HALIFAX, England, 18th June 2020 - The Free and Open Source Silicon Foundation (FOSSi Foundation) is proud to announce that it has taken over stewardship of the Solderpad Hardware License (SHL), a popular permissive license for open hardware projects that was originally drafted by Andrew Katz, open source legal expert and partner at Moorcrofts LLP.

Designed to extend the benefits of the Apache 2.0 open source software license to open hardware projects — including but not limited to free and open source silicon initiatives — the Solderpad Hardware License was drafted by Katz and adopted by open hardware sharing platform Solderpad in 2012. The license has since gone on to be used by a number of major open hardware projects, including the PULP Platform, and has become the license required for contributions to the OpenHW Group.

To support further use of the license in the open hardware community, the Solderpad Hardware License has been transferred to FOSSi Foundation stewardship under a Governance Committee dedicated to maintaining and developing the licence, as well as engaging in advocacy and providing support for users.

“The Solderpad Hardware License is a great fit for free and open source silicon projects, and FOSSi Foundation is delighted to take on the role of steward,” says Julius Baxter, FOSSi Foundation director, of the move. “The benefits of the Apache 2.0 License are well-known, and adoption of the Solderpad Hardware License has proven that many of those same benefits can be brought to open hardware projects. We look forward to supporting the growth of the licence as custodian.”

Coinciding with the move, a new version of the license, Solderpad Hardware License v2.1, has been published. Additionally, the Solderpad License website is to be overhauled with additional information designed to help newcomers understand the features of the license and how to apply it to their projects, as well as details on the Governance Committee and how to apply for membership or contribute feedback.

Furthermore, Solderpad Hardware License v2.0 and v2.1 have been included in the recently updated official License List of the Software Package Data Exchange (SPDX) Workgroup, set up to encourage adoption of a specification which assists organisations and developers with license compliance. FOSSi Foundation thanks the SPDX Workgroup for its inclusion.

The latest version of the Solderpad Hardware License is available now on the official website, while the Governance Committee will table its first official meeting this autumn.