Monday, July 25, 2011

Open Sourcing Designs

In these days of corporations and proprietaries our laws are great for protecting the interests as such, however they do not do much in the way of protecting consumers or promoting sustainability.  Suppose the company that built your phone went out of business?  What if your phone then broke?  How do you get your phone fixed when the manufacturer has shuttered their doors for good?  You could go to third party repair shop, but this may not always work as they do not know your phones design or where the parts come from.

One way to get around this problem would be for companies to open-source their designs, especially if they go out of business.  This way if they go belly-up, you do not have to resort to simply chucking out their product when it is in need of maintenance. 

Facebook has taken the lead by open sourcing the design of their data centres.  Why might Facebook do this?   Why would Facebook invest their money and time to develop a more efficient data centre, only to reveal the design to others such that they do not have to spend the same amount of time and money to develop the same or less efficient product?  That's just it isn't, we spend so much time fending for ourselves that we actually make things more difficult for ourselves.  If we were to open source all designs we would be to save an immense amount of energy and time duplicating the same work. 

When Facebook open-sourced the design of their data-centre they allowed other companies to save the time and install the more efficient design (using 22% less materials and 94% less energy) right of way.  This is energy savings that can be made right away as opposed to figuring out your own design. 

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