Add New Page: You are not allowed to add pages Select section/namespace. New page title.

June 2011 Documentation and Code Sprint


A documentation and code sprint kicking off a collaboration among hopeful partners and contributors of the Commotion project. Commotion is an open source “device-as-infrastructure” distributed communications platform that intends to integrate existing consumer devices such as GSM cell phones, WiFi-enabled computers, and other WiFi and GSM capable devices to create scalable peer-to-peer communications infrastructure.


Key developers and leadership representing known leading open-source software projects: Serval, Tor and GNURadio, as well as leading open source developers and experts in wireless communications, mobile and embedded devices, security, circumvention, and anonymization technologies.


The sprint will take place at the offices of the New America Foundation’s Open Technology Initiative: 1899 L St., NW, 4th Floor, Washington, District of Columbia, 20036 USA. The closest DC Metro stops are Farragut North or Farragut West.

Hotel information:

We have booked reservations for all who will be in DC at the Quincy hotel, right next door to the code sprint’s convening location: Rooms are booked from the evening of June 1 through the morning of June 4. NOTE: if you will arrive later than the 1st or leave earlier than the 4th, let me know so I can alert the hotel.


Thursday and Friday June 2-3rd, 2011.

Core Goals

  1. Identify and prioritize resourcing of documentation and development activities.
  2. Agree on a shared documentation and development agenda supporting the priorities of each partner as well as the integration of each key technology.
  3. Hack on stuff.
  4. Agree upon an initial outreach plan and project collaboration platform.

Potential Outputs:

  • Development and integration road-map.
  • Documentation road-map.
  • Collaboration & communications platform.
  • Outreach plan.
  • Initial plan for budget priorities.

Code Sprint Tasks


Sascha Meinrath

Sascha Meinrath is the Director of the New America Foundation's Open Technology Initiative and has been described as a “community Internet pioneer” and an “entrepreneurial visionary.” He is a well-known expert on community wireless networks, municipal broadband, and telecommunications policy. In 2009 he was named one of Ars Technica's Tech Policy “People to Watch” and is also the 2009 recipient of the Public Knowledge IP3 Award for excellence in public interest advocacy. Sascha is a co-founder of Measurement Lab, a distributed server platform for researchers around the world to deploy Internet measurement tools, advance network research, and empower the public with useful information about their broadband connections. He also coordinates the Open Source Wireless Coalition, a global partnership of open source wireless integrators, researchers, implementors and companies dedicated to the development of open source, interoperable, low-cost wireless technologies. He is a regular contributor to Government Technology's Digital Communities, the online portal and comprehensive information resource for the public sector. Sascha has worked with Free Press, the Cooperative Association for Internet Data Analysis (CAIDA), the Acorn Active Media Foundation, the Ethos Group, and the CUWiN Foundation. Sascha serves on the Leadership Committee of the CompTIA Education Foundation as well as the Advisory Council for the Knight Commission on the Information Needs of Communities in a Democracy. He blogs regularly at

Thomas Gideon

Thomas Gideon is a Senior Staff Technologist for the Open Technology Initiative at New America Foundation. As a staff technologist he draws on his years of experience building and maintaining products and services in the private sector to help develop software that supports and illuminates technology related policy work. He also provides technical expertise to collaborate on issues around copyright, digital media and DRM. Previously, Mr. Gideon was a development team lead at Learning Objects, Inc. He has been coordinating the DC area CopyNight for the past few years, is a council member-at-large for the ACM's US public policy committee, and has spoken at numerous events as an advocate for free software and free culture.

Josh King

Josh King is a technologist with an interest in social justice. A native of Illinois, Josh taught himself programming on an old Commodore 64 before attending the University of Illinois and earning a Bachelor's in Philosophy with a minor in Computer Science. His strong record of using technology in the non-profit sector includes: serving as an Americorps VISTA Leader with the community-technology focused CTC*VISTA Project (now Transmission Project); designing and administering the computer systems of the Urbana-Champaign Independent Media Center; serving as Treasurer and Developer at the Acorn Active Media Foundation; volunteering as Network Engineer on the Champaign-Urbana Community Wireless Network Project (CUWiN); administering the Community Technology Project; helping to organize the International Summit for Community Wireless Networks; serving on the Champaign-Urbana Telecommunication Commission's Broadband Advisory Committee; and his current job working as a Technologist at the New America Foundation's Open Technology Initiative. Josh has also worked as the webmaster for Champaign-Urbana, IL online magazine, and as a Systems Engineer for bespoke software design house OJC Technologies. He likes good sci-fi novels, bad sci-fi movies, strong beer and indie rock.

