Free Network Definition / Freedoms 2.0 – restoring consistency

October 11th, 2014 by


We’ve received quite a bit of feedback regarding the “four freedoms”
and FND being inconsistent. The various versions became inconsistent due
to a prolonged, convoluted and disjointed editorial process that spanned
multiple continents, months of time and almost 20 people.

Our apologies for any confusion this has caused.

At this time the wiki has been updated to reflect the
version as defined at top of NCL. They are:

* You have the right to join the network, and the responsibility to
extend this set of rights to anyone, under these same conditions.
* You have the right to understand the network, to know its
components, and to spread knowledge of its elements and principles.
* You have the right to offer services and content to the network on
your own terms.
* You have the freedom to use the network for any purpose as long as
you don’t harm the operation of the network itself, the rights of other
participants, or the principles of neutrality that allow contents and
services to flow without deliberate interference.

Please find it online here:


Thank you.

Keeping tabs on FNF

October 11th, 2014 by


Going forward, each Sunday at 7:30PM CST the leadership team will have
it’s weekly conference call. This call is open to anyone who wishes to
participate. The call will be (ideally) 30 minutes in length, and is an
opportunity for quick report backs, general strategy updates etc.

I’ll be setting up a cron job to auto e-mail out a reminder every Sunday
morning with the call details.

If you would like to create a reminder in your calendar, here are all
the details:

When? Sundays at 7:30PM CST to 8:00PM CST
Where? dial in: 559-546-1000 with access code: 431041#

Thanks all.

Network Commons License v0.3 – please give us feedback!

October 11th, 2014 by


It is my great pleasure to take the wraps off of the NCL v0.3.


This is the latest and greatest refinement of the license which we hope
will govern free networks. This is the plain English version that FNF
would like to get to lawyers on 10/30 for starting the process of
turning into a license. Please comment here with any and all feedback
and distribute as widely as possible for exposure and commentary.

Thank you.

Please find it online here:


To comment on the NCL, please join our discussion mailing list:


Organizational Changes

October 1st, 2014 by

A message from Co-Founder Charles: About 2 weeks ago, Isaac and I were discussing the go forward strategy for FNF, and came to the conclusion to restructure things pretty drastically. The result is a fully Austin based team, and Isaac/Tyrone leaving daily operations and re-align to a strategic/oversight role as board members. So we now have a KC based board, and an Austin based leadership team. I’m very pleased to announce a brand new leadership team with this post, which I believe will allow the FNF to much better deliver on it’s mission going forward. For those who don’t know, our mission statement is as follows:

The Free Network Foundation is a nonprofit organization that provides operators around the world with essential infrastructure for the realization and support of free networks. We engineer tools and develop educational resources to facilitate the deployment of resilient, responsive, and accessible networks.

So without any further ado:

1) Charles Wyble is Executive Director of the Free Network Foundation. I will report to the board of directors, and will be succeeding Isaac Wilder in this role. We wish Isaac all the best in his future endeavors. Isaac will remain on the board of directors, and will continue to advise and mentor the leadership team, particularly in the areas of non profit growth/development and legal compliance. However he will no longer be involved in daily operations or implementation of strategy.

I am responsible for overall leadership of FNF, delivery of mission output (FreedomStack kit and educational materials), and fundraising. I’ll be meeting with the board on a weekly basis, to cover progress against Key Performance Indicators related to program development and fundraising.

2) Patti Wyble is VP of operations and will be running the FNF on a day to day basis. She will be succeeding Tyrone in this role. We wish Tyrone all the best in his future endeavors. Tyrone will also remain on the board and serve as an invaluable expert on our corporate governance and compliance. Patti is responsible for all aspects of the business operations and administration, and in ensuring legal/financial and other aspects of compliance and “keeping the lights on”. She reports to the board of directors. She has an extensive background in business administration , budgeting, compliance, personnel management etc. She is acting head of HR/accounting and my primary liaison with our legal team.

3) Matthew House is VP program development and will be overseeing all aspects of our mission output that aren’t related to their technical implementation. He has proved very valuable to the organization already. He has worked extensively on things like the FNF installer document ( https://commons.thefnf.org/index.php/SoYouWantToBeANodeInstaller ) and the broad requirements for FreedomStack and AutoTunnel/AutoNoc, which provide guidelines to our implementation folks.

