Why Do I love Open Hardware?

I’m sure most of you went through many laptops as your workload requirements overwhelm them one by one, and like myself, creating in the process a long trail of e-waste.

Even when switching to Linux to give those laptops some extra years, somehow they just fail due to simple mechanical issues such as a worn out henge that is very difficult to change, or damaged plastic parts that you can’t easily find a replacement for.

And if you manage to stay with one laptop long enough, eventually you will realise it was not designed to last any longer than 5 years and that it was rather designed with planned obsolescence in mind with frail plastic parts that break just in time for your next upgrade, inaccessible parts that can’t be replaced or upgraded without feeling like doing an open heart surgery, and spare parts feeling like collector items, rendering upgrades and fixes infeasible.

Enter open hardware architecture, an environmentally friendly and economically efficient option, designed to be easily repairable and upgradable, so you don’t just throw away a whole laptop everytime it gets obsolete, you simply upgrade it, and if you break something, you simply replace it!

Pinebook, for example, has an open and accessible design that you can upgrade or repair using simple tools such as a standard electronic screwdriver set. Say for instance upgrading its eMMC module, pictured here, which is near impossible in the likes of Google Chromebooks, can be achieved simply here with no need for expensive soldering tools or hours at a time just to be able to reach the component you are fixing/replacing.

I really love this laptop, it has been serving me for almost a year by now with no issues, where it has been light and versatile. I purchased it at the same price point of a Chromebook, a glorified Android device for a laptop, yet it runs a full operating system (Linux) like any decent laptop. You can hack the hell out of it and you can replace any of its part to the extent you may end up with a theseus laptop, a paradox I’m willing to live with 🙂





Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *