Within the US and Mexico, or in other countries too? Código Sur for example has a lot of overlap, based in Costa Rica and active throughout Latin America. Maybe other members of APC? Close partnerships could be an option a bit easier than merging.
I read the summary and the technical page. Does indeed sound like a lot of work and worthwhile!!
Does the network file system mean the MOSH names would no longer exist, and all users would SSH login to
ourserver.mayfirst.org or something like that instead? An advantage of using last names as server addresses is that they don’t change between languages. Other than that, a single login for all our sites sounds great!
Does current MF/PL infrastructure support static site generators and processes, such as Gatsby, Netlify-CMS, Hugo? I’ve recently looked at these as a way to speed up web visitor experience and decrease server load. In some cases it doesn’t even require changing the experience of the website creators – Gatsby can use WordPress as a data source, so web creators can still use WordPress, while getting the advantages of a static site. Promoting and facilitating static sites could perhaps increase infrastructure efficiency.
I agree that promoting more political thinking about computer tech choices can encourage people to shift from, say, Google Docs to NextCloud OnlyOffice. Just yesterday at a political meeting some of my fellow educators laughed when I said “you know there’s an alternative to Google Docs, run by a membership-based political organization using software libre.” Today I sent them the same documents in NextCloud and Google Drive so that they can compare for themselves. The coordinator of the educational process had never heard of real-time collaborative document editing, and paid some attention when I asked why she would give political economy classes about factories and farm labor, but ignore the political economy of the computer tech she uses, and that sparked her into conversation. While she expressed concern about it, at the end of the conversation, the question is “What tool can I use to get this organizing task done right now?” If software libre can compete functionally, then we can gain members when they ask this question.
Some software libre that’s capable of doing useful things has only recently reached functionality, such as OnlyOffice+NextCloud (still can’t do some things, but way better than what we had two or three years ago when Google Docs was already well established). The ability to respond to movement needs with functional systems makes a big difference. Contact sync, for example, still didn’t work a year ago on NextCloud, so I paid for an annual subscription to EteSync – it’s software libre, and it works well, and it fills a very important role in stepping away from Google-Apple-Microsoft-etc by backing up my contacts in a secure, private way. As far as I know MF/PL doesn’t have a functional solution for contact backup and syncing.
Migration assistance could be very useful, and in some cases easy and in other cases very complex. A step in that direction might be some migration guides for shifting from common services and software to MF/PL systems.
Regular trainings on MF/PL resources sounds useful, both for recruiting members and for the benefit of existing members. I would make sure each training starts and ends with a political explanation of MF/PL, in order to keep the political essence strong. Maybe think of it as a (very low budget) monthly TV show, maybe live, mixing political ideas with computer tech tutorials and maybe a tech profile and testimony of one or two member organizations. I’ve been a member for 7 years and I’m an intermediate to advanced computer user, and I’m sure such a training or TV show would help me learn something new about MF/PL, stimulate my political thinking, and increase my understanding of our services.
This seems key. In some ways, I see it as a matter of self-organization… how do we keep movement building central when we make decisions about what to focus on? In this sense, I find Holistic Management useful (started as ranch management framework for governance and decision making, focused on sustaining family quality of life, economic viability, and ecological viability) – describe our vision, and not divide it into multiple goals, but rather see it as a single, holistic goal. For each decision, there are a set of “testing questions” to ask, and one is, “Does this move us closer to our vision?” Maybe this sounds naive or simplistic, and maybe the decision making processes in MF/PL already deal with this – to me, it’s a very useful tool.
Honestly, in my experience as a member, I know that somewhere out there MF/PL is doing political work, and sometimes a detail crosses my awareness… participation in the US Social Forum, the Tech and Rev gatherings (I listened to the recordings, much appreciated). But in a big way, my experience of MF/PL is as a participatory service provider – I can participate in improving the services, and I have a sense that this is a political process, and the services are very useful… I know that the power relations between the people who maintain the services and between them and me are much more aligned with my political vision than the power relations at some generic mega-hosting provider… and as someone who works in computer tech and cares about power relations, this means a lot to me and I understand it mentally and feel it personally.
Most of my knowledge of MF/PL comes from emails that I receive. I’ve never met anyone from MF/PL in person. I don’t live in New York or Mexico City, and (due to my own forgetfulness) I don’t know where the leadership committee live besides NYC and Mexico City. I know there were Tech and Rev gatherings in other cities, but I don’t know where. I don’t know if there are any other MF/PL members in Houston, where I used to live, and I doubt there are other MF/PL members near me in South America where I’ve lived for two years – but I don’t know, and I’d like to know. Meeting people face-to-face would give me an even stronger sense that this is different than just a service provider, that we are a group of people with a shared political vision and a commitment to crafting this vision together.
In order to strengthen my understanding of MF/PL’s political activities / movement building, maybe an email every so often describing recent activities would work? I realize that for privacy of the movement we’re not going to put all the details of movement building activities on the support wiki in such as organized way as the technical details of the computer/network services. A summary, without sensitive details, once every three or four months? And integrated in the TV show I describe above.
Sometimes (like right now), my membership dues go overdue (like by 4 months). Cutting off my services might motivate me to pay, but sometimes I just don’t have the money, or decide that it’s better to pay later when I have more money. I think that if there were an option to pay monthly or pay in installments, I would be much more likely to stay up to date with my dues. If there were a way to set up automatic payment of $8.34/month (=$100/year), I might never fall behind on dues. You might say, “well then just save that money each month until your invoice arrives.” Easier said than done.