Thursday, February 7, 2013

Kickstarter Project to Build an Open Source Death Star Now Available for Backers

(photo from Death Star Kickstarter Page)

Yes there actually is a Kickstarter looking to build an actual Death Star!  I love the internet.  I love free will.  Kickstarter is a great use of both.  I also love Star Wars.  I have no idea how many times I have imagined myself running through the Death Star, swinging on cables, dodging laser blasts from Stormtroopers (not that you really have to dodge them, they can’t hit the backside of a bantha unless they are off screen while shooting) and escaping from the clutches of the evil Empire!  If this Kickstarter project gets funded then I may get my chance to do this in real life!



Kickstarter is a website based company that provides a place for people with ideas to get funding through pledges from ordinary people like us.  It isn't for venture capitalists or investors.  It’s a place that gathers a whole bunch of little donations to fund an indie movie, a video game, or perhaps a “smart watch” like the Pebble (I totally fell for that one and ordered two; neither of which I have received…yet.)

Evidently there is a large enough group of people that really want the human race to build a Death Star.  A group first petitioned the United States government to build one.  The White House has a petition site where you can go and present your issue, demand, request, or whatever.  When that petition garners enough signatures the White House will address it.  Typically it means some intern types a response telling you why you are “nutz”, silly, ignorant, and what you want just “aint gonna” happen.  Get over it.  It also provides a way for the executive branch to claim they are listening to the public.  Regardless, the U.S. Government had, in my opinion, a fantastic response.  You can read it here but suffice it to say there was much tongue-in-cheek, sarcasm, and humor involved in the response.  I found it clever and enjoyed reading it.  Since the U.S. Government said no to the Death Star Project, a user from the U.K. known as www.gnut.co.uk, has set up a Kickstarter project to fund an open sourced Death Star.

The website (www.gnut.co.uk) is host to a game called Pirates vs. Ninjas.  The plan is to build the plans for an Opened Source Death Star.  That way they can reduce the cost by using free software and hardware.  Free meaning no licensing fees, etc.  The good news for the rest of us is that since this Death Star will be opened source, the plans will be made available to everyone that wants it.  That’s fair.

The project is looking to raise £20,000,000 000 ($31,400,000).  The money raised will go into research and development in order to figure out exactly how to build a Death Star.  This is just the beginning stages folks, be patient.  Their next goal is to raise £543,000,000,000,000,00 ($850,000,000,000,000,000) for construction.  Sounds about right to me.  Those pledging £1 or more receive “Our thanks and the knowledge that we're one step towards a safer planet.”  Those pledging £10 or more receive “As above PLUS your name etched onto the underneath of one of the MSE-6-series repair droids used on the finished station.

In the project description, the user states that the initial goal of £20,000,000 ($31,400,000) (wait, is that Pi???? SWEET!!!) was set to show that this is a joke project.  The user describes the project’s largest challenge in this manner, “The main challenge is assuring Kickstarter that this is a joke and not a serious project. As proof, the goal has been set high enough to make successful funding almost impossible.”

Will it work?  Will they get enough funding for the project?   Let’s say they do.  Where will the money go?  I bet they will give it to charity.  That would be nice.

But if the funds are raised, Autodesk has already given them a head start on how to manage the construction of this Death Star.

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