Isaac Wilder and Zion Dixon adjust an antenna at Posada del Sol, Kansas City
Our Educational Programs:
The Mutual Musicians Foundation and the Black Economic Union
The FNF is working with the Mutual Musicians Foundation, a non-profit organization that runs the world’s oldest jazz house, to educate and connect communities on the east side of Kansas City. Connecting for Good, The Black Economic Union of Greater Kansas City, and the Mutual Musicians Foundation, are teaming up to build a network in the 18th and Vine St neighborhood, to serve the MMF’s building, as well as the nearby Lincoln Building where the BEU is headquartered. Along with providing Internet connectivity to the MMF and the BEU, the network will host cultural and educational content locally, and serve as an anchor to build out a residential network in the community. The FNF is providing tools, resources, and education to these groups, so that they can learn how to be their own (and their community’s own) network service providers.
In addition to our operator training, this June marked the soft launch of our Tech Dojo at the Mutual Musicians Foundation. Thanks to the tireless efforts of new FNF education director Clint Wynn, we are developing programs to educate youth about building and maintaining networks and systems, and about computer technology in general. Throughout the summer, we will be meeting with small groups of students weekly and learning together. In the fall, we will have developed formal programs that will instruct youths in the communities where we operate how to build, expand, and maintain free networks.
Reconciliation Services and the Community Capital Fund
This spring, the FNF received a grant for $1,000 from the Community Capital Fund to help our local partners jumpstart a network on the east side of KC. The Community Capital Fund is a Kansas City non-profit organization that funds neighborhood capacity building initiatives in historically under resourced and under invested parts of the metro. We have used that grant to procure equipment and training for Reconciliation Services, a religious charity located at the corner of 31st St and Troost Ave. Our hope is that with some support and guidance, their building will become the anchor of much larger push into Kansas City’s urban core. The network will connect back to the Kansas City Free Network at Oak Tower, and will provide Internet access to Reconciliation Services’ building, including the headquarters of Connecting for Good, as well as to the high-traffic bus stop on the corner.
Isaac Wilder of the FNF, Dan Harmon and Rick Deane of Connecting for Good, and Clint Wynn of the FNF set up an antenna at the Lincoln Building in Kansas City
Our Research Programs:
Refining the Network Commons License
At our just-concluded Summer Summit, the executive team began the process of writing a second, more effective edition of the Network Commons License (NCL) that governs use of free networks. In order for this license to have the scope and power that we all want, we need all your help and participation. We want to extend our thanks to our many friends who are helping us to write the NCL already, and hope that more can take part in this process. The live draft of the NCL is hosted on our wiki, and you can contribute there, or through the [discuss] list.
Helping the World Understand Free Networks
Throughout the quarter, our CIO James Yox has been leading the development of a web platform designed to help the world understand free networks, and how to build them. Guifi.us takes a cue from the world’s largest free network (guifi.net, in Catalonia), by helping people visualize and understand free networks. Guifi.us is still pre-alpha, but it is making steady progress towards wider usability. If you would like to gain access to the platform before it is ready for public use, or if you are interested in contributing, please don’t hesitate to e-mail [email protected]
Meeting with European Partner Orgs
Exectuive Director Isaac Wilder traveled to Europe on a European Commission grant secured by Catalonia’s guifi.net. Several weeks in Catalonia, two weekends in Berlin, and almost a week in London offered the opportunity to engage in professional exchange with the leaders of Europe’s foremost free networks. A well-timed visit to Spain by members of Argentina’s AlterMundi made the exchange a three-continent summit of free network thought leaders.
Bringing FreedomStack to Reality
Our main research effort over the past two years has been on FreedomStack – a design pattern for free networks at scale. We’ve made huge strides on the stack over the past quarter. In May, we began a collaboration with several major European free network outfits aimed at creating the ‘Ubuntu of firmwares’ (openwrt could be thought of as the Debian). This effort, called, libre-mesh (or lime, for short), is still in its very early stages, but represents the next big step for tower and node development.
Charles has been putting significant time into FreedomSky, our longstanding effort to put airborne platforms into service as network relays. We believe that the future of layer 1 independence is up high, and have found an excellent community of doers who are working to realize this vision.
Working Towards Tax Exempt Status
We have remained in communication with the IRS about our application for 501(c)3 tax-exempt status. We recently 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.