Barcelona Fab Lab

A fab lab is an open collaborative space where you can find any kind a fabrication tool, from the milling machine to the 3d printer, all sorts of wood processing tools, and even industrial machinery, free-to-use. Barcelona has one big fab lab that I happened to visit.

IMG_20130927_122112The first thing that strikes you when entering the lab is its openness. Anyone is welcome to come and use the tools. In fact, you encounter all kinds of people there: from the entrepreneur willing to quickly make a prototype to the artist working on a new concept, and including many hackers trying new ideas. And all these people help each other, eventually sharing ideas and comments. The beauty of it is that all these different people wouldn’t necessarily meet without this space, and this diversity gives such a strong picture of creativity.

 

 

 

Walking in the different rooms, you’ll find the IMG_20130927_122045result of this creativity: artistic sculptures, proofs of some concept, electronic devices, architectural models… The large green panel you see (I know, sorry for the bad quality pictures…) on the wall of the first picture is a miniature model of the city of Barcelona.

The fab lab is getting its own resources by selling models and prototypes to companies. It is a very good example of how collaboration can become a sustainable model and offer a credible alternative to corporations as we know them today.

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Barcelona – A Hangar full of artists

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Yes, these are electronic components. And they’re not to be used by the typical kind of geek you would expect. They are used by a bunch of artists to create their own sound synthesizers.

I think art is more interesting when it is based on some technique. Creation makes more sense when we actually make something.

Manu is an artist in Barcelona. He works in an artist place called the Hangar. There, dozens of artists of all kinds have their own space where they can dedicate to their art. Every Thursday they open their doors to the public, and organize workshops or other kinds of events.

The first floor is dedicated to technical artists like Manu. For his synthetizer, he designs the whole electronic circuit, buys the components and integrates everything to get the sounds he wishes. It is a strange activity where art meets open design. That makes the Hangar a place full of passion, and this is part of what makes Barcelona so creative.

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Open Initiative European Tour!

We’re starting today a tour of Europe. We will meet great people, discover interesting projects, see beautiful cities, and check what Europe has to offer in terms of open source, crowdfunding, collaborative economy, do-it-yourself and other initiatives you wouldn’t even have thought of. We’ll keep you posted so that you discover all those passionating projects.

We’re starting today in Barcelona, and I’m already amazed by how many great projects there are here. We’ll present you some of them very soon, so stay tuned!

IMG_20130926_091951 IMG_20130926_091958

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Journées du Patrimoine des start-ups

On September 14th we participated in the French event “Journée du patrimoine des Start-ups”, basically hundreds of start-ups opening to the public to let them know what a start-up is about. On that occasion we organized an event called How free software changed my life. We had there two great speakers who did awesome presentations, that we’ll summarize here.

Julien of Stuffomatic:

How free software changed the life of Plee, the bear

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Stuffomatic is a video game studio, launched in 2012. They developed 2 games:

Julien started long time ago using proprietary software. But he was facing a dilemma: either pay for expensive software and all the upgrades or counterfeit. At some point, it became clear:

I’m a software maker. I wouldn’t like people counterfeiting my software. Let’s do free software.

And it made a lot of sense. Free software enabled him to know more people, share, contribute, get improvement from others. And evolve in the free software ecosystem without barrier, stay up-to-date for free. Code is accessible but we stay author, so others cannot claim ownership on it.

But then came the business model issue. The crowdfunding was the natural solution. And at this point they discovered Open Funding.

On Open Funding, we fund the software step by step, with limited amounts each time. It enables us to limit our communication effort, and to move forward without explaining the whole thing in only one step. It helps us keeping our agility.

They learned with Andy’s Super Great park that making great software is not enough. They now know they need to complete another essential task: communication. This is also true for crowdfunding. So they communicated on blogs, forums and sites dedicated to free software or video game. And Communication is a long term process: they need to build a community to support them and to help Plee the bear grow. And that’s what free software is about.

Sacha of Stample:

How free software is changing the world

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Stample is a distributed social network. It is built on the new standards that are about to change the web.

To us, social means contribution. At Stample, we think that we’re switching from a society of consumption to a society of participation. We’re moving from public to actors.

Current social networks are organized like a panopticon. It is a prison in which noone sees each other, but the Panopticon sees everybody. On your social network, you can prevent others from seeing your data or your pictures, but you cannot prevent the network to see them. Stample offers security through distribution. If you control your data, you can use it freely. You can share what you want with whoever you feel like.

 

 

Free software makes sense on the distributed web

Free software offers 4 basic freedoms:

  • to study
  • to transform
  • to use
  • to distribute
Those four freedoms were published by Richard Stallman of the Free Software Foundation in 1986, before the Web even existed.

At Stample, we think that we should add a fifth freedom relative to Social Web: to control one’s information and identities.

People associate Open Source with geek. Open source would certainly be nothing without the geeks, because geeks initiated a lot of projects. But these projects wouldn’t exist without their users. And they’re not only geeks, they are everybody, so the end user is the destination of free software. Some free software are very well designed.

