The twisty story of “right to repair”

If you buy something, let’s say a pickup truck, you would expect to be able to work on it yourself. However many control modules, CAN bus and so on aside, you’d expect to be able to change a flat tire or change your oil. You might even expect to be able to replace spark plugs, or buy a code reader in order to find out why the “Check Engine” light was on. Again.

Try that with a piece of John Deere equipment built since 2016. Or your iThing. Or a lot of other products out there. Companies are trying all sorts of less-than-righteous moves to lock you into their all-important services business. That’s because service is where the real money is at. Ask software companies how much money they make from “software as a service” – it’s a lot. Companies like Deere want in on that gravy train.

The Right to Repair movement is pushing back and has been for a while. (That link is just one of many you can find.) Ars Technica has an article that pretty much covers the current status of it.

This is important stuff. Imagine how things would be if you had to call an authorized repair dood every time something in your life acted up or broke. You’d soon be the one broke.

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