[Grassroots-l] Regarding local grassroots organizations

Bryan Berry bryan.berry at gmail.com
Fri Sep 26 04:56:07 EDT 2008

I have helped create both a grassroots consensus-based organization and
a formal NGO for OLPC here in Nepal. In my experience, the consensus
model can work when the group is relatively small, closely shares common
principles, and no money is involved. The consensus-model can break down
very quickly and in a very ugly manner when $ gets involved. 

The open-source model is about transparency and openness but it is not
necessarily democratic nor consensus-based. Linux kernel, python, ruby,
and other projects with Benevolent Dictators for Life are examples of

A consensus-based community can work for advocacy and software
development but u need a formal organization to implement complex
projects. It is no accident that OLPC and Sugar Labs are both registered
as NGO's.

Bryan Berry 
Technology Director
OLE Nepal, http://www.olenepal.org

> From: "Ixo X oxI" <ixo at myna.ws>
> Subject: Re: [Grassroots-l] Regarding local grassroots organizations
> To: "Jason Hoekstra" <jasonhoekstra at gmail.com>
> Cc: grassroots at lists.laptop.org

> FYI,
>    The 'Free Geek' http://freegeek.org structure is similar.  A nationally
> recognized organization, with smaller 'franchises' (I use this term
> loosely)... across the country.. I think the count is up to 10 or 12
> 'branches' like...  http://FreeGeekVancouver.org .
> Free Geek has chosen to use the 'Open Source' model (every they do is 100%
> public/transparent) , and they are a 100%  consensus operated.
> Some groups choose to 'loosely' use the national organization NP status,
> until they get their own....  some chose to embrace only some of their
> principles in implementation, etc..
> But in all cases, no 'kickbacks' or 'upstream money flow' has to occur. :)
> Ya on your own.
> Some XO repair locations have gone the route of 'partnership' with local
> business, computer stores, or computer recycling outfits... or any other
> non-profit for assistance.
> So...   keep the conversation flowing, ask around, ask your local
> government, schools, major employers, etc.....   see if anyone would like to
> work something out with you.  :)
> ***********************************

More information about the Grassroots mailing list