Who are We ?
A commune emerged around common interest to speak, to liberate, current form of science and technological spheres of society from the clutches of Centralized few Monopolized control & oppressive structures. Primarily the community fount from rational basis to network people on similar thought process and grounds. Our current senior members of the community has initiated the platform with paralleled efforts and have guided, participated as equals to every other participants to discuss and delve into every action, every learning, every sharing - continuing till today.
Days of PuduvaiGLUG marked its strong basement and pillars to support further its evolutions and actions. Being democratic and striving for gender equality the community has engaged in organizing GNU/Linux Users Groups (GLUG) in colleges, universities in and around Puducherry. This has enriched the participation diversity making it more inclusive and innovative in its actions all these years.
The community now is a registered civil society organization in India, advocating the use and practice of Free Software and Hardware tools, technologies in academia, research, and all other possible institutions of the country. It has stood for Open Access, Document Freedom, Software & Hardware Freedom, Net Neutrality, Open data, growth of Scientific temper by participating in social demonstrations and policy interventions wherever and whenever possible.
The community has a wide network allowing intellectual cross pollination and flocking spanning the rural and urban environments equally likely. We not only prescribed solutions, but also constantly strive to demonstrate through community projects like building Weather stations, Community networks, installation of free software operating system in local Schools, etc… making the platform more participatory and active in its civic sense.
We have diverse set of goals and visions for which we have associated ourselves with FSFTN & FSMI to represent the active mass of the movement from Puducherry in India. This has helped the community as a movement and organization to set the bearing and mission in a periodic basis so that critical thinking and action shall be contributed towards it.
Basis of Free software and Open Hardware movement?
It is all about starting to Think Like a Commoner and in-fact becoming a commoner by enriching, strengthening and protecting the Commons. In case of this movement, it is very specific to Digital Commons.
Critical Commoning [CC]
Critical understanding of commoning, especially with Labour commoning, & Knowledge commoning is highly necessary and essential in the networked & information age, and will apply the same to future. In that context as labourers of content producers, code makers, hardware designers, UX designers, artists of digital world, community organizers, hackers who uses radical instruments against coercion, hactivists who uses produce of commons for social issues and causes, etc… all need to be aware of the internal issues and political economy surrounding the commoning. Please read further and engage in a Critical Commons path.
The following are some of the steps we take in order to realize it:
SIGs & Working Groups
SIG = Special Interest Groups, are a form of operational mode to make the community more engaging for the volunteers and participants alike. This enables us to manage the diverse interests while working towards a common goal using such diverse perspectives. SIG's are not only atomic part to engage in projects, but also a provides a way for easier learning pathways for anybody interested.
Being a action group, we love to add value to our labour, intellect and time through progressive projects which in one or other way might be helpful to atleast a particular section of the society - directly or indirectly. We take rational care not to produce projects just on technocratic basis. Almost all of the projects will have socially useful part in it.
Study groups are an essential part of a community that believes and practices democracy. It enables rethinking, unlearning, learning, sharing, and discussing concepts with democratic & inclusive participation. Constructive criticism and potential for actions founts from such study circles which on deeper inspection reveals it is an effective instrument that transforms words into actions.
Weekend sessions are the conventional yet influential form of community gathering through which knowledge, skill and thought sharing happens through democratic exchange of ideas, discourse of problems, learning from mentors, researchers, designers, developers who have not only have enough industrial experience to share their skills, but also the pain and their practice to cope with reality and how to further live life with striving for alternatives by understanding, social, economic, political struggle which they are part of. Furthermore, sharing of deeper insights and real life experiences at work, and how it connects individual behavior, rules of a work place, be it a private office, education institution, salaries, work hour duration, practice of skill and productivity, personal commitment balances ,etc…
Primarily the focus will be more aligned with current requirement from students perspective and their mental model.