Preston Rhea

Preston Rhea is a Research Associate for the Open Technology Initiative at the New America Foundation, having joined the Initiative as an intern. He supports OTI's mission of digital justice for its Broadband Technology Opportunities Program work with research, analysis, writing and program assistance. Preston also researches and writes on community-based communications and technology activism. Before joining the New America Foundation, Preston spent a year in Beijing, China working for an internet content delivery network. He holds a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology, as well as a Spanish minor and an International Plan certificate. Preston also studied electrical engineering at the Universitat Politècnica de València in Valencia, Spain, and spent five years in several countries working with the global student-run organization AIESEC.

Gustaf Björksten

Gustaf has over 17 years professional experience as a technologist and information security specialist. He started out in the video games industry and from there joined MyInternet, a specialist education sector internet service provider, as that company's third employee and first technical staff member. He survived the intense hours of the dotcom boom which saw MyInternet grow to 100 employees with 22 staff in the software development team of which Gustaf was a senior architect. He also survived the dotcom bust, but after more than 7 years at MyInternet moved on and worked as a leet coder for big telecoms and phamaceuticals companies. During this period he also founded a FOSS development and information security research lab in downtown Melbourne, Australia. The lab comprised a space of 840 square feet with over 150 computers of every size, description and platform. Much FOSS was coded and tested, but it was also from the lab that anti-censorship campaigns were successfully fought against the Australian Government. Gustaf's previous professional position comprised of more than 5 years as a Senior IT Surveillance Specialist for a major financial institution, however he has recently returned to his hacker and anti-censorship roots, joining Access as Technical Director.

Daniel Bryg

Daniel is an IT engineer at Access where he works on communication privacy and security-related projects. One of his recent projects has been to customize the Tor anonymizing software for the OpenWRT platform and he has just started contributing to the Guardian Project. He specializes in securing Internet communication protocols and system monitoring . Prior to joining the Access technical team, he worked for over 10 years for organizations in the New York City area, usually managing technical operations of startup companies, including a cellular service provider. He is an open source software advocate and regularly contributes to multiple projects, focusing on system security and privacy tools. He grew up in Cracow, Poland where he earned a Master’s degree in computer science.

Jeremy Lakeman

Jeremy Lakeman is Senior Software Engineer and Quality Manager at Serval Project. Jeremy brings with him 12 years of commercial experience developing software, primarily for the financial services industry. Jeremy's interests lie in architecting and implementing novel software solutions to solve real problems, and thus was readily drawn to Serval Project when approached by the founder, Dr. Paul Gardner-Stephen, whom he has known from University days. He has been applying his skills at the Serval Project, identifying and implementing solutions to progress development and integration of the Serval BatPhone software, as well as providing a leadership role for Serval's many project students, helping them to develop their skills and become integral and productive members of the team.

Hans-Christoph Steiner

Hans-Christoph Steiner spends his time making encryption and communications software usable by everyone, designing interactive software with a focus on human perceptual capabilities, building networks with free software, and composing music with computers. With an emphasis on collaboration, he has worked in many forms, including free software for mobile and embedded devices, responsive sound environments, free wireless networks that help build community, musical robots that listen, programming environments allow people to play with math, and a jet-powered fish that you can ride. To further his research, he teaches and works at various media art centers and organizes open, collaborative hacklabs and barcamp conferences. He is currently building secure, private communications devices as part of for the Guardian Project and teaching courses in interaction design and media programming NYU's Interactive Telecommunications Program and workshops around the world.

