What Linux users should know about open hardware

by
in hardware on (#2SZ5)
Over at Datamation, Bruce Byfield opines, "What Linux users don't know about manufacturing open hardware can lead them to disappointment." Interesting stuff.
Both the manufacturing and distribution of digital products is controlled by a relatively small number of companies, whose time can sometimes be booked months in advance. Profit margins can be tight, so like movie studios that buy the rights to an ancient sit-com, the manufacturers usually hope to clone the success of the latest hot product. As Aaron Seigo told me when talking about his efforts to develop the Vivaldi tablet, the manufacturers would much rather prefer someone else take the risk of doing anything new. Not only that, but they would prefer to deal with someone with an existing sales record who is likely to bring repeat business. Besides, the average newcomer is looking at a product run of a few thousand units. A chip manufacturer would much rather deal with Apple or Samsung, whose order is more likely in the hundreds of thousands.
Off hand, it sounds a bit like the same problem independent authors have with big publishing houses: no one wants to buy or publish anything other than a guaranteed best-seller by a proven author, making it hard for the independent guys to get noticed. The article has some interesting insights into what Aaron Seigo and the Vivaldi (Linux-based open tablet) experienced before they abandoned hope for the project.

Re: Watching the sausage getting made, doesn't really help (Score: 1)

by hairyfeet@pipedot.org on 2014-09-30 09:24 (#2T0X)

Uhhhh...why not just vote with your wallets and affect REAL change? AMD is opening the hardware as fast as humanly possible, supports the coreboot project, even put some extra men on the FOSS APU drivers to get them up to snuff...so why not support the company that is trying to support you by buying AMD and influencing others to do so as well? The bang for the buck is still firmly in the AMD camp and you can get some crazy powerful hardware for peanuts and if enough FOSS supporters vote with their wallets and AMD sees their sales go up because of this? Other companies WILL notice this and be more likely to support you as well.

So instead of trying to make something that if you are REALLY lucky might reach 4 digits in sales why not affect some REAL change and support a company that is really trying to help you whose gear anybody can buy?
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