of open-source hardware
    products, businesses and communities
  • THE community calls

What Open-Source really means

A product that is made freely available for possible modification and redistribution

A product can be a

  • Computer program
  • Machine
  • Drink
  • Image
  • Electronics circuit
  • This presentation
  • Song
  • Article

Freely available means

The information about the product is accessible. It does not necessarily mean that the product itself is free.

Source means

  • Code
  • Assembly instructions
  • Recipe
  • Bill of material
  • Schematic and layout
  • Documentation


  • Modify to specific need
  • Add features
  • Repurpose
  • Commercialize
  • Provide support
  • Make add-ons

A bit of history

  • Henry Ford's case against ALAM in 1911
  • Software by academics and corporate
    research labs in 1950s and 60s
  • ARPANET in 1969
  • Decline between 1960 - 1980
    • Growth of standalone software industry
    • IBM antitrust lawsuit in 1969
    • UNIX v4 in 1973
    • 1974 US CONTU
  • GNU project in 1983 and FSF in 1985
  • Linux kernel in 1991
  • Open Source Definition and OSI in 1998
  • FreeIO website in early 2000s
  • Open-source hardware companies in mid 2000s
  • TAPR OHL in 2007
  • CERN OHL in 2011
  • OSHWA in 2012

The open-source way

Transparency Collaboration Rabid prototyping
Iterative approach Inclusive meritocricy Community

Copyrights and licenses

  • Copyright is the legal term used to declare and prove who owns the intellectual property
  • Licensing is the legal term used to describe the terms under which people are allowed to use the copyrighted material

Licensing examples


Trade secret Proprietary Non-commercial
Description No information made public Traditional use of copyright; no rights need be granted Grants rights for non-commercial use only
Examples for software Private, internal software Proprietary software, no public license JRL, AFPL
Examples for other works Unpublished Copyright, no public license CC-BY-NC


Copyleft Permissive Public domain
Description Grants use rights, forbids proprietization Grants use rights, including right to relicense Grants all rights
Examples for software GPL, AGPL MIT, Apache, MPL PD, CC0
Examples for other works CC-BY-SA CC-BY PD, CC0

Pros and cons of open-source projects

It depends on how you look at it


  • Not free, but initial cost is significantly lower
  • Maintenance cost can increase exponentially

Reliability and support

  • Have many maintainers and reviewers
  • Depends mainly on community support


  • Independent of corporates lifetime
  • May fail to gain community interest


  • Vulnerabilities are found faster
  • They also get patched faster


  • Open or known standards and conventions
  • Maintainer preferences are dominant

Study: impact of open-source software and hardware on the EU economy

Why open-source hardware is important to us in Egypt

May be a bit opinionated


The majority of startups working on IoT applications, wearable electronics, digital fabrication machines and digitally fabricated products, have based their work on successful or well-known open-hardware projects. Learning programs in the fields of embedded systems, electronics design, and mechanical design utilize open-source hardware. Many development boards sold here are cheaper clones of the more expensive original ones. And a few are produced locally.

For the future

  • Leads to rapid products development
  • Lowers entry cost
  • Deepens and builds upon existing knowledge
  • Helps indiviuals improve their skills
  • Shifts the focus to unsolved problems

Examples of business models

Open-source software

  • Auxiliary services
  • Corporate development
  • SaaS
  • Dual-licensing
  • Membership/Donations
  • Crowdfunding
  • Advertising
  • Update subscriptions

Open-source Hardware

  • Kit suppliers
  • Component suppliers
  • Calibration/Validation
  • Selling hardware
  • Selling services
  • Outsourcers

Examples of open-source hardware

THE community calls

technology hubs of egypt community group


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This work by Ahmed Alaa is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License