Article categories: Issue 65
August 20th, 2009

What happens when militantly free software, [1] the digital commons‚ a library stocked with applications, protocols, patterns and frameworks and a community of interested, motivated peer collaborators are interwoven?Digital fight-sharers imagine information theory, encoding algorithms and encryption technologies as a strong bridge of anonymity and privacy over a sea of public insecure data. Collectively from this networked media constellation robust peer to peer (p2p) distributed content sharing networks arise ‚organised using real-time networked audio-visual communications and content management system (CMS) to collaborate for low cost. In other words, we redesign the structure of our human telecommunications needs such that we understand and control all aspects of the infrastructure – a community-oriented convivial technology.

The menagerie of the latest open source frameworks cross many languages, databases, libraries and underlying computing models. Networking, object managing frameworks like Zope, Twisted and Django slither along in the undergrowth, [2] and are occupying their space in the web 2.0 universe. [3] Video sharing communities like EngageMedia are themselves based on such community built systems. [4] Collaborative CMS apps like Drupal, MediaWiki and WordPress, irradiate out from other active developer communities, generating weblogs, wikis, collaborative news, and group editable encyclopedias. [5] Twisting up the strands of open protocols and networked commodity hardware you can create communications structures such as real-time group text, chat and instant messaging i.e., IRC networks, VOIP (voice over IP), email lists; and then link them all back together. [6] These systems help loop different communities back into the information commons, recursively amplifying feedback between participants and projects. [7]

Underneath the networked application stack the browser and HTTP – lie stranger beasts. Audio-video codecs coding and decoding algorithms are fundamental to digital media. Some of these containers and codecs have corporate masters and some such as Ogg Theora, Ogg Vorbis, Xvid are patent-free. Players, transcoders, uploaders, downloaders, license tools and search tools let you explore the world of unencumbered re-mixable media. [8]

The coders behind these applications, libraries and other software artifacts are motivated by a spectrum of reasons; scratching itches, egoboo, earning cash, art theory or any combination. Most noticeably they are organised around different distributions of the packaging of free software operating systems and applications, such as Debian, Ubuntu or Gentoo. [9] Universities have been involved since the beginning and now corporate interests have invaded. Economically free services are everywhere, like the ubiquitous Google – but the business model cocoon of a commercial spectacle wrapped around the mass of user contributed content is a fragile compromise between unequal partners. The payoffs from mimicry and subversion of vectoralist interests are still large. [10]

References & Read More

[1] Free And Open Source Software
Free software is by definition, software distributed under a free software copyright license. Copyright licensing is the key, not price.

[2] All these are Python based frameworks – Zope, Twisted, Django
Zope Component Architecture
Asynchronous Networking Framework
Web Apps For Lazy Programmers
Python is a popular computer programming language, distributed under a free software license

[3] – User generated content and surface cleaners.

[4] EngageMedia uses Plone And to contrbute to the tangle, it is itself releasing its own version of Plone as a specific video community

[5] The LAMP – Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP technological stack commonly used to drive FLOSS web apps. All systems mentioned are such lamp-like projects. )
MediaWiki – (This is the software which runs Wikipedia)

[6] VOIP –
Instant Messager client –
An encrypting IM plugin –
Mailing list management –

[7] Google code search
Freenode a popular IRC network

[8] Xiph Foundation patent free codecs (Theora/Vorbis), media libraries, streaming servers
VLC and Mplayer the two most popular & FOSS media players and
FFmpeg, ffmpeg2theora transcoding your propertiary formats into open formats

[9] Debian Militantly Free Software
Ubuntu Linux For Humans

[10] ‘Free Beer’ by Andrew Lowenthal –

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