submitted 5 months ago by [email protected] to c/[email protected]

Too many products are easier to throw away than fix—consumers deserve a 'right to repair'::There was a time when the family washing machine would last decades, with each breakdown fixed by the friendly local repair person. But those days are long gone.

top 50 comments
sorted by: hot top controversial new old
[-] [email protected] 74 points 5 months ago

Phones should also have unlockable booloaders by default to flash your own updates when your manufacturer stops supporting it.

I understand security risks and all, but it really should be an option for people who buy their devices.

[-] [email protected] 15 points 5 months ago

Google's Pixel phones are very open for 'convenrional' Smartphones, which is why GrapheneOS can use a complete verified boot chain

[-] [email protected] 6 points 5 months ago

Same with Fairphones.

[-] [email protected] 4 points 5 months ago

For me that's the most egregious case of not letting users actually own their hardware. Samsung is notorious with this on their US Snapdragon phones.

[-] [email protected] 4 points 5 months ago* (last edited 5 months ago)

Xiaomi used to do this, untill some middlemen decided to install malware that looked like Xiaomi's MIUI ROM. So they had to lock it somewhat. They used to install malware and sell the device to the emd consumer. Atleast till now you can unlock the bootloader as the end customer of the device.

[-] [email protected] 2 points 5 months ago* (last edited 5 months ago)

A prime of example of this is the BlackBerry Playbook. A decent device for people who don't need a very powerful device but being locked into BlackBerry's OS needlessly complicates things. Used models around me sell for around $10.

I know BlackBerry has their own reasons for not unlocking their bootloaders but it can be a bit frustrating

[-] [email protected] 69 points 5 months ago

You know what needs to be added to this? Cars. The amount of body damage needed to “total” most cars is almost trivial these days.

[-] [email protected] 49 points 5 months ago

To be fair, cars are designed to break in a car crash for safety. If it breaks it can absorb the impact a lot better and therefore make the crash more survivable.

[-] [email protected] 31 points 5 months ago

Yeah, in this case it's an acceptable tradeoff. I'd rather lose my car than my life.

[-] [email protected] 16 points 5 months ago

But what about Rule of Acquisition #23: "Nothing is more important than your health… except for your money,"?

[-] [email protected] 8 points 5 months ago

I prefer Rule of Acquisition #240: "Time, like latinum, is a highly limited commodity."

[-] [email protected] 16 points 5 months ago

The body and the chassis are really the only parts that need to be built for the sake of breaking for safety. The other parts on the car do not need to be disposable, but for the most they are. The part placement and design are not engineered with repair in mind.

load more comments (2 replies)
[-] [email protected] 25 points 5 months ago

Cars are themselves a symptom of a broken system designed to maximize waste. It's wrong that the majority of people even need one to begin with.

[-] [email protected] 8 points 5 months ago

Even when it is replaceable, it's ridiculous. I accidentally pulled off the front bumper of my Prius by scraping it on a parking barrier and it cost me $800 because they had to replace a huge amount of the front of the car. The dealer wouldn't even touch it. They said it had to go to a body shop. It's the fucking bumper!

[-] [email protected] 8 points 5 months ago* (last edited 5 months ago)

Definitely want to see cars (and other larger purchases) more able to be repaired in future. However, especially in cases of an accident there's other factors.

Part of it as already mentioned is a safety thing. Crumple zones and the like are there to purposefully deform so that the people inside the vehicle have a higher chance of surviving a crash.

Part of it is that being hit in the wrong way can also weaken the structural integrity of the frame making it unsafe to use. Makes more sense to strip it for parts at that point. Last thing a repair or insurance company wants is to be found liable for saying "yes the car is repairable/safe to drive", then the front falls of on a highway.

Part of it also is that insurance companies won't want to pay for repairs that amount to more than the cost of replacing the entire car if it's older. Or they know they can make more money by paying out a policy then repairing and refurbishing the vehicle.

[-] [email protected] 5 points 5 months ago

Can't you just tow it outside the environment to avoid liability if the front falls off?

[-] [email protected] 3 points 5 months ago

Only if you don’t use cardboard or cardboard derivatives.

load more comments (1 replies)
[-] [email protected] 59 points 5 months ago

Our planet deserves our right to repair.

[-] [email protected] 21 points 5 months ago

I disagree. Our planet doesn't give a shit. It was long before us here and it will remain even longer after last one of us. Our living environment on the other hand is suffering. I know this is semantics we are talking about, but it does point just how stupid we are. It's tantamount to shitting under your own window and wondering why everything stinks.

[-] [email protected] 11 points 5 months ago

Part of the reason why our environment is suffering is that it takes a lot more energy (which causes pollution) and raw materials (which also take energy and cause pollution) to make and ship a new thing than it does to fix the one you have. Sure it’s not a huge percentage overall, but imagine if every thing you had suddenly lasted 3 or 4 times longer. The sheer amount of new things you had to buy would drop substantially, along with all that’s required to produce and sell them to you.

