Why Node-0 Exists...


Hi! My name is Joe Hacobian, and I'm the founder of Node-0.com

When I started Node-0, it was apparent that web 2.0 was a very diverse place with an avalanche of standards and
many disparate populations of developers and users, such is the state of creative innovation, yet it can also
be a state of extreme disparity, and the disparity between those with web-properties and those who are not
web property owners is quite large.

Such non-invested individuals do not have an ownership stake in the web as it exists today, they are left to become
commentators, and this is the lowest form of participation in a two way information transaction. In such an
"owner vs non-owner" environment, the quality of information tends to suffer, and that is of concern to me.

It is not my wish to inherit an internet full of vertical information "outlets" amidst a sea of microblogging and
ephemeral social commentary. That is just too much like Television with a "Comment Here" button.

So far the internet has been the catalyst responsible for massive changes in our society here in the U.S. and
globally. It has brought the world closer together and unleashed the knowledge of millions of willing and able
contributors, expert and novice alike in countless fields. Access to this level of knowledge is unprecedented
in our history.

"What then could be achieved

if everyone were empowered

through efficient secure and

easy to use tools to publish

their knowledge?"


Such average people, constitute an overwhelming majority of the population, with diverse skills and talents, a
force which has the potential to build a whole new economy. If either by lack of internet expertise or economic
disadvantage to buy such expert help, these individuals are disenfranchised of information publishing
capability on their terms, then the internet's ability to "equalize" all groups of people will be diminished.
If a platform emerges which employs a top down development model, or worse features an expensive closed source
core in order to function, then we are looking at a long slow decade where real innovations arrive at a trickle
rather than a flood.

In such a closed source web, information publishers would have most of the power and set the rules of the game,
copyright and software patents would prevent the population at large from assimilating the accumulated
knowledge of years of intensive development and thus be forced to spend even more years recreating similar
functionality, duplicating effort, and wasting untold resources in order to "compete". This is what would
happen if the next generation of the web were dominated by Flash or a similar closed source platform.

While we're not there yet, we aren't zipping along in an efficient direction either. The current state of the
web, barring some core technologies such as PHP, Javascript, HTML and CSS is a state of many uncoordinated
projects, all working towards their own ends. Certainly, it is evolving, however it is a slow and chaotic
evolution. It isn't a coordinated environment in the same way that the Linux world is on a very basic level.

Slow and chaotic evolution is a problem because it leaves the field open for a proprietary entity to step in
and through a compelling user experience gain dominance over the platform of the web.

In other words, we cannot let another decade go by with Flash or a similar platform as the basis of the
advanced and dominant user experience.


What's needed then is an analog for UNIX at the web platform layer, above the servers and various system level
features which are open and secure. Many software projects exist for this purpose, many of them open source,
and yet with the immenent birth of html 5 and the coming next generation of the web, there is no mainstream
open source web platform which can handle the vast plethora of website feature needs without custom development
and thus without departure from the core of an open source platform.

The problem I seek to address with Node-0 is this:  Engagement with real site owners and non-technical users in
creating a web site platform which is as flexible as the UNIX operating system itself, open source in letter as
well as in the spirit of it's community, and if we succeed, just as ubiquitous.

Standards are not a platform, programming languages are not a platform.

A platform is more than specifications and programming languages, it is a concerted framework with which any
individual may create a web site of their own. A platform means implemented code, that works, every time. A
platform must have a strