[Consortium] Weaver Birds - 8 years of dyne.org
jaromil at dyne.org
Fri Aug 8 06:07:54 EDT 2008
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please toast with us and distribute widely :)
The Weaver Birds
by the dyne.org hackers
8 / 8 / 8
printable version: http://dyne.org/first_dharma_dyne.pdf (291 KB)
* Hackers spinning the Dharma wheel
You are welcome to join the new wheel spin of our history.
We hope you remember the time you signed up to receive some news about
our activities: well we've kept this trumpet silent so far, still the
laborious weaving of our net has been going on, until the point we
really have something to say and to do together, today.
It is almost 4 years that this bulletin wasn't sent; the previous
dyne.org bulletins were quite intimate, announcing developments done
in our own houses, the development of our own lives in unusual and
experimental ways. This one is a bit different, more open,
programmatic, visionary and inclusive, proposing you a plan to be
shared and is already shared by many.
Right now our network has become 8 years old and by now you can
imagine this number is very important to us. If you are curious to
know what is happening please read on, we won't fancy you with special
effects, but dreams, thoughts and projects we are ready to realize.
Of course this text doesn't just talks about "us": being an open
network we are including multiple contexts around the world with which
we share mutual help, where our contribution is mostly technical, as
in our activity in free and open source development. In fact, besides
the generic idea of FOSS, we are moved by the following dreams, that
are slowly but steadily becoming reality...
For all this we are infinitely grateful to the GNU project that let us
discover how to get hold of knowledge, take control of the
architecture we live in and even start building a new planet :)
* Dharma youth
*The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to
live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the
same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but
burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like
spiders across the stars.* (Jack Kerouac, Dharma Bums)
First let's declare who we are: after 8 years we are able to trace a
common denominator among the people active in our network,
interconnected by a nomadic approach to development and life.
We are young dreamers, as we often like to stir limitations and invent
different models to learn, communicate, share and live than those
proposed by the societies where we are caged. We have in common that
we survived out of the commonplaces, we cultivated our thoughts and
sharing methods, knowledge and tools, keeping them out of any box.
This is the time in our history in which we'll speak with young
voices, when we are moving some crucial steps on which we'll base our
architectures, hopefully mixing the inner with the outer, the Ying
with the Yang.
Some of us are nomads, some settle in different places time to time,
some live in the same marginal neighbourhoods of the world where they
were born, some are working for multinational IT companies, some are
riding bicycles all around the world, some are lecturing in schools,
some are exhibiting in art galleries and some are squatting
houses. And yes, probably you are one of those, or you have been in
contact with us, at least once.
What we are proposing here is a new model and we finally acquired a
practical vision to develop it in harmony with our different
Please continue reading if you like to discover why and how.
* Freedom of Creativity
*The growth of the network rendered the non-propertarian alternative
even more practical. What scholarly and popular writing alike
denominate as a thing ("the Internet") is actually the name of a
social condition: the fact that everyone in the network society is
connected directly, without intermediation, to everyone else. The
global interconnection of networks eliminated the bottleneck that
had required a centralized software manufacturer to rationalize and
distribute the outcome of individual innovation in the era of the
mainframe.* (Eben Moglen)
Free and open source software (often referred as FOSS) is, when
referring to the original principles endorsed by the Free Software
Foundation (FSF), a new model for distribution, development and
marketing of immaterial goods. While recommending you to have a look
at the philosophy pages published by the FSF, we'll highlight some
implications which are most important for us by letting our activities
possible and motivating them.
FOSS implies an economical model based on collaboration instead of
competition, fitting in the fields of academic research where sharing
of knowledge is fundamental , and development where the joint efforts
of different developers can be better sustained when distributed
across various nodes. In this regards we like to quote John Nash
(Mathematics Nobel in 1994) saying that "the best result will come
from everybody in the group doing what's best for himself, and the
Imagine then that all creations re-produced in this way can also be
sold freely by anyone in each context: this opens up an horizon of new
business models that are local, avoiding globalized exploitation,
still sharing a global pool of knowledge useful to everyone.
