[Imc-communication] Something positive
ryan at linefeed.org
Fri Nov 21 09:23:30 PST 2008
Well, out of the this latest outburst of back-and-forth e-mails on
imc-communication, I would like to expand a little bit on what I wrote
to Rona, in response to her questions & frustrations about the future of
While we have posted this info to many global IMC mailing lists many
times over the past few years, I'd like to give a little more
information about the effort to make a next-generation Indymedia CMS.
This next-gen CMS was born at the Techmeet 2006 summit in Sao Paulo,
Brazil. A number of sf-active and Mir and other Indymedia folks got
together to discuss a number of problems:
1) The various IMC CMS'es, which were at one time innovative, have now
been made obsolete by the corporate world catching on to the
"user-generated content" idea and since IMC seemed to be always fighting
problems (police problems, server problems, etc), we started to fall
2) Also, IMC started to fall behind because as the "thrill" of protests
started to wane, more and more volunteers drifted away. As long as there
was something exciting and "sexy" going on with IMC, we had people to
help. But for the long-term sustainability, the hard day-to-day work
reqired to maintain a network like IMC, only a few core people stuck
aroung to keep working on it every day. Many of these core people went
to the Techmeet 2006 Summit to help devise a plan to fix this.
3) Finally, the IMC software and server configuration model has been
proven to be unsustainable. We've had server seizures (by law
enforcement or corporate lawsuit order), we've had people who were
donating hardware suddenly take it away, and our infrastructure is not
designed to sustain problems like this.
Therefore, we all met in 2006 and out of that meeting, we developed an
impressive list of features we'd like to see in a new IMC CMS, and we
also decided to merge the sf-active and Mir team along with any other
tech willing to put in work .
We also decided to thoroughly research the new CMS and build it on top
of a technology that came from -outside- the activist community.
Unfortunately, right after the 2006 meeting, we had to deal with a
couple major crises for IMC tech: 1) the California Community Colo,
which had been hosting a number of IMC sites, decided to close and 2) a
server donation which had been used by IMC for many years was also going
to be unavailable. So, since the people who were working on the imc-cms
project were the same people who were left with the responsibility of
dealing with problems like this, a big chunk of our time was sidetracked
by these problems. Needless to say, we found solutions and continued our
project to build a new IMC CMS.
This included intensive research of all the open source CMSes, setting
up demos, sending out inquiries to those CMS teams, etc. It also
included intense discussions about our problems and how they could be
This discussion continued through Techmeet 2007, and during Techmeet
2008 we made a basic prototype of the CMS. This is no small feat -- the
CMS architecture we are talking about is extremely innovative.
The IMC software we are now talking about and we have a basic prototype
for includes: without losing the ability to be anonymous, the
feature-set includes potential user accounts, potential user groups
(newscrews), cross-site user accounts (so, if you had a user account at
Argentina IMC, it could be shared with your account at UK IMC, if you
wanted and if they both used the new software), user profiles which show
all the posts you've ever made on IMC, and more.
In addition, the architecture is set up in a way that if any one IMC
server is seized by law enforcement, or goes down due to hardware
failure, or any other problems that have plagued IMC, all would be
solved. The new architecture is resilient to law enforcement, flaky
volunteers, and janky hardware.
So, I am trying to use this recent disagreement to -again- invite
everyone who is still inspired by the Indymedia concept, who is still
amazed that we have a worldwide network on almost every continent of
earth, who is still in awe at the media distribution network that we've
built on our own with the principles of open source and free software,
to join and help out with this project which has the potential of
putting Indymedia into the forefront of innovation within the technology
And how do you do this? You do it by:
1) Catching up on where we're at. You can see the architecture PDF here:
2) You can read the technology overview here:
3) You can join the imc-cms group by joining #cms on irc and joining the
4) You can help the Techmeet effort (email me for info on getting involved):
5) Check out the middleware code:
6) Help us get ready for the Techmeet meeting at the upcoming World
Social Forum in Belem.
If you're like me and you've invested a ton of time and money and work
and sweat into Indymedia and you don't want to see it all go down the
drain because nobody did anything to stop it, then join this effort! We
need help! We need responsible individuals of ALL skill-sets who can
help get things done!
After all this time, and all the things that have happened, I'll do
everything I can to stop it from just slipping away. I'll do everything
-I- can do bring it back to the being the most innovative thing
happening within the global anti-capitalist movement. And in countries
like Brazil and Argentina, where IMC is still a central part of huge
social movement, we don't want to let the IMC movement drag those
So, if you agree with what I've said here, if you want to revive
Indymedia, then get involved in the ways described above and I'll see
you on IRC!
More information about the IMC-communication