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Universal Production Set

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Update: The Open Innovation Projects website is a new directory whose goal is to collect "projects developing physical products under the paradigm of open source innovation." The directory is still very new, but it seems well-made and already contains 50 projects. The directory content is copylefted (CC Attribution-ShareAlike). To avoid duplicating effort, it's probably better to support that directory instead of creating a new collection.

This page is for a new project that shall, according to recent e-mail discussions, start as part of the Appropedia. The Idea of the Universal Production Set (UPset) is to build a comprehensive database of free design and production know-how to make it easier for everyone to produce what they like to have.

The Universal Production Set (UPset) should cover designs, blueprints, and other production know-how for all areas of life, but with a special focus on the 8 Essentials (cf. below). The UPset should be a meta-project, integrating and connecting existing free design projects, whenever possible. (Cf. initial announcement of the idea.)

The 8 Essentials[edit]

This grouping of needs could serve as a starting point for sorting free design projects.

What is it that everybody needs?

  1. Food
  2. Clothing & shoes
  3. Housing & furniture
  4. Housing infrastructure:
    • Energy
    • Water
    • Sewage, garbage removal
  5. Communication:
    • Internet / Phone
    • Postal services
  6. Mobility: transportation & traffic
  7. Care:
    • Body care / Health care
    • Child care / Elder care
    • Emergency care
  8. Fun & knowledge:
    • Learning
    • Sports, games
    • Books, music, movies, shows
    • Art & entertainment / Parties & events
  9. ...
Tools and equipment
Essentials also include the equipment that's necessary to use them, e.g. computers and (cell) phones to access the Internet/phone network.
Means of Production
Anything that's needed to produce useful things, or, recursively, other means of production.

Principles[edit]

Projects must comply with these principles to be fit for inclusion into the UPset.

Note: only the first point is a "must" (if it's not free design, then it's uninteresting), the remaining points ("should") are merely recommendations. But the template describing free projects (cf. below) should cover these points, allowing users to see, for example, whether a project depends an proprietary software (and, though customized search, users should be able to exclude such projects.)

  • Don't do harm principle:
    • Don't collect designs for things that are mainly useful for harming other people, such as weapons.
    • Don't collect designs for things that could accidentally do enormous harm, such as nuclear energy. Note: "enormous" here really means "enormous". We don't want projects that could accidentally blow up Earth or devastate large parts of it. That excludes nuclear energy, but probably not much else. There are many tools that can cause harm or even death when used the wrong way—that's not a reason for exclusion (though, of course, safer is always better than unsafe, and the template should cover the safety of designs).

Guidelines[edit]

These are recommendations, they aren't strictly necessary. The template (cf. below) should cover them, allowing users to see whether designs are, for example, accessible (and to search specifically for those that are).

  • Modularity: favor modularity and standard components/processes that can be combined in versatile ways. There is no need to re-invent the same (free) wheels again and again.
  • Affordable design: try to keep the barriers of entry low. Production shouldn't require expensive materials/components/tools or rare skills, whenever possible.
  • Responsible design: favor designs that are
    • Sustainable and eco-friendly
    • Accessible
    • Child-friendly
    • Easy and safe to use
    • Easy to repair or replace

Template for Project Descriptions[edit]

Each project included into UPset could be described by an Appropedia page which follows a predefined template structure. To allow automatic search and flexible user-specified queries, it could be helpful to install the Semantic MediaWiki extension. The template should cover points from the principles and guidelines (whether a design depends on proprietary software, whether it is child-friendly, accessible etc.) and other useful information about design projects.

Draft proposal for a template[edit]

All fields with alternative values ("Yes/No") also include a "Don't know" entry which is preselected by default and that's omitted from the field definitions below.

  • Topic area: String (should correspond to the topic under which the project is listed)
  • Project name: String
  • Homepage: URL
  • Goal: String (1-3 sentences describing the goal of the project)
  • Status of Blueprints: Not yet published/Partially published/Fully published/Successfully used by others to build the product
  • License: Link (URL+Name, pointing to the main license used for publishing blueprints; must comply with the Open Knowledge Definition; for pseudo-licenses such as public domainW, the corresponding Wikipedia article could be linked)
  • Depends on proprietary software: Yes/Partially/No
  • Depends on vendor-specific hardware: Yes/Partially/No
  • All used standards are Free and Open Standards: Yes/No
  • Data is published in free file formatsW: Yes/Partially/No
  • Products are accessibleW: Yes/To a certain degree/No
  • Description: long text (everything else noteworthy about the project, can contain multiple paragraphs and structural elements. Probably this goes below the normal template, i.e. the rest of the page is used as description.)

Obsolete fields[edit]

These fields probably won't make it into the template, since they would overload the template and are quite vague. Relevant information about these issues can be added to the project description.

  • Suitable for modular production and composition: Yes/To a certain degree/No
  • Production requires materials/components/tools that are expensive or hard to come by: Yes/To a certain degree/No
  • Production requires rare skills: Yes/To a certain degree/No
  • Designed products are sustainable and eco-friendly: Yes/To a certain degree/No
  • Products are suitable for use by or in the proximity of children: Yes/To a certain degree/No
  • Products are easy and safe to use: Yes/To a certain degree/No
  • Products are easy to repair or replace: Yes/To a certain degree/No

Path for Integration[edit]

(As agreed on in e-mail discussions.)

  • Install Semantic MediaWiki and Semantic Forms extensions, as the template shall be a semantic form to allow flexible querying
  • Finish template and convert it into a semantic form. This template is primarily meant for adding new pages about externally hosted projects; over time, project descriptions already present in Appropedia could be converted as well.
  • Add a new portal page/topic area, say "Universal Production", as an entry point. The "Universal Production" portal page should contain the "8 Essentials" as sections. Entries in these sections should either point to existing Appropedia topics (Health, Food etc.) as appropriate, or to new overview pages (listing all projects in the corresponding area) if no suitable page exists yet.
  • Use the template to describe free design projects. Invite everyone to join, in order to cover all relevant projects!