Furthermore, in the fields of education we believe that the inherent
independence of FOSS from commercial influences is crucial in order to
empower students with a knowledge that they really own, not making
them dependent from merchants owning their creations by imposing
licenses on the tools they've learned.
At last just consider, and feel free to invent more on these tracks,
the impact of FOSS in fields as communication, social networking,
games, media and... evolution.
 see http://www.fsf.org
* No nationhood
*Per far che i secoli tacciano di quel Trattato che trafficò la
mia patria, insospettì le nazioni e scemò dignità al tuo nome.* (A
Bonaparte liberatore, Ugo Foscolo, 1778-1827)
*One Planet, One Nation* (Public Enemy)
Our homelands are displaced and sometimes very different, difficult to
be put in contact with the boundaries given by nations. In fact we
think that nation states should come to an end, for the borders they
impose aren't matching with our aspirations and current ability to
relate with each other.
During the few years of our lives we have been taught to interact and
describe ourselves within national schemes, but the only real
boundaries were the differences between our languages, while we have
learned to cross them.
- From our national histories we mostly inherited fears and hanger, but
with this network we have learned how to bury them, as they don't
belong to us anymore. What's left is a just a problem that can be
solved: we will stop representing us as part of different
nations. Even if we could, we don't intend to build our own nation,
nor to propose you a new social contract, but to cross all of these
borders as a unique networked planet, to start a new cartography.
We have a planet! and it is young enough to heal the scars left by the
last centuries of war, imperialism, colonisation and prevarication
that left most people around us cultivating differences and fake
identities represented by flags and nationalist propaganda.
We aren't claiming to open the borders to the speculation of
multinationals, since we are well aware this can be a rethoric used by
neo-liberist interests to tramp over the autonomy of developing
countries. The Contextual integrity of different social ecosystems
needs to be respected, but still as of today the national borders
didn't succeeded in preserving it.
With some exceptions, most of the national programs and cultural funds
we agreed to work with were pretending each of us would dress a flag,
as we were recruited in a decadent game of national pride and
competition, with an agenda of cultural, economical and physical
domination, tracing all our movements, assimilating them to leviathans
that are playing their last violent moves in a chess game for which we
are just seamless pieces.
This doesn't makes anymore sense to our generation, we refuse to
identify with the governments holding our passports, while we look
forward to relate to each other on the basis of dialogue and exchange,
approaches and architectures that can be imagined globally and
developed locally, in a open way the channels that let us speak to you
Therefore we declare **the end of nations**, as our generation is
connected by a way more complicated intersection of wills, destinies
and, most importantly, problems to be solved.
 Trattato di Campoformio
 see Nissenbaum, H, (2007) Contextual Integrity -
* Networked cities
*Creo que con el tiempo mereceremos no tener gobiernos.* (Jorge Luis
Naturally our cartography draws connections among nodes, hubs of
intelligence that are closer in the cyber space than in the physical
one. In the last century we have learned how we can share music,
lyrics, stories and images, since a few decades we are able to copy
them without marginal costs across the whole world.
This let us relate to each other with an outreach that is amplified by
the density of our living environments, the urban spaces that somehow
offered enough gaps for our agency. Those who pretend to govern our
living are now busy in controlling those voids, as every tree in a
public square represents an obstacle for their cameras, omnipresent
eyes patronising our evolution.
We found shelter in the ancestral practices of trance, opening the
doors of our perception to the unknown, resonating our own bones,
enhancing the agility of our tongues to follow the hip hop flow of
radical thoughts, skating over the universe we are constrained,
painting fantasy over the imposed walls of our cities, jumping higher
to join the loose ends of our parkours.
These practices are now among all of our cities, seeded by our own
need to evolve, to influence a governance that doesn't listen to
us. Some kids turn into a dark army of vengeance, some lost the faith
in future, some fall in the virtual loopholes offered by the magnetic
startups of the dot.com boom. We need to offer ourselves an
alternative to this hopeless conflict and the first step is to build a
narrative that respects all choices, that doesn't neglects sufferance.
