Completely Open Source Laptop
Andrew “bunnie” Huang and Sean “xobs” Cross want to sell you a laptop you can completely trust.
Earlier this year, the two Singapore-based engineers fashioned a laptop made almost entirely from open source hardware, hardware whose designs are freely available to the world at large. They called it Project Novena. Anyone could review the designs, looking for bugs and security flaws, and at least in theory, that meant you could be confident the machine was secure from top to bottom, something that’s more desirable than ever in the post-Edward Snowden age.
“The motherboard, battery board, and display adapter board are designs from whole cloth,” Huang told us. “Every trace on those PCBs was placed by my hand.”
The original idea was simply to encourage others to build their own open source laptops at home. But now the pair are taking the project a step further. Starting today, you can order your own pre-built Novena laptop through the crowd-funding site Crowd Supply, and it will ship out in the coming months. Much like Kickstarter, Crowd Supply is place where you can put up money to help fund a company and then get a product in exchange.
The project is part of larger movement towards open source hardware. Open source software has become a mainstay across the web and inside many businesses, and now, open source hardware is beginning to find its own place in the world, not only among hobbyists but inside big companies such as Facebook. The idea is not only to improve security, but to help spur innovation. If you share designs, others can make them better. The new, commercial version of the Novena does include some parts that are closed source, such as the processor, but Huang and Cross have tried to minimize these as much as possible.
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