[Make-wifi-fast] [Babel-users] Osijek, Otvorena Mreža, MeshPoint

Emeka emekamicro at gmail.com
Tue May 1 16:54:25 EDT 2018


This is a great project and you have achieved so much already. You
mentioned that your project is open source, I am wondering if there is a
public codebase.  You mentioned that you used VPN, which one?  Is there any
form of de-centralised system ?
And why having only 450 users par MeshPoint. Is it possible to see the
specs of your hardward?

I would like to learn, and if you won't mine.

Regards Janus

On Mon, Apr 30, 2018 at 11:03 AM, Valent Turkovic <valent at otvorenamreza.org>

> Hi,
> On Sun, Apr 29, 2018 at 11:47 PM, Juliusz Chroboczek <jch at irif.fr> wrote:
> > Hi,
> >
> > I've just spent four days in Osijek, a small city in the East of Croatia,
> > invited by Valent Turković (in copy of this mail).  It was an interesting
> > stay.
> Juliusz, it was a blast having you here! I really enjoyed meeting you
> and discussions we had were very, very interesting.
> You are welcome back to visit anytime, your friends are also welcome,
> and your friends of friends are also welcome :)
> > For those of you who are not up to scratch in European Geography, the
> part
> > of Croatia that everyone knows about is the west, on the Adriatic gulfn.
> > But Croatia also has an inland part, in the east, which is flat and
> > agricultural.  The region is known as Slavonia (no relation to either
> > Slovenia or Slovakia), and the main city is Osijek (pronounced "Osiek");
> > the other well-known town there is Vukovar.
> >
> > Valent is the founder (co-founder?) of three projects:
> >
> > 1. Osijek Wireless, a non-profit that puts open access points all over
> the
> >    place, both in fixed locations and to support events;
> > 2. Otvorena Mreža (Open Network), an informal project that develops
> >    a number of technologies including a free hardware outdoor router
> >    running Babel, known as MeshPoint; Otvorena Mreža notably provided
> >    Internet access to a Syrian refugee camp in Beli Monastir back in
> 2015;
> > 3. Crisis Innovation Lab, a limited responsibility company (for profit)
> >    that aims to market an outdoor router for crisis situations.
> >
> > The Otvorena Mreža technology stack uses a number of familiar open-source
> > technologies, notably Babel for meshing the routers when the need arises.
> Thank you for this overview. Otvorena mreža and Wlan Slovenia have
> been working together for over 7 years, and we have made great
> progress together. You can check out our live node map here [1]. We
> are now in the process of setting up our own nodewatcher server that
> will run on https://nodes.otvorenamreza.org, and we already have a
> separate vpn gateway for our part of the network.
> Idea is to have duplicate and redundant systems so if any part of Wlan
> Slovenia network has some issues they can fall back to using our
> infrastructure, and vice-versa.
> > Valent is unfortunately not the best at communicating about his
> > activities, and the only website I could find in English is about the
> > MeshPoint crisis router.  It runs Babel ;-)
> >
> >   https://meshpoint.me/
> >
> > -- Juliusz
> Yes, this is so true. I didn't understand the importance of
> communicating vision and mission up until few months ago... I always
> thought that you really use terms like "vision" and "mission" when you
> wan't to sound smart or when you want to take money from someone :)
> I wrongly thought that "real engineers" don't need to communicate
> their vision, they just have an idea and go work on it. But without a
> way to communicate your idea to others you are then left alone to work
> on your idea and if idea is actually big and important enough there is
> actually very small chance that you can do it on your own.
> Best place we have documented our work so far is on Hackaday prize
> competition blogs [2] from last year's competition. But we have gone
> quite far from that since then.
> There a number of projects (big and small) and corporations (mostly
> huge ones) that are trying to address the issue of digital divide and
> how to connect next 5 billion people to the Internet. If you have been
> keeping an eye on what and how they are doing it you have seen them
> failing much more than getting something even off the ground, let
> alone making it successful.
> I was asking my self this; if even the biggest corporations, with
> almost unlimited resources, with probably some of smartest people on
> the planet, best scientists and awesome engineers then is it possible
> that a small group of open source geeks, volunteers with almost no
> budget can "compete" with them?
> My answer is yes. Not only can we "compete" but we can show them how
> this can actually be done. I see two mayor flaws in approaches so far.
> 1. What most big corporations say they do and what they are actually
> doing is usually not the same. Yes, they wan't to connect next 5
> billion people, but all of them want to build some kind of wallgarden
> and not to connect people in the most general way possible. This goes
> agings internet being more open, and it is closing it down, making it
> almost a privately owned network (with corporations as gatekeepers)
> instead of a great public good.
> 2. All commercial backed entities want to build an infrastructure what
> will be used by next 5 billion people. They see anyone connecting to
> the network not as a valuable contributor but only as a user. Also
> building infrastructure doesn't scale, or at least it scales very,
> very poorly - especially in developing countries.
> I have seen examples and I know there is a better way to do it. It is
> definitely not to build an infrastructure, because we would need
> billions and billions of euros/dollars...
> What we need to build are tools that will enable next 5 billion people
> to connect themselves.
> Building tools isn't as sexy or glamorous as building something like
> infrastructure that you can show of to others, but it is definitely
> only was I see we can connect whole world. But also building only
> tools is not enough.
> So the full answer is we need to do both.
> We need to build tools and we need to build infrastructure. But the
> main difference is in out approach. We don't build infrastructure with
> top to down approach because that doesn't scale, but we build
> infrastructure from bottom up. This is only way we can scale things
> and actually connect next 5 billion people.
> But building infrastructure and tools is also not enough. We also need
> to build our own open source and open hardware wifi routers.
> We can't use off the shelf devices because most of them are getting
> more and more closed, they are also change too often so you can't plan
> anything with them. Most consumer devices change every few months, so
> as soon as they are released they aren't supported in OpenWrt, and few
> months later when you get support for them they are already replaced
> by a different model or revision.
> As much as doing all of this seams crazy, this is exactly what my team
> and I have been doing for last 3 years. And I believe in this so much
> that I have also stared a social entrepreneurship company.
> Reason for starting a company was motivated by earning a profit, but
> to show that I'm 100% serious and dedicated to this idea. I have put
> my money where my mouth is, so all of our (my wife and mine) money is
> used to make this happen. We believe we have a good business plan and
> I'm sure we will be self-sustainable and be able to support this idea
> from profits that we gather., but for now is company if far from being
> profitable. Juliusz can tell you that we drive over 25 year old car :)
> But all our team members get payed for their contributions, to be
> precise, all except my wife Mili and me.
> We are trying to get some EU funding and collect some grants, but I'm
> very careful about that. Because most important to us is to have a
> self-sustainable business model which would mean that we would stay
> independent. Also if we would focus only on getting "free money" from
> grants then we would have would to find new source of income once we
> deplete current one...
> Getting "free money" could become a honey trap, because some people
> and projects that go this route fail after few years. They become very
> good at getting free money that they just like it much more (or
> overhead is too much) than doing real work, so projects actually stop
> doing any real work. We are very conscious of this. So we are only
> asking for enough money to help us accelerate our development (hire
> few full time people) but we will never ask for so much money that we
> feel "safe". I have learned that in order to produce good results you
> have to have correct incentives setup.
> And we have seen also how many open source and open hardware projects
> fail because enthusiasm wears our after a few years, also life happens
> - people get married, get children, and of course then priorities
> change. You have to provide for your family and first that goes out of
> the picture are hobbies and open source projects that you work on.
> This is why I started a company, to have enough money to pay for
> developers to work on open source projects so that they can bring food
> to their families.
> This is far too long email, but please let's continue this discussion.
> Cheers,
> Valent.
> [1] https://nodes.wlan-si.net/map/
> [2] https://hackaday.io/project/10453-meshpoint-wifi-router-
> for-humanitarian-crisis
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