From: "Rufus V. Smith"
Subject: Re: Open Source Consumer Products
Date: Wed, 20 Nov 2002 11:57:57 -0500
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"Bill Paul" wrote in message
> "Geraldo S." wrote in news:3dda9c8c$0$10852
> > What do you guys think, would it be wise for a company to produce 'Open
> > Source' consumer products (i.e. the design files and source codes, both
> > firmware, drivers and application programs)?
> Open source is beneficial when someone else would like to interface to your
> product. For example, if my operating system is open source, I could write
> a program that fully integrates into that OS. With a closed source OS, I
> could only integrate my program as far as the OS author will allow me, if
> at all.
> If you talking about an open source toaster, then I can't see alot of
> benfit to the consumer. There isn't alot of interfacing to happen there.
> Maybe I could bake a better loaf of bread so that each slice fits perfectly
> inside and is toasted to perfection. OK, not real benefit in open source
> If your talking cars, then perhaps looing at the CAD files for the cylinder
> head would help me determine how far I can drill in to repair that stripped
> exhaust stud. Or perhaps source code for the EFI computer might help me
> design a performace add-on module. OK that might be helpful info to have.
> However this 'open' information will only appeal to the 'tweaker' technical
> type, or someone designing interfacing products to go along with your
> product. The main benefit I see is if your product can be interfaced to in
> some way, and you are trying to encourage other people to interface their
> products to yours. Otherwise saying "open source" is just a marketing buzz
> word like "As seen on TV", or "33% more Free!"
If customers can reprogram their own appliances, where is product liability there?
It's bad enough that the number of programmers willing to work on life critical
devices far exceeds the number of programmers who *should* be working on
life critical devices!
But "Sorry officer, I was just tweaking my car's ABS (break system) algorithm!"
isn't going to cut it.