[-] [email protected] 3 points 5 months ago

I feel like it would make a huge difference. They're planning obsolescence for vehicles and equipment now too. I have a tractor from the 70's that's still running fine, why? Because they used to make them with the idea that the consumer can and should be able to perform their own maintenance and repair, for a farmer back then a tractor was a huge purchase and was expected to last many years. I

Meanwhile, the new ones require being brought to the shop for all kinds of things, many can only be fixed with software that most people don't have, if available at all.

Instead of repairing what they have, companies want people to just buy new stuff every couple of years if not sooner.

It's just sad when stuff from 50 years ago will still last longer than something you purchase today.

Regarding automotives and equipment, old machinery could last forever really, with the right replacement parts, but those are getting extremely hard to find as well with everyone just buying new instead of repairing what they have. It's something else..

load more comments (1 replies)
[-] [email protected] 35 points 5 months ago

Repairing is an infinitely more complex task than manufacturing - in this way any government with sufficient wisdom could ensure (pretty interesting and fulfilling) jobs for its citizens despite the march of automation.

In essence, not creating new value from skilled manufacture, but focusing on restoration and enhancememt of value though even more skilled repair and modification.

[-] [email protected] 8 points 5 months ago

Exactly, the reason we don't repair things is two fold.

  1. The reason everyone here is talking about: the products aren't designed for it.
  2. The reason the products aren't designed for it: we can't afford it.

To dig deeper into #2, yes sometimes things are made harder to repair for the sake of thinness or some technological reason, but a main issue is that we cannot afford our own labour. Our wages have not kept up over the last half century and we can no longer afford to hire our neighbors in our local communities for their skills.

Because we have been outsourcing manufacturing for so long we feel like we have money, becYse we can buy a TV for every room. But if that TV was made in NA and not Asia? It would be a $2000 TV, not $400. It's cheaper to buy new because we cannot afford man hours to repair.

The consumer economy we have is built for waste and exploitation. While I 100% support right to repair and it's a step in the right direction, I feel most people will still buy new.

[-] [email protected] 8 points 5 months ago

I don't know, your #2 reason doesn't seem to stand up to reality.

I don't know where you are, but where I am (UK) you can go on any high street (in most towns there will be an area where most shops are, think strip mall in the US) and you will find at least a couple shops that fix and sell electronics - primarily smartphones, but also vacuum cleaners, TVs, computers, games consoles.

Pretty much all of them are locally-run and are, I assume, profitable in spite of every electronics manufacturer trying to run them out of business.

I say I assume because they wouldn't be everywhere if they weren't.

I've had phones fixed by them, they offer warranties, reasonable prices, only had an issue once and it was put right after a tiny bit of back and forth.

I think by "we can't afford it" you mean "capitalism hasn't yet found a way to centralise the profits and run the small business owners out of business".

load more comments (2 replies)
load more comments (5 replies)
[-] [email protected] 7 points 5 months ago* (last edited 5 months ago)

I don't know how it is in other areas of technology but in the automotive electronics world, a big barrier to re-use and repair is mostly poor record keeping. When an OEM makes a car, they buy subsystems from suppliers such as Bosch, Continental and Valeo. These mechatronic assemblies contain software that is often completely opaque to the OEM, never mind the end user. Even if you did want to repair the sensor or whatever has gone wrong, you wouldn't be able to access the diagnostic interface without specialist tools and documentation. This barrier is deliberately and cynically inserted by witholding the information. Our machines are not made to be repaired because it is less profitable and profit decides every decision in capitalism.

load more comments (1 replies)
[-] [email protected] 29 points 5 months ago* (last edited 5 months ago)

I'm all about right to repair. But why is it so hard to find places to dispose of e waste clearly labeled do not throw away in trash? We can't even trash correctly.

[-] [email protected] 6 points 5 months ago* (last edited 5 months ago)

Is there no recycling center around were you live? In germany basically every city has a "Wertstoffhof" that takes everything from old clothes over smaller e-waste (including batteries, etc), larger stuff like fridges to all kinds of reusable / recycleable plastics and metals. Basically everything that can be recycled or reused in some way and is not meant for the normal recycling household trash.

[-] [email protected] 2 points 5 months ago

Also, some stores like Kaufland have bins for small e-waste.

[-] [email protected] 22 points 5 months ago

When software is locked and manufacturer do not provide updates anymore - there is no point to repair...

[-] [email protected] 28 points 5 months ago

No reason why this couldn’t be part of the “right to repair” — just have legislation that requires manufacturers to provide the source code (and adjacent deployment code) when a product goes out of support. You should have just as much right to fix code as physical hardware IMO.

[-] [email protected] 19 points 5 months ago

Software shouldn't be locked.

The manufacturer should stand by their products.

Products don't need constant updates.

There is a point to repair.

[-] [email protected] 23 points 5 months ago

Products do need regular security updates though.

load more comments (2 replies)
[-] [email protected] 11 points 5 months ago

Maybe not with smart devices, but the automotive industry is headed the same way. I can repair a truck from the 70's and keep it running forever with the right parts, and even with some not-so right ones.