Open source is not to be associated with geeks. It is rather a way to move from this society of consumption to the society of contribution.

There does exist a design issue with some open source projects because people are often not enough professional. These software are made by developers and no designer participate. But when the software is backed by a company, it can become beautifully designed. There are many examples of that.

Stample offers a secured way of sharing your data with your network. It is secured because it is distributed, and it is secured because it is open source. They fit together well.

I finished the day by presenting Open Funding to the assistance, trying to convince them that we’re all concerned about software, because our society runs with software. Your phone, your television, your factory. Tomorrow even your car will be driven by software. It seems a major issue to us. And we think everybody should be concerned. We should all contribute. That’s what Open Funding is here for.DSCF0039

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Great time at the #JPDS

It was such a great experience seeing all the poeple who joined us for the JPDS last saturday at Mutinerie.

We had a good workshop with the people from Stuff-o-matic, Stample and GNUSide. We got the chance to show the work we’ve done and the projects we’re all working on. Thanks again to all the assistants!

Remeber to start your own free software project on our site http://funding.openinitiative.com/

Soon some pictures from the event!

 

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Can free software change your life? This is how it changed ours

When we thought about the title for the workshop of the Journées du Patrimoine Des Startups that take place in Paris between 12 and 14 September we talked about the importance of free software for us and how really it has been a life changer in many levels.

stallman

http://www.flickr.com/photos/32871306@N03/3376134730

There are many reasons we work with free software and why we have started a crowdfunding site for it. Each one of us has personal reasons for this, but there are some common factors that have changed our lives since we first knew free software. Here are some of them:

1.    Money and time saver: how many times have you fought against permissions, licenses and all kinds of obstacles that don’t let you use software in its full potential? Free software makes you confirm that it should be open and free as its name stands for. We’re not saying that free software is equal to no money, but to being up for everyone. Anyhow, it’s always a cheaper option than any other private software.

2.    If you know something, get into it: when we’re talking about development, of course there’s a big importance of the work you can do making the software better. But on Open Funding, we are not all a group of developers and that’s the great thing about free software. You can really contribute from what you know and this really finishes with the idea that free software it’s reserved to geeks. We found ourselves being useful for a good cause from different points of view, because it’s not only about doing the software but also making people aware of it and distribute it.

3.    Great entourage: have you ever been to a free software event? You may find that the people that work around free software can be the most open and sharing people you can ever meet. There’s a sense of sharing and working together that’s natural from this environment. And also, if you really don’t understand something they will try to help you. Maybe some of them can escape from explaining in a language that seems out of this world, but they’ll try their best. Since we first starting attending this kind of events our network has really increased and we have met great people to work with.

developpement

http://www.flickr.com/photos/51098911@N07/4696338852

4.    Developers are good at what they do: when the idea of creating Open Funding came to life, we talked about how valuable developers work is and how sometimes it doesn’t get recognized as it should. There are many creative people with great projects and we think they deserve to get a fair recompense for the value of their work. Also when developing, it’s sure you’ll be near great creators who will challenge your competences

5.    Share, share, share: the spirit of free software exhales sharing and distributing. As we said before, you really can help from what you know and spreading the word out may be one of the best ways and literally anyone can do it. For example, there are many people in events who work as volunteers with a project they trust. With free software, the community is really everything and we confirm this every day with the projects we are co-funding.

 

There are many other positive reasons why free software has changed our lives, and that’s exactly what we’ll be talking about this week in our workshop with the heads of three different free software companies who will share their experience and tell us how it really has changed their lives. If you want to get inspired by their stories, join us!

http://www.jpds.fr/workshops/open-initiative

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Open Funding in the next JPDS

We’re happy to announce that we will be in the next edition of the Journées du Patrimoine des Startups, that will take place between September 12th and 14th in different places in Paris, including Mutinerie, the coworking space where we’re installed.

We’ll have two apperances during the event. The first one consists of a presentation of the company for all the assistants, the introduction of Open Funding and the work we do here.

The second one, is a 2-hour event hosted by Open Funding that’s called “Comment le logiciel libre a change ma vie” (“How Free Software changed my live”), a conferece with  the heads of three different entreprises of Free Software: Gnu Side, Stample and Stuff-o-matic (Creators of the game “Plee the bear” which is being funded on our site).

These will be three days to discover the different startups in the local scene and we’re lucky to be part of such a great event which is celebrating its second year.

So if you’re in town and want to hear great stories about free software from some , its great advantages, and get to know some startups that are makeing their way through, you’re more than welcome to join us. Come and get involved!!

 

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Crowdfunding free software

Last week we participated in the Rencontres Mondiales Décentralisées du Logiciel Libre and we were asked why crowdfunding is a good model to fund free software.

Since we started our platform we came up with many reasons why it may be the best way to contribute to the creation and innovation in this field. Free software development has long been kind of the “underdog” in the development world and this is because people tend to mistake the “free” for “no money” when it really stands for “open”. Stallman famously defined it by free as “free speech”, rather than “free beer”.

