Unlike open source software, open source hardware can be converted to a easy business model. "Good" open source software generally try to add a paid "support component" to earn some cash. In case of open source hardware the business model is selling fabricated and semi-fabricated (fabricated PCBs with components to the soldered) models of the design can be sold by the designer, for people who do not wish to go into the hassle of buying components and making the whole thing. This is easy to do and the popularity of the designer(s) can grow overnight depending on how the design clicks to the users.
Various design steps need to be taken to make the products attractive and useful to the user. I'll discuss such things in some upcoming posts.
A good example of such a model is www.ladyada.net and the commercial site www.adafruit.com.
I wish to send a message to my fellow electronics designers to pursue such goals to help society in a unique way by bringing in great ideas and products.