"The idea of 'open source' software is familiar to many computer
users. Enthusiasts get together on the internet to create a new
program, and as well as giving it away, they also make available
its source code--the software's underlying blueprint. This allows
other people to make additions and improvements, and those are made
available, in turn, to anyone who is interested. You do not have to
be a programmer to benefit from the open-source model: many people
use the Linux operating system or Firefox web-browser, for example,
both of which have been developed in this way.
"Now the same approach is being applied to hardware, albeit in a
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