Published in AI

Open Saucy laptop goes on sale

by on21 January 2015

What price security?... well rather a lot

Two Singapore-based engineers have created a laptop made almost entirely from open source hardware.

Dubbed Project Novena the laptop was made by Andrew "bunnie" Huang and Sean "xobs" Cross and their idea was that anyone could review the designs, looking for bugs and security flaws.

"The motherboard, battery board, and display adapter board are designs from whole cloth," Huang told us. "Every trace on those PCBs was placed by my hand."

Starting today, you can order your own pre-built Novena laptop through the crowd-funding site Crowd Supply , and it will ship in the coming months. Crowd Supply is place where you can put up money to help fund a company and then get a product in exchange.

Sadly the commercial version of the Novena does include some parts that are closed source, such as the processor, but Huang and Cross have tried to minimize these as much as possible.

It is not that cheap either. You can purchase a version of the machine, including the aluminum case, high-definition display, and motherboard for $1,195. For $1,995, you also get a battery and a 240 gigabyte solid-state hard drive. And the heirloom version sells for a whopping $5,000. "The heirloom version is for people who are ready to invest in something they would use for years and years," Huang says. You can also buy just the motherboard for $500 and use it with your own case.

And that chip ? 1.2GHz, Freescale quad-core ARM which is so underpowered it is not funny. It seems that $2,195 for a laptop is a little steep with this sort of chip on board.

Huang points out that it's open source, for people who care about the security, privacy and the ability to explore the source and make sure the design hasn't been tampered with.

Not sure we could be that paranoid.

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