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A Year of Libervis

Free culture is the culture of free (as in freedom) information and content such as music, images, text, software; anything! The word "libervis" means "most freely" in Latin. In the beginning this "most freely" only referred to free software, but throughout 2005 we broadened our view to all of free culture. This is probably the biggest change that happened to Libervis.com and also the one that was the most crucial to defining its identity.

Libervis.com provides a rich environment where its users can discuss free culture related topics, write articles together, blog, share their creations, and much more. It is a framework through which a Free Culture can flow in open communication, discussion and creativity.

2005 was a year of defining Libervis.com, its identity and purpose. It was also a year of growth that brought it to a mature state in which it has something to show, a strong base to build on and something to attract with. It happened through the few key events that marked this year and shaped Libervis.com to what it is. The following examines some of these events.

Cooperative Articles

The article Free Software Model in other Areas of Economy wasn't written by one author, but cooperatively by multiple authors using the wiki section of Libervis.com. Although only the key three have been named, everyone that participated in discussions prior to and related to this article can be given credit for their contribution.
This article is probably one of the most impressive and even the most successful Libervis projects of 2005. Initiated by Jose Monserrat Neto, an university professor, it stirred months worth of interesting discussions that led to some basic concepts, a theory, a proposition for a new economic system that would be based on the Free Software/Open Source model of creating. This article was a candidate for World Social Forum 2005 (as part of the belonging Free Software Forum), and has been published in "Third Catarinense Congress of Free Software" (SOLISC2005), the openBusiness website as one of its first published articles as well as several other places. Due to ongoing activities by Jose Monserrat Neto this article is still going around and it is still relevant and can only continue to be so in the future, potentially being used to push for changes in economies.

We plan to write more in such a cooperative manner throughout 2006. In fact, the article you are reading now has been written cooperatively in the wiki by Libervis moderators. We will also invite some interesting people to be interviewed by the Libervis community; cooperative interviews! A suitable place for this could our IRC channel: #libervis on the irc.freenode.net servers, but forums could also be used to propose interview questions and therefore cooperatively create a list of questions to be asked.

FUDZilla

The FUDZilla project was our response to the increasing number of misinformation articles put out against Free Software and GNU/Linux at the beginning of 2005 . It was made to do a simple task, allow for "blacklisting", that is, reporting articles considered to be "FUD" (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt) and to thus serve as a reference of what material should not be trusted.
This project, has been on hold for some time, or just inactive. Some of the possible reasons why it didn't catch on are the lack of contributors to report FUD on daily basis, the administrator and moderators lacking time to put into it, and at times maybe a lack of FUD to report Smiling .
The future of FUDZilla is yet to be determined. Either the task of maintaining it will be given to one of the moderators, we might appoint a new moderator for it, or it will be suspended until the next big wave of FUD.

Cooperation with MozDex

Mozdex.com is a search engine powered by Free Software and aiming to build a fully functional open and transparent search engine. They have approached the Libervis community looking for suggestions and open discussion on issues surrounding mozdex.com and later even host their official blog at Libervis.com. Since mozdex.com is a great example of a project "for a free world" and very much in sync with what Libervis.com stands for, we have welcomed this cooperation with open arms. The future may bring more activity in their blog as well as possible opening of a dedicated mozdex subforum that would enable everyone interested to get involved in an open discussions about building an open search engine.

Libervis Network

Libervis.com is now a very general-themed web portal. It is a framework for the flow of communication, discussions, knowledge and creativity in the most open manner possible and on topics encompassing a very large area; a Free Culture extending to a whole Free World envisioned for the future, but also created by communities of people like ones gathering on Libervis.com. This makes Libervis.com a perfect node in a network of the free world on the web. It is a network that is to be created by founding new or adding existing sites that fit this vision of a Free World and help build it, into an affiliation. The result is a web network that can be a great influence toward making and preserving the Free World or Free Culture. It can as well contain commercial sites operating under business models in line with the policy that will not break the ethics of Free Culture while providing financial sustainability to the network.
The Libervis network has only just begun to grow in 2005. We plan to add more sites to the growing network in 2006, and keep adding new ones forever. If you feel your own website would fit in, do contact us!

