Open Source

Hemp's need for Open Source Research
04 Aug 2016 - By mr.berqstrom

It is time for me to put aside my criticism on Open Source and try to look for solutions. Some people might be provoked by the argument in favour of the blunt user in my previous 'blog post' (Creative Commons might become a copyright mess). But this is a necessary process to create further development, by investigating "both side of the coin". As established, there is clearly challenges with Open Source solutions, that's why I now will present to you a field where Open Source might be the key.

When reading some updates on the development of the Hemp Industry, I came across four sentences of great interest, published on the product webpage for The Canadian Hemp Trade Alliance (quote as follow):
  1. The economic reality of hemp is that hemp cannot necessarily compete with waste products (wood, straw, stover etc.) on price.
  2. Products such as biofuels or Medium Density Fiberboard are technically possible, but competitively cost–challenged.
  3. A processing challenge for the hemp industry has been that while every other industry has developed since 1938, hemp has not had the chance or the funding to develop the infrastructure to process the harvested raw material into usable and valuable raw materials. 
  4. Establishing commercial processing for hemp fibres is, in some ways, a game of catch up.
As far as I can read from the four bulletpoints, is it necessary for the Hemp Industry to "catch up" in the development and reserach behind the products. It is in this research area I see Open Source as a potential platform to assist with knowhow for the industry, so it can be able to compete on prices with established products. The other argument for for this is to make amends with one of the biggest mistakes in history, when the commodity for centuries were condemned and left outside general competiton in established marketplaces. The world today is far behind finding real solutions for the climate change. Hemp have the potential to be one of the main contributing factors, for handling it. But this can only happen if politicians all over the world are willing to face the misconception towards hemp and accept it as "the green revolution", capable of providing the human race with endless products families.

Source - RealHemp.com
The Very Useful Industrial Hemp, digital poster, Source: RealHemp.com
Hemp-Chart digital poster, first publication unknown

One of the advocates for this perception is Jack Herer, known for the book The Emperor Wears No Clothes (1985). As an activist his voice has been restrained, perhaps even understandable thinking about the times when the book were published. But today, three decades later, the need for his (point of) view is required, if the Paris Agreement is supposed to be something more than nice words and ironed suits. Canada on the other hand, is one of the few countries leading the way for hemp- driven solutions. But to push this further is knowlege essential and time is scarce. That's why I suggest for the Open Source (hardware) community to embrace hemp as their material. This is one of the few arenas where Open Source can develop freely and on its own, with little (or no) intrusion from other industries. Furhtermore can the plant grow alomost anywhere in the world, making it into a truly global Open Source project, with an aim to solve the climate crisis and create a new green fresh start for the planet Earth.


The first place to start, in my opinion, would be to follow up on the statement by The Canadian Hemp Trade Alliance, saying that; "Products such as biofuels or Medium Density Fiberboard are technically possible, but competitively cost–challenged". When the necessary reasearch in this field, to create the systems and machinery needed for producing biofuels and fiberboard from hemp will take place, it should be done as Open Source. This would lower the development time (and cost) drasticly, since this is the part in the hemp processing where it's all about 'catching up', using known techniques. It would require people with a particular skill sets, willing to invest in new business models, built on the Open Source philosophy. But by bringing the chart above (the very useful industrial hemp) one step at a time away from the dream and making it into reality, the green revolution will quietly have begun.


Creative Commons might become a copyright mess
03 Aug 2016 - By mr.berqstrom

Under the creative commons licensing scheme, there is it a large variety of different sharing models you can choose from. If you first has agreed to give away some of your rights regarding the copyright of your work, the creative commons  will give you two main options. The first is the contrary of the standard "all rights reserved". Its called CC0 “No Rights Reserved”, as the copyright belongs to the Public Domain. The second options is the commonly used CC License where the copyright holders can choose from four different types of permissions:
By combining these, you can put together the license fitting your work and valueset. As an example is the license for this webspace - EggCube.org, following the License; Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike. This license makes the access to my work on EggCube.org, mostly suited for individuals as students, reasearchers or educational and non-profit organizations. You might wonder why I have not taken the step fully out like the the hardcore Open Source fans, by removing the Non Commercial clause, but my answer to this can be read between the lines in My Vision. It clearly shows that my licensing needs are different from digital object producers, as my work is mostly idea creation and concept development. But to make it easy, you could say that I'm the kind of person who's using both Windows and Linux, side by side.

So, not to dwell more about my own choices regarding the copyright License at EggCube.org (as it sums up itself at the end of this blog post), I would like to describe a case where the "Open Source Architect" is using two sets of CAD-Objects. One set is found on the found on the Open Building Institute website, the other from my master thesis - 'Houses for the masses' at EggCube.org. The difference between these two licenses is the more restrictive Non- Commercial clause for EggCube.org. Otherwise is the Attribution and Share Alike the same.

