Apr 10, 2006

Open Source Motorcycles!

I was just twirling ideas and twiddling thumbs for a bit today and this thing just popped into my head. I guess reading Digit's Fast Track Linux does have downsides, eh? My mind wandered off on a tangent about open-source motorcycles, what would they be like?

For starters, you'd need one crazy nut (let's call him Minus SlowValves) who would put an engine together and then put a Torvalds style post on a message board somewhere:

'Hello everybody out there using Splendors - I'm doing a (free) motorcycle (just a hobby, won't be big and professional like a Pulsar) for 100-125cc clones. This has been revving since April, and is starting to get ready. I'd like any feedback on things people like/dislike in Splendors, as my current prototype resembles it somewhat (same physical layout of the engine (due to practical reasons) among other things).

PS Yes - it's free of any Splendor parts, and it has a multi-map ignition. It is not replicable (uses some of my own thrown together bits etc) and it probably never will support anything other than petrol, as that's all I have :-(.'

Minus' motorcycle would appear as a kit that would be distributed for free, with people free to dive right into the mechanical parts and improve whatever they thought could be bettered... WAITAMINNIT! That's what we do now, isn't it? We don't get the bikes for free, of course (someone should work on that), but once you buy one, it's yours to design or destroy. Don't like the cam timing? Grind the buggers. Don't fancy the carburettor, bolt on another one. Like a programmer, if you can tune the code/bike, it'll be a runner.

Unlike Open Source, though, motorcyclists, unfortunately, are reluctant to share their insights. They'll happily tell you that the machine is now half-second quicker to sixty, but you'll have to put a torque wrench to the temple before they'll tell you how. And why not? After all, all they want is to be paid for their labour.

I guess that is the difference between the brick-mortar economy and the software one. In the motorcycle, you'd have to buy/procure/get/borrow/steal hard parts for your improvements. Nuts, bolts, carburettors, neon light clusters, LEDs etc. Whereas on a machine, you could essentially create any part of the code out of thin air.

Oh well, I guess Minus SlowValves' day is yet to come... Besides, my bus stop's next.

1 comment:

SamY said...

that was very creative dude ;)) ... njoi'd reading it :)