Project Suggestion for an Open Machine (LP09)

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Considering what FSF is doing, I'm surprised that no one has defined or demanded an open machine. It would simply combine the elements that FSF has produced along with the most likely hardware for a fully configured Open Machine. The first incarnation might consist of a bill of hardware materials along with a document that details steps to install software. Ideally, a coreboot BIOS would be incorporated on the best 64 bit board for the purpose. I am biased to AMD boards because they are more open.

It should be bootable from a removable hard drive. In that way, it would be easy to try a number of different operating systems by replacing the hard drive.

Using thorough documentation it could be built quickly by a knowledgeable person, or purchased ready to go from a specialized manufacturer. Such a machine could even be consumer friendly so that it does not take a great deal of time to get up and running. To my way of thinking, this is what is necessary for free software to be mainstreamed. Maybe FSF could make this a fund raiser by actually selling such a machine.

It needs to be a community effort because coreboot would be asked for a suggested mother board and an associated bios, other boards could be identified by consensus. An initial goal could be to have a working prototype by next year Associate meeting.

Anyone interested ?


Possible Requirements

  • CoreBoot BIOS
  • Removable hard drive
  • Hardware that does not require proprietary drivers
  • No blobs
  • 64 bit

First Cut: Bill of Materials for a Desktop Machine (comments invited)

  • Case Antec Sonata Elite

It must have a drawer so that the bootable drive can be quickly replaced to run other distributions (or even other OS's) conveniently.

  • Power Supply Antec Neo series power supplies
  • Motherboard Should be amenable to Coreboot.

GIGABYTE M57SLI-S4 looks to have limited availability so, instead, substitute

MSI NF980-G65 AM3 NVIDIA nForce 980a SLI HDMI ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail  AMD Phenom II X4 945 Deneb 3.0GHz Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core Processor Model Newegg HDX945FBGIBOX - Retail 

Optional component

  • an FPGA chip to support homebrew hardware development. Let´s make downloadable/shareable hardware designs!

Other devices for which an "open" design would be desirable

  • Phone with open hardware (Freerunner?) - perhaps we should get a stable Free Software-only phone first.
  • Pager
  • Television (there's increasing embedding of tech in TVs)
  • Toaster (just because)
  • Embedded hardware in cars (?)