We've talked a lot about the benefits of the DIY ethic and open source projects -- projects that are collaborative, open to everyone and owned by no single person or company. Things like 3D printing, open source software and all types of make-it-yourself objects benefit everyone because when multiple people are contributing and taking ownership, the final product ultimately best represents what people want and need from a product or service.
The environment benefits too when things are made and used this way. Things are created right where they will be consumed, which means no long distance shipping burning fossil fuels and emitting tons of carbon. And making things that are exactly what you need when you need them instead of relying on whatever is massed produced from a factory means less is wasted and far fewer resources are consumed in the process.
There is a growing community of people contributing to this DIY movement and while plenty of makers and hackers are out there taking on projects, this is the first we've heard of someone converting their entire life into an open source project.
Filmmaker Sam Muirhead wanted to add something to the open source world, so instead of just developing one thing, he's converting to an entirely open-source way of living for a year. From his electronics and modes of transportation to his clothing and even his beer, he'll be looking for, making and consuming only things that are non-proprietary and replicable by anyone. And he'll be documenting it all for us to follow both at shareable.net and his own website.
Muirhead says, "I'm looking for and switching to more open, transparent products which are replicable by others, trying to highlight the benefits of treating others as collaborators rather than competitors. I'll be investigating how the open source philosophy might apply to different areas of life, where it fits well, and where it might not work. Is anybody working on an open source microwave? What would open insurance be like?"
As inspiring as it is, he knows he's taken on a very daunting task too.
"...Right now I'm making an inventory of everything I own, everything I use, and everything I need, to assess just how much work lies ahead of me – I know it's a mammoth task, but I don't know quite how hairy or smelly this mammoth is yet. Looking at my desk right now I've can list a camera, microphone, computer, wallet, hard drives, lamp, a couple of books... none of these items are open source. None of them have their schematics available for others to study, copy, or modify."
He'll have lots of good resources and mentors, but there will surely be some major challenges. If you want to support his endeavor, he's accepting donations via IndieGoGo to help fund camera operators and materials to start his project. We can't wait to watch his successes and failures and learn along with him.
Below you can watch the video he made to launch the project.