First, if you don’t know what freedom services are you should read autonomo.us because that is what this page is all about.
I think most of the problems of freedom services are coming from slow communication in the implementation world. That is people that could run a software long enough for it to become a reliable service are not connected to one another. Ok, they are connected with the developers of that software and they meet other users there, but this is not enough! That is a community dedicated to designing and writing software, but we need a community focused on running software services.We need a place where people with middleware expertise (such as Wikipedia maintainers) meet people with web server expertise, database expertise, generic server-side programmers, Ajax programmers, but also find investors, people with new services ideas.
So the problem in my opinion is the gap in communication between people with resources needed for a network service:
- some people have the money to finance it (or have extra hosting space, extra bandwidth), but don’t have the time;
- others have the time and willingness to run or maintain a freedom service, but don’t have the money or don’t know what service to run;
- others have ideas of what kind of a service they should build, but don’t have the money or the determination to run it – this is most likely a potential user with a bright idea.
Wikimedia / Wikipedia is one of the most popular services (Alleba 2007 – Top10 most popular sites), yet only a handful of individuals maintain it’s 400 servers – a few guys and gals (see Wikimedia staff here). Yes, they do a great job as they are, but, if they could afford it, I’m sure they would hire more people.
Cluenet.org is an organization of volunteers maintains a network of 20 servers: they have the hosting space and bandwidth to run much more services than they do now, but they never reach the potential they have because they don’t know people with ideas. They run freedom network services, just that they don’t know it yet. And they need services to build upon their own. They hosted the Freedomware Gamefest, the only online gamefest in history to use only freedom software.
Myself, during highschool (around 2003-2004) I had a lot of free time which I wanted to invest in configuration, maintaining and running a service because there was much to learn about network services and I could not learn it other than in a real world situation. But I had no money to build a service nor did I know what service should I build. Last year, I had money and I new what service I wanted to build, but I was a full time employee at a proprietary software company so I had no time. Now, I am unemployed so I have a lot of free time, I know want to build this very community service, but I have little money. I never had all I needed all by myself, I need outside help to succeed – I want to solve this problem for myself and all others like me.
Right now I dream about such a community, but I dream alone, so please help this effort by dreaming along with me. Let’s call it <Service World> or <Freedom Services Social Network>… or make a suggestion! In fact people of the old business world would call this a virtual business incubator. This much I know so far, so it should:
- have application type sections (web server section, database section, WikiMedia, PHP… you get the picture) – ExpertsExchange has a pretty good hierachy
- offer opportunities for organizations looking for volunteers or sponsored workers
- offer advice on how to build a community around a service
- have an idea service pool
- should offer legal advice
- software for the community would be under the AGPLv3 license, content would be CC-BY-SA
- this needs not to be the single such community, so please copy it, redo it.
Let us dream what this could be and let us make it reality! Let’s rock the network services world.