He is tasked over the next 90 days with producing the “FreeNetwork Steward Policies, Procedures, Ethics” course , and overseeing user acceptance testing and other non technical aspects of program design and delivery (QA, webmaster, installer videos etc). I’ve been working very closely with him over the last several months to build a comprehensive program design and management strategy and deep competency at FNF (which we were sorely lacking). His efforts in this area have been innumerable, and I’m deeply humbled and pleased to be working with such top tier talent.  He reports to Patti with a dotted line to me.

4) Josef Chessor is VP program delivery. I’ve worked very closely with him since the founding of the FNF, and he has been a close adviser and friend, along with a fantastic technology resource. He has helped me build multiple iterations of the FNF lab and has served as an implementation expert for many aspects of the FreedomStack program. He also reports to Patti, with a dotted line to me. I will be working very closely with Joe over the next several weeks as we become very focused on delivering our mission outputs.

So what are the specific outputs that I am responsible for delivery by December 20th 2014?

        * Working implementation of Hearth: (AutoTunnel,AutoNoc,Business Data Store, Network Data Store) and a QMP spin which works with those components
        * Hardware Compatibility List and overall guidelines for hardware selection
        * Reference implementation of the Stack and Hearth that people can download and utilize
        * Increase month over month cash flow to 1500.00

Expect some more announcements from me and others on my staff in the next few days and weeks.

Thank you everyone for reading. Charles Wyble

2014 Q1 in Review

April 29th, 2014 by


Winter Summit 2014

In March, the FNF held its 2014 Winter Summit in Austin, TX. We were joined in Austin by operators and activists from Sudo Room in Oakland, WLAN Slovenia, and Los Angeles, and by more friends around the world via telepresence. The Summit focused on refining key documents of the free network movement, specifically the Free Network Definition [LINK] and the Network Commons License [LINK]. It was exhilarating to meet with so many who share our vision and passion, and are already realizing the free network movement in their own communities.

Juniper Gardens

We helped our KCFN partner upgrade their network at Juniper Gardens in late March. The network at Juniper Gardens now connects back to Oak Tower in KCMO, freeing the last remaining part of the KCFN from dependence on incumbent ISPs. Upgrading the network also provided hands-on building experience for Clint and our volunteers. Simultaneous to building the new link, Connecting for Good opened a community tech center across the street from Juniper Gardens, the largest housing project in Kansas, where we hope to hold Hacker Dojo classes in the coming months.


Charles came to Kansas City for a brief hacking sprint this quarter, primarily focused on building AutoTunnel. AutoTunnel is the software solution, still in development, that will provide authentication, encryption, and security services for free networks.


In late March, Isaac attended the LibrePlanet 2014 conference in Cambridge, Massachusetts. LibrePlanet is a meetup of members of the free software community from around the world. While their, Isaac had a chance to meet with free software pioneers including Eben Moglen and FNF Advisory Board member Richard Stallman, with the goal of encouraging their participation in the Free network Definition and the Network Commons License. In February, Isaac presented about free networks at 89plus, a conference for young artists and innovators that was held in Mexico City.

Expanding the KCFN

This quarter, the FNF has participated in the KCFN’s meetings with the Urban Neighborhood Initiative (UNI), a Kansas City group that represents a number of neighborhood associations. UNI seeks to build networks to serve the communities they represent, on the Eastside of KCMO, and the FNF and KCFN are currently helping them to design a pilot program.

2013 Annual Report

April 21st, 2014 by

Please check out our 2013 Annual Report here. We’re working to fix some issue swith our CRM in order to send it out to our newsletter mailing list as soon as possible.

2013 Q3 Review

November 5th, 2013 by


Launching the Kansas City Freedom Network
This August saw our partner networks in Kansas City come together to form a coalition we call the Kansas City Freedom Network (KCFN). We settled on a name for the network that we think will reflect the political ideals of the network beyond just affordable access. The Kansas City Freedom Network is presently made up of the Black Economic Union, Connecting for Good, the FNF, the Mutual Musicians Foundation, and Reconciliation Services.

The network itself thus far consists of the previously built towers at Rosedale Ridge and Posada del Sol, administered by CFG, in addition to sites at the Mutual Musicians Foundation in the Jazz District and at Reconciliation Services’ location at 31st and Troost. More organizations on the East Side of KC have expressed interest in building their own sites and expanding the network. The stakeholders in the KCFN have been meeting weekly to discuss policy and governance for the network, as well as how to expand it organically and responsibly.

On August 27th, a press conference held at the MMF publicly announced the launch of their network. A beta website for the KCFN is now online.

The KCFN provides the FNF an opportunity to implement and improve our designs and methodologies. Working with a diverse group of stakeholders has refined our understanding of what drives commons network stewardship, and which pedagogical techniques have the most impact.


FNF in the Arts
In September, we collaborated on a celebration of legendary jazz saxophonist Ben Webster, with the MMF and the Society for the Prevention of Unnecessary Demolition (SPUD). Webster, who grew up in the East Side of KC and played in the MMF’s building, is still renowned by jazz lovers as one of the all time great tenor saxophonists, though he is far less known in Kansas City than other native jazz musicians like Charlie Parker. The Ben Webster project was part of a yearlong campaign by SPUD to highlight the great historical and cultural value of physical places around Kansas City’s urban core before they are lost forever.

The FNF worked with SPUD to conduct and record a video interview and jazz performance with the Ben Webster Foundation in Copenhagen, Denmark, where Webster spent the final years of his life. The interview was conducted using the KCFN, and we think it was an excellent demonstration of the power of connectivity to bring people together across great distance, and to get Kansas Citians engaged in the oft-forgotten history of their own city.

In September the FNF participated in Station to Station, a public art project by Doug Aitken involving a cross-country train trip and video recordings/live performances of cultural figures and groups they found interesting along the way. More information on the project, including a brief video about the FNF, can be found on the project’s website.


guifi.net Visit
In late August, we were visited in Kansas City by Pau and Roger from Catalunya’s guifi.net. They assisted with an upgrade of the KCFN,  and contributed their expertise to an network feasibility study of the areas around Lincoln College Preparatory Academy, and the Kelly Center, both in KCMO. Thanks to their help, the KCFN is now a fully routed network, running the qmp firmare After their time in Kansas City, Isaac accompanied Pau and Roger to Oakland, CA, where they met with hackers from Sudo Room, a group that is beginning to build a free network in the East Bay. The trip marked a deepening collaboration with guifi.net and their massive free network project, following Isaac and Gordon Cook’s trip to Catalunya last May.


In early October, Isaac attended the International Summit for Community Wireless Networks in Berlin, Germany. Isaac gave a talk entitled, “Measuring and Optimizing Network Performance,” alongside Thomas Huhn of the Technical University of Berlin. Isaac also attended the Circumvention Tech Summit that took place in the days before the main event.

The IS4CWN gave the FNF a chance to reconnect with allied movements across the world, and to meet new friends and collaborators. A productive meeting was had among many people and groups regarding the Network Commons License, which resulted in a mailing list set up to continue the discussion of documents to federate free networks. Isaac also made contact with the builders of WasabiNet, a community mesh network in St. Louis that has been making exciting advances lately in, among other things, solar powered mesh nodes.

Following the IS4CWN, Isaac traveled to London to meet with Jefferson Hack, co-founder of Dazed & Confused, a style and culture magazine. Hack and Dazed, who covered the FNF in their June 2013 issue, are supporters of the Free Network Movement, and worked with Isaac to explore possible avenues of collaboration and help the FNF to craft a press kit.


Over the last 6 months, conversations between some of the world’s leading free network communities have lead to the emergence of the libre-mesh project. We are proud to be a part of the LibreMesh team, and glad to have found an experienced team of firmware hackers with which to collaborate. From the website:

Libre-Mesh is an initiative undertaken by community networks members of several continents that collaborate towards a common goal: to develop a set of tools that facilitate the deployment of Free Networks on any community in the world.
Main tool is Libre-Mesh firmware: based on OpenWrt, eases the creation of WiFi communities, and enables existing communities to add roaming clouds to their networks.

Other tools are:

LibreNet6: mesh tunnel broker to supply global IPv6 to free community networks
Chef: custom-fitted firmware creator for communities
LibreMap (in collaboration with Freifunk): node plot in geographical location with automatic update of quality links in real time.
While each tool stands on its own, and can be used separately, we strive to integrate them as much as possible, so that they work together the best.

This project was born as an effort to merge some preexistent firmware projects:

  • AlterMesh (from AlterMundi, Argentina)
  • qMp (from guifi.net, Catalunya)
  • eigenNet (from eigenLab, Ninux, Italia)

And with the support of some existent organizations:

  • the Free Network Foundation (from USA)
  • the Guifi.net Foundation (from Catalunya)


Working Towards Tax Exempt Status
We have remained in communication with the IRS about our application for 501(c)3 tax-exempt status. In June, we responded at length to a number of questions they raised, and are awaiting further response from them. We are excited to be moving towards tax exempt status. If you would like to view their questions, and our responses, not only are they a matter of public record, but they’re on our wiki: IRS Responses on The Commons

As you may know, the FNF is an all-volunteer organization and we rely on your support to keep helping communities build their own networks. While we move through the application process for tax exemption, our opportunities to seek grant funding are limited. At this time, we take in less funds per month than it costs us to keep our servers running, and we don’t know how we will keep funding our work in the coming months. Please consider signing up as a monthly donor, or giving a one-time contribution to the FNF, here.

KC Update

October 1st, 2013 by

Wrote up and turned in some paperwork to Jerry Greenfield and Elizabeth
Skarie Foundation. We’re on track to receive a grant of 10k, which will
cover our most basic operating expenses for the year, but certainly does
not remove us from needing funds. Still some good news though. I’ve also
been emailing a bit with our contact at Dazed. They’re going to try to
help us with both PR (e.g. creation of press kit materials) and
fundraising when Isaac meets with them next week.

I’ve begun talking with Catherine Kelly/Archer Foundation in KC about
future collaborations. What we’ve talked about so far involved finding
backhaul solutions for an East Side computer lab where classes would be
offered (by them, but hopefully this could include Dojo programming down
the road). I have not made any specific promises yet and we have no
committments, but I think they are a good group to collaborate with, as
long as to do so does not unnecessarily distract from ongoing work.
Archer Foundation is the family foundation of John Darbyshire, a KC tech
entrepreneur whose Archer Technologies became successful from developing
enterprise governance, risk, and compliance software.

Reading Gordon’s new Report, which is excellent. Hopefully it will be
published to this list soon.


FNF Austin Update

September 23rd, 2013 by

Had a crazy productive weekend…

1) Did a huge amount of work on the lab. Lots of cabling, labeling, documenting.
2) Deployed a large format printer
3) obtained a Nortel sip phone
4) obtained two OLPC laptops
5) swapped one of the laptops for a Cisco 7960 SIP phone
6) Cleared up a bunch of things that had cluttered up the lab workspaces. Then immediately filled them up again with more stuff from downstairs.
7) Deployed, powered up access points throughout the house for continuous network testing.
8) wrote a post for /r/homelab with lots of lab details.
9) Read over the engineering study. Great work by Isaac. I will be making some edits to it for consistency and brand reference.

Several small tasks left, I have Tuesday/Wednesday evening dedicated to wrapping things up so Isaac can share the lab with summit folks and hopefully they will use it.

I’m giving a technical FNF FreeNetworks/FreedomStack presentation to the Lopsa Austin chapter tonight.



September 22nd, 2013 by

On Friday, Clint and I provided technical support for an event at the
Mutual Musicians Foundation. The event, a celebration of late KC tenor
saxophone legend Ben Webster, was a project of the Society for the
Prevention of Unnecessary Demolition (SPUD), which works in primarily
the Jazz District of KCMO to educate people about the historical and
cultural importance of the cityscape around them. We helped SPUD to set
up and record a skype call (over the KCFN) with the Ben Webster
Foundation in Copenhagen, that was played at the MMF later in the day
due to the time difference. The event went off very well, and it was
exciting to use the KCFN for the project. Hopefully next time we do
something like this we’ll be able to try out more advanced network
functionality and free software as well, but in this case we didn’t have
enough time to be as experimental as we might like. But I think it
served as a demonstration of one way the KCFN can help connect people
both locally and across the world.

Working hard right now on this engineering study, as well as other loose
ends to wrap before Isaac leaves town (Thurs the 26) for the summit in
Berlin. Really trying to incorporate the importance of education and
decentralized control into the document. I’ve been looking at the
documentation on Commotion Wireless’ and Detroit Digital Justice
Coalition’s Detroit project lately, since I think that initiative is
remarkably similar to our in many aspects of goals and scope. I would
love to know what others think of the documentation materials they have
put out so far (some of which I’ve linked at the bottom of this
message). Also curious if anyone has had first hand experience of their
project in Detroit lately, especially of their operator training
(“Digital Stewards”).

LPFM project with the MMF is moving forward too, as we move closer to
securing a physical location. More details on that in coming days.

Some commotionXdetroit links for your perusal, so y’all can help us know
what to replicate and what to do differently, both in marketing and
documenting the work we do:


http://colorlines.com/archives/2012/10/detroit_mesh_networks.html (3rd
party article abt the project)
http://cassco.co/ (site for one of the community networks)


(includes some build documentation)


(operator training)