Drupal Work Collectives

Submitted by on

Agaric proposes the creation of a new kind of workplace, essentially a Drupal commune, but really more like an open source free software idea & brainstorming commune, kind of along the same lines as an artist's or writer's colony.

Imagine a network of state-of-the-art green living spaces spread across the planet in the most beautiful locations that mother nature has to offer. Places filled with the best and the brightest drupalistas living and playing and growing together, and together developing Drupal and the various technologies that help it work. As an open source community, Drupal already possesses many of the cooperative qualities that would make this sort of commune possible. Just think of any Drupal meetup you've attended in the past. Some show up to demo their latest work, others to ask for help, others to give help... What if we had spaces where this sort of thing was constantly happening?

The Drupal commune would be open to whomever wanted to come join in for a period of time and help advance the cause. Every member of the community would provide a special skillset to the team, be it coding, theming, graphic design or documentation. Some people could be permanent residents at such places and others could come and go based on work available and projects being worked on. Of course at first, we think it would have to start as more of a couch-surfing type thing. People who have the space can offer it up, recruit and house a few drupalistas for the duration of a project, like contributed work, or payed client work. From there, teams could assemble all around the world, do the necessary work, and do it better than they could alone, all while being able to enjoy and explore the world. Then disband, these communes or colonies don't have to be permanent, although that is the eventual goal.

  • The individual contributor gets a combination code sprint and couch surf experience.
  • Drupal gets fantastic functionality or process improvements made in ideal productive circumstances.
  • And everyone gets satisfaction of making something awesome and worthwhile, in community, while getting to see and explore planet Earth and do fun stuff.

This idea is nothing new and has recently been advocated by the brilliant physicist and surfer Garret Lisi. In his own words he says these places... "would essentially be large houses in beautiful locations where theorists could live and work." Citing his own experience living in Maui and the mountains of Tahoe and Colorado, Lisi says that for theoretical research it is good to have opportunities for hiking and things to do outside in attractive environments. Describing the idea more formally, Lisi says:


The physical requirements for conducting scholarly research have changed dramatically with the rise of the internet. It is now viable for researchers with laptop computers to work autonomously -- with access to current articles and communication channels on par with the resources available at large universities. These new circumstances motivate the creation of a new kind of research enterprise: a Science Hostel. By providing places to live and work with other researchers, in beautiful locations, a Science Hostel could increase creative productivity and overall quality of life for scholars in the internet age.

We believe the Drupal world currently developing before our eyes is especially well poised to embrace such an idea. We are a growing community of able, intelligent, free thinking, and like minded people. We all think Drupal has a lot to offer people, and we've all been making a living developing with Drupal, and we also all our own personalities and hobbies outside of work. We see a lot of people in this world showing up to "just a day job" or a "9 to 5". We don't like seeing Drupal applied to this model. We believe that satisfying work comes from truly embracing what you do and doing it to it's fullest. So it's not just your day job, but your lifestyle, something that is an essential part of your being. When focused on certain subjects with such passion, originality and creativity can flourish, sparks happen. Our proposition is that we really pursue this idea of combining our work lives with our personal ones, evolving things into a lifestyle of the future.

These communities could also include people who are interested in sustainable living, and/or off-the-grid living and promote these ideas as well. So not just Drupalers, but there could be specialists doing other things like growing food with aquaponics, creating mesh wireless networks, or harnessing solar and wind energy. Proving that people can create and shape their universe when they come together and cooperate.

The way we see it, this thing would be community managed and totally open, the way Drupal has always been, except now we'd really be starting to shape the material world using Drupal, creating a free culture. There are a lot of folks who are tirelessly spending nights and weekends coding masterpieces like CCK and Views and giving us the power to feed and clothe ourselves. We love seeing this happen, we love thinking about it. A person driven to create is a beautiful thing. We want to see more community forming around this stuff. Why should development be done in cooped up cubicle type spaces? Why have we let so many convince us that our time is best spent, and we are most useful and productive in offices and sitting in traffic? Would things evolve more organically, and would Drupal advance exponentially with the future of humanity if places like this existed? They don't even need to be permanent, we could organize and create them for certain collaborative projects and disband after the work is done and has been contributed back to the community.

There is a lot more that can be written about this, and all the details still need to be worked out. But we're confident that the community could organize enough to essentially allow for these "corporate retreats on acid" or "software development communes" to happen. Drupalistas could apply for internship type positions and get voted in, most likely through the drupal association or similar organizations. Teams of independent contractors could come together, share projects, split up the work, and live the good life. We could become the renaissance men and women of the future and break free of all the old, tired, hierarchical, institutionalized ways of being productive that have been shoved down our throats in the past. We can create community, developing our ideas, doing the work we love to do, and seeing and shaping the world into something better during our time here.

Sure it's not for everybody, but we have a feeling their might be other Drupal nomads out there...

Comments

Submitted by Anonymous on Thu, 10/21/2010 - 15:07

Has there been any thought towards Detroit, MI as a possible location?

