The Novena Open Hardware Laptop is the first viable open hardware laptop that I have see. This project is a significant step forward for the free culture movement. Most free culture projects are based around simplified electronics such as the Arduino, but this is based around a fully fledged 1.2GHz, Freescale quad-core ARM processor. This laptop is not for the faint hearted and as their “risks” state, the drivers don’t fully work yet and are in the process of being reverse engineered. For most hackers, this is all part of the fun and would be considered a “feature”. There is loads of technical info on their open hardware platform wiki.
At a cost of $1995 for the laptop version, it will be way out of most people price range, including mine. However this is very early days for open hardware laptops, so we can expect to see the price drop on future models, especially as the community and the technical contributions grow.
This project is hosted on Crowd Supply, which is slightly different to Kickstarter & Indiegogo. The 2 main differentiators are that: 1) After completion of the campaign and assuming it is successfully funded, the crowd can continue taking pre-orders of your products. 2) Crowd Supply will provide a Logistics and Fulfilment Services if required.
If your a hardcore geek and got the cash to spare, then you’ve got to get yourself one of these Open Hardware Laptops.