If You’re Going To Kill It, Open Source It!


If You’re Going To Kill It, Open Source It! @ MAKE

Another week, another company killing off a giant product after spending millions of dollars and years developing. Back in 2009 Cisco bought Pure Digital Technology’s Flip. Gadget fans and makers were puzzled by this; phones were just about good enough to start beating the Flip. Now, it’s heading for the landfill.

Some companies fail, some kill off product lines that are not profitable, but in the end, where does all the knowledge go? Nowhere, usually. In a world of disposable everything, is it time that we demand companies do what’s good for humankind in addition to the bottom line?

If companies are going to just kill something off, why not open source it? Some companies do just that, and others, like Nokia, will promise open source (Symbian, dead product) and then quickly reverse itself, locking it up. Pictured above, a Nokia coffin.

In this article I’m going to share my collection of products that no longer exist but should (or could) have been released as open source projects. Part of the goal is for you to post the ones you’d like to see “open sourced” as well. My list includes some familiar favorites, like the Sony humanoid robots, to some old timers like Ricochet wireless cards.

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  1. Easier said than done, apparently. A typical large corporate entity has SO many bits of intellectual property that it owns, licenses, cross-licenses, pays fees or royalties for, and etc that it can’t release to open source for a whole bunch of different legal/business reasons.

  2. the easiest thing to do is to not add any value to this topic and just say isn’t not possible and come up with reasons. open source hardware is a good example of people preemptively dealing with this.

    westfw, assuming there was not a “whole bunch of different legal/business reasons” what products that are no longer around would you like to see open sourced and why?

    we try to keep it fun and interesting here for everyone – if you can’t add some value, ideas and something positive – please do not comment. thanks-

  3. [continued at Make with the original article. Not worth splitting the discussion between two places!]

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