This year has seen a series of petty lawsuits and counter-lawsuits between Apple and Samsung over the design of their electronic products. They’re all about protecting ideas, locking them down so that nobody else benefits from your innovations. This sort of behaviour is regrettable, but entirely understandable for global corporations that depend on out-performing their competitors to maintain their market share.
The antithesis of this is the open source movement, which develops things collaboratively. Software is the best known example, but you can apply the open source philosophy to all sorts of things, publishing the plans to your invention and letting people build their own and improve on it. In past posts I’ve written about a hydrogen fuel cell car and a zero-emissions shipping vessel, but the daddy of these projects is Open Source Ecology.
These guys are working on a long-term project to develop the 50 industrial machines that they think are necessary to run a developed civilization, and they’re giving away all the designs. I’ve written about them in more detail here, but I’m mentioning it again today because they’ve just made a short film about the project. It’s a great little film and well worth watching at three minutes, but it’s also a finalist in the Focus Forward short film competition. If they win, they get $100,000 – a big help in their work – and your vote counts.