Its an Open Source Life


Cringely is profiling the open source lifestyle of Canadian Andrew Greig, who uses Linux everywhere in his house, and has figured out a way to live with all sorts of other open source products such as MythTV PVR and other cool hacks. I almost envy him for having left behind the trappings of a truly capitalistic world.

Andrew Greig put a WiFi access point in his house so he could share his broadband Internet connection. But like hardly any of us, Andrew uses his WiFi network for Internet, television, and telephone. He cancelled his telephone line and cable TV service. Then his neighbors dropped-by, saw what Andrew had done, and they cancelled their telephone and cable TV services, too, many of them without having a wired broadband connection of their own. They get their service from Andrew, who added an inline amplifier and put a better antenna in his attic. Now most of Andrew’s neighborhood is watching digital TV with full PVR capability, making unmetered VoIP telephone calls, and downloading data at prodigious rates thanks to shared bandwidth. Is this the future of home communications and entertainment? It could be, five years from now, if Andrew Greig has anything to say about it.

Starnix, the company Greig works for is about to go on the road and try and sell this package to others.

Remember how in the go-go Internet days of three to four years ago, we used to talk about “disintermediation?” That was using technology to remove middle men from transactions. Well, what Andrew Greig is doing is dis-intermediating both the telephone and TV cable companies. And he’d like to dis-intermediate the Internet Service Providers, too. Starnix is getting ready to take its technology on the road, so to speak, selling and licensing it to all comers. One plan is to create a wireless ISP offering these services, growing it around what Andrew calls “wireless sweet spots.”


B. Gariod

“You can fool some people sometimes but you can´t fool all the people all the time”

What you don’t realize is that he buys bandwidth in bulk from a network provider, and it’s profitable for the both of them.
He’s not using the consumer broadband network, he’s competing with them.

Carlos Cepeda

This is the kind of ideas that are great but badly projected when it turns to large economics. I believe Lincoln said “You can fool some people sometimes but you can´t fool all the people all the time”
Broadband deployment requieres profitability for those who implement it. Some small communities can by-pass it with no economic impact for the ISP but when too many people start doing it, braodband access prices start to raise. or the company goes bust leaving “customers” with no access. (chapter 11 notwithstanding).

When the value of these ideas are not price driven (poor customer service, slow response to new needs, etc) people can pass by corporate sluggishness by doing it your self, untill corporates discover there was a need after all (for example, here in Chile TiVO is nowhere to find. One reason for third world inhabitants to hate I hate blogs is that it makes so obviuos what I don’t have).

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