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Services crossdeployed onto WUG/the internet

 
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crash



Joined: 20 Jun 2008
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Fri Jun 20, 2008 4:15 pm    Post subject: Services crossdeployed onto WUG/the internet Reply with quote

Hi All,

Okay firstly let me explain that I spoke with some guys on IRC (as WirelesslyDisadvantaged) to try and estalish the actual legalities behind services existing on WUG - essentially I was trying to gauge on if WUG would be an applicable network to utilize in order to serve free of charge applications (ala Google Apps/Zoho Office) to schools. Also potentially creating a school sharing network for student blogging and general sharing of information etc (match fixtures and so on).

In a country like SA where bandwidth is at a premium there doesnt exist too many underprivileged schools with access such as this. And it was my intention to look into a Thin Client design to be able to enable schools to come on board for as low a price point as is possible.

Now some background on me is that I am a Sun Software Architect with experience of their Sun Ray infrastructure, Virtualized Desktops, their Java CAPS development suite and Sun Secure Global Desktop (old Tarantella - so like Citrix), Identity Management and pretty much the entire Java Enterprise Systems stack.

Thus my consideration was as follows:

Sun does not sell their software, rather the use a subscription model which an organization can CHOOSE to purchase should the require the backend support etc, however many of their products (including the Solaris OS) have an applicable Open Source variant available - as Open Office is to StarOffice and so on. Therefore there exists the option for the use of either the Open Source variants or the commercial orientated products - depending on the requirements.

My intention is to evaluate the possibility of deploying these and many other applications (such as a remote NetBeans interface etc) in order to promote a better understanding and experience within disadvantage areas, in particular schools. but even potentially to some home users should they have the funding or sponsorship to implement (there is also the consideration of theft etc).

Sor example if I setup a server farm running many of these applications (think writer/calc/presentation etc) along with possibly other oss applications like even turbocash for those in an accounting class and so on. The idea being that for a fraction of the cost of deploying complete PCs, as well as a fraction of the cost of paying licensing or requiring internet bandwidth in order to download these utilities. Also removing th requirement for someone with technical skill to maintain the machines and so on.

One of the greatest advantages of a solution like this is that it can be made available online, so for example a student could find a local internet cafe (or get someone in their community to join to WUG too) and then because of the ASP model be able to access his own documents and be able to work just about anywhere.

However the catch here is that this means these same services are being deployed both online and also via WUG. The other aspect is that this stuff doesnt come for free (the hardware), someone somewhere has to pay for it - it requires electricity to run etc etc. Therefore there is a consideration that the services available may also be deployed in a pay as you use model for people who are just general individuals online and possibly want to support the efforts of a solution like this (Google Apps is free - so is Zoho - so the options are available to go elsewhere but they survive on advertising revenue - which this platform could possibly do too).

Then there is the consideration for Email. If I have one machine of WUG, and another on the net, then can I transfer mail between them (rewriting rocks) so outside the network the are bob@domain.com but inside they are bob@domain.wug etc.

The idea is to run on as much open source software as possible, also to use multiple smaller machines and potentially get them sponsored etc. Also to make this a community effort (so for example if you have Java development experience, then add this to an online courseware platform like moodle) so that the network feeds those who simply dont know as much as you do.

This is not to make money. This is not a commercial effort. This is one guy out there who thinks some real change can be made in SA and would like to assist using the skills he has. I do not have a WUG, I do not even pretend to know how your network all fits together (however I am interested to find out). What I saw was an idea where my greatest limiting factor was getting acces to the solution provided, and your great idea of a community network coming together to create a common solution.

What I got back. I dont feel the need to discuss.

Please guys, if anyone sees any value in this. Let me know.

Thanks

-grant
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mossie



Joined: 09 May 2007
Posts: 18

PostPosted: Mon Jun 23, 2008 6:36 am    Post subject: some early morning ramblings....... Reply with quote

Hi grant

I have read your post and firstly I want to say sorry for the late response Embarassed

okay coming back to your post I think this is a good idea keeping in mind that this is a community network and that all the guys have jobs during the day " Plays" with/on the Wug in their spare capacity that it might be a bit difficult to get all the guys together to link up schools and so on.

