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Wired: Lego: A Hacker's Best Friend

Nov 07, 2000, 20:49 (3 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Michelle Delio)

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"What does a conservative company do when hackers suddenly become obsessed with its products?"

"When programmers started fooling around with the proprietary code used in the microcomputers included with Lego Mindstorms robotic kits, Lego had to decide whether they should batten down the data-hatches or invite the hackers in to play."

"Lego had never been confronted with a quandary like this before. The company, which got its start in Denmark in 1932 when Ole Kirk Christiansen began building toys for local farmers' children, prides itself on being a traditional, family-owned business. And none of the farmers' children had attempted to re-engineer the wooden piggy banks or pull toys Christiansen made for them."

"Lego finally decided to treat its new and somewhat puzzling clients as nicely as it had treated the children and parents with whom it has been dealing with for the past 68 years. They even opened up the Mindstorms programming source code."

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