As Mister Jalopy said in his Maker's Manifesto, "If you can't open it, you don't own it." What's more, if you can't get the tools or parts or code to fix something you bought, you don't own it either. The BBC reported yesterday that the UK, the EU, and the U.S. have all introduced legislation to compel manufacturers to make things that users can fix and improve themselves. Here's Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak on the importance of the right to repair, especially because it encourages innovation.
Why stop the self-repair community? Why stop the right to repair people?
Look at the Apple ][, it shipped with full schematics, designs, and software source listings, you know, code listings, totally open-source, the Apple ][ was modifiable and extendable to the maximum. People figured out how to convert the early display into having lowercase characters and stuff with their own hardware added. This product was the only source of profits for Apple for the first 10 years of the company. This was not a minor product. And it was not that successful on pure luck. There were a lot of good things about that being so open that everyone could join the party.
Sometimes when companies cooperate together with others, they can actually have better business than if they're totally protective and monopolistic and not working with others, just totally competitive.
How was Apple hurt by the openness of the Apple ][, I wonder? You know, more than what's right and what's wrong, the aspect of self-repair is also the motivation and joy of just technical people wanting to grow up technical, knowing how to write the right kind of software and develop the right kind of hardware. Doing these things just to prove to themselves they've got a little special skill in the world and they can show it off to others. Very motivating for creative minds. Believe me, that's how I grew up.
It's time to recognize the right to repair more fully. I believe that companies inhibit it because it gives the company's power [and] control, over everything, and I guess in a lot of people's minds, power over others equates to money and profits. Hey, is it your computer? Or is it some company's computer? Think about that. It's time to start doing the right things.