All this creativity and despair is shared among our cities, stuffed by
unnecessary needs and mirages of success of the "creative industries",
while we already elaborate a concentric vision that is linked to the
density of our lives and the cultural flow of our errant knowledge.
Therefore we declare the birth of a **planet of networked cities**,
spiral architectures of living swirling above our heads and across our
fingers, as they evolve in a common practice of displacement and
re-conjunction, joining the loose ends of our future.
Our plan is simple and our project is already in motion. In fact, if
you look around yourself, you will already find us close. While the
current economical and political systems face the difficulty to hide
their own incoherence, we are able to implement their principles
better and, most importantly, we are elaborating new ones.
We are reclaiming the infrastructure, the liberty to adapt them to our
needs, our right to property without strings attached, the freedom to
confront ideas without any manipulative mediation, peer to peer, face
to face, city to city, human to human.
The possibility to grow local communities and economies, eliminating
globalized monopolies and living up from our own creations, is there.
We are filling the empty spaces left in our own cities, we are setting
our own desires and we are collectively able to satisfy them.
Furthermore, some of us are seeking contacts with the lower strata of
societies, to share a growing autonomy: as much they are excluded by
the society they serve, that much they are close to freedom, while it
is clear that autonomy is the solution to present crisis. These
marginal communities were the villagers who, mostly because of rural
poverty, could no longer survive on agriculture, as well the migrants
and refugees who had to escape their birth places, or never had a
homeland. They came to the city and they found neither work or
shelter. They created their own jobs out of the cynical logics of
capitalism, mostly in refuse recycling. They look ugly to the
minorities in power, while most architect and urban planners unjustly
call "illegal settlements" their shelter. Some of them they organise
to gain power with solidarity, and those are the squatters.
During the past decades we have learnt to enhance our own autonomy in
the urban contexts, diving across the different contexts composing
the cities, disclosing the inner structure of their closed networks,
developing a different texture made of relationships that no company
We are the **Weaver Birds**, burung-burung manyar, we share our
nests in a network, we flow as the river of the spontaneous settlement
of Code in Yogyakarta, the gypsy neighbourhood of Sulukule in
Instanbul, the Chaos Computer Club , all the hacklabs across the
world, the self-organised squatters in Amsterdam Berlin Barcelona and
more, the hideouts of 2600 and all the other temporary hacker spaces
where our future, and your future, is being homebrewed.
This document is just the start for a new course, outing an analysis
that is shared among a growing number of young hackers and artists,
nourished by their autonomy and knowledge. Our hacker spaces are
quickly proliferating as we don't need to build more space rather than
penetrate existing empty space, we are highly adaptive and we aim at
connecting rather than separating, at being inclusive rather than
exclusive, at being effective rather than acquiring status.
To those who feel threatened we ask: do not resist us, for we will
last longer than you, and leave us space, for you don't use it while
we do. Do it for the good of all of us, because we are your own kids.
 Lapassade, G. (1976) Essai sur la transe, Éditions universitaires
 De Jong, A, Schuilenburg, M. (2006) Mediapolis. Popular culture
and the city, Rotterdam: 010-Publishers
 Batten, D.F. (1995), Network Cities: Creative Urban Agglomerations
for the 21st Century, SAGE
 Lapassade, G. (1971), L'Autogestion pédagogique, Gauthiers-Villars
 Burung-Burung Manyar means "Weaver Birds" in bahasa indonesia, is
a book by Romo Mengun published in 1992 by Gramedia (Jakarta)
 the Code riverbank was considered an "illegal settlement" of
squatters, while Romo Mengun has been active between 1981 and
1986, gathering the sympathy of intellectuals believing that these
poor members of society should be accepted and helped to improve
their living conditions. The government of Indonesia planned its
forced removal in 1983, but as protests followed the plans were
cancelled. Nine years later in 1992 Kampung Code was selected as
the winner of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture in the Muslim
World. The Code riverside settlement continues to exist until this
day, as a remarkable example of urban architecture.
