Open Source Software vs Open Source Hardware
In the field of open source software, a community develops new program or makes addition to an existing program. Similarly, this type of approach is also used in open source hardware. But the difference between the open source software and hardware is that the development of software is free of cost, while in case of hardware, the physical developments are not easy and require some sort of investment.
- Open way of Product Development without Market Research: Open source hardware approach also helps to know about the customer’s needs and preferences without any market research. Consumers of specific product show their interest in a product and also indicate that what type of new product they want. For example their demands is 10 mega pixel cameras with zoom in and zoom out functions similarly Wi-Fi connectivity in a mobile etc. provides information about consumers demands and expectation about mobile devices. We have seen different innovative ideas through this channel. This type information and ideas enables companies in providing of best marketable products. This is also playing a vital role in products development.
- Access to International Market and Competitiveness: Today the world becomes a global village and countries are working to increase their share in the world trade. For this purpose countries only get access in the international market when they are producing product with best international standards on lower cost. Free hardware source gives an opportunity to the companies to be noticed by greater number of audience worldwide.
- Factors of Production and Comparative Advantage: Countries who are capital are technology intensive has comparative advantage in the production and innovation in the open source hardware while it is difficult and costly for land or labor intensive countries. Countries which are capital or technology intensive have comparative advantage over the land or labor intensive countries in the development of open source hardware.
- Specialization: In the open source software specialization have not matter much but for physical development, specialization have play a vital role. Now only those economies are working towards specialization in the field of open source hardware whose have comparative advantage. It is difficult for labor or land intensive economies for achieving specialization in the field of open source hardware.
- Limitation in Open Source Hardware: The economic philosophy work behind the open source hardware is to keep all the IP freely accessible to everybody. However, some companies allow restricted access to some of its product components to everyone. For example iRobot manufacturing company has its intellectual property rights of its reprogramming. Similarly some computer manufacturing companies encourage the access to all its components except the motherboards of these computers.
- Complex and Difficult to Open: In the open source hardware have many complexities and difficulties. For a hardware design or modification we required complete information of materials, dimensions and schematics. So in this case we need complete information, understanding as well as we face cost. This operation also takes time so the opportunity cost of a hardware design is very high.