During the Gran Canaria Desktop Summit Frank Karlitschek announced the open-pc initiative. The aim of this ambitious project is to cooperatively design a Free Software based computer by and for the community. Read on for more information about this initiative from the team.
The project was initiated in response to the lack of quality in the Free Software-based hardware solutions currently on the market. As many reviewers and end-users have stated, the pre-installed software used by hardware vendors generated a bad image for Free Software with potentially interested end-users. Much of the software was buggy and not widely tested and device drivers were often unstable, non-free or not available at all.
Not delivering a complete Free Desktop experience also led to dissatisfaction inside the community. Many vendors developed a custom set of desktop components without community input or support. The result was often not only a re-inventing of many wheels and little advancement for Free Software but also had severe limitations and unsatisfactory performance, consistency and stability.
We are sure that we, as a community, can pool our resources and creativity and avoid these common mistakes. The goal of the open-pc project is to develop a powerful, high quality Free Software based PC in an open fashion. We believe that opening up the development of a personal computer, setting our own goals and boundaries and expanding on the knowledge of thousands will result in a superior product. Everyone is invited to take part in the preparations: currently there is an online poll at open-pc.com for the first product's hardware details (What form factors? Netbook or nettop? Optical drives?) and software additions (e.g. which preinstalled browser?).
A final price of $300 to $400 is our current goal, assembly and international shipment included. As an unbeatable advantage we promise to deliver compatible hard- and software, a preinstalled AppStore client and integrated online services for community support.
A large hardware vendor has already signaled its cooperation and more corporate partners are welcome. We can be contacted through the official web site open-pc.com. First computer deliveries are planed for autumn 2009.