Society, to move forward, needs some cyber community champions. I’m not exactly referring to groups like anonymous, but of course they have their own place in society. I’m more referring to simple straight forward activism like helping to reduce poverty in your own community; feeding and housing the poor, that kind of thing.
Our current system marginalizes too many people, see my essay on Transparent Organizations for background on why this occurs. Too much poverty leads to instability, and to have a stable productive society, we need to create organizations that will assist the poor.
The challenges facing the modern world can be assisted with good technology. For example, hunger isn’t a problem of a lack of food. You have the typically example of millions starving while silo’s are full. There are several aspects to that problem, but one of them is a coordination problem, that can be assisted by appropriate technology.
IMO, these solutions will come from cyber community champions, so my efforts are how to assist in developing these champions. The vision is outlined below.
A computing platform should exist. It would be a community, grass-roots cloud. This might look like the following:
libre Community Cloud
Hardware can be acquired through Free Geek. Granted this is generally older hardware, but it’s free.
Some linux variant installed. Something like a freedom box, debian, arch, whatever.
Locate this hardware in anyone who volunteers homes, who already have a network connection.
Assist them to configure their routers so ports are forwarded from the outside internet to these server boxes from Free Geek.
This could be a brilliant community cloud that could be put to work to solve all sorts of community computing challenges. There are challenges for sure, but I’d sure like to start this up!
Once there is a libre community cloud to build upon we need to create people who can build services on top of it to serve the communiity. We need a training curriculum that teaches people how to use this cloud. That might look like the following:
An educational aspect should be setup around the libre community cloud. Citizens will need to learn how to use the cloud to create community services. Training should be firmly rooted in the , so software taught should definitely NOT be proprietary software, eg: NOT windows, etc…, but rather Linux variants.
You could charge people who could afford the class double, so that for each one of them, a person who couldn’t afford the class can also attend.
Initially, students, would borrow a machine from Free Geek, that is completely blank. They’d build up the machine going through the course material, adding software as they are going to learn it.
- Linux System Administration (sa1)
Install a linux distro like arch linux or debian. Basic Linux system administration. In this class they could rebuild the computer that they’ve borrowed from Free Geek. So they’d get a second clean machine, and install it up with all the software to complete each course.
- Text Editing 1 (te1)
Install emacs and learn emacs basics.
- Text Editing 2 (te2)
Learn how to extend emacs, with emacs lisp.
- Lisp Programming 1 (lp1)
Lisp: Move into common lisp, slime, etc…
- Web Programming
Ruby: Teach a basic Ruby course.
Ruby on Rails: the web framework.
Persistence: PostgreSQL. Programmatically accessing the database. Basic SQL.
IRC: Learn how to use IRC for community building.
The above toolbox should be enough to give students the ability to create services to assist the community.