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A New Campaign For A Fully Open-Source Computer

Hardware

Published on 28 August 2013 12:12 AM EDT
Written by Michael Larabel in Hardware
12 Comments

A new crowd-funding campaign seeks to produce "the first truly free and fully open-source computer utilizing only non-proprietary hardware and software under the GNU General Public License."

For those true open-source hardware enthusiasts, before getting too excited, don't set your hopes too high. This is an IndieGoGo campaign backed by non-IHV veterans, their first day performance is at zero, and at least from their crowd-funding page they really haven't provided specifications on any hardware/software yet. They seem to want to produce a $99 USD (and eventually a PC that is free as in beer) computer that is comprised of both open-source hardware and software, and to do so with just a $250,000 USD budget.

This project is called TransObj and they emailed me early on Tuesday as they kicked off their campaign to create "a free open-source computer for the world." In the next month they hope to raise $250,000 to accomplish this task.

The only real information shared from their page is that they want this "TransObj" system to utilize a distributed file-system to propogate data across an entire network to avoid corporate cloud computing infrastructures, support a fully encrypted and anonymous wireless open mesh network, and for all hardware and software designs to be vetted by their crowd-funded community. If pledging at least $99 USD, you can be among the first to beta test this "truly free" PC, but no other details about their hardware plans are mentioned.

Making matters even more disappointing is that even if they don't reach their $250k campaign goal, their IndieGoGo funds will still be honored, unlike say the Ubuntu Edge campaign. And I highly doubt that the TransObj campaign will be successful even with their mere quarter of a million dollar goal.

I was informed of this IndieGoGo campaign about 12 hours ago and in checking back at the time of writing they have raised zero dollars. They also have zero Twitter followers and only 17 likes on Facebook. I'm certainly not pledging anything towards this project, but it's sure to spark some interesting comments in the forums and those that want to learn more can find its IndieGoGo page.

For more of my thoughts on open-source hardware viability, see Would A Kickstarter Open-Source GPU Work? and Why The Open-Source Graphics Card Failed. Even just open-source graphics cards have failed but these individuals want to create an entire open-source hardware system for just $99 USD. There is the rather open-source friendly Loongson hardware that even Richard Stallman will praise, but the hardware costs quite a bit and is even tough to find for those interested.

About The Author
Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the web-site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience and being the largest web-site devoted to Linux hardware reviews, particularly for products relevant to Linux gamers and enthusiasts but also commonly reviewing servers/workstations and embedded Linux devices. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics hardware drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated testing software. He can be followed via and or contacted via .
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