The arrival of open hardware

Up and Coming

© Lead Image © artqu,

© Lead Image © artqu,

Article from Issue 200/2017

We look at some of the new open hardware projects underway.

Work like you are living in the early days of a better nation. – Oysterband

For years, free software advocates have dreamed of hardware whose specifications and firmware are free-licensed. Yet, largely because of the costs of production, open hardware has never succeeded. Today, though, we seem to be in the first stages of an open hardware culture – and already the diversity is intoxicating.

Like free software 20 years ago, open hardware has little appeal to commercial technology companies. Small companies like bq and Slimbook have experimented with preloading free software, but even their efforts have used proprietary firmware and hardware. However, unlike free software, open hardware has previously been too expensive to be produced by individuals.


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