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Open Source PC?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
I've never used Linux (except for my Tivo), but I like the idea and can see myself giving it a try before the year ends.. But it got me thinking... If people can create Open Source software, why not Open Source hardware? Basically a large group of people could put in their 2 cents about what components they want and then after placing a deposit make a group purchase at COST. Sort of like the OLPC project, but for the Western World and for Media PCs. Thoughts???
post #2 of 14
AMD is already doing something similar with it Opteron processors, and Torrenza is supposed to be very open.
post #3 of 14
post #4 of 14
Thread Starter 
Maybe I should be more specific. When I say Open Source Hardware, I mean a replacement company for the likes of HP or Dell. A nonprofit brand with group buying power. The community would contribute to case design, procurement, assembly and distribution.
post #5 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by redondoman View Post

Maybe I should be more specific. When I say Open Source Hardware, I mean a replacement company for the likes of HP or Dell. A nonprofit brand with group buying power. The community would contribute to case design, procurement, assembly and distribution.

Well, I actually think companies like HP and Dell do a pretty good job of case design, procurement, assembly, and distribtuion and they operate on a lot smaller margin than any community co-op ever could. You do end up paying for a Windows license that you may not need or want - but the total system cost is still significantly lower than what you could build yourself with parts from Newegg.
post #6 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by oxothuk View Post

Well, I actually think companies like HP and Dell do a pretty good job of case design, procurement, assembly, and distribtuion and they operate on a lot smaller margin than any community co-op ever could. You do end up paying for a Windows license that you may not need or want - but the total system cost is still significantly lower than what you could build yourself with parts from Newegg.

This goes contrary to everything I've experienced, at least when it comes to mid-range and above computers. Can you provide some numbers to back that up? Mail-in Internet access rebates don't count.
post #7 of 14
most people that are into linux and whatnot like to build their own systems. It's not very difficult and you get *exactly* what you want. I'd definitely recommend you try it. That's pretty much the main reason why you don't see what you are asking about
post #8 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by oxothuk View Post

Well, I actually think companies like HP and Dell do a pretty good job of case design, procurement, assembly, and distribtuion and they operate on a lot smaller margin than any community co-op ever could. You do end up paying for a Windows license that you may not need or want - but the total system cost is still significantly lower than what you could build yourself with parts from Newegg.

I definetly don't see any nice HTPC cases from HP or Dell. Last time HP had a decent HTPC case based computer the price was $2K starting. Sony's HTPCs start at $3K. A nonprofit computer company could certainly operate on a lower margin than a for profit company. All just a thought, if no one is liking the idea I will move on.
post #9 of 14
Well, we could start our own non-profit HTPC company here at AVS. I'd be willing to help out.
post #10 of 14
There are plenty of open-source friendly companies. They build their hardware on open standards, but I am sure they are for-profit. http://www.genesippc.com comes to mind.
post #11 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by redondoman View Post

Maybe I should be more specific. When I say Open Source Hardware, I mean a replacement company for the likes of HP or Dell. A nonprofit brand with group buying power. The community would contribute to case design, procurement, assembly and distribution.

How would this be any different than simply picking the components most recommended here from the neweggs of the world and assembling yourself?

Price breaks on the parts?
post #12 of 14
The SPARC chip spec has been open for ages now. If you have your own chip fab, you can start cranking out chips immediately I think there may be a kickback to SPARC but you can make your own CPUs

-Trouble
post #13 of 14
kind of like this?

http://www.neurosaudio.com/osd/osd.asp

not really a pc, though.
post #14 of 14
I think starting a coop for open source hardware design is a wonderful idea. But I'd just encourage people to think outside the box on the institution itself. Coops don't necessitate nonprofits. If anything, I think it should be for-profit, with proceeds being divided among the coop's members. By analogy, compare the Vanguard Group (for-profit collective brokerage) vs. TIAA-CREF (non-profit collective brokerage). And there's no reason that open source hardware has to run open source software. I'd have no qualms selling to people who want to restrict their rights at a markup and steering those profits toward those who benefit from the open aspect of the hardware.
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