Nowadays for example, a tractor or truck from 2020 can't be repaired like that, they're installing systems that we-the user and even our mechanics can't access so you absolutely HAVE to take it back to them for repair. That's just wrong, these trucks have absolutely no need for software like this, it's only purpose is to prevent people from repairing things they've already paid for.

[-] [email protected] 20 points 5 months ago

Literally costs more to buy secondhand than buy brand new.

I have to fight every time to repair or buy used because I can go to shops and get the product cheaper.

Most second hand comes with shipping on top as well.

It's infuriating.

There is already enough stuff in existence. Stop cutting down trees to make more wooden products. We have them. They just go to dump instead.

[-] [email protected] 4 points 5 months ago* (last edited 5 months ago)

Exactly, and tbh if we stopped making vehicles today people would still be driving many years from now, feel like we should really.. stop mining the earth for resources to then use making things people don't even need so we can be richer.. just make vehicles repairable again and focus on that.

Maybe, instead of everyone buying brand new cars we can just upgrade our old ones, like a PC.

So you want the latest Dodge body to look cool? Okay, we'll just pop that onto you're already existing frame, no need in buying a new engine/chassis etc if you're only seeking an aesthetic change anyway

Speaking of that.. all this $ people pay for faster cars when they'll only really drive them between 30-70mph is ridiculous. Why even make commercial cars faster than the speed limit? Just so dummies can drive drunk at 120mph and hit a family head on? Until we get an Autobahn there's just no need for it.

No need for 16 year olds, anyone really to have a V8 with 900 horsepower just give them something that will go the speed limit and save the fucking resources

load more comments (2 replies)
load more comments (1 replies)
[-] [email protected] 13 points 5 months ago

The first thing to go on a washing machine is usually the bearings. Most washing machines now have their bearings attached to the drum, so to replace the bearing, the whole drum has to be replaced. Replacing the drum is near the entire cost of a new washing machine and you will likely have to pay for 0.5 to .75 days worth of labour to have the old drum replaced too.

Yeah fuck these shinty designs to force consumers into buying and dumping otherwise easily repairable and reusable machines.

[-] [email protected] 11 points 5 months ago

I cannot believe a law like this has to exist. It’s telling just how out of control and unchecked capitalism is.

[-] [email protected] 9 points 5 months ago

The thing is that OEMs have no incentive to jack up the prices of parts.

[-] [email protected] 9 points 5 months ago

This is the main problem. Make more parts, less full devices. And we also will throw less out.

We need to be more efficient with what we make across every industry, do that and we may be able to save this world.

[-] [email protected] 8 points 5 months ago

We need to be more efficient with what we make

We need to make stuff with the goal of not having to make any more of it at some point. Currently we have an economy that gives no shits about what is made so long as it sells more this quarter than last.

Either we need a magical wave of enlightenment to change the priorities of those who control the means of production, or we need to change the structure of our economy and its incentives to make "build to last" a winning strategy.

[-] [email protected] 2 points 5 months ago

I'm hoping there's a large wave of consumer "hacks" for aging devices like people retrofitting old Thinkpads with new batteries and motherboards.

I feel like it could be a push in the right direction for manufacturers

[-] [email protected] 2 points 5 months ago

We need to be more efficient with what we make across every industry

The current situation is the result of seeking efficiencies in a market in which consumers demanded that they did not want to fix things.

[-] [email protected] 7 points 5 months ago

How many people actually go out if their way in order to obtain repairable stuff?

[-] [email protected] 19 points 5 months ago

That's why it's extra important to make it mandatory for manufacturers to build repairable products. So nobody NEEDS to go out of their way to obtain a product they can get repaired.

[-] [email protected] 3 points 5 months ago

Indeed. There are a ton of categories where repairable is just not a thing. The obvious example is most electronics. If my TV, phone, etc, breaks, I should be able to go to the manufacturers website and at bare minimum find wiring diagrams and buy parts, and more reasonably actual step by step troubleshooting to repair it. Think about how many of these types of devices are in a landfill for something like a burnt capacitor or a dead backlight or just an aged out battery.

Speaking of batteries, I should absolutely be able to walk into a CVS, buy a battery and replace it in 20 minutes or less. And so should even the least techie person I know. I don't think that I necessarily want to go back to hot-swappable batteries like it's a Nokia brick from 1997, but we absolutely should be able to easily replace a battery in basically all electronics sold.

[-] [email protected] 2 points 5 months ago


load more comments (2 replies)
[-] [email protected] 3 points 5 months ago

I feel like i'm the only one

load more comments (3 replies)
load more comments
view more: next ›
this post was submitted on 27 Oct 2023
1022 points (99.3% liked)


53652 readers
5841 users here now

This is a most excellent place for technology news and articles.

Our Rules

  1. Follow the lemmy.world rules.
  2. Only tech related content.
  3. Be excellent to each another!
  4. Mod approved content bots can post up to 10 articles per day.
  5. Threads asking for personal tech support may be deleted.
  6. Politics threads may be removed.
  7. No memes allowed as posts, OK to post as comments.
  8. Only approved bots from the list below, to ask if your bot can be added please contact us.
  9. Check for duplicates before posting, duplicates may be removed

Approved Bots

founded 10 months ago