Brian Duggan

Brian Duggan is a community technology activist based in Urbana, Illinois, where he has been the AmeriCorps-funded Technical Projects Developer at the Urbana-Champaign Independent Media Center since October 2009. In addition to his duties as full-time IT developer and support analyst for the UCIMC and its staff, Brian has identified and filled a dire need for community technology education, activism, and engagement in the Urbana-Champaign community. In November 2009, he founded the IMC Computer Help Desk, a free, collaborative PC troubleshooting and repair service for all Urbana residents. In December 2009, Brian co-founded Makerspace Urbana, the local hackerspace. Since then, Brian has led Makerspace Urbana in developing tech workshops, hosting a mesh WiFi reading group – whose purpose is deploying a mesh network throughout Urbana-Champaign – and organizing Urbana-Champaign's inaugural Mini Maker Faire in April 2011. This summer Brian plans to begin mesh node deployment and start organizing for the October 2011 Mini Maker Faire.

Ben Chodoroff

Benjamin Chodoroff is a web developer and digital justice-seeker in Detroit, MI. Through the “Detroit Digital Justice Coalition”:, he works with neighborhoods to collectively examine communication systems and build community-owned internet infrastructure. His current research involves wireless mesh networking, voice/SMS-based community alert systems, and federated/decentralized/fault-tolerant communication protocols.

Benjamin has been involved in media justice work since 2002, when he helped to start the Michigan Independent Media Center. He has worked with Allied Media Projects as a technologist since 2007. He is a self-taught programmer, and is a contributor to various free software projects.

Benjamin is a principal of “The Work Department”:, a web development and design firm. He serves on the board of “The Hub of Detroit”: and is a founding member of “OmniCorpDetroit”: Read his “blog”: or follow him on “Twitter”:

Ben West

Ben West has years of background working in collaborative and community technology projects in St. Louis, MO, including the Washington University radio station KWUR, the St. Louis Independent Media Center, the Community Arts and Movement Project, and most recently with the low cost Mesh Wifi service “WasabiNet”: Ben has also led a diverse career as a technologist, from the Human Genome Project, to terabit capacity network routing, to home automation for the physically disabled, to innovative video gaming technology, and on to mesh wireless broadband service. When a grant opportunity arose in 2008, Ben partnered with Minerva Lopez, a prominent community member and advocate for the St. Louis Hispanic population, on a project dedicated to applying recent innovations in ad-hoc wireless networking into low-cost, neighborhood-scale, Internet infrastructure. This project evolved into a new small business named WasabiNet, which connects up to 70 people daily over an area of 3 square miles in south St. Louis city.

Nina Bianchi

Nina Bianchi is the co-founder of two Detroit-based projects, Detroit Project Archive (DPA) and the Work Department (WD). DPA is an interdisciplinary communication design collaborative. WD is also a collaborative that takes on projects ranging from community wireless to conference management and social media systems. Nina's design methodology hinges on accessible, humanistic and flexible communication design and development. Her work has received awards from American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA), Taiwan International Design Competition, Texas Public Relations Association and University and College Designer’s Association. Nina is also a member of the Detroit Digital Justice Coalition and adjunct professor of graphic design at the College for Creative Studies. Her passion for demystifying technologies and ardent belief in design as an agent of change combine in her community-based work, including the Detroit Mini Assembly Line, DDJC Discotech Workshops and OmniCorpDetroit, to name a few.

Andrew Lewman

Andrew Lewman is the Executive Director of The Tor Project, a non-profit organization providing research and free software that protects your online privacy and anonymity. Lewman manages The Tor Project's business operations, support, and advocacy roles while also serving on its board of directors. Under his guidance, Tor has successfully grown from a group of volunteers to a million dollar non-profit company. He's worked on projects with the National Science Foundation, Internews Network, Freedom House, Google, Broadcasting Board of Governors, National Network to End Domestic Violence, and the US State Department. He is a strong believer of individual rights, privacy, anonymity, and solving real-world problems - sometimes even with technology.

Alexander Chemeris

Co-founder and CEO of Fairwaves LLC, a new Software Defined Radio design house. Has long experience with Open-Source Software as a user, as a developer and as a community leader. His latest project is an open-source Mobile WiMAX receiver. At the same time he actively participate in OpenBTS project and maintain some features there. Recently he became interested in Open-Source Hardware and in 2010 he organized the first Russian Open-Source Hardware conference. Previously he was engaged into sipXtapi open-source VoIP library as community leader and key developer. Holds Master degree in Computer Science from Moscow Engineering and Physics Institute.