* Horizontal media
*Whoever controls the media -the images- controls the culture.*
(Allen Ginsberg, 1926-1997)
Our concern about freedom in media is serious, the current urgency
justifies all our acts of rebellion, as they become necessary. One of
our main activities is patiently weaving the threads for open networks
that put us all in contact. But greedy national regimes and criminal
organisations threaten us as if they can avoid their fascist nature to
be known, while opportunist provokers use our open grounds to have
granted the right to offend and generate more wars.
About media we certainly accumulated enough knowledge to trace a clear
path for our development, as we have been doing since the early days
of our existence: we are active in implementing the liberties that the
digital age grants us. This intellectual freedom is very important
for the development of humanity, for its capacity to analyse its own
actions, to weave its faith in harmony.
Our plan is to keep on developing more on-site and on-line public
space for discussion, following a **decentralised pattern** that
grants access to most people on our planet. We created tools for
independent media, to multiply the voices in protection of common
visions, to avoid that a few media tycoons take over democracies, as
it is happening in many different places of this world.
We are aware of the limits of the present implementation of democracy:
while they are busy celebrating their own success over archaic
regimes, these systems stopped updating their own architecture and
have fallen in control of new enemies which they cannot even recognise
The solution we propose is simple: maximise the possibilities to
recycle existing media infrastructures, open as many channels as
possible, free the airwaves, let communication flow in its
multiplicity, avoid any mono-directional use of it, give everyone the
possibility to run a radio or TV station for it's own digital and
physical neighbours, following an organic pattern that will modularise
the sharing of sense and let ideas propagate in a horizontal, non
If these media architectures will be linked with education models that
foster tolerance we have hope to accelerate the evolution of our
planet and grant protection to the minorities that are populating it.
* Freedom of identity
We believe that current governmental efforts of biometric control by
governments, private data mining operated by companies and public
schools watching over students activity, profiling programs that are
targeting people worldwide are a crime against humanity.
Each of those efforts are not taking into careful consideration what
can be done when dictatorial regimes take control of such systems
nations, in fact this already happened as half a century ago the first
action of the Nazi was numbering people and labelling them with a
symbol marking their biological ethnicities (as biometry could
Conscious of the lack of responsibility of current governments
worldwide, we will oppose with all means necessary their efforts to
number and control all people in the name of a safe and unreachable
security that, as hackers we can demonstrate, cannot be enforced by
As hackers we are well conscious of information flows and how several
leaks in the digital domain are actually disclosing personal
information of large amounts of people worldwide. We do believe that
people shouldn't be numbered and included in databases, that's
probably what still differentiates governments from operating systems
merely suppressing the processes that aren't optimised for their
*Because this New Order of ours is a military order, an
authoritarian order, commando style, there is no education. There
is only instruction, a mere taming experience.* (*Romo Mangun*)
As privatisation of educational structures progresses, the academy
assumes corporate and business mindset, while we assist to a shift of
the educational mission in society from *inclusive* to *exclusive*.
The influential play of industries has permeated most academical
disciplines, in particular regarding the adoption of technologies.
The choice of educators has become biased by logics of short term
profit, rather than **Solid Knowledge**.
On the other hand, notions are rapidly becoming universally available.
*Heuristic*, *maieutic* and *infrastructure* functions provided by
academies are best satisfied by the global action of free software
communities **horizontally** sharing methods, experiences, working
implementations, on distributed and versioned R&D platforms.
As components can be combined and redistributed, copied and
modified students learn a knowledge that is durable, free from
"*intellectual properties*" restricting their rights to produce and
redistribute creations. This situation will provide an advantage for
new generations, as it does for developing countries.
Media hubs and hacker spaces constitute a great potential to activate
cultural growth, fulfilling an educational role that is progressively
lacking in higher schools and universities.
