Copyleft and Open Hardware

rakshat hooja rakshat at
Fri Feb 12 04:31:30 EST 2010

I just saw the qi-hardware wiki home page after a long time and its really
good now. It clearly explains what copyleft is. What it does not explain is
why an end user/ developer would currently wist to buy copyleft hardware.
Sometime ago someone(please stand up if you are reading this) on this list
(I think) had posted his personal answer to this question and I had copied
and kept it. I am reproducing it below. Maybe some of it could be added to
the wiki/ sharism site.


"Short answer as an end user: because I want to be able to fix, modify or
add to the stuff
I buy, not rely on the whim of the manufacturer.

Longer answer: Products are rarely exactly what I want, and I'm not afraid
modify them to get what I'm after. Access to mechanical and electrical
documentation makes this both easier and more effective. With software-based
products the openness is more necessary. My TV contains some GPL software,
nobody has worked out how to build a complete firmware image, let alone load
one, so I can't readily fix any of the niggles or add features.

Also I hate arbitrary limitations and designed obsolescence. Phones are a
example; why should I need to buy a new handset to get a feature the
hardware is capable of, and supposed to have, but doesn't because of botched
firmware the manufacturer has decided not to fix? Why is this simple
feature only available on the 'pro' model at 3 times the price, or not
available at all?

Finally I find the faults somehow less irritating when I know I could fix
if I could be bothered.

Small scale commercial answer: because custom software on an existing open
platform can make small market niches commercially viable when they wouldn't
be otherwise"

Please use Firefox as your web browser. Its protects you from spyware and is
also a very feature rich browser.
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