Build Yourself

This year has seen a series of petty lawsuits and counter-lawsuits between Apple and Samsung over the design of their electronic products. They’re all about protecting ideas, locking them down so that nobody else benefits from your innovations. This sort of behaviour is regrettable, but entirely understandable for global corporations that depend on out-performing their competitors to maintain their market share.

The antithesis of this is the open source movement, which develops things collaboratively. Software is the best known example, but you can apply the open source philosophy to all sorts of things, publishing the plans to your invention and letting people build their own and improve on it. In past posts I’ve written about a hydrogen fuel cell car and a zero-emissions shipping vessel, but the daddy of these projects is Open Source Ecology.

These guys are working on a long-term project to develop the 50 industrial machines that they think are necessary to run a developed civilization, and they’re giving away all the designs. I’ve written about them in more detail here, but I’m mentioning it again today because they’ve just made a short film about the project. It’s a great little film and well worth watching at three minutes, but it’s also a finalist in the Focus Forward short film competition. If they win, they get $100,000 – a big help in their work – and your vote counts.

Click here to watch the film and vote for it.

HT Postgrowth FB

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4 Comments on “Build Yourself”

  1. lunny06 November 19, 2012 at 2:00 pm #

    This is wonderful. I thought you all might be interested in some news that hit the international press this week from India – http://qz.com/26244/how-a-20-tablet-from-india-could-finish-off-pc-makers-educate-billions-and-transform-computing-as-we-know-it/ $20 tablets to blow Apple and others out of the water!

    • Jeremy November 19, 2012 at 2:46 pm #

      That is very cool, thanks for the link. I heard about a company making tablets in Nigeria back in the summer, but they were nothing like this cheap.

      It was going to happen eventually – the big technology brands have never taken the developing world’s computing needs seriously. They’ll pay for that.

  2. Imran Nazir November 19, 2012 at 4:27 pm #

    I’m all for open source. I keep an open source repository on GitHub. Hopefully someday some of my code will be popular enough for people to want to use and improve.
    Any technology can only stay open source for so long before an individual or group within the community takes all that is free as well as the most active participants and forms a company. Leaving behind lots of disgruntled participants who feel as though they are being cut out. I’ve seen this with the 3D printing community(Rep Rap) and open source UAV (DIY Drones) platforms. In such circumstances it is understandable that people want to legally lock down their ideas.

    • Jeremy November 20, 2012 at 10:01 am #

      Yes, that’s unfortunate and profiteering. Perhaps the Creative Commons license would help here. You could use that to license anyone to use the code as long as any resulting product remains non-commercial and freely shared. If anyone attempted to privatise it for their own gain, it would be a breach of the terms.

      Of course, you might need to crowdsource a legal suit if someone took off with it, which would be a whole other thing.

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