back to article iFixit CEO launches open Toshiba service guide scheme

Kyle Wiens, head of gadget repair service iFixit - an operation best known for its device disassembly efforts - has called on owners of Toshiba laptops to help pen open source repair manuals to make good the computer makers’ closure of an independent Toshiba documentation archive. Launching Operation Fix Toshiba, Wiens …


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  1. hplasm Silver badge


    Hiding behind H&S?

    It's spreading worldwide like a red weed...

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    ...I'll play devil's advocate here, little off topic.

    The Reg seems to side on musicians, writers and photographers when it comes to copyright protection, even when it's old and difficult to find the original creator.

    Yet where there is a proven owner (Toshiba), with a potential commercial interest (they may wish to sell them), you seem to accept it's ok to copy it.

    So what is it? Can we, according to The Reg, ignore copyright on old works or not? Or do the "creatives" deserve a special rule for them and another rule for everyone else?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Mmmmm...

      Maybe the vulture just doesn't have sides and picks on everything?

      Or maybe service manuals written by the people who made the machines aren't really creative works.

    2. Buzzword

      Re: Mmmmm...

      One could argue that Toshiba's manuals are incidental to the main product (the laptop), whereas music / books / photos / films are the main product themselves. Nevertheless copyright is copyright, and I can't see any way to redraft the law to the benefit of old laptop owners, while still protecting creative industries.

      1. Stoneshop Silver badge

        Re: Mmmmm...


        You don't have to change the law, you just (err, that may sound simpler than it is) have to get the copyright owner to cooperate. There are quite a few cases where public distribution of a copyrighted work has been deemed totally OK by its author(s), provided people don't start charging money for those copies, or modifying them.

    3. Stoneshop Silver badge

      Re: Mmmmm...

      If The Reg is taking sides in copyright issues, it's usually against unilateral landgrabs by $BIGCORP. At least, that's how I perceive their stance on those matters.

      Apart from whether that's actually the case or not, this is about making service manuals more easily accessible. You can get them from Toshiba, but it's not a simple search-click-download matter. Also, Toshiba doesn't lose its copyright on the docs by someone else offering them for download, and noone is asking them to forfeit that copyright, rather to be laid-back in enforcing it, especially regarding docs for older models (which, again, doesn't cause them to lose their copyright; it's not a trademark which has "use it or lose it" tacked on).

    4. 0-et

      Re: Mmmmm...

      The Reg is not saying that one should or may violate copyrights,but that Toshiba should consider waving their copyright of technical documents of outdated equipment, in the best interest of their own clients.

      Maybe a smarter choice would be to avoid Toshiba altogether.

  3. Nick Woodruffe

    No Tosh for me then.

    Was considering a Tosh cheapo laptop for general use around the house. I think I'll skip that now and also my recommendations for Tosh gear to punters who ask in the office.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Still using an Only Fools and Horse's Trigger inspired 'Toshiba' broom.

    My main laptop is still a 7-8 year old -Toshiba Portege M100, with its 4:3 1024x768 12.1'' Display.. It's now triple booting Win XP, Win7 and Fedora 14, basicaly a mobile Dev machine. XP is still my main OS for most stuff. Its a swiss army knife of a machine.

    Its had its 512MB of standard PC2700 Sodimms, replaced by 2x1GB Sodimms, the hard disk has been replaced by an (somehwhat experimental) IDE to mSATA Adapter+Crucial 64GB SSD, a 160GB Samsung IDE Drive before this, (replacing the 40GB Original). The DVD Rom replaced by a Optiarc AD-7630A Slot loading DVD Writer, required a software change to 'Inverse-cable select'

    The Selectbay DVD can be swapped out for either an extended battery (giving 9 hour battery life) or an additional SATA HDD selectbay adapter. Have a gigabit Netgear 511 PCMCIA adapter to link it to the network. I managed to update the SD-Card drivers so that it recognises SDHC Cards (upto 32GB)

    The worst thing about it? The inbuilt Intel 82855GM Graphics (which Intel never support beyond their manufacturing lifespan), which has to use a hacked XP Driver to work on Win7. It runs BBC iPlayer fine under both XP and Fedora, perfectly. It copes well with 30 separate windows open in Firefox. The processor is a ULV 1.4 Pentum-m which in its day, was a marvell of both frugal power consumption, and cpu performance. It never get overly warm, when used as a sofa surfer.