In 1998 it was the first edition of the hackmeeting in Firenze
when its assembly launched the idea of *independent universities of
hacking*, spawning numerous hacklabs across the networked cities, with
annual meetings that have been taking place until today in various
places in the south of Europe. We believe the results of these
initiatives have been greatly influential for our own cultural and
technical development, as they hosted an errant knowledge otherwise
dispersed and neglected by the academies, with the participation of
people like Wau Holland, Richard Stallman, Tetsuo Kogawa, Andy
Muller-Magoon, Emmanuel Goldstein and even more collective and
With such a short but intense history behind us we are well motivated
to continue developing our independent paths of knowledge, an
auto-didactic literature that liberates the students from corporate
interests and opens up an horizon of variety and creativity that
cannot be envisioned by the most advanced, yet faulty, implementations
of the so called "creative industries".
 following the GNU project philosophy and further applying to more
fields of human knowledge.
 see http://www.hackmeeting.org and the book Networking Art
http://www.networkingart.eu/english.html (Costa & Nolan)
*Inverno. Come un seme il mio animo ha bisogno del lavoro nascosto
di questa stagione.* (Giuseppe Ungaretti, 1888-1970)
If you read until here and you think our plans deserve support, then
you should know we are really struggling for better quality, which in
our vision we didn't yet fully reached. That's what we call
As our activity mostly focuses on free and open source software
development, we have to admit we are not yet there in satisfying all
the needs of the various communities relying on them.
For example the on-line radio streaming software MuSE, being
developed since 8 years now to provide an user friendly tool for
community on-line radio streaming, being used by various radios
worldwide, is not yet fully developed to the point it should and we
have an hard time in keeping the pace with updating it.
Another example is the popular GNU/Linux multimedia liveCD
dyne:bolic developed since 2001 which has now reached version
2.5.2 released last winter: it focuses on several important issues as
supporting old hardware, implementing privacy for users, offering
media production tools and providing all development tools on its
single liveCD. We won't hide we are experiencing major problems in
keeping the project alive, lacking funds to involve more developers
for such a huge effort. In fact since more recent "phylantropic"
startups (that, considering the nature of their funding, aren't
grassroot at all) obscured our long-standing grassroot development we
have been deprived of the media attention that is also necessary to
gather support: this all follows the logic of the big fish eating the
smaller fishes, killing variety even in the open source context.
Yet another example is the FreeJ vision mixer software developed
since 2002, implementing an open platform for producing and
broadcasting audio/video online in a completely open way, also relying
on development done by the xiph.org foundation. With FreeJ we hope
a tool that let it be used for video production, as a 100% free
alternative to Flash and other recent commercial startups. The horizon
for this project is very promising, as finally Ogg/Vorbis/Theora
support is being natively integrated in Mozilla Firefox, and we
are actively seeking funding support for a short term development
sprint, which never really arrives.
In economic terms all these projects have been developed with very
little support so far and actually don't need much to go on, still
proper expertise is needed and that in most cases requires a budget to
keep people committed on a medium or long term.
What we are seeking for our consolidation is to develop a publication
platform that let us modestly merchandise these products, keeping them
still free and available online, plus eventually some benefactors
trusting our work and investing their phylantropic instincts the
visions hereby described. Anyway, any suggestions regarding
consolidations are very welcome and of course, as a good old Yiddish
proverb says, a penny is a lot of money--if you haven't got a penny.
 see http://muse.dyne.org - a tool that is well documented for
usage by the flossmanuals project at http://flossmanuals.net/muse
 see http://dynebolic.org - also listed among the few 100% free
distribution by the Free Software Foundation, as well nominated
among the top-10 open source projects in 2005 by the Independent
 see http://freej.dyne.org
 see http://www.xiph.org
 see http://www.nettime.org/Lists-Archives/nettime-l-0808/msg00003.html
*It is best to keep one's own organization intact; to crush the
enemy's organization is only second best.* (Sun Tzu, 6th century BC)
We are planning (and realizing already) a decentralised structure of
on-line and on-site facilities to be independently shared among us.
