Spend five minutes browsing the tech press and there's a very good chance you'll come upon Kickstarter. Gone are the days when products had to be at least on the verge of release for them to get publicity; today, anyone with a cool idea can post it on Kickstarter—or one of its many clones--spread the word, and start raking in the cash they need to make it happen.
There are clearly downsides to this new model, as more than a few scandals have illustrated vividly along the way. Nevertheless, Kickstarter and sites like it have opened up a whole new world of possibilities to tinkerers and entrepreneurs of virtually every ilk.
Of course, combine the words “tinkerer,” “entrepreneur” and “possibilities,” and there's a good chance you'll find Linux involved somewhere along the way. Sure enough, more than 60 Linux-related projects are currently listed on Kickstarter. Here's a small sampling of some particularly compelling examples.
Now claiming more than $385,000 in funds raised out of just a $27,000 goal, UDOO is a mini PC that can run either Android or Linux and features an embedded Arduino-compatible board. “UDOO merges different computing worlds in one; each world has its strengths and weaknesses, and all of them are useful today in education as well as do-it-yourself (DIY) and rapid prototyping endeavors,” the project's Kickstarter page explains. Equipped with an ARM i.MX6 Freescale processor for Android and Linux alongside Arduino DUE’s ARM SAM3X, UDOO is open hardware. It runs Linaro. The project is slated to be funded on June 8.
2. Raspberry IO (RIO)
With more than two weeks still remaining in its Kickstarter funding campaign, the Raspberry IO (RIO) project aims to create a smart I/O card that can be stacked on top of the well-loved Raspberry Pi mini PC. The result “will turn the Pi into an amazingly powerful embedded computer for its size and price, and opens a world of applications” in areas including robotics navigation, unmanned vehicles and machine control, the project page explains. At the time of writing, this project had raised just over $4,000 of its $15,000 goal. May 25 is its deadline.
Then there's the cross-platform OpenShot video editor, which surpassed its $20,000 funding goal last month. Now claiming more than $45,000 in raised funds, the current Kickstarter project aims to release a brand-new version of the award-winning OpenShot that's powered by a cross-platform video editing engine for use on Windows, Mac and Linux. A November/December 2013 beta release date is planned for all three platforms.
Funded on March 22, meanwhile, was LinuxonAndroid, a project run by a U.K. university student with the goal of getting “full-blown Linux distros” such as Ubuntu and Debian running on Android devices. Among the potential results the project lists could be the ability to run a Web server from a phone, for example. A full 1,058 pounds, or roughly $1,637, were raised of the project's 600-pound ($928) goal.
5. DoorToDoorGeek Video Lessons
Last but not least, self-proclaimed “DoorToDoorGeek” Stephen McLaughlin blew past his $500 funding goal last year for a series of educational videos about Android and Linux. Pulling in more than $3,400 instead, the DoorToDoorGeek video series achieved its funding goal in August.