Fix, Hack, Create

Once again Karl has been twittering awesomeness. (Thanks!) This is from some things he posted tonight… and connects to my Plan B post and some stuff I’ve been thinking about. First: The Repair Manifesto, from Amsterdam’s Platform 21.

Platform 21: The Repair Manifesto

Funny. I just got my favorite jeans repaired (two pairs, the bottoms went out on me), as well as my favorite fuchsia heels. I had to go to three shoe repair shops. The first dismissed me, the second told me to throw them away, and I managed to convince the third one — although I had to dig through a dirty old box to find the right heels. Now they are black — more character. “Will your husband mind?” said the guy. Uh-huh, right.

This also makes me think of the whole cradle-to-cradle idea.

Then, there’s Ryan Paul’s piece in Wired on hackable hardware:

Open source hardware is designed to be reprogrammed or physically modified to make it easy to install custom firmware and software to create entirely new products. The big idea: crowdsourcing hardware development will encourage innovation in unforeseen ways, much like how Creative Commons licenses have enabled artists to remix existing content to create new works.

… Not all gadget makers embrace this trend and a growing number of them

are fighting back by blocking installation of custom software or slapping on warranty stickers to discourage would-be developers from opening up their gear and tweaking the electronics. (Apple has been particularly aggressive about discouraging iPhone hackers.)

Then there are companies like OpenMoko, a spinoff of Taiwan’s First International Computer, established to build an open source touchscreen smartphone.

“For the people pushing this project, an open phone is not really even a product. It’s the very embodiment of our vision of technology,” OpenMoko CEO Sean Moss-Pultz wrote in 2007. “We absolutely, passionately, believe that something as fundamental to our lives as the mobile phone must be open.”

The hardware schematics, CAD files and source code of the OpenMoko mobile phone handsets have all been made available under open licenses so they can be freely modified and redistributed. The project quickly attracted attention in the open source software community and became a hub of activity for open smartphone development.

Will follow this with interest.