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= fully open laptop



By Nick Heath:

"Andrew 'Bunnie' Huang, a hardware engineer who is demonstrating what is possible for a small hardware outfit to do by designing and building his own laptop.

This machine isn't your standard corporate-issue device, but a machine that from top to bottom is open in its design.

Every component in Huang's laptop, known as the Novena, is open. Datasheets describing the design and workings of each component – from the motherboard, through to the ports and various processors – is documented and freely available online. Anyone with the expertise can build a complete firmware for each component from source.

The question is why did Huang, former hardware lead on the open source Chumby internet appliance, decide to do it?

"It is kind of a geek fantasy to build your own laptop," Huang said.

"When I was in uni one of the things I wanted to do when studying technology was build my own computer, then you get out into the real world you realise you're not building computers per se, you're building bits and pieces of them.

"So finally I thought I'm just going to build one full stop to encourage me to learn new things and stretch myself."

But Huang doesn't see himself as a maverick. He believes the slower turnover in today's computer technology makes it feasible for one-man bands and independent outfits to design and build their own hardware, and get it to market before it becomes obsolete." (