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[liberationtech] TheGlobalSquare: Call for coders

Yosem Companys companys at stanford.edu
Thu Feb 16 08:10:27 PST 2012


TheGlobalSquare: Call for coders
Submitted by Anonymous on Tue, 02/14/2012 - 00:02

*Submitted by The Global Square*

*TheGlobalSquare <http://46.183.217.125/gs/wiki/wiki/index.php/Main_Page> aims
to be the first massive decentralized social network in the history of the
Internet. We are aware of the difficulties we must overcome, but we believe
the Internet Community has reached a point where such an initiative is
possible. It is possible because we are more united; censorship and
repression have created stronger bonds between those who care about freedom
and the free flow of information. How can we achieve this goal?
*


*Structure: Organizing humanity in a single collective*

The Global Square is to be an easy to use social and work platform for
individuals and groups. One of the main goals is that it should have very
low barriers of entry for inexperienced users, making it as easy as
possible for them to contribute work, interact and use the various tools at
their disposal. Another goal is that the Global Square be expandable to
allow global coordinated and efficient work in every system.
TheGlobalSquare recognizes the principles <http://wlcentral.org/node/2445> of
personal privacy as a basic right of individuals and transparency to all
users as an obligation for public systems.

The Global Square is not exclusively for activists. While it will assist
activists with the correct tools and virtual meeting areas, it will also be
available to the global community. Although the structure is designed for
organization and coordination of personal relationships, assemblies and
action, the platform is also conceived for independent work systems,
movements struggling for civil causes and more. As systems are added that
encompass more aspects of daily life and political topics of wide interest,
experts and users from all walks of life will be able to use the Global
Square to discuss, create and learn. A first example of this is the News
Commons, which will be a source of verified, crowd sourced and peer
reviewed news on all topics. Other early basic systems to be created on the
Global Square are the Global Market for establishing new methods of
exchange and the Renaissance and Evolution Forums for testing principles
for governance and law. Future systems could include topics such as
communications, healing, food, arts, sports, sciences, trade, housing, and
energy.

This is an open community where everyone is welcome. It is peer-to-peer,
horizontal and non-hierarchical. This is a space where coders, designers,
itechs, artists, activists and philosophers are invited to collaborate
together. We believe it is necessary to concentrate and focus our energy,
so if you are already in a group planning something similar or with the
same objectives please participate to enrich both projects.

*P2P based*

With the support of Delft University of Technology <http://www.tudelft.nl/>,
TheGlobalSquare will mainly be developed based on the existing peer to peer
technology provided by the renowned file sharing
softwareTribler<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tribler>.
Tribler is a project focused on decentralized social networks with years of
expertise in peer-to-peer communication. By using this particular existing
P2P technology it becomes virtually impossible to break or censor our
network. The content files are not centralized in any physical server, so
the network belongs to its users - a basic principle of participatory
democracy applied to the on-line space. It encourages input from users from
countries with censorship and blocking; with an 'unblockable' space to
share all kinds of information and work collaboratively. It has been proven
that WEB, as we know it, each day is more closed and subject to arbitrary
and illegal blocking. A step beyond it is more than needed.

*Open system*

TheGlobalSquare will include authentication mechanisms, relational schema
and communication protocols. Authentication and communications are up to
whoever implements this specification to build a system. That will allow a
project to be *"TheGlobalSquare compatible"* while supporting semantic
data, currently visualized as RDF. The RDF vocabularies we develop to
represent meaning and relationship are the common thread that enable
uniting a variety of platforms. Any network is the sum of the technology
supporting it as well as the actual connections made between individuals
and groups within it. To succeed, we must be able to both leverage whatever
currently exists as well as develop anything needed to build bridges
between systems and people. There will be a blend of network protocols, web
services, data stores, P2P clients etc. Tools for people across the planet
to meet, share ideas and develop proposals must enable coordinated,
effective, global action. TheGlobalSquare system will provide a unified way
to manage communications between people within a radically heterogeneous
vocabulary system.

*Approach*

Build something, get a real-world community to use it, and ask how we can
improve it. Instead of detailing the design out from zero, we propose to
build software and incrementally improve it. This requires a
designed-for-evolution type of modern software engineering approach.

Our goal is to have a functional prototype by March 2012. The Global Square
will be a featured project at the Berlin Bienale from April 27, 2012 until
July 1, 2012. To have something working in March, we need to be modest. We
will start with a simple PC app. The first feature to create is an
operational skeleton for an attack resilient social network: Users can add
friends and send them messages in private. You can also leave messages on
the people's public walls. This first prototype should already have robust
security and use Elyptic Key Crypto to secure all communication. Each user
creates a public key upon installation. All private messages are encrypted
for that person only. All friendships are initiated using spoofing-free
mechanisms.

*Features after the March release*

Using the Agile method we will focus on one feature or module for a few
weeks, conduct tests, do a release and then focus on the next feature. By
releasing in a 6-8 week cycle we can focus on coding and improvement.

A goal is to have a smartphone app later in the year plus a standalone app
with a usable GUI. We will start with the stand alone PC app, which later
can be turned into an .apk for mobiles. Once the basic prototype is up and
running, we can add features beyond social networking, for instance,
Squares, Task Groups or Events with communication systems. Once that is up
and running the focus could be on "distributed decision making and voting"
and the various Systems such as News Commons.

*The global square needs developers to turn ideas and dreams in reality!*

For such an effort, we must count on the community of coders and
developers. We are going to use a Tribler kernel based on Python. We
urgently need the help of the community in order to implement all the
features planned for The Global Square. If you have expertise in Python and
P2P protocols you still have time and opportunity to join our project, a
project which will hopefully change the dynamics of interaction among
global society.

Various jobs require a combination of the following:

   - experience with Open Source project basic operation
   - Python programming
   - network protocols, UDP message transfers
   - cryptography, pub/priv key management
   - SQLight, performance, transactions
   - epidemic gossip protocols, for global dissemination of crypted info
   - self-organising network programming
   - GUI in WxWindows
   - Android developer, mixed .py build chain (for later smart phone .apk)

To join:

   - Take a week to read the Global Square
wiki<http://46.183.217.125/gs/wiki/wiki/index.php/Main_Page> and
   the other documents<http://46.183.217.125/gs/wiki/wiki/index.php/AgileRoadmap>
and
   understand the existing code.
   - Possibly work for a few weeks on prototyping
   - Feb - March 2012 availability
   - Join the mailinglist:
theglobalsquare at lists.takethesquare.net<https://mail.google.com/mail/?view=cm&fs=1&tf=1&to=theglobalsquare@lists.takethesquare.net>
   - Introduce yourself :-)

*General-contact: Pedro Noel
info at theglobalsquare.org<https://mail.google.com/mail/?view=cm&fs=1&tf=1&to=info@theglobalsquare.org>
 *
*Press Contact: Heather Marsh (spokesperson)
press at theglobalsquare.org<https://mail.google.com/mail/?view=cm&fs=1&tf=1&to=press@theglobalsquare.org>
 *
*Developers Contact: Johan Pouwelse and Ed Knutson (development
coordinators)dev at theglobalsquare.org<https://mail.google.com/mail/?view=cm&fs=1&tf=1&to=dev@theglobalsquare.org>
*
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