On site we successfully link to squats and liminal practices among our
networked cities, developing patterns that can be implemented locally
and shared globally. Reuse of existing empty structures is a crucial
point, as it is keeping these initiatives independent from corporate
and national influence, freeing the potential of various cultures
On line we are yet more powerful, having established a redundant
network of servers and protocols that, even if opposed by corporate
interests, are flourishing and well spread across the populace.
In this phase we are still very young and we need all your support to
help us stay independent, host our efforts in different contexts and
share their visibility.
As we have composed a comprehensive cartography of such efforts you
can be confident that all the economical and practical support
contributed will be carefully shared by all nodes and documented by a
growing literature of examples, facts and periodic reports which will
keep all our network informed.
** On site
So far we are emerging two locations: the poetry hacklab in
Palazzolo Acreide, near Siracusa, where we are struggling to establish
a museum of historical working computers (also reachable online)
as a permanent interactive exhibition where visitors can experiment
with the machines, an educational effort that also implies the
preservation of our digital past.
Second is our hacktive squatted community in Amsterdam, a city that is
probably among the last places in the world tolerating the occupation
of empty spaces, resulting in a balanced urban architecture that is
open to independent cultural initiatives and grassroot social
movements, helping to control the growing speculative trend on private
properties by business magnate and criminals white-washing their
And next are even more grassroot run places ready to be emerging, with
which we plan to share common plans about sustainability, open source
practices and open spaces for the global and local communities
** On line
The network of servers we are so far relying on is very much
resembling our on-site architecture, where hospitality plays a main
role, as several independent organisations or institutions offered us
hosting space for our projects, while half of the fleet is hosted on a
limited number of commercial collocations financed by self taxation.
All software employed is free and open source: servers run stable
versions of Debian GNU/Linux, code development is hosted using
Git, webpages are served by a custom written setup (that we plan
to evolve following this wheel spin) using Apache PHP and Mysql, while
whenever possible we use static pages. Open discussion forums are
provided using Mailman, IRC and in future phpBB, open publishing and
editorial flows are hosted using the MoinMoin wiki platform. Most of
our facilities are made redundant and of course we keep backups,
having preserved so far every single bit composing our digital
Besides the dyne.org website itself, we host several artists and
activists engaged in projects as Streamtime, Idiki,
ib-arts, Morisena and more, plus some free independent
radios and in future more TV, as software like FreeJ will be soon
ready for it.
 see: http://poetry.freaknet.org
 see: http://museum.dyne.org
 fast and distributed code versioning system, see: http://git.or.cz
 free blogging from Iraq, see http://streamtime.org
 a wiki for ideas, see http://idiki.dyne.org
 ib_project for the arts, see http://ib.dyne.org
 collaborative art, ecology, sustainability, summer camps, yoga,
 see: http://radio.dyne.org
*Nadie es patria. Todos lo somos.* (Jorge Luis Borges, 1899-1986)
Thanks for reading until here, in case we sparked some interest in you
with this document, then finally let us point out some practical ways
to get involved and collaborate with us.
Being still a young phase of our evolution we need to carefully
economise participation in our development, so we are looking for
talented hackers wishing to contribute to software development, as
well independent communities wanting to join our network and amplify
our practices and dreams across the world.
As we will hopefully get some funding (and this phase basically opens
our network to such opportunities) we won't neglect to support your
participation with money. In fact we plan to pay out fees for specific
development tasks as the ones described in the Consolidation chapter,
which will be progressively detailed on our websites.
We also plan to open up residencies and remote stage programs, in
collaboration with educational institutions recognising our efforts
and the involvement of their students in them.
Please get in touch then! from this webpage
http://dyne.org/hackers_contact.php and specifying your email address,
we will reply and plan our future collaboration.
Thanks, a thousand flowers will blossom!
Copyleft 2008 dyne.org foundation and respective authors. Verbatim
copying and distribution is permitted in any medium, provided this
notice is preserved. Send inquiries & questions to dyne.org's hackers.
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