The Open Source architect wants to use hempwall CAD elements from EggCube and combine these with windows, doors and roofing elements from the Open Building Institute. When doing so, should the new license for the work made by the Open Source architect in theory follow the more restrictive liscense, but since it is a commercial project for a developer, is it highly possible that the architect will ignore this fact and pretend that only elements from the lesser restrictive license were used in the project. The Open Source architect thereof wrongfully claims he/she is the creator of the hempwall CAD elements and to save time only given Attribution to the lesser restrictive license. But to fulfill the terms of the lesser restrictive license, he/she still need to fulfill the Share Alike clause of the modified buildingelements. Problems to do so, occurs when the Developer do not want detailed files about their building to be publicly available, most likely for privacy reasons and the risk for abuse. Only picturing what potential wrongdoers could do by knowing the details of a door or window to a building, not mentioning how the same challenge would be considered for an Open Source Home Control and Security System. I'm not saying that this is challenge that cannot be solved, but the risk is high that the Open Source architect will breach the Share Alike clause by not publishing the demanded data. In other words will both licenses on several aspects be broken.

Perhaps the scenario above might seem to be constructed, but security doors and windows are today in normal use. Even, in some parts of the world are bulletproof solutions desired. Therefore, as a colorful input I wonder how Open Source weapons (here: defensive solutions) would be perceived in the society? When it on the other hand comes to the licensing dilemma as presented above, do I find the CC0 simple and easy to understand. On the contrary I find the commonly used CC license a little bit to complicated. To expect that people will understand it's several layers and how to mix different works with different licensing options, is simply optimistic. I believe many People will not understand how it's supposed to work. Even if the user might understand most of the intended use, the user might feel forced to breach the license and its intended way of usage. This is what I'm trying to show in the example above with the Open Source architect. Furthermore, I would ike to hear what the courts in different countries have to say about this, if the copyright holders, by using the CC licensing, is expecting to much from a person's understanding (of the license) when trying to use their material in own work. It is a chance that the person who breach the Creative Commons license in several cases will not be punished, due to "what a person might understand" in the moment of its usage, since the CC license and the mixing of licenses could be to advanced to be understood for "most people". It might just be so, that the CC license expect to much from people. Therefore, as a copyright holder, I do not wish to remove the Non-Commercial clause in my own usage of the CC license. This clause is more simple and easy to understand than the challenges linked to Share Alike and Attribution, and I'm quite sure the Open Source architect would be aware of it.


Size UP !
02 Aug 2016 - By mr.berqstrom

When reading todays blog at creativecommons.org, I get triggered to comment on the article "The future of housing is here: CC Talks with the Open Building Institute". As it shows, is the Open Building Institute in its final funding round at Kickstarter.com with positive results. When I study the project Open Building Institute and its predecessor further, I get a feeling that this is just the tiny beginning. Together these two projects create a potential starting point, for building a modern town from scratch. It will be a low-rise town based on the existing solutions available. But over time, hopefully it will be one of the main building blocks, when the Open Source movement tries to reach for the sky. I think Catarina Mota and her husband Marcin Jakubowski do an amazing and heartwarming job, when they publish their projects under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. Personally I'm not very interested in 'free' CAD objects for my drawings anylonger, since I'm now working on a more conceptual level. But I do understand the impact this might have on the workflow for an hardcore Linux user, trying to get the architectural drawings together on an Open Source workstation.

A more philosophical perspective on Open Source Hardware, can perceive these kind of initiatives (with some extreme interpretations) as "radical anarchism for the 21st Century. It is no longer rebellious as the 1999 Seattle WTO protests, manifesting a 10 year era for the anti- movement (well documented by the former publication greenanarchy.org, partly inspired from the writings of John Zerzan), but on the contrary - it is upbuilding, creating a real competitor to established business. This is happening, not by changing the system, but by liberating data. You might argue that this constructive, cost-cutting actions does not reflect what an anarchist might stand for. But my point to make is that the Open Source movement, through its idealistic work, believe in a society not very different from the travel descriptions written by Pyotr Kropotkin.

So, if this society one day would become real (and not only in the virtual world), what would it take to achieve the necessary infrastructure and buildings? If most solutions used in daily life were based on free available data, how would it reflect in the society structure and its distribution of wealth? There are many questions connected to the topic and I don't have any of the answers, but I can foresee that Open Source might be it - leading the world towards a post- capitalistic age.


