What does open source have to do with ecology? If you work on the Open Source Ecology project, open source is crucial. “We are using FLOSS [Free/Libre/Open Source Software] as much as possible,” says Open Source Ecology supporter Nikoly Georgiev.
“We are developing open source, economically significant machines in order to enable the creation of an open society, where everybody's needs are met, and where everybody has access to information, material productivity, and just governance systems – such that human creativity is unleashed, for all people,” Georgiev explains. Open Source Ecology is a network of contributors, including farmers and engineers who have been working on developing the Global Village Construction Set (GVCS). The construction set is an open technological platform that will be used to help fabricate 50 different industrial machines, such as a 50kW wind turbine, backhoe, bulldozer, and a cement mixer.
In late August, Marcin Jakubowski, Open Source Ecology founder and director, posted the GVCS Rollout Plan for 2011-2012 on the project wiki. In his post, Jakubowski explained that the project's 2010 budget was US $1,500 per month, and the current budget is $10,000 per month. He projects the project budget will be up to $100,000 per month within six months, with financing coming from True Fans (financial supporters) and production earnings.
The project's founder also points out that gaining support has been a challenge. “As founder, I must comment on the general support level – and the difficulty of convincing supporters,” he writes. “Most people see crappy, simplistic design. Most people do not see that we are pursuing an iterative development process – guaranteed to produce results superior to industry standards. Open source development has been shown to produce superior results simply after enough people join the development – after a well-organized development effort continues to survive.”
Georgiev says that currently the project team is focused on demonstrating the effectiveness of the equipment in construction and agriculture duties. “For construction, we will be using the open source tractor, CEB press, sawmill, and other supporting tools such as soil pulverizer, cement mixer, auger, backhoe, trencher, hay baler, hay rake, hay cutter, and others,” he says. “We will demonstrate infrastructure building and housing construction – including double CEB walls filled with straw bales for super-insulation,” he adds.
Would you like to help out with this innovative, open source ecology project? Georgiev says that the project will soon have a Kickstarter campaign for the completion, extended field testing, and documentation of the Tractor, Soil Pulverizer, CEB Press, and Power Cube, which will help conclude the project's first main prototyping cycle of the base agriculture and construction infrastructures. He says that in October the project will start a Natural Building Workshop that will teach attendees how to create compressed earth brick, cut lumber, cement mixing, and more.
Georgiev also recommends checking out the Get Involved Wiki page. The project currently needs fabricators, fabrication managers, construction poject managers, project managers, machine and CAD designers, power engineers, farmers, a cook, web programmers, and more.