For now we are organizing the following sessions,
- Statistics & Machine Learning
- Automating boring stuff with Python
Tools, Instruments & Space
Throughout history of mankind, along evolved the tools, tricks and dexterity. Skill of tool creation emerged from necessity has always proved to be optimal and best fit for the problem. The phenomenon of imagining how a tool shall be created from scratch or from existing design can be terms as dexterity. While Science and Technology being democratized by scientifically aware activists, researchers, hackers, creative commons…. the art of creating a particular tool and instrument marks and reflects the very philosophy and reasoning that pillars the process. Hence FSHM has always taken seriously of what tool/instrument shall be used, how it shall be used, and for what purpose ?
Only when there is no open solution is available, we use available tool that does not match our philosophy - while at the same time will manage our time to develop the solution required that carries democratic and scientific values with it. With respect to tools and instruments, they need not be only a software or hardware tool, but also sometimes be a process, or procedure that can be deployed with peers to accomplish the required goal efficiently and effectively. Thus we use the term instrument in general.
Such collection of instruments will become the honey pot for further participation and engagement which recursively help satisfy the creative hunger of any commons. Thus evolving into a participatory platform. Such creative space is needed for community that takes science and technology seriously. We named this creative space as Hack-Bay. Below are the list of tools/instruments/machines that are available @ Hack-Bay & Infrastructure that make FSHM as platform.
At time to keep the Infrastructure and Hackbay at the desired level, maintain, include new tools we either practice gift economy or volunteered donation from the participants, volunteers and members alike. The following list describes the details of fund rising, to keep the organization accountable.
To properly organize, manage and maintain a commons property usually derived with community contribution either in terms of funding or labour - plays a vital role in keeping the community with spirit of commons. Only be rationally understanding the commonly agreed reasons, longevity and responsibility of these resources can be scientifically implemented.
Being hacky with day to day objects, toys, tools, computers, other machinery drives help us think about the degree of openness and freedom, and its democratization in the material realm - the hardware. Eventually when we refer to hardware - we do not restrict ourselves with just electronic boards, but extend to all sort of designs that represent the operation of underlying hardware - may it be furniture or home or fan or a computer. To us transparency and openness along with shareability is a prime factor in making hardware freedom from the clutches of patents and IPR. We always have been inspired by the design of bicycle - from a commons perspective. We embrace its simpleness, orchestration, openness, transparency, clearly communicating to commons that anybody can repair it with simple tools and hand. Its design cannot be patented but shall be copied for further improvement and thus always happens so. Yet it is a highly competitive industry constantly evolving and inspiring other allied productions.
Since we are situated in Puducherry - a Bay town/district of cosmopolitan nature, we came up with the name Hack-Bay. We aspire Hack-Bay to be one of the commons participating Hacker/Maker space that supports individuals as co-workspace, as solid “doing” platform scenting with intellectual actions with tangible outcomes. This requires tools/instruments as have ever human evolution required. We collectively focus on Availability, Accessibility, Affordability as the pillars of this creative space. Commons frakework and resource management based of cooperative principles shall be used for resource sharing and effective way of attaining the desired goal.
Web of Communities
In order to accomplish desired goals, resilience is needed. Resilience in turn could be derived from solidarity. Compatibility between communities and movements with similar set of vision and philosophy can easily attain this solidarity to a siginificant degree. This creates a web of communities where merging between them happens respectively in the way they operate, they act, they think, they deliberate, they intervene, etc…
Achieving Solidarity, Reciprocity, Resilience between communities requires complex understanding of how people with similar mind work together, sharing their experiences, their way of action, while also accepting the difference between each of the communities. FSHM has identified the following communities closer in terms of thought process, critical thinking, action, socio-political understanding, scientific temper and interests, etc..
