As the technology around a community network grows, so must the technology used by the community network grow with it. If it fails to do this, it may loose it's ability to be as useful to the community as it needs to be.

When the Ottawa Freenet was first started, technical considerations were of great importance. There was no existing technology to build upon or upgrade : they needed to start from scratch. To facilitate the quick creation of the Freenet, a Board of Directors was created that made use of a very hands-on approach to the technology.

We now have a situation where this hands-on approach is failing the Freenet. We have some very highly technical decisions being made by people that do not need to know the technology to that detail. Decisions are slow in coming as each minor change to the technology on the Freenet goes through a large learning curve for that particular technology.

What the Freenet Board of Directors needs to do is try to abstract themselves from the particulars of any technology, and try to focus on the higher level applications of the Freenet. When someone presents the board with a new Technology to be approved, the board can then quickly determine if it fits within the application models that they would have set down.

If the Freenet Board continues to discuss the inner-workings and details of each particular technology, it will always be behind the services that can be offered by other organizations - other organizations that may not have the same community concern or founding spirit as the Freenet.

The board also does not need to be continuously encouraging technical people to become part of the board in order to ensure appropriate technical decisions. The resources that these individuals represent can be much more useful to the organization dealing with the details of the technology, leaving more appropriate community leaders to discuss the higher level application that the Freenet can offer to the community.

Technology Independent Community Communications Applications

Over the last few years, it has been found that there are higher level categories of services that a community network needs to provide. If we ignore the technology currently in use to implement these services, it will allow us to set up a more vibrant environment for services to the community, and to enable the organization to not get bogged down and confused by unimportant technical details. It will also enable us to try to define the services that we would want to provide in the future, and allow technical people to create technologies to create these services.

I do hope that this list will be beneficial, and will open up discussions towards building a more sustainable future for Ottawa Community Networking.

This document is part of the National Capital Community Network Archives at <URL:>