With the recent activities in projects such as Openmoko, Arduino and Open Pandora, Copyleft Hardware is gaining more and more support and prominence. Every month developers around the globe realize that the hurdles to start hardware development are not as high as the industry wants us to believe. They get their tools out, load a free CAD program and join one of the many "Open Hardware" projects.
This trend was started with ever more accessible hardware. Locked hardware that lets users install their own applications or completely customized operating systems. This was a good start, but a few questions arise. Is locked hardware running Free Software really all we want ever wanted? Do we trust the industry to respect our privacy when they control the software in the chips that route our communication? Is this really an opening up of the industry or just another marketing spin to keep the customer base happy?
This talk will draw on the theory that Free Software on a locked device is only half the way and will highlight possible paths to the future. It will look at the alternative presented by the Copyleft Hardware movement, its difficulties as well as the possibilities of collaborative development.
Drawing on examples from Shanzai Hardware from China, Arduino and the NanoNote the talk with explore the idea of the Qi hardware project and highlight some of the countless volunteers. It will propose a shift in ideology by which we no longer neglect aspects of our freedom simply because they seem too difficult to reach, a shift which appreaciates the changing environment in the Hardware arena instead of defining innovation away, a shift which finally brings us back to the point where 100% free means absolute freedom and not "everything after a certain point".