Why Open Source
01 Aug 2016 - By Mr. Berqstrom

This is a question I often get, when talking about the EggCube.org project. I feel a great resistance among fellow architects, engineers and contractors to Open Source solutions, as they fear their livelihood is threatened. I believe this is one of the bigger misunderstandings towards the 'sharing' philosophy, since these professions would fit perfectly in the established thinking for Open Source business - share data, sell service. To my fellow colleague who is in the belief that their business is about selling data, or more precise - sheets of paper (digital and physical) with drawings and reports, try to see beyond the results of your service and focus on what you do. After all, it is this view that explains my thinking for EggCube.org, as a data-sharing entity, whereas my unique service can be acquired from my company (more about this later).

You might wonder how I got into this thinking in the first place and I must admit that it has been a long process. To start with, I will explain my journey with computers and how this has affected my understanding of Open Source software. Since I was a little boy, I have been using computers with Microsoft software. It started with DOS, QBasic and Windows 3.1x. Later came the upgrades with win95/98, but it was first with NT and server2000 I found it to be really good. At this time Linux distros like Red Hat and Suse was starting to become popular among my friends. Myself, I just couldn't leave Windows and stayed with it for years to come. Personally, I made music and graphic (see artwork below), so why would I move away from a functioning workstation that finally had become stable? It just didn't add up. Besides, I did not see the same quality in the creative programs for Linux as for Windows. It was still in it's experimental phase, mostly fitting programmers not artists. But this would change, as I later have learned.

Digital art by Mr.Berqstrom
The Eye of Destiny, digital artwork from the the good old NT days, Date of Creation - 12 Apr 2000, Source: EggCube.org by Mr. Berqstrom
Audun Bergstrom, digital painting, first publicly displayed in the Hedmark Cultural youth contest 2001.

My love for Microsoft Windows held me stuck on the same platform until the end years of study, at the University. Guess I got tired of the same and wanted to try something new. So I installed Ubuntu for a smooth transition from Windows xp/7. Ubuntu was a nice experience, much better than distros 10 years before, but it never became anything more than that, a tryout for a hardcore Windows fan. It was first when I started to work for the local government my view on Open Source software dramatically changed. Earlier I had established a theoretical understandment of the vision for the Open Source community, but it was first when I could see how it affected big organizations in practice, I got convinced. As you might know, government all over the world have in later years embraced Open Source as part of their software solutions as it saves costs without limiting potential.

The downside with Open Source and Linux is the same as is always has been. It doesn't give you perfect. I still believe as I did in the year 2000, that high-end software made for Microsoft and Apple, still give a better result. Though, the change I see in the software development, for an creative person as myself (over the last 15 years), is that Open Source today, is good enough. If you want the best with a smooth and polished result, it might not be your option. But if average is good enough, for a minimal price, you have nothing to lose. Over time I belive people will see through the perverted reality presented in the lens of an artificially staged and glossy Instagram- world and search for "real".

This is where I see the web-space and the Eggcube.org Project develop, as a visual reflection of the Open Source environment. EggCube.org is not pretty and might be visually average, but "it's real". The same can be expected from the EggCube Solutions - it will not be any architectural wonder, but it will be solutions that "get's the job done".


Open Source collaboration
29 Jul 2016 - By Mr. Berqstrom

EggCube.org provide a complete Open Source program package for the green cities of the future. It can be seen in combination with the Global Village Construction Set (by opensourceecology.org), providing blueprint for machinery to the construction site. Unlike the Open Source Ecology organisation (or its successor), does EggCube perceive a future with a different sizing to solve high level of urbanisation, creating structures so big and widespread, that only an governmental initiativ can fund it (or similar sized private corporations). But it all starts with the Primitive Hut, even if it is a Capsule Unit high above ground, or close to the ground in massive widespread slum districts.

With these different approaches from Open Source enthusiasts, I think it is great to see how minor differences, create an extensive toolbox for the planners of the future. The world is in need for new creative and realistic ideas to tackle the green shift and if someone can make this happes, is it the Open Source community developing different variations of new solutions for the build environment and the tools shaping it. Only since these ideas are shared is it possible for People all around the world to move ftheir thinking urther, making their future happen tomorrow. 


The notion of ubuntu
18 Jul 2016 - By Mr. Berqstrom

The question "how is it possible to successfully execute low-cost housing project", lies in the core of the work by EggCube.org. The notion of Ubuntu and interdependence is presented as essential for creating meaningful projects. By presenting solutions for mutual beneficial partnerships among various groups within the society, EggCube.org tries to show the way for the cities of the future.
  • This is done partly by activating social capital, as it is argued that the best way to facilitate innovation potential is to let people contact each other freely, interact on various levels and in various social circumstances.
  • Moreover, the relationship between the economic growth and agriculture is seen as key for the development of all levels in society, through the usage of the hemp- plant in industrial use (building material, food, clothing, medicine, et cetera)

Artwork by Mr Bergstrom
Penguin - The Open Source Symbol, digital artwork; Source: EggCube.org, by Mr. Berqstrom
Audun Bergstrom, artwork first published at EggCube.org 18 Jul 2016