Peter Kirn`s post on the OFFF digital design conference in Portugal
made me realized that there should be a discussion on the resources and platforms behind the open source approach.
I think that the main issue of open source is sharing resources, providing the recipe doesn't make it collaborative.
It is only one aspect of the equation.
I know it may sound obvious but even open source programming isn't available without the web infrastructure, personal computers (with all of its hardware manufacturing and distribution) and the energy and costs of operating all of them.
The personal tools that are required for DIY hardware such as screwdrivers, glue guns soldering equipments etc… are no different from the programmers keyboard modem, mouse and screen.
We can't ignore that open source can't function without these resources and platforms.
These resources are not open or shared freely, they are manufactured and sold by private companies.
Open source developers use these resources and platforms to shorten the creative process and the energy costs.
This way developers can focus on developing new applications rather than wasting time on creating existing models.
The innovation is decentralized but for better productivity some of its resources are centralized.
Until now duplicating hardware innovation was a fragmented process. You needed to start over every time.
The collaborative level was more of a reaction rather than interaction. Today there is still almost no thought in open hardware, over recycling and reusing the parts and materials after the mod or hack was made. That is mainly because of the way hardware is designed and manufactured.
Open hardware needs similar platforms that would enable its users to shorten the creative process and the energy costs.
Continuity of creativity needs to be at the core of this innovation model, with the ability to duplicate or extract hardware functions as part of the creative process. A low maintenance hardware platform that can accept different plug and play applications and upgrades.