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Re: [GNUnet-developers] Invitation to contribute to a book of decentrali
carlo von lynX
Re: [GNUnet-developers] Invitation to contribute to a book of decentralized FLOSS for communities
Fri, 21 Aug 2015 22:07:50 +0200
On Wed, Aug 12, 2015 at 12:21:30AM +0200, Samer wrote:
> This is an invitation to the GNUnet project, to submit an abstract (750
> words) for a book on the use of decentralized FLOSS for communities. We
> believe you are doing great work and we’d love to have your thoughts on
> this project as part of this compilation. See below for details.
Thank you for this from my part.
Some of the following assumptions leading to this book project
raise questions in my head...
> Despite of the decentralized origins of the Internet, with the arrival of
> the Web 2.0, centralized and proprietary platforms, typically controlled by
> corporations, have progressively taken over the web. This centralized
To my understanding, the Internet was never free. The Internet was never
truly decentralized and federation was never the solution, it was part of
the problem. More about that at
The recent keynote at blackhat too builds around the assumption that there
actually was a free Internet sometime until 1995. It's a popular myth
that distracts from the depth of the problem at hand. If it has never
worked for human rights before, why should looking at the past be in any
> architecture can be used by governments to increase surveillance (as we
> have discovered following the Snowden’s revelations), to blackout the
I don't think federation has posed any problem to surveillance either, so
"cloud" centralization has not introduced the problem. It's older than that.
> Internet (e.g. Egypt, Syria, or San Francisco’s BART) or to choke activist
> organizations (such as Wikileaks). Yet, in the last few years, we have seen
> the emergence of Internet-enabled collaborative communities building shared
> libre/open resources. Commons-based Peer Production (CBPP) is rapidly
> growing: not just for software and encyclopedias, but also for information
> (OpenStreetMap, Wikihow), hardware (FabLabs, Open Source Ecology),
> accommodation (Couchsurfing) and currency (Bitcoin, Altcoins). In the last
I thought Couchsurfing was a web 2.0 business thing? It's centralized,
it makes people surrender their data to a cloud database and somehow
monetizes on it.
> few years, it has become clear to many that it is not enough to develop
> free/libre/open source (FLOSS) alternatives, but that we also need to
> the Internet. These new software tools may also be useful to boost CBPP
> communities further.
Decade long attempts to achieve (re)decentralization have created the
fertile grounds for cloud-based companies to make a business by
re-centralizing what others tried to decentralize. It's a feature of
the federation principle. You have lots of work to make things federated
and then it takes something simple like github to re-centralize all the
decentralization that git was supposed to provide. It's the same pattern
with E-mail and G-mail. Looking at the past equals heading the wrong way.
We need a new distributed Internet that has never existed before.
These new communities may look hopeful, but their built on the old and
broken Internet. They exist according to the rules of the Wild West Web.
The rules need to change.
> >From this vision, we decided to organise the FLOSS4P2P workshop
> <http://www.p2pvalue.eu/2nd-floss4p2p-workshop> (@Fablab London, supported
> by P2Pvalue <http://p2pvalue.eu/>), which gathered a wide spectrum of
> people working on decentralized FLOSS projects that could help or support
> the activities of peer production communities.
If it's P2P it should be distributed, not just decentralized which
usually stands for federated.. and federation is what has failed us for
several decades now. More about the failure of federation at
> Following the workshop success
> <http://p2pvalue.eu/floss4p2p-workshop-agenda> and in collaboration with
I see "Federated / Distributed / Interoperable" thrown together like they
belong that way. Federation is evil. Interoperability is misleading as it
may stand in the way of innovation (it has killed much of the momentum of
XMPP for example, that until today has several standards for file exchange -
with usually none of them actually working). Only "distributed" is a worthwhile
goal in my understanding of reality.
> the Institute of Network Cultures <http://networkcultures.org/>, we would
> like to prepare a book (on the model of the former MoneyLab Inc Reader
> showing the great amount of decentralized FLOSS options. This initiative is
> open also to those who couldn’t make it to the workshop. Since you are
> working on an outstanding or particularly interesting decentralized FLOSS
> project, we would like to ask you to:
> Write (and/or draw!) something. E.g. a story, a sci-fi tale, a
> comicstrip, a manifesto, a critical essay, an interview, a study, a poem, a
> conversation, a debate, a combination of the former…we invite you to
> experiment and surprise us!
> On how your decentralized FLOSS is useful for communities. Think of
> grassroots communities, commons-based, P2P, online or offline or mixed,
> think of wikis, makers, activists, hacktivists, free culture, citizen
> science, couchsurfers...
> Try to write something that will encourage non-technical readers to
> adopt your platform/FLOSS project, or that will inspire them to think
> about its social/economical/political/legal implications.
> We do not want an advertisement for your project, but rather an
> interesting story, a manifesto, a discussion of the positive and negative
> consequences of the project, its social/practical uses by these
> communities, etc. We definitely do not want (boring) academic papers.
Okay, that's easy. It's easy to write a manifesto why we need to leave
behind the wild west web and make us a GNU one. For me at least. ;)
> We invite you to submit an initial abstract (max. 750w; count each image as
> 200w, if any) explaining your idea by September 15, 2015.
> We’ll select the more compelling ideas to write an extended version for the
> book, to be published on 2016.
> If you have further questions about the expected contents, format, etc. do
> not hesitate to let us know. We look forward to hear about your ideas!
> Samer Hassan
> David Rozas
> Primavera De Filippi
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