The Distributed City Project
Distributed City aims to be a fully open source community environment that is built for its users, by its users.

All community websites benefit from the contributions of their members. A posting from Bob is read by Jennifer who responds and a thread of conversation begins. The website creators provide the seed that makes this interaction possible, but it is the members that breathe life into the website. Community websites simply aren't very interesting without the community.

Communities are not static things. They embody dynamic, vibrant, complex social interactions. As the community changes, so too should the website to accomodate the needs of its members. This is a difficult task for website operators. Given limited resources, how do we anticipate and accomodate the needs of our disparate users?

Various strategies can be used. But so long as it is a small, select group of people making all the decisions and controlling the features and architecture of the website, then this is a form of centralized planning. Some people make the rules and others follow them. This is anathema to the creators of Distributed City, who hope to build a community of freedom seeking individuals, not a storefront or a dictatorship.

The simple fact is that we, the original creators of Distributed City, cannot read our members' minds. We cannot implement every feature request. We cannot fix every bug. There will be things that slip through the cracks, or that are not high priorities to us, for whatever reason. But we recognize that those things may well be important to one or more of our members. Therefore, it makes sense that the person who cares the most about the thing be the one to do something about it. It is our duty to just get out of the way and let them. As noted open-source advocate Eric Raymond says, "Every good work of software starts by scratching a developer's personal itch."

Distributed City plans to distinguish itself from other websites by empowering its members to also become its developers. DC members should be able to participate as much or as little as they want in the process of enhancing this website.

Member participation may include:

  • Submitting bug reports when something doesn't work as expected
  • Joining developer chats, forums, and mailing list discussions
  • Inspecting Distributed City code for weaknesses or security flaws
  • Running modified copies of Distributed City at home or on another server
  • Submitting specialized content areas
  • Suggesting, designing, and implementing new features
  • Submitting patches (fixes) for bugs

The founders of Distributed City believe strongly in Freedom, Privacy, Laissez-faire Capitalism, and Open Source. We believe that motivated individuals can accomplish anything they set their minds to. We believe that creating and nourishing a large community of similar individuals is a worthwile endeavor. We recognize we cannot do that all alone.

We hope you will join us.

Other Possible Services we are considering for the future

  • IIP SSL accessible Proxy for users who cannot run the IIP proxy locally
  • IIP Relay
  • SSL enabled POP/IMAP server
  • NNTP server
  • CVS (file space) with a web front-end (lxr, webcvs, bonsai, etc)
  • PGP Public Key Server
  • Bugzilla
  • Squid Proxy Server
  • Zope for Web Hosting
  • Database (ie postgres)
  • OpenNap server (wheee!)

DC Version

The main DC server is currently running the following version of DC:

DC Version String: distributedcity-1.1.1033892591
CVS tag: release_distributedcity-1_1_1033892591
Major Revision: 1
Minor Revision: 1
Date: Oct 06 2002, 08:23:11 GMT