Decaying Free Software Communities vs. Emerging Hackerspaces

I Past

Young rebels with a noble cause
The birth of a community...

Group of hackers in our late teens and early twenties, defending a righteous cause in Macedonia, to promote free software

Promoting free software, free culture and open standards

To promote free software in our society, our misson is:

We admired the "hacker ethics" at MIT, RMS and the rest

Their values about:
Couple of hacks
Localization marathon in 2002
Localization marathon in 2005
We fought the goverment before they signed the agreement with microsoft
Free software flood in 2004 / 1
Free software flood in 2004 / 2
We gave lectures..
We hacked OLPC for UNDP
We were having a hell of a great time
We promoted free culture works and creative commons, we promoted jamendo, magnatune, free movies and free cultural works
And our three main failures

* Funding

No matter where we applied, we got a big “No”. The usual donors, were not interested in us.
Nevertheless, the organizations was rarely without any money to fund some of its activities. This was mostly due to our participation on other projects (such as UNDP led ones), where some of the members got honorarium for their work, which they later donated for the general activities of the organization.

* Representation

Who or what is Free Software Macedonia, and what do we do? We never were under any "umbrella". For bad or for worse.
Sometimes the ignorance goes even further. On one predominantly free software project led by a foreign agency, we were asked how can we possibly help with their project. Of course the obvious overlap of the name of the organization and the free software project was not enough to make the connection that it could be useful if FSM got involved. They actually screwed up localization, we warned and they did not listen. Now nobody cares about localization any more.

* Shrinking of the community

New people rarely join and many of the activists have just moved on.
This is especially interesting because the usage of GNU/Linux and free software in general has grown. The users however don't seem to bother with any of the issues surrounding the community.

Something had to be done

We had to act immediatelly!
* We took the risk and in 2009, in early september, I made a call for participation and people pledged money for rent we were going to fund a hacklab. * Finally.
Welcome to KIKA
Information Culture Autonomy An automonus place run by free software activists and hackers.

II Present

3 Years, 2 locations and we are just getting started ...
In an half empty, half ruined, building from 1949 in the former premises of the geological institute we found refuge. Together with a group of artist we shared rent, it was maybe like Berlin in the 1990s, a semi like squat, a fully run community space. It was a place outside Skopje Macedonia, inside the city centre. An island of freedom and autonomy.
Hacker culture and free software

The hacker ethics were

It seems that these are the actual values that we from the free software community shared, so all of a sudden we felt like we knew what we were doing. We were there once before, in the past, when we build our free software community. Now we had to be a little bit broader, to attract people intrested in technology and to promote the hacker etics.
KIKA 1.0 had to close after 1.5 years in late 2011
The artists made a 1000 eur bill for electricity, that didn';t stop us, we build a paralel power grid ,but then the building got condemned and gov institutions will be build on the premises
GNOME Women outreach 2011
GNOME Women outreach 2011

And yet it was still a success!

People for paying rent and membership fees, we were independant It proved it could be done The community started growing again
We actually rebuild the computer section of the popular Narodna Tehnika in former yugoslavia. Right at the moment when the actual Nardona Tehnika building, and infrastructure got sold and a university for toursim and business evicted the previous space.


Faculty GSOC presentation


III Future

KIKA GSOC startup session
GSOC 2012
Explain the personal experience of how did that go
A small group of people, made a change when they started Free Software Macedonia 10 years ago A community was created to help that small group of people so we can grow and expand, but still share our ideas and values That community decayed over time, but with the help of a small group of people that shared the original ideas and hacker ethichs managed to emerge as the founding force behind the KIKA hacklab in Skopje.
Building a hacklab is hard
or not?

You need dedication

You need continuity

All exuses are invalid

Attract other communities

Wikipedia, other programming user groups, Drupal. wordpress it seems that there is interset but we don't know how to handle it at this moment

Getting new people involved steadilly over time

Then next generation, should replace the next, and the next, gsoc seem like a goot alternative where new generation of students come and go
NSND Split
NSND Split

Regional cooperation through NSND helped a lot

Expand cooperation with HKLBGD and MAMA in Zagreb
CCC Berlin
CCC Berlin

International cooperation with CCC helped

The CCC congress is a must, to get experience and to just see how things are done on a whole new level
World domination
World domination

You are all invited to colaborate with us!

10x and see you in Skopje @ KIKA
But lets see what the future holds for everyone. There are many ideas and visions of what KIKA should be, and how it should look like but let's leave that for the future.