Right-to-repair movements seem to be reaching their apex now as more and more people start calling for manufacturers to start making customer-side repairs easier. The movement has gained so much momentum that the UK has introduced a right-to-repair law. Manufacturers would usually give repair services at a premium or maybe design their products in such a way that no one could repair them. That may be going to change soon as even Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak is supporting the movement.
Apple is one of the companies the movement supports are targeting the most. They are famous for their anti-repair designs and policies. However, it seems the co-founder has a different view on things. In a response to a cameo request by Louis Rossmann, who is well known for his support for the right to repair movement, Wozniak spoke for around 10 minutes on how important having the right-to-repair was. He even spoke about how it affected his life and the making of Apple.
He said that “We wouldn’t have had an Apple, had I not grown up in a very open technology world. Back then, when you bought electronic things like TVs and radios, every bit of the circuits and designs were included on the paper. Total open source”. He further added that “Even non-technical family members could pull out the tubes…and find a tube tester… and if it was bad, buy a new tube. Everyone did this all the time back then”. Having something open source was the kind of freedom of information that actually had a positive effect.
He also pointed out that Apple products in the start actually did ship with open schematics and it was part of the reason why their reputation grew so much in those days. These are some of the points people supporting the movement are touting right now. Sure there will be some who damage their products accidentally but there also will be people who learn and create something new with what they learn. Embracing open source policies is the only way technology can progress. You can take a look at Wozniak’s cameo in the video below.
Wozniak reminisced and said that “When starting Apple, I could never afford a teletype for input and output”. He remembered he had to use a TV to output the signals. He explained that “That all came from being able to repair things, modify them, and tap into them yourself”. He even spoke about Apple II, the computer that made Apple famous. He said that “Look at the Apple II. It shipped with full schematics… this product was the only source of profits for Apple for the first ten years of the company”.
It seems that the right-to-repair movement has got themselves a good supporter now. Although Wozniak left Apple long ago, he still one of the experts in the tech world. It seems that something good will come out at the end of all this. Maybe the big tech companies will finally bend the knee.