El propio movimiento de la Cultura Libre, no está exento de freeriders. Gente que obtiene de un bien común más de lo que aporta.
Tras once años de trabajo creando en silencio (y rodeado de incompresión) cosas como ourproject.org y kune.ourproject.org aparece un consorcio que usa tu trabajo y tus ideas sin dar el suficiente crédito ni involucrarte (ni a ti ni a tu asociación), para obtener ayudas de la UE y continuar con tu trabajo. O eso parece…
Así que me tuve que escribir un correo del “yo, yo, yo, yo, yo” y que refleja un poco lo difícil que es contribuir al bien común cuando la mayoría de la gente a tu alrededor está enfocada en su interés personal. El “sálvese quien pueda” vamos…
Leer entre líneas.
First of all congratulations for the EU funds.
I didn't know the existence of this list until this week, when Samer
mentioned it. Later, but here we are.
Let me introduce myself in a way that I usually don't do, but well,
maybe the moment merits the effort. Sincerely, I like to work more than
to talk about my work (or to talk about the work of others). I prefer
that people talk about me, than to talk about myself and I prefer to be
in the background as Javier de la Cueva says . But let me use "I"
today instead of "we" something that I use normally for my work in our
Comunes Association. Also let me try to make a exercise of parrhesia.
I founded ourproject.org in 2002 with the idea of spread the philosophy
of Free Software in other areas of our society by providing free tools
to any project/group/topic. Something similar to the tools and
philosophy of the collaboration in Free Software projects but open the
spectrum to any kind of free cultural projects. That is:
forges/incubators of free culture production.
At the beginning ourproject.org was only a simple manifest  that
I've wrote with the feedback of my personal friends because in that time
I didn't know anybody working in this area. So I've added all my friends
that contributed with feedback in the credits also with the idea of
maintain myself in the background. I think that these kind of citizen
efforts should be done in a collaborative and collective way, with
rotatory spokesmen, etc. but this not always works as you expected.
After some feedback of my friends (mainly, "show us something more than
text") I mounted our current website  using the codebase of
sourceforge.net (the bigger forge/factory of Free Software in that
moment) but adapting its code to any kind of project/area and any public
The main idea was basic: to allow the join of people with the same
interests, to facilitate the collaborative online work of that groups,
with the only condition that all the work should be free/libre/open to
the rest of the world. A simple definition of Free Software methodology
I like to use. That was also my main personal motivation (to work
collaborative in other areas of my interest with my non tech collectives
as I was convinced that the current economic paradigm was unsustainable).
In that moment I was using the term "free project"  to describe this
kind of peer production.
Also I developed a GNU/Linux distro  (2003) allowing anyone to
install a similar site and connect with other similar initiatives. In
that distro I developed a plugin to make some kind of simple federation
allowing the search of users/projects in that federation of free culture
This distro was used by some Spanish administration (in Extremadura) and
some other organization. So the idea was to decentralize, to make an
ecosystem of free cultural forges, a network of libraries/factories of
self producing free culture .
In 2004, in the World Social Forum of India I was making somehow of
spreading of that distribution, and people of FSF India proposed to
Richard Stallman a meeting with me. After explaining the initiative RMS
show me very interest (calling that initiative a Social forge) and
afterwards he did some effort to transform savannah.gnu.org in something
not only related with software but free culture. Savannah is/was using
the same codebase that ourproject.org, but only oriented to Free
Software. But the admins and maintainers of savannah didn't collaborate
(I think that in that moment didn't understand the proposal). I have
archived all these personal emails if someone is curious.
In 2005, and after the usability problems that normal people was
suffering in ourproject.org and with the experience of the daily use of
ourproject.org in my own (non tech) collectives I decide to develop a
new free project initiative. Kune was borning . I've started
choosing what technology, languages, and protocols I'll use, making some
prototypes (in the beginning using Rails, and other frameworks).
In the end of 2006 I left my work in Telefónica R&D to develop kune in
full time using my savings for several years and focusing in coding
and not worrying so much in the funds. I funded myself.
At the beginning (Jan 2007) the World Social Forum international
committee was interested in kune , and together with a good friend of
the Ministry of Culture of Brazil (MinC), Jéferson Assumção, we tried to
find funds and help from the MinC. We were a small team with three legs:
public administration, social movements and free software community. It
was too early and we didn't received funds because our software in that
moment was not ready and because of other internal problems in the MinC
(a strike that was paralyzing the Ministry).
In that moment, the first version of kune was developed thanks to the
help of Daniel Gómez Matas (@xdanigbx) who help me to put the
foundations of the actual kune codebase, and also to develop the chat
that we use in kune (the emite project ). Emite is something we
develop as a standalone different project to kune to allow more
contributions. But Dani couldn't continue contributing without incomes
and as a voluntary. In that time Java and GWT was just released as Free
Software and I was newbie to both. So I appreciate a lot Dani's
teachings, help and geniality in that initial moment.
In 2009 I had an almost usable version of kune , so Samer (who
started to collaborate on this project) and me contacted again to RMS to
try to receive some help of the FSF and also to start to search for
collaborations in the Free Software community.