Submitted by on Thu, 10/21/2010 - 19:31

Absolutely. I could see a permanent place in Detroit, plugging into the fantastic urban farming movement there-- see http://detroitblackfoodsecurity.org

(The US Social Forum in Detroit this year was amazing.)

What's your Detroit connection? Drop us a line.

Submitted by Anonymous on Thu, 10/21/2010 - 18:02

I'm an amazing organizer, planner, gardner, chef, designer, strategist and drupal-enthusiast. I'm there :)

Submitted by on Thu, 10/21/2010 - 21:07

Could you send us your name? :-)

Submitted by Anonymous on Thu, 10/21/2010 - 18:22

Where do we sign up?
What level of commitment is required at this stage?

Submitted by on Thu, 10/21/2010 - 19:34

The level of commitment required? Interest! Or, co-maintaining a site about this for people to sign up at? For now, let us know who you are here in the comments or otherwise.

Submitted by Kasper Souren on Thu, 10/21/2010 - 19:39

I've stayed at collectives, coding for couchsurfing.org, in 2006 and 2007. Pretty interesting time. Also lots of issues there, but I think people in the Drupal community are a lot less prone to groupthink and opacity than the CouchSurfing "leadership team".

Overall... looking forward to do this again! Especially when it's not just about the technical aspect but also with a specific real life goal in mind. Such as bringing people together or letting them share things or places (such as couches).

Submitted by Douglas Deleu on Fri, 10/22/2010 - 09:01

I had a great time working at 2 Couchsurfing collectives in 2008/2009.
Shared some greate experiences with some very interesting people and made some good friends there. I'm also looking forward to do this again. I love travelling, Drupal and freelancing around the globe. When do you start? ;)

Submitted by Moshe Weitzman on Fri, 10/22/2010 - 09:30

Wow. This is a brave article to post on Drupal Planet. Few people have the courage to dream out loud like this. I really hope that some Commune superstar reads this and makes it his/her passion to get one of these started.

Drupal is about to turn 10 and none of of are getting any younger. Needs to happen soon.

Submitted by StickGrinder on Fri, 10/22/2010 - 15:56

Hi there all! I live in the north of the "sunny Italy", right under Alps. I own a small house on the river Ticino, all here is green and calm. But we got DSL! :D

Our commune counts somethins as 550 people, so it's a very small town. Come and see, I'm good in cooking and eager to learn and share my drupal supapowah! :)

Bye bye!

Submitted by on Sat, 10/23/2010 - 00:41

It's great to see a positive response here. I guess the next logical step would be to get a site setup that'll list and connect people interested, let them propose projects, and offer up places to make em happen... contact us if you want to help us build it

Submitted by Wim Leers on Sat, 10/23/2010 - 05:21

Extremely interesting essay! Well written, too.

I agree with Moshe: it's great to see people dream out loud like this! :)
Drupal has already achieved so many amazing things, several of which contribute to influencing the path of history. I sure hope that this will be the start of one of the most noticeable Drupal effects on history :)

Submitted by ronaldmulero on Sat, 10/23/2010 - 12:47

Count me in!

Submitted by bojanz on Sat, 10/23/2010 - 20:00

The idea sounds great.
Brave, and risky, but great. Would give the term "Summer of code" a whole new dimension.

As Wim said, let's change history.

Submitted by Peter W on Sun, 10/24/2010 - 04:40

Count me in! I think I'll be in the SF Bay area for a while and imagine that that would be a great place for one of these collectives.

In terms of organizing, a couple ideas for where to start:
1. Let people sign up via a form that collects where they are or would like to be and how much space (if any) they have.
2. Provide a map interface and other tools to allow folks to find and contact collectives or people interested in forming them.

Submitted by R.J. Steinert on Sun, 10/24/2010 - 17:31

I've devoted my life to working in open source as a way to develop tools that help sustain communities by creating independence from the unstable outside system. Software developers, in general, are a long ways away from being agrarians but it would be most interesting to see what would happen if we tried :). So that's one direction this could go.

The other direction would be this 'hostel' idea which would probably end up being more like a hotel where the residents have nothing to do with sustaining the habitat but instead depend on imported resources. While that would be 'fun', it is a dramatically different model from the first scenario I mentioned. If this is the direction some enthusiastically follow, I suggest they take a close look at how destructive tourism can be for all parties involved. When I studied Eco Tourism and Sustainable Development in Costa Rica through the University of Vermont I found many success stories and failures of rich companies and U.S. citizens coming there to start a hotel/hostel/commune.

Submitted by magahugu on Sun, 10/24/2010 - 20:38

Open Source is the paradigm for a new world of community and shared ressources. The commons, be it open source software, wikipeida, community gardens, local currency, worker owned cooperatives, cohousing, any commonly held property, create an economy whealthy of shared resources and community.
Now FLOSS and Wikipedia have proven themselves, but how can we take the Open Source Paradigm into the real world? Drupal is one of those connections, as it brings technology to many grassroots groups, activists, alternative medias, schools, etc. It allwos us to do what the corporate wold is trying to restrict us to do: To spend less and have more.
The open source philosphy and the Net allow us to collaboration on the information that allows us to create our own livestyles. We need to start collaborating on the building plans of our lifes, not only on software. By that i mean architectural plans, medicine, permaculture, sustainable electriciy generation, alternative fuels, etc. We need information on how to run our own local currency, on how to transition.
So collaboration is on one end, the global end, but on the local end, we need to start using that information by starting to create commons, produce goods from open sourced building plans, create open source cooperatives, and share back what we learn in the process. That way world citizens can collaborate, rather than feed corporations that feed on them. Collaborate globally, act locally.

