Wired: Lego: A Hacker’s Best Friend

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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