One month later Google presented Google Wave (our collaborative
real-time editor and Inbox), and we stopped the spreading of our work in
the Free Software community as kune was so related with Wave work.
For me and Dani the tech original goal was to use our chat library
(based in XMPP) to allow collaborative real-time editing in our own
editor. But the work of Google was amazing, and they promised to open
it, so I almost stopped to develop the kune core until the release of
wave. Without knowing which part of the code were gonna be released I
didn't want to do double work.
Meanwhile, I developed troco.ourproject.org, a P2P currency on top of
Wave (inspired in a old decentralized P2P Japanese currency),
plantare.ourproject.org (a similar paper based P2P currency for seeds
interchange), massmob.ourproject.org (our current event gadget in kune
inspired in a talk with my friend Jéferson Assumção), and
karma.ourproject.org, a reputation system also in top of Google Wave
with the idea of integrate it with troco and on top of kune in some
future point. They were some ideas difficult to implement before Wave,
but with wave API were a more easy tasks.
At the end of 2010 Google Wave was released as a free software as Apache
Wave, so, I've started to integrate its codebase in the codebase of
kune. My initials decisions about technologies, protocols and languages
chosen for kune were the same as Apache Wave, so the integration was,
not straightforward, but very possible after some weeks of work. Wave
was for us like a big big gift.
Currently I'm a committer of Apache Wave , but my contributions and
knowledge are minimal comparing with the effort and the incredible work
that Google workers did with that project.
I think that the part more unstable/unreliable of Wave are the parts not
released by Google (search/indexing, persistence of data, accounts and
other Google infrastructure). The substitute parts of this proprietary
software was only a starting and examples that should be reimplemented.
This should be improved but it's not straightforward. Also Wave is the
most complex part of the code, I think.
In the Free Software community we like to "show the code": Kune has
238.000 lines of code, emite, our chat, 110.000 (and Wave has 244.000)
aprox. I'm not counting other minor subprojects I've developed (troco,
that we are currently reimplementing, karma, massmob, etc).
Without design voluntaries (now they are arriving) I also did all the
amateur graphic works of all the projects (styles, logos, icons,
presentations, tutorials, videos, etc). Sorry for that amateur work, but
I did my best
During that developing process we tried to find some other funds without
success. So I keep developing alone. As kune is so big, this is the
cause of be also so buggy/unfinished: Too much work for only one person
that also have to maintain, almost alone, all the hardware
infrastructure of these initiatives. It's difficult to find voluntaries
to this work because it's not an easy and visible task. Fortunately the
other projects (emite and wave) have more contributors, but, they need
also help. I hope these explanations clarify why kune in not yet so
In the last two years, a foundation (IEPALA) contract me to install and
improve its social network for NGOs in Latin America based in kune .
But having funds only for one person, this not improved the situation of
the development process, only my personal economy.
Some of the options I've tried/proposed was to divide my monthly 1200€
wage in two parts so other interested developer could help me. But it
Now with the current economic situation in Spain, and without public
funds, IEPALA has a layoff process with 50% of reduction of the wages to
all the employers.
So after so much time developing alone (with the initial and essential
help of Dani Gómez), with small contributions of a pair of new
developers starting to arrive these later months, and things like this
UE project, I'm happy to see that, finally, seems that our work is
compressible, and can be potentially useful for our society in this
difficult moment. Thanks to Samer with that communication and fund effort.
Personally, I'm also happy to see that I'll receive some help in the
development process. After six years of developing alone (I never did in
my live any similar effort as big as this one) and without a month of
holidays since my Telefónica R&D work at the end of 2006, sincerely, I
need some rest.
This history, during all these years since 2002, was not always easy or
beautiful. Some people and organizations were always there trying to
make business with our common good and not always very honestly, acting
sometimes as a kind of free riders. Fortunately there are some friends
here and there helping honestly since the beginning as my good friend
Jéferson Assumção mentioned above, now Vice-Secretary of Culture of Rio
Grande do Sul. We try to maintain our credits  very updated.
If someone is interested in my professional CV, I've just uploaded it
to some public place . It's a little bit outdated, but as we said
before, to talk about me or my work it's something I don't do normally.
For professional references, you can contact the brother of Juan Pavón
(Luis Pavón), my boss in Telefónica R&D, and one of my preferred bosses
in all my professional career. What a coincidence.
As you can understand from the previous description I'm not specially
interested in these funds, only in how this UE project can help to make
kune not a "one developer project", how to make that the money don't
change the voluntary nature of this developing effort, and the main
goal, how to make this common effort really useful for our society.
Finally, after this is official, we'll be great that someone write some
email to [email protected] (a list with the people more involved
nowadays in kune, including Samer and me).
Thanks for the effort with this initiative, and again congrats. Sorry
for my English and for this improvised "big-ego" email. Now I'll return
to the background.
Update (Ago-2013): Some months later, this happened (also affects the same project but with Bauwens and the P2P Foundation as the victims):