This is a golden opportunity to do a One Laptop Per Person project. not just an OLPC. $USD 5m is enough to get a smartphone / pda / netbook / laptop designed, along with wireless mesh networking hardware, and the software done.
If nothing else, it is enough to get a Software-Defined-Radio custom ASIC designed and built (see Gnu-Radio and Wireless 3G 4 Free), on top of which Babel Routing Software can be deployed to give you wide-area (1-3 miles) metropolitan mesh networking.
This is a golden opportunity to deal with the centralised profit-led systems that have sprung up to "serve us", and set up decent decentralised robust infrastructure that can store and spread news, information and knowledge no matter whether there is one participant or one million.
THE FULL APPLICATION DOES NOT HAVE TO BE DONE RIGHT NOW.
all that is needed is a quick 25-minute frenzied rush to the keyboard.
but part of that application MUST include a village, town, community, region, eco-homes centre, university - SOMEWHERE there have to be REAL people who will have actual REAL hardware put into their hands.
let's take this chance to get some money so we can do what we've been talking about, for ages, knowing that it would benefit so many people.
the deadline has passed, with no input or ideas solicited, here. huh. it's funny how, when there's actually a real opportunity to get some money, people don't take it. i had several people whom i approached, who dismissed this opportunity, even though their project qualified.
i find this terribly strange. it says "we're happier with the way things are - chasing a dream - rather than actually fulfilling it".
Actually, I thought I had a good idea, and getting money to implement it would have been great; however, I realized I was the wrong envoy at the wrong court.
So, as a result of your article, I am going to change how I go about my advoacy efforts. "Liberating" those who obviously benefit from "free", one-at-a-time, has been fairly satisfying; but I now realize that at least some of us need to be selling the dream to a different group of people — people who do not quite so obviously benefit from it or who think (for whatever reason) they should defer it.
Maybe the FSF needs a campaigns manager and an ambassador; these are different roles: the job of the former has been largely to mobilize opposition, whereas the job of the latter would be to reconcile the positions of ostensibly opposing parties. I'm sure I'm not the only one who thinks the FSF could use some good advice on matters of diplomacy. Anyway.
I hope that, the next time such an opportunity comes along, I will be (somewhat more) ready — or at least in a better position to plead our case. In the meantime, I suppose calls to arms can perhaps be heeded by individuals who enjoy the clout conferred by de iure standing.
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