Open Source Ecology began when Polish immigrant farmer Marcin Jakubowski’s tractor broke down in rural Missouri, and he designed a new one and put the design on a wiki. A natural tinkerer, Marcin found that his tractor was very difficult to fix, and he could not afford expensive replacement parts. His choice to design a new flexible easy to fix tractor and open source it inspired a community of DIY contributors, and the birth of a new collaborative movement.
Much as Wikipedia sought to democratize knowledge and the open source software movement sought to democratize computing, Open Source Ecology seeks to democratize and make distributive the engines of material wellbeing. This includes devices like tractors, bread ovens, circuit makers, and the other devices from which the basic comforts of modern society originate.
We call this the Global Village Construction set, a set of the simplest 50 modular open source tools designed to create the basic comforts of modern civilization and provide basic material self sufficiency.The GVCS is defined as a minimum set of technologies necessary to create advanced civilization from locally-availabe ‘dirt and twigs’ with 12 people and 1 year of time starting with a container-load of GVCS tools. The tools are designed to build each other from raw feedstocks, and are designed to be user serviceable and modifiable, and to have swappable lego-like modular components, and quick connect couplers — much like your childhood erector set. Combined with the documentation in the Civilization Starter Kit, an economy could be created and maintained by a small group of individuals.
In contrast to the iPhone — designed in the US, made from African minerals, assembled in China, with parts from Japan, the GVCS is designed by contributors all over the world to have a supply chain no farther than your back yard, and the local scrap heap. It’s subcomponents range from basic manual manufacturing to highly automated software-based precision tools.
The GVCS is the natural intersection of the open software, and open hardware movements, and basic human needs.
– Excerpted from Toward an Open Source Civilization – Draft X