As i imagine this, i feel a sense of purpose, as i know many brothers and sisters aournd the world collaborate with me on this ideas right now. And i feel a motivation to start working in my own place, the place i know and have to most influece. Real community development. Drupal can help create those social networking sites that allow us to collaboration on the information we need to feed into the mainstream.

I'm in the process of starting my own collective, with 10 friends/colleages/students based on self-sufficiency (permacultuer/agriculture), economic autonomy and peer-production (which is the idea of global open source collabroation and local small scale production). I use Drupal to create ride-share portals, or to make students of my school to be able to share their acedemic work between them and the public. (http://humjournal.com)

In the information age, sharing information is what makes the world a more efficent place, creates community and leads to sustainability. The open source/creative commons philosphy leads the way.

http://humjournal.com/node/14
http://manufakturingruendung.ch/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commons-based_peer_production
http://www.openarchitecturenetwork.org/

http://bildr.org/

Keep it up and good luck.
magahugu

Submitted by nina on Fri, 10/29/2010 - 19:40

wonderful vision ~ blessings on your journeys.

having lived at two semi-intentional communities three times, i'm now studying sustainable communities and dreaming of my own: a healers collective, with all the counter-cultural fixin's -- permaculture, worker co-op, growing food on site, alternative healing: bodywork, eco-therapy, self-expression through art, music, dance, writing. accessible to all, and more specifically targeted to under-served communities in the US.

so, this creative container vision drawn here certainly resonates. keep up the great work! nina

Submitted by Capi /. Etheriel on Tue, 11/09/2010 - 20:44

i have been working towards this collective. i have recently founded a cooperative with the goal of fostering free software development, with a special focus on the web. it has been my goal (and my wife's) to start a libertarian school to teach autonomy and sustainability, and share a piece of land between the cooperative, the school and our crops. we have been prospecting opportunities to buy this piece of land around here, in Campinas, Brazil.
i would love to be part of this drupal commune, please contact me through skype (barraponto), twitter or my drupal.org account (barraponto). i will even be hanging out at #drupal-commune on freenode. i am pretty interested in developing the first brazilian chapter of this commune, but i would surely travel to other chapters if i can bring my family with me.

Submitted by patcon on Tue, 11/16/2010 - 02:32

I bet you guys'll get a real kick out of this: Open Source Ecology project.
http://openfarmtech.org/index.php

They're basically codifying all the techniques needed to start a civilization from scratch, and making all the plans, processes, and circuits available online for free. Ever wanted to built a compacted earth brick maker? A back-hoe? Tractor attachments for your back-hoe? A lathe? It's all here.

Really, really, really amazing project, and so in-line with the Drupal mindset. I'm not a back-to-basics kinda guy, but I really respect what they're doing, and the implications for developing countries might be astounding. Definitely worth stumbling around the site!

Pat

Submitted by patcon on Wed, 11/17/2010 - 00:36

I thought I posted this already, but it must have been lost during a tab-surfing session:

There's an organization based out of Toronto that has open-sourced an amazing model on which this community could be built -- The Centre for Social Innovation.

http://socialinnovation.ca/sssi

Check it out. Seriously. I wrote back to one Agaric employee about my intereste, but this was on the CouchSurfing.org Drupal group (which I'm sure is off the radar). My long-term contract is about to end, and I've got some money saved away and am intensely interested in working toward something like this.

I've got some reading to catch up on, but you'll hear from me :)

Patrick

Submitted by on Wed, 12/01/2010 - 14:59

You did post it... my bad for not getting around to the comment approval queue

Submitted by patcon on Wed, 11/17/2010 - 02:00

This is a important question for me -- Is the intention to flee and fight cities and urban landscapes, or try to save them while in exile? Is there room for those who want to fix them and make them work? I very much love the idea of proselytizing commune life on its own merits. What can I say, it's a romantic idea -- but I'm not convinced it scales.

Or put another way, even if commune-dwellers were to "succeed" and convince EVERY LAST PERSON to do adopt the life that they seek, would things fall apart? Would we destroy that which we seek to immerse ourselves in? Yeah, in some ways it's a preposterous question, but I think it's a good thought experiment with which to evaluate convictions. Despite their shortcomings, cities have the capacity to be most efficient with their resources...

I'd love to be a part of this project, so long as it's not with sub-text of abandoning the broken cities that are our future. It's a distinction that's important in any project I'd become highly involved in :)

Submitted by Drupal Themes on Tue, 12/28/2010 - 02:23

I have been using Drupal for nearly a year now and I have followed almost all Drupal experts on Twitter and Facebook. I guess I would join this community too.

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