Paul Bame

At HP from 1981 through 2006, Paul experienced most types, many roles in, and all phases of software and product development from drivers to LAMPS applications. Paul coordinated a significant “mesh” bulletin board (USENET) site and administered and pushed Unix and Linux systems, networking, and “the web” inside and outside HP when these were little-known technologies; contributed his first open-source software, a mail transport agent, around 1983; and drank too much with original Unix founders at a conferences in the 80's. Paul wrote the bootloader and 64-bit context switch kernel code for the Linux port to HP's PA-RISC processor. Outside HP Paul got his “tech plus' Ham license, built a few micro-power FM transmitters, and co-founded full-power grassroots radio station KRFC (where he did most of the computer infrastructure and coding) at the same time he was co-founding the consensus-based River Rock Commons cohousing community where he still does network and server administration for 34 households. Paul volunteers and sometimes does contract software work for the Prometheus Radio Project, and also is a member of the forming Philly [sexual assault] Survivor Support Collective. He is also a member of the Chrysalis (transformative justice) collective, the National Lawyer's Guild, Grassroots Radio Coalition, and has worked for a long time with Indymedia and allied groups.

Geoffrey Hing

Geoff Hing is a technologist, organizer and cultural worker who lives in Chicago. He was the general coordinator for a grassroots books-to-prisoners project that supported incarcerated people throughout the Midwest and has provided technology support, code, training and strategy for a number of grassroots and non-profit projects. He recently graduated with a master's degree in journalism from Northwestern University where his focus was on urban affairs reporting and developing software to build context around local news. Geoff works as the web and database programmer at the Metro Chicago Information Center and continues to perform with the punk band Defiance, Ohio.

Dan Meredith

“Al Jazeera”:

Remote Attendees




With support from New America Foundation’s Open Technology Initiative (OTI),, and Acorn Active Media the developers, technavists, and organizers here propose to build a new type of tool for democratic organizing: an open source “device-as-infrastructure” distributed communications platform that integrates users’ existing cell phones, WiFi-enabled computers, and other WiFi-capable personal devices to create a metro-scale peer-to-peer (mesh) communications network. Leveraging a distributed, mesh wireless infrastructure provides two key enhancements to existing circumvention technologies and supports human rights advocates and civil society organizations working around the globe. First, a distributed infrastructure eliminates the ability of governments to completely disrupt communications by shutting down the commercial or state-owned communications infrastructure. Second, device-as- infrastructure networks enhance communications security among activists by eliminating points for centralized monitoring, by enabling direct peer-to-peer communication, and by aggregating and securing individual communications streams.



The Open Technology Initiative formulates policy and regulatory reforms to support open architectures and opensource innovations and facilitates the development and implementation of open technologies and communications networks. OTI promotes affordable, universal, and ubiquitous communications networks through partnerships with communities, researchers, industry, and public interest groups and is committed to maximizing the potentials of innovative open technologies by studying their social and economic impacts – particularly for poor, rural, and other underserved constituencies. OTI provides in-depth, objective research, analysis, and findings for policy decision-makers and the general public.



Access is a global movement premised on the belief that political participation and the realization of human rights in the 21st century is increasingly dependent on access to the internet and other forms of technology. Founded in the wake of the 2009 Iranian post-election crackdown, Access teams with digital activists and civil society groups internationally to build their technical capacity and to help them advocate globally for their digital rights. Access provides thought leadership and practical policy recommendations in the broader field of internet freedom, and based on that expertise mobilizes its global movement of citizens to campaign for an open internet accessible to all.

==== *Serval* ====

Homepage: Code: Wiki: One-Pager: attachment:Serval_1Pager_NewAmerica_OTI_Commotion_May2011.pdf

Communicate anywhere, any time … without infrastructure, without mobile towers, without satellites, without wifi hotspots, and without carriers. Use existing off-the-shelf mobile cell phone handsets. Use your existing mobile phone number wherever you go, and never pay roaming charges again. Communications should not just be for the fortunate — communication should be freely available to everyone, because we believe communication should be a human right. Serval enables mobile communications no matter what your circumstance: mobile communications in the face of disaster, in the face of poverty, in the face of isolation, in the face of civil unrest, or in the face of network black-spots. In short, Serval provides resilient mobile communications for all people, anywhere in the universe. Serval technology bridges the digital divide. We have proved that it is possible, using open source technology to create a mobile communications platform that benefits everyone, for all time, and changes the nature of telecommunications forever.

