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Sunday, October 25th, 2009

The Gadget Blog

VIA OpenBook Design Is Share Alike

May 28, 2008 by Sean R.  
Filed under Laptops, Misc. Gadgets

Open hardware specs seem to be catching on. After the OpenMoko released CAD design files for all of its handsets, Via’s gone and done the same thing with their new OpenBook. It’s only the outside that’s being released as an open design, but that’s not a bad start.

The OpenBook site spells it out like this:

The external panel CAD files for the VIA OpenBook Reference Design are being released under a Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 3.0 license giving customers the flexibility to bring their own innovative style and brand value propositions to the Mini-Note market segment. This also helps customers reduce product development costs and speed time-to-market.

This is really cool, however I suspect that once you give people a taste of what’s possible, they’re going to demand the whole enchilada, not just the external design, but the internal boards, the BIOS, everything.

I’m convinced that we’re now seeing changes in the way hardware is created and marketed that emulate the way open source software has been produced, not just in the sense of making things available for other people to re-use, but in the sense of how that changes where the real innovation will be taking place.

There’s always going to be room for people like Apple, whose designs are patented (i.e., closed) but typically groundbreaking but there also ought to be a place for folks like Asus, where the design is just a place to start.

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