So here’s some explanation on why at Open Funding we find it as a great method to go with:

The cost is lower for funders. It’s different if you try to pay the development alone to pay it with a group of people interested in the same project. The crowdfunding model is simple and appropriate: if more people contribute to the funding of a feature, each one has to give less money to make it to the goal. This means sharing the costs of the work.

This can help developers have a wider audience than they would have achieved in a regular way. Through crowdfunging, they’re creating a community, a group of people who’s interested in their work and are willing to pay for it. These users proved by their funding that they are the most likely to engage for their software, so it is a good core for the community. The developer can use them to structure it’s user community. It’s the basics of community management, but crowdfunding is a good tool for that.

But it goes even further. By offering different options of features to fund, the developer can test his community in a “lean startup” way. He will have a better knowledge of his users’ needs and expectations as clients.

Image: 'Crowdfunding'  http://www.flickr.com/photos/16991062@N07/8661000014 Found on flickrcc.net

http://www.flickr.com/photos/16991062@N07/8661000014
Found on flickrcc.net

Because that’s another difference with Open Funding: our platform is not based on donations but service delivery. That means, developers get paid for a job they’re doing and users obtain a product they’ve paid for. This means a new economic model for free software developers.

Today, most developers earn their living though associated services, but that means revenue is not linked with the development effort, and therefore it’s very difficult to have a dedicated resource on development. The software often suffers from that.

Open Funding’s model is meant to be fair with both sides : there’s a results engagement from developers, and users can have the software for less time and money. The project development also is accelerated, because the idea is make possible that developers can invest themselves on this work on a full-time basis. And the payment is secured, developers don’t have to harass their clients to get paid.

With Open Funding the payment is right where it should be: at the core of the community management. Because getting users to pay for a software they need and love is the best way to create a dynamic and engaged community.

So if you’re a developer this is a way to get the funding you deserve and if you’re a user, the way to have the products you’re in need of. Developers’ work is important, here it is rewarded at the level it should, and users participate in the process as they validate the work done by the developer and can even propose new features to the project.

And that’s basically the spirit of free software. Everyone can participate by their own means to make it better and help it grow, so crowdfunding works in this way, helping improve the creation of free software together.

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Open Funding in the next edition of RMLLD!!

We’re glad to announce that we have been invited to participate in the next edition of the Rencontres Mondiales Décentralisées du Logiciel Libre (RMLLD) which will take place from August 22 – 25 in Saint Joseph of the Reunion Islands.

This is the second time they celebrate this event, that includes different francophone actors in the Free Software community. As for us, we’ll be presenting the conference: Comment participer au financement d’un logiciel libre (How to participate in the funding of free software).

This will be the opportunity to expose Open Funding and our experience in the last few months to a wide audience interested in the subject.

The conference will be the 24th august at 15:00h.

In the moment, you can find all the information about this event and of course our conference here.

 

 

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Hello World!

Yes indeed!

We have great things happening in Open Initiative this week.

We have a new BLOG!!

This may be the most important one. It’s been a while since we wanted to open a blog and it’s finally happened!

This is place where we’ll tell you all about the new features, the updates of our company and our site. It’ll be a place to share with you directly what happens in the journey of the Open Initiative’s team.

So if you want to get to know the company, get in
touch and give us your feedback, this is the place.

New projects :

Awake SQL combines a virtual JDBC Driver and a framework to enable remote JDBC access over HTTP.

We are happy to announce too that we have a two new project in our site!

Awake SQL that combines a virtual JDBC Driver and a framework to enable remote JDBC access over HTTP. The first feature it’s to make the current version compatible with Appel iOS.

It's a fun free software game. in which you're a bear who has to find his kid who has been kidnapped

On the other hand, we’re also welcoming Plee the bear a video game in which you’re a bear who has to search the son, who has been kipnapped.
You can learn more about the project and help its funding in our site!We’re excited because we have many other projects coming, so stay tuned!kipnapped. A fun game that will upgrade the design.

New Presentation page

We’ve updated our Presentation page to answer all the questions that we usually get from users and developers. Go and check it out, and tell us what you think about it!

Other language feature

We work on the features on the site based on the feedback from developers who want to communicate to a certain community of users. That’s why we have added a new language feature, so now you can describe your project in French and in English. Great, right? We think it’s a perfect opportunity to have a wider audience to show what your project is about. So use it to spread the word about your project on Open Funding!

New look on the Open Initiative homepage!

We currently have two platforms working (Open Initiative Projects and Open Funding) and we make part of the organizers of the Flat Conference which had place a couple weeks ago in Mutinerie. So we wanted to show that in a simple way in our new homepage. This it’s how it looks now! What do you guys think?

Open Initiative Homepage - Free Software Services

That’s all we have for you in this very first post of our blog.

Remember to follow our pages in Facebook and Google+ and in our Twitter.

 

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