To manage the commonly available resources, infrastructure, tools, machines, scheduling requires a platform which can able to manage the collaboration in a easier way. Project - LUDUS is planned to include this feature along with being a participatory platform. The design was proposed with following requirements:
- Not to resemble another social network
- As a platform to enable and ease participation
- To explore ongoing projects and take part
- To ease the learning pathways
- To provide a sense of completion through guiding
- To enable actually learn implications of licenses through doing
- To enable commoners attach with what they like to do
- To manage resources of community in a robust and precise way
- To enable manage a individuals learning mgmt by clearing out noise
- To cross connect disciplines
- To make aware of FOSS/H tools, technologies through projects
- To further connect individuals with other scientific communities
- To help people connect with HackBay and manage it smoothly
Role of EC is vital for the proper and smooth operation of the community, making democratic decisions with rational reasons. Electing new members, electing office bearers with resopnsibilities and its procedure, allocating resources, etc… some of the necessary actions it periodically undergoes. It sets the bearing and mission roadmap for the community itself.
- Society Registration
Since we consider and operate based on scientific principles and methods, we also do try to make scientific contributions from creation, experimentation, analysis, reviewing, open access publishing, etc.. Most of our activities in one or other always have a better chance to be published socially and scientifically. The contributions are welcome from the members, volunteers & participants of the community. We also do care about the tools we use to create a document for publishing as well as how we publish. As a movement and organization, we believe that any scientific innovation through technological or social means must be atleast tried to reach or useful to people who are marginalized, oppressed.
Since its inception, community has itself several times self raised the question of self sustenance and confronted with different answers at different situations. However emergence of critical thinking within the community has forged its path to choose, learn and research about Alternative Economic Models collectively. This has eventually lead the community with few members to bravely lead the way so that as a platform visioned to provide economic sustenance without sacrificing their passion and thought process. This has philosophies and principles of Free(dom) Technology, Socioeconomic historical learnings, Strategies, Cooperation, Collaboration ingraned in it. We do not isolate or hard separate FSHM community and this sprouting spinoff - Coopon. They both organize and act symbiotically - with appropriate isolation on a case by case basis. One can consider it as a pragmatic economic platform for seasoned hackers, activists, hacktivists, researchers … that does not compromise the principles of liberty, democracy, cooperation, collaboration, transparency, accountability - while understanding the socio-eocnomic dialectic reality.
In addition to educating awareness of necessity of Scientifically developed technology for educational institutions, research institutions, individual and family uses, community always engages with other pro-people civil societies and sister/peer communities from nearby states for a common cause that requires social action.
Following are the list of actions that FSHM actively engaged with :
|1.||Net Neutrality||Internet Neutrality||Free Basics, Privatized Internet, Digital Divide||Demonstration, Policy|
|2.||Datafication||Privacy, Alternative ID Schemes, Accessibility Rights||UID, Privacy Theft||Finds design flaws, loopy laws|
|3.||Right to Meme Campaign||Civil Voices||silencing of social voice||Educated, campaigned, drafted collective letter|
|4.||Rice Vs Cash||Rice, Women role in family livelihood||Privatization, Direct Cash Transfer||Tech support, Social learning, after effects of UID|
Empathize New Comers
Newcomers to the community approach with diverse mindset and unguessable imaginations about the community and about the possibilities that can be learned and shared with the community. Thus it is duty and responsibility of all the senior members and the seasoned members to minimize the pain and guide a least resistance path to imbibe with the communities philosophy, politics, economy, skill, sharing and mentoring.
Since most of the users in our locality are users of proprietary hardware and software. Showing them a “Real User Friendly” Operating System or any other tool, that are not in their imagination will definitely inflict some pain, and might sprout fear to learning new things, even if they are exciting. This seems to be a crucial time and space where the handover from bullying, oppressing proprietary system of tools to free culture oriented tools and technologies.
One can easily demonstrate the most attractive, new comer friendly, highly interactive User interfaces to them allowing them to land softly, so that they get a safe and warm feel about what we are dealing with. Availability of right resources to install an operating system and tool requires proper hardware infrastructure available with the new comer. To adapt easily, every feature and functionality must be made available through compromising strategies.
Compromising here makes sense, as it adds strength to community by including one more.
Often Burn outs happen with the community members who are in the path of enlightenment, and thus may some times lose hope, feel burned out, frustrated, highly idealistic, etc… This can be balanced by sharing the load and responsibilities with the fellow member of the community.