    Managnese Alloy case, very useable screen, great keyboard. And its worth about £30 for the machine itself now, (£1500+, as new in its day) so throw it around far more than I should.

    I'm tempted by a 13'' Retina Display Macbook, but love the fact with the Toshbia, if something goes wrong, I can always replace either the toshiba's broom handle or the broom head, so to speak. I have succumbed to an iPad to organise me, but this laptop still get used more than the iPad.

    The in-buiit Intel Graphics short term support life span puts me off the 13'' Retina Macbook, rather have Nvidia or ATi, but don't want a 15'' MB.

    The Tosh, sadly won't run Win 8 - even though the chip has No Execute Bit Support, the bios doesn't. But using a IBM style nipple pointer to go to each of the 4 corners would be hell on earth anyway.

  5. JaitcH
    Thumb Down

    The answer is as obvious nose on your face

    Don't buy Tosh - let's see how much lower we can drive their profits!

  6. Efros

    Not surprising really

    Having dealt with innumerable new Tosh's and the gigabytes of crapware they have installed, it doesn't really surprise me that Tosh has taken this stance. Perhaps they can mitigate their faux pas by hosting their own manuals on their own site. Strikes me as a severe case of nose amputation for the sake of facial umbrage.

  7. Will Godfrey Silver badge

    Simple economics - they think

    If you don't have the repair manual, you'll just have to buy a new one won't you. Even if you're in the trade it's an expensive nightmare trying to get service manuals.

    1. AJ MacLeod

      Re: Simple economics - they think

      Indeed, the pathetic attitude of Toshiba to documentation is one reason I've advised countless customers against buying their products for years now.

      That, and the fact their products are generally pretty rubbish and have been for years now...

  8. oldenoughtoknowbetter

    Vendor in decine

    Well, I used to buy Toshiba laptops, my first 3 were.

    Then I got tired of needing to replace every docking station, power adapter and it seemed like everything else when I got a new model. So I changed brands.

    Guess they've found another way to drive away customers.

    I have an old Sony WEGA that I have no problem doing a little searching to find an old manual for. I'm in the market for new TV, Toshiba just made sure they won't be on the short list.

  9. MachDiamond Silver badge

    All the same

    I have always been annoyed that service manuals are nearly impossible to get and/or prohibitively expensive. Back in the days when they were inch thick documents weighing a kilo, it was understandable that vendors didn't want to just give them away. There was a significant cost. Now, these sorts of manuals exist as PDF documents and cost next to nothing to distribute. I can see how a manufacturer would like to sell you a new laptop every year, but they should consider the distinct possibility that their customers might opt for another brand. So much kit these days is so similar that buying on price is the best bet. If people could fix, or have their kit fixed, it would still be pointing it's logo up for others to see. An e-waste heap of Toshiba laptops doesn't say good things about the manufacturer even if it's from a company updating their entire lot in one go.

  10. badgames

    What is copyright for?

    The originally expressed intent of copyright was to ensure that more material was available to the public, through compensation of the creators, by granting a temporary monopoly. Where something is withdrawn or otherwise unavailable, the copyright should evaporate. Nor should copyrights be in perpetuity (as they seem to be becoming in the US, especially if you are Disney).

    I am not a freetard, I don't mind paying to support content, but I don't think copyright should be abused (in my view) to remove things from availability.

  11. Ole Juul

    Lawyers make terrible salesmen

    Toshiba is missing out on the true value of these service manuals. Having them available encourages respect for the brand and promotes brand allegiance. These manuals should just be considered a public service, similar to a price or parts list. For one thing they need to have them for their own service people, and for another, it doesn't cost anything to have them available in digital format. I don't think there is much money to be made in selling them or value in protecting the copyright. The real value lies in keeping customers happy. Lawyers make money through taking an adversarial position, whereas salesmen make money by making friends.

  12. tjdennis2

    Are facts copyrightable?

    I'm not sure if this is the same in all countries, but sometimes the documenting of facts might not be copyrightable. I'd consider the manuals to just be documentation of what's inside the laptop and therefore, facts. Might be worth arguing.

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