Problems (and solutions)

Technical issues

Although technical problems did not happen much more often than they may on any other site, there were times when it got really bad. On the upside this resulted in experience that would ensure that future technical troubles may be avoided. We are now more cautious about software upgrades. Things don't need to be rushed and newer versions of software powering the site should be left waiting for a while before applying them, so that any problems are first identified and ironed out before they can affect the site. We won't be running beta or release candidates of any software critical for the official Libervis sites.

Financial problems

Another problem was that the administrator (Danijel Orsolic) of Libervis.com got disconnected a few times (thus being unable to operate the site at those times) . This is in fact a financial problem.
In 2006, we want Libervis.com and the rest of the Libervis network to become self sustaining, including paying for things like internet connection, hosting space and bandwidth. The current three sources of income are donations, the Libervis cafepress shop, and advertisements.

We will search for more advertisers (without putting an enormous load of advertisements on the site) and define a clear advertising policy: we will not accept advertisements that contradict our ideals, such as for proprietary software. You will not see things like Microsoft's "Linux Reference Center" on Libervis.com nor any other unsuitable advertisements.

Moderators and ranks

In 2005 some moderators were not very active. The reason is probably that the site didn't actually need real moderation that often and other specific tasks weren't given to keep moderators much more busy than ordinary members. The result was moderators who weren't really community leaders and some weren't even present often enough to be called active members. In 2006 this is going to be considered a problem. Moderators will have more tasks and would be required to stick around more often. It's not an added pressure since they can choose to opt out and be absent for reasonable amounts of time, for which many legitimate reasons exist, but it's a guideline policy that should keep moderators being moderators and keeping in mind the responsibility they have as such to the people who depend on them. Having moderators who are away for months does not serve the community.
Starting in 2006, we will use the "Libervis team" rank to reward users who have contributed a lot, instead of making them moderators. We intend to form a general team, which will include moderators as well, for we believe making a superficial gap between ordinary members and moderators to be of no service to Libervis.com.

What Will Be New In 2006

We are always open to ideas for projects. If you have ideas for a free culture related project, feel welcome to join Libervis. We can provide many types of help, from simply thinking along to artwork to in-depth coding. So, it is also you who decides what will be new in 2006!

Plans for libervis.com

Nevertheless we also have our own plans already. For example we are considering to create a Libervis GNU/Linux live CD that will include everything you need to produce free culture, and searchable archives of works created by the Libervis community.

Another proposal, which ought to tie in with our interviews, or perhaps even cooperative interview ideas would be to conduct a series of Libervis podcasts. These could include anything from updates on the happenings of the Libervis network as well as full fledged shows with discussions and even audio interviews. The only issue that surrounds this is hosting of these podcast files, but a solution to that may yet be found.

New sites in the libervis network

We believe there is space for another free software tech support forum. Ours will be unique because it will not promote proprietary software in any way. It will be powered by free software exclusively, there will be absolutely no advertisements for proprietary software (which is a policy for the whole libervis network) and in replies to questions concerning combinations of free and proprietary software, we will always suggest using the completely free alternatives instead.
We very recently started this support forum at Nuxified.org. Nuxified will support all popular free operating systems, and we plan to loosely integrate it with Nuxified.com, which is another libervis network site. Nuxified.com allows you to post your experiences of GNU/Linux software and show off your desktop, so the two sites are clearly related: Nuxified.org helps with setting up systems, Nuxified.com is used to show off the results.

Libervis has recently added an improved blogging module to our network allowing more customized blogs within the Libervis community. If you would like to have a free culture related blog, start yours today at blogs.libervis.com.

Conclusion

In 2006, Libervis is to become self sustainable. It will be more active than ever, with many cooperative articles and interviews, an ever growing libervis network, and much more. You just got a taste of what we would like to do. The more new people join us, the bigger the possibilities.

All that said, the network we are building would serve as a framework for building a global Free Culture Movement that spans all areas of culture from Free Software to music and videos to books and blueprints as well as people of all nationalities, interests, expertise and age. Interconnecting and joining together everyone into this movement is our job, to build a free world together.

We wish you a happy and exciting new year with optimal freedom, and hope to see you soon at Libervis.com!

Danijel Orsolic (libervisco),
Taco Buitenhuis (tbuitenh)
and Pascal Klein (klepas)