Archive for October 11th, 2010

And Now, Open Source… Underwear

Some techno-activists have banded together and tried to create some vaguely Socialist declaration of principles surrounding “open source hardware”, couching the whole thing in incredibly meaningless and obfuscatory terminology burdened by a vaguely starry-eyed idealism that is palpably out of touch with the real world.

It’s not that I think this is a completely terribly and pointless idea, because it isn’t. But when you start talking about electronics – as most people involved with OSHW are – I can’t help but feel that ideological fervor has completely overtaken reason and practicality.

What people seem to want to do is create a (mildly draconian) framework under which the world would benefit (somehow…) from complete and open transparency regarding the design of, say, an open source computer, or cellphone, or electronic fuel-injection system. On paper that looks good, at first.

How “open source” is something that includes extremely specialized components available from a single commercial source, though? Sure, with the CAD files and so on, anyone with access to the right equipment can produce PCBs and whatnot; producing a transistor or a microprocessor or an FPGA is another matter entirely.
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Published in: Geekiness, General | on October 11th, 2010 | 3 Comments »