==== *Guardian Project* ====

Homepage: Code: One-Pager: attachment:The_Guardian_Project.pdf

While smartphones have been heralded as the coming of the next generation of communication and collaboration, they are a step backwards when it comes to personal security, anonymity and privacy. The Guardian Project aims to create easy to use apps, open-source firmware MODs, and customized, commercial mobile phones that can be used and deployed around the world, by any person looking to protect their communications and personal data from unjust intrusion and monitoring.

==== *OpenWRT* ====

Homepage: Code: Documentation:

OpenWrt is a Linux based distribution for embedded systems, with a strong integration of network components. OpenWrt is currently being used in industrial control systems, small robots, sensor networks, home control solutions, VoIP systems, both wired and wireless networks and a whole lot more.

==== *Detroit Digital Justice Coalition* ====

Pages: One-pager: attachment:about_the_ddjc.pdf

The Detroit Digital Justice Coalition is comprised of people and organizations in Detroit who believe that communication is a fundamental human right. We are securing that right through activities that are grounded in the digital justice principles of: access, participation, common ownership, and healthy communities.

*Tor Project*

Homepage: Code & Documentation: Current Projects: One-Pager: attachment:Tor_Circumvention_Brochure.pdf

Tor is free software and an open network that helps you defend against a form of network surveillance that threatens personal freedom and privacy, confidential business activities and relationships, and state security known as traffic analysis. ==== *GNU Radio* ====

Homepage: Code:

GNU Radio is a free software development toolkit that provides the signal processing runtime and processing blocks to implement software radios using readily-available, low-cost external RF hardware and commodity processors. It is widely used in hobbyist, academic and commercial environments to support wireless communications research as well as to implement real-world radio systems. GNU Radio applications are primarily written using the Python programming language, while the supplied, performance-critical signal processing path is implemented in C++ using processor floating point extensions where available. Thus, the developer is able to implement real-time, high-throughput radio systems in a simple-to-use, rapid-application-development environment.

==== *OpenBTS* ====

Homepage: Code: Documentation:

OpenBTS is an open-source Unix application that uses the Universal Software Radio Peripheral (USRP) to present a GSM air interface (“Um”) to standard GSM handset and uses the Asterisk® software PBX to connect calls. The combination of the ubiquitous GSM air interface with VoIP backhaul could form the basis of a new type of cellular network that could be deployed and operated at substantially lower cost than existing technologies in greenfields in the developing world.

==== *Funkfeuer* ====


June 2: 8:00-9:00: Breakfast 9:00-9:30: Review proposed agenda for discussion and edits 9:30-11:00: Project overview presentations 11:00-12:00: Identify intersection and potential short/long term integration points between projects 12:00-13:00: Lunch 13:00-14:00: Identify development challenges and develop code sprint plan 14:00-15:00: Identify documentation challenges and develop documentation sprint plan 15:00-17:00: Begin documentation and code hacking 17:00-17:30: Group recap 18:00-20:00: Dinner 20:00: Continue hacking and/or free time

June 3: 8:00-9:00: Breakfast 9:00-9:15: Review proposed agenda for discussion and edits 9:15-9:30: Group recap of past days work 9:30-12:00: Continue hacking 12:00-1:00: Lunch 1:00-16:00: Continue hacking 16:00-17:30: Reconvene for recap and next steps 18:00-20:00: Dinner 20:00: Continue hacking, free time, and/or depart

Code Sprint Tasks

List of possible code sprint technical tasks:

  • Add OLSR support to Serval DNA.
  • Adapting Village Telco and Serval Asterisk setup to work with stock OpenWRT.
  • Local network support for TOR.
  • Get GNURadio Asterisk to integrate with Serval.
  • Enhance OLSR Secure plugin.
  • Improve GNURadio’s signal processing stack.
  • Integrate Asterisk and Serval DNA with commOTIon.
  • Technical documentation for all things we do in the code.
project_management/meeting_notes/other/june_2011_documentation_and_code_sprint.txt · Last modified: 2014/05/09 18:47 (external edit)
Except where otherwise noted, content on this wiki is licensed under the following license: CC Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported