Userware Open-source hardwaqre logo



  • Free open-source DIY designs.
  • For non-DIYers: local production of licensed products sold and repaired as needed by the Userware local maker.
  • A transitional alternative to centralized manufacture dependent on global shipping and retail (big-box) distribution.
  • Locally manufacturable stuff that meets resilient human needs in preference to advertising induced wants.
  • Sustainable stuff that can be made using hand tools and solar powered tools (when possible).
  • Alternative to business-as-usual.
  • Nothing factory made (but at present components typically would be): If sold online by mail order (like eBay, Amazon, Etsy) items will be sourced from local makers (unlike eBay, Amazon, Etsy) who may drop-ship.



  • Grid Tie Solar Generator
  • CritterLix Automatic Small Stock Watering System
  • English Sparrow Trap
  • Poultry Feeder
  • Portable Solar Generator



Business Model:

As with open-source software, Userware™ (USER-based open-source hardware) designs may be freely used, modified, and shared. The community of userz will help evolve the technology with assistance of the nonprofit Userware Cooperative.

Userware is licensed by the Userware Cooperative per defined terms and conditions at no cost to make and sell for-profit.

Bottom line:

  • Licensed Userware products are free to make for personal use by DIY makers.

  • If making Userware products for friends and family, cost of materials may be charged, but labor is gifted.

  • If making Userware products for fellow community members (using Craigslist, word of mouth, etc.), labor costs and profit may be added with 4% of total sales gifted to the Userware Cooperative on a monthly basis for maintaining the local maker's website and promoting their business on, (and for use of the Userware™ name). The 4% is shared with the designer. Userware local makers who provide a public service are not hobbyists. If doing business as a Userware product maker and seller, add 4% to your cost of doing business.

  • Userware products to be sold for profit may not vary from published design, variations, or specified use of materials. Design changes may be proposed, but require desiger approval per change in the published design. Often many variations have been tested by the designer and any alterations, by those making a Userware design for sale, require designer input and oversight. The designer has the best interest of the product and those using it at heart. So substitution of a cheaper but less reliable component may not be approved and this protects userz, who may be using it for many years, at expense of short-term profit.

  • To make Userware products for mail order distribution (using eBay, etc.), one must become an approved Userwarezon Associate. Those approved to sell online will be limited in number and will exist to provide items to those not currently being supplied locally. Pricing will have to be such that local makers can undercut the online price. Eventually, all Userware products should be made, distributed, and supported locally. Userwarezon mail order Associates want to go out of business and any profit will be donated to Userwarezon to help make it happen.

  • Designers: Userware is partially about making enough money. If you're thinking money beyond the dreams of avarice, then talk to your patent attorney about a design patent and plan on a host of venture capitalists beating a path to your door (or not). Otherwise the designer maintains product page on and all referral fees and advertising payments go to the designer.



  1. Userwarezon will endeavor to avoid hiring lawyers, so the 4% of for-profit Userware sales is a freely gifted honor-based donation system. Userwarezon is not a 501c so donations will not qualify for a tax write-off.
  2. The 4% assumes moderate sales volume. If a designer offers a Userware design that goes viral, and the 4% starts to look like real money, Userwarezon will lower the 4% local makers pay and will split the windfall with the designer. Windfall = more than $100.
  3. A Userware project could result in serious money being made, but this would be unlikely. Making money is not the goal, but as no laws of physics would be violated, it could happen and we'll deal with it then. Userware is intended to allow designers and those who make their products to make some money, hopefully to make enough money to make it worthwhile.
  4. The designer will create and maintain their web page on the Userwarezon site. Links on their page that earn them a referral fee (Amazon gives Associates 4% or so, and others offer referral fees) that DIYers click on, will get all the referral fees. Userwarezon gets nothing.
  5. If others make a product for profit, the 4% goes to Userwarezon Cooperative to hopefully cover costs and make the few who must labor happy. If the amount were to become "serious," see note 2. The services provided by Userwarezon will need funding, and the level of service will be proportional to how much the 4% amounts to. If zero, then no Userwarezon, no site, no Userware. The goal is to make enough money to provide services.
  6. Designers select the components needed to make their design. Links to needed components may earn the designer a referral fee. Userz don't have to use the links to order items, but ordering needed stuff online, which can involve in store pickup (i.e. Home Depot, Walmart, Best Buy) or home delivery. By ordering stuff online, userz can pay for the designer's services without costing them anything. If you order from those having an affiliate program, the designer may get 3% or more. If you order without using the designer's link, the business (Walmart, Amazon...) keeps the referral fee and the designer gets nothing. Those with affiliate programs include: Amazon, Home Depot, eBay, Walmart, Best Buy. So userz could go to a Home Depot and buy a needed component (designer gets nothing), or order online and get free home delivery or in store pickup, which puts 3% or so in the designers account. So give the 3% to Home Depot or the designer, your choice.
  7. A Userware design that requires a laser cutter or 3-D printer will limit, but not exclude local maker manufacturing. To allow for widespread distributed production, design products that could be made using hand tools, then solar-charged battery hand tools, then solar powered machines and on up.
  8.  Userwarezon commitment: We will only support locally made items meeting the designers specifications and needs of users. Items, insofar as possible, are to be handmade with assistance of renewable energy tools where needed. We will never sell factory manufactured items made and oversold just to make money.


Mission Statement

Userwarezon will be operated as a nonprofit promoting local Userware product development, distributed (local) non-centralized manufacturing, and local distribution/customer service by the local maker. Userware licensees are members of Userwarezon and the Userware Cooperative reserves the right to remove members (after evidence-based internal review) suspected of exploiting, debasing, or otherwise giving a bad name to Userware products, the Userware community, or to the Userware business model (by knowingly behaving badly).


Be Part of the Userware Alternative Business Model.

"Userz" of products worth using are alternative to "customers" and meeting user needs as distinct from wants is what Userwarez are about. Being a user can be a good thing. Being a designer can too. Being a local Userware maker is a needed service for non-DIYers. Making Userwarez is not alternative to good business, just alternative to business-as-usual. Supporting this site supports USERWAREZ ONline. Consider designs or design stuff worth using and add to the Userware offerings.


Userware License

To qualify a design must be worth spreading. It is about good, honest products that meet human needs and not about overselling products just to make money. Userwarez are products to believe in because they are appropriate technology that help enable people to live better lives as citizens of a small planet.

Designs worth spreading are like ideas worth spreading. It is not enough to have an idea, to have something you want to spread, to give a TED Talk. Similarly, it is not enough to have a design or want to share it. Userware is to designs as TED is to ideas. If you just want to share a really cool idea, try Instructables or Make: and it's all good. DIY is fun and can be practical. Userwarezon is not a hobby site. Those who may need a Userware item have the DIY option, or they can buy from a DIY maker turned local maker, and it's all good too.

Many jobs are at risk of automation. Replacing humans with robots will make stockholders more money and therefore will be done. The question, "And then what?" will not be allowed to interfere with business-as-usual, regardless of longterm outcome. Alternative is to support distributed local manufacture by humans of stuff that matters to humans. What is actually needed, like food, is best made locally.



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