Also the Hardware for the schools and HS and the HS them selfs needs to be financed, this is also a sore point in many a mans wallet Laughing

But all this can be over come if we change the way we do this project Wink

what I think is that if we can get a hand full of school kids interested and they get kits and link up to the wug and then when they are linked up and stable they can raise funds and link up the school.

But as I say the kids have to tackle this project not the guys on the wug as it is for their benefit, and the plesure will be theirs when linked up and working.

The email setup you have suggested is sort of unnecessary as there are so many free email available on the internet and I feel if you have a cell phone you have access to GPRS so it is easy to send and receive email.

This is just my thoughts. but i think it represents the thoughts of most of the guys on the wug
Very Happy

I would like to see some of the responses you got?

Mossie


ps. we are not in a position to open the WUG to the internet from within the WUG as it is a can of worms we not ready to open and no commercial services can run on the wug only open source.
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crash



Joined: 20 Jun 2008
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Mon Jun 23, 2008 10:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Mossie,

Well so far you are the only person to have commented.

Firstly this is for underprivileged schools, so therefore even getting students to poney up the cash is not really that possible when their parents in many cases make under R1000/month in salary. So the idea is to approuch someone like the Shuttleworth foundation in order to organize funding for a solution such as this (or any other VC firm). So it is partially social responsibility and partially commercial (in the sense that they can be seen as supporting an effort such as this - tax incentives etc).

The concepts behind delivery of email is moreso around the inability for WUG to connect through to the internet for the legal grounding more than anything. In addition these students as indicated above most likely dont have a cellphone, let alone GPRS/3G access.

Secondly as another thing which is brimming in my mind is a wifi security cam setup to be integrated with the police, so for example existing Wug members can buy off the shelf external wifi cameras which are then all designed to dump their motion activated images to a specific location and/or allow password access to the cam for live streaming. The design being that by organizing for a few police vehicles to be fitted with a basic PDA that can allow for the direct streaming of video data via a wifi connection they can then leverage WUG in order to allow them to say get a call about a specific location and then tap into the cameras at that location in order to gather data in advance of who may be at the premise/around the premise and then be prepared prior to arriving there. Thus allowing for the potential of collection of criminal data as well as allowing the police to be a bit more prepared for what they may face when they arrive.

Then of course there is traffic WUG ... which basically involves users who say fit an in car computer to have their GPS data and traffic wait times uploaded to a central database thus allowing for a semi real time update of areas where traffic congestion may exist. Using forcasting you can almost determine exactly where issues may occur, also should someone say be in contact with Highveld Stereo then you could get them to upload all of the daily traffic reporting information into the same database. But make things like this available to anyone online sort of concept.

The gist of it is that you guys currently have a decent network which can only grow, however there are many services which could be potentially deployed onto this network which are all public service orientated. Things which people could really use and which could have Wug be seen as more than just a gaming network.

Currently I get the impression that whilst WUG allows anyone to become a node, it is based on what you do on you node that changes whether you are allowed there or not. And based on some of the things said like 'no one own WUG' (I disagree as someone is running a DNS service, therefore if he/she one day leaves WUG then who takes that over ?) I am a little concerned that the network seems to be based on a bit of a god complex with certain members having more of a say over what is good/bad on the network than others.

So using one of your existing services such as playing WoW, say I come along and I have used some or the other hack to make my character super strong etc (I am not a WoW player - just an example), and I go along and kill all the other players and then eventually I kill some guy who is a WUG main node owner and then he gets all pissed off and shuts down his node (for example the main node connecting Jawug/Ptawug), what happens in situations like that ? How is this handled and so on.

Also by what definition am I doing something illegal on the network? so say for example I have 1TB of movies and series etc that everyone on the network wants, and some other guy is a known leecher from everyone else, by what definition am I doing something not acceptable on the network, because the impression I get is that this is defined based on 'what I bring to the party'. So expanding upon this is if I was setting up a main node connecting PTA/JHB, then is my status on the network defined by this fact ? As in, do I 'get away' with more because without me the link between JHB/PTA is dead ? Even using circumstance, say I forgot to pay my elec bill or I got retrenched and couldnt afford to keep the node up etc etc. I am sure you guys have contingincies for this sort of situation but it is a fact of life that you dont necessarily know what will happen around the corner.

Just some thoughts. Really I am huge fan of WUG and a few years back I tried getting something like this on the go in Fish Hoek, my intention was slightly different in that in order to fund the high sites (locations would be 'donated' by student households) I wanted the local municipality to see the public service aspects and then the interconnectivity between households/friends/students was a benfit of the overall network rather than the core functionality. I unfortunately had to leave Cape Town during this time so it never went much further, but many of these questions were raised.
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mossie



Joined: 09 May 2007
Posts: 18

PostPosted: Mon Jun 23, 2008 12:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is all handy dandy and fine but as I have said before.

This is our hobby and we do this stuff in our off work hours and with spare moneys laying around and by helping new guys connect with unused kit or if I upgrade my kit I give the old kit to some guy who I pick and think deserves to get connected.

the thinks you want to do sound good and so on but the type of traffic that it generates is just to much for a wireless network to handel and the latency will be ridiculously bad.

also will the PC and stuff be save in a under privileged community where people hardly have money to get to work?

but ja lets not go down that ally....

I am sure ICASA can allocat a Freq for this sort of network and Gov. can supply the funds for these kits.


As I said before the wug is our hobby and we play and experiment on it and we don not supply any services on it.

mossie
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crash



Joined: 20 Jun 2008
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Mon Jun 23, 2008 12:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks mossie, you are the first person to have answered me in the simple fashion I would have expected.

In essense, WUG could be considered an experimental network if you get what I mean. Not bad in any way, but not a network in the sense that it was promoted on mybroadband.co.za with their report here.

I do think that maybe a follow up needs to be done on this to indicate some of the info regarding the experimental state and the conditions by which access is given and maintained. The reality is that you will have loads of kiddies with R1800 lying around who are going to buy into this network with the intention of sharing files and performing other acts which very likely could tarnish the appearance of your network.

What you really dont want to face is a situation where enough of these individuals get access, then are turned away and then choose to create their own independent network which not only poses issues as far as interference, but should they be considered to be performing anything illegal on their network I can guarantee that when they are brought to task for their actions the results of which will effect any and all Metropolitan Area Networks including WUG.

Just remember that PERCEPTION is far more damaging than FACT, if the perception is that MANs are used for say illegal file trading, then that perception will be applied to all MANs, not just the one actioning any illegal activities.

I do still intend on connecting to WUG in the future (when I have R1800 spare to spend on a whim) and certainly would like to be involved in this experiment and much like many of you I am a techie at heart and things like this are simply fun to be involved in. Wink
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Ryder



Joined: 13 Feb 2007
Posts: 51

PostPosted: Mon Jun 23, 2008 1:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Grant,

I have read through your posts, and I also followed the discussion in IRC over the weekend, and I think you have some very interesting and exciting ideas.

I cannot speak for the rest of my wug colleagues, but I personally feel that the network, as it currently stands, would not be capable of sustaining a lot of the different types of services and uses that you have referred to.

Yes, we have been around quite a while, and the network has grown very nicely, but we are (in my opinion) still in an infancy stage with regard to redundancy, stable speeds, stable nodes etc (These are some of things that I hope to address going forward)

One idea which has come to mind to possibly see your ideas get off the ground is to perhaps approach an organisation such as Meraka, and their "Wireless Africa" project

http://wirelessafrica.meraka.org.za/wiki/index.php/Wireless_Africa_Home_Page

The PWP side of our three-way network interlink is currently peered with the Meraka network, but also still very early days...

As I said, I cannot speak for my wug "colleagues" but this may be a better way for you to try and get some of your ideas off the ground sooner rather than later!

Regards,

Ryder, Jawug Core Member[/url]
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crash



Joined: 20 Jun 2008
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Mon Jun 23, 2008 1:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Ryder,

Thanks for the info - however some additional questions I cannot seem to find on their site:

Cost of the Solar powered networking gear, essentially this removes 2 of our most difficult hurdles, first being the wonderful uptime of Eskon as of late and the other is that a high site simply needs to be high rather than provide some form of power provision too (which simply means you are dependent on someone else who as Ive said maybe hasnt paid the elec bill).

Also, there isnt much info on who they are, I see it appears to be involved with CSIR and I do notice they mention 2 of my examples on their Mesh Networking page, so this obviously is up for consideration and does appear to be something which they possibly just dont have any active hands working on at this point in time.

But otherwise thanks, once Im back in the country and can organize to meet with some of these people I think I can better gauge exactly what the overall work is going into community networks in SA (government supported effort I mean). Wink
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