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Freedom of Thought

Deep thinking often requires writing. The writing down of thoughts can be affected by perceived privacy. Thus, the erosion of perceived privacy may reduce the capacity for deep thought.

I’ve always been interested in writing. I believe that in order to write interesting things, you can’t censor yourself, you have to write the first thought that pops into your mind. For me at least, this process requires privacy, because you’re putting down drafts of personal, unpolished thoughts, some of which you disagree with, and some you might find embarrassing, offensive or ridiculous and wouldn’t want others reading.

Over the years my perception of privacy while writing has diminished as computers have become more complex. I had essentially given up on the belief that any privacy existed when using a computer. Today, even the most advanced and security conscious users can’t be completely certain that they have total privacy.

This is a big part of what set me on the mission of creating computers that I could understand and trust at all levels. The computers that we’re making are simple enough to understand and even their CPUs can be audited. My hope is that these computers can help to restore, at least, perceived privacy, and potentially unleash more freedom of thought.

The computer itself isn’t the only threat vector, there is also the input and output devices. These are also difficult challenges but we hope to eventually offer solutions for them as well.

You can follow us on X and GitHub for the latest updates.

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FPGA Computing

Machdyne makes open-source FPGA computers. In this post we’ll explain what an FPGA computer is, what they can be used for, and why we’re bothering to make them.

An FPGA (field-programmable gate array) is chip that contains an array of programmable logic blocks. Together, these logic blocks can be configured to act as various digital circuits. FPGAs often have thousands of logic blocks that allow them to act as complex circuits, such as a CPU and a chipset, also known as a System-on-a-Chip (SoC).

FPGA computers can become completely different systems by simply updating their configuration memory with different “gateware”. For example, an FPGA computer could be configured as a 64-bit RISC-V SoC running Linux one minute, and a NES with an 8-bit 6502 CPU running Super Mario Bros the next minute.

Some use cases for FPGA computers include:

  • General purpose computing.
  • Timeless computing.
  • Retro computing and retro gaming.
  • Custom CPU and SoC development.

You might say – hey I can already do all of that on my regular computer. It’s true, and you can do general purpose computing much faster on your everyday computer than with an FPGA computer.

So why are we bothering to make FPGA computers? While we are interested in advancing all of the above use cases, our primary focus is on what we call timeless computing – the use of computers to run timeless applications. Our vision is to create a stable, secure, responsive computing environment for the most important timeless applications (reading, writing, math, education, organization, communication, automation, etc.)

You can think of this as a supplemental computer that you would only use for certain tasks, like writing a book or learning something new, but probably not for paying your taxes or browsing the web.

These computers will not replace your “daily driver” but they will provide a simple environment without many of the distractions and annoyances found with modern computers. And because they are simple, understandable and completely open-source, they have the potential to provide a level of privacy and security not possible with most modern computers.

In order to create such an environment we’re pursuing two simultaneous approaches for the gateware and software:

  1. Kakao Linux – This is a Linux distribution that runs on top of a RISC-V SoC that is optimized for running Linux on our hardware. This works today and you can read about what’s already possible in our post on practical timeless computing.
  2. Zucker SoC – This is a custom RISC-V SoC designed for our hardware. Over the coming years we intend to create a completely new computing experience, with a new graphical operating system and new applications developed in tandem with our SoC and specifically for our hardware. The result will be something like what computing might look like in a parallel universe where everything progressed in a slightly different, and maybe better way.

While our computer hardware is still evolving, it was all created with our long-term goals in mind, and we intend to support all of our hardware into the future. You can confidently buy any of our computers today knowing that they have the ability to gain new and improved functionality in the future. And because our hardware, software and the toolchains they use are open-source, you can modify our computers however you want and even create your own CPU, SoC and software.

Thanks for reading. We want the FPGA computer to be an elegant tool for a more civilized age that’s yet to come, and you’re invited to join us on the journey to bring them into existence. You can follow us on X and GitHub for the latest updates.

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Automation and Beyond

We decided earlier this year to temporarily slow down PCB design and production in order to build a pick-and-place machine. Manual PCB assembly can be a tedious, repetitive, time-consuming and sometimes stressful process and we were spending most of our time assembling boards. We determined that at least partially automating the assembly process was the only sustainable way to continue producing products ourselves.

It’s now a couple of months later and the PnP machine is in a useful state, so we are beginning to shift back into design and production. We’re looking forward to getting more of our products back in stock and to start producing our latest designs such as Kölsch, Mozart and Kaugummi.

Designing and building the PnP machine was in many ways easier than expected, and we are excited about the prospect of open-sourcing and documenting the machine in order to help to demystify and make such a useful tool available to more people. There are already some great open-source PnP projects and we hope that our project will be complementary to them while also being unique and useful on its own.

We’re also excited to announce that some of our work is now being partially funded by a grant from the NLnet Foundation. This work includes the design of our upcoming series of open-source computers based on European FPGAs, including Kölsch, as well as open-sourcing and improving the PnP machine.

There is a lot of work left to do in order to build useful and durable timeless computers along with the gateware, software, documentation and tools necessary to unleash their full potential. We’re just getting started and we thank you for your interest in our work.

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Announcing Machdyne UG

Machdyne began in 2021 as the experimental hardware division of Lone Dynamics Corporation, an American technology company, whose mission is to improve the state of reality for humanity through technology.


Since then, Machdyne has produced several open-source general-purpose computers designed to operate and remain useful for decades. Our focus has been on supporting timeless applications such as reading, writing, math, education, organization, communication and automation with simple, secure, responsive, reliable and repairable hardware.

Today we’re announcing that a new independent German company named Machdyne UG (haftungsbeschränkt) will take over the manufacturing and distribution of our timeless computers, modules and tools.

For our customers, not much will change, except that our prices are now in Euros, and we have added additional payment methods.

We will continue releasing innovative open-source products and improving our existing products over the coming years and decades. At the moment we are hard at work building a custom pick-and-place machine that will help to automate our manufacturing process, which will allow us to increase production and reduce prices.

We want to thank our customers for their interest in our products and for their support. This announcement represents a big positive step forward for Machdyne and it was entirely enabled by our customers.

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Staking a Claim

One of our primary motivations for building timeless computers is to create a defense against the unknown future of technology. To preserve what has been proven to be useful and good, and to deliberately go no further.

Artificial Intelligence will become increasingly integrated into the operating environment and hardware of modern computers, because most users will demand this. It will provide, at least temporarily, huge advantages for these users.

At this fork in the road, we’re choosing a less fashionable path. We’re staking a claim within a window of technological time and building a wall around it. Machdyne will represent a hedge against the future, and a last line of defense.

Our computers will always be tools of humanity; useful, durable, understandable, trustable and unsentient.

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The future of Machdyne.


Over the past year we’ve been busy designing and building a series of timeless FPGA computer prototypes in small batches. Along the way we’ve also built over a dozen modules and tools.

When we talk about “timeless” applications we mean things that people were doing 100 years ago that they will likely still be doing in 100 years. Many of these things don’t need the latest technology to be useful, they just need stable and responsive technology, like a pen and paper.

As we outlined in a previous post our goal is to build useful computers that exist somewhere in-between a pen and paper and a state-of-the-art modern PC.

Our Computers

Riegel is a small, responsive FPGA computer. Riegel is very capable and while our Zucker SOC makes use of all of its hardware, it’s far from optimal and there is a lot left to be done. Riegel is a great platform for retro computing and bare-metal RISC-V software development.

Schoko is a slightly larger and even more capable FPGA computer designed specifically for running timeless applications on Linux. Schoko is not fast by modern standards but it is usable and capable of running thousands of existing applications.

Bonbon is a slower but more compact FPGA computer that can easily fit in your pocket.

Keks is our upcoming FPGA game console (and computer) intended for educational gaming and game development.

While all of our computers may be technically capable of running Linux we currently only officially support Linux on Schoko.

What’s next?

The great thing about FPGA computers is that they can get better and more useful over time. One of our main focuses going forward will be on improving our existing computers through our open-source gateware, firmware, software and documentation.

We will also continue improving our open-source enclosure designs and our manufacturing processes and capabilities, and when chip supplies become more available we hope to increase production and reduce the price of our computers.

We plan to design and build additional computers, including a laptop and a higher-performance computer, but instead of being driven by competition or technology, we are driven by creating computers that can withstand time, and we have no urgency to release new products.

We’d like to thank all of our customers for taking a chance on our prototypes and reiterate our commitment that you will be able to count on support and improvements over the days, months, years and decades ahead. We also welcome and encourage you to get involved, follow us on GitHub, and contribute to improving and making the computers more useful however you see fit.

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Timeless computing.


Computers are getting better but also worse. Faster, but often less responsive. More capable and complex, but less understandable and less secure. Cheaper, but more disposable.

In many cases, instead of computers being tools of humanity, we are becoming tools of the computers. We chase the latest technology in order to run the latest versions of operating systems and applications.

There are a class of timeless applications that simply don’t need the computational horsepower or complexity available in modern computers. Among these are many forms of reading, writing, storage, communication, mathematics, organization, education, automation and programming. Many people still prefer to use decades-old vintage computers for these applications. Some even use typewriters, or a pen and paper.

We are developing a series of new general-purpose computers, modules and tools designed to support timeless applications. These devices are being designed to operate and remain useful for at least decades and possibly centuries. Our computers will run software that provides a simple, secure, powerful, distraction-free environment.

Some of our prototypes are available for immediate sale on this website, and some can be reserved with no obligation to buy. We have decided to use this approach in order to give us maximum flexibility as we iteratively design and build the best timeless computers possible.

We have outlined the goals for our computers below, we may not always meet all of these goals but they will help to guide our decisions.


  • Designed to be used primarily for timeless applications
  • Designed to operate and remain useful for 100+ years (in both directions[1] where possible)
  • Unbrickable; end-user can always recover to original state
  • Durable; should be able to withstand reasonable wear and tear
  • Limited-lifespan parts should be user-replaceable (flash, moving parts, etc.)
  • Hand-assemblable and hand-repairable without unreasonably expensive equipment
  • Support for long-term data storage (ferroelectric, magnetoresistive memory, etc.)
  • Understandable; as simple as possible and extensively documented
  • Comprehensive documentation built into the devices
  • Software and documentation snapshots made public for the long-term (via torrents, IPFS, Internet Archive, etc.)
  • Modular; modules can be added to extend functionality and provide new interfaces
  • Open; open-sourced software and hardware provide confidence about security, repairability and longevity

[1] By both directions we mean that the computer would have also been useful to someone 100+ years ago; they would’ve been able to power it and find a way to interact with it. Critical for time travel and post-apocalyptic dystopias.

Who are we

Machdyne™ is the hardware division of Lone Dynamics Corporation. We are an American technology company whose mission is to improve the state of reality for humanity through technology. Machdyne UG is a German manufacturing company dedicated to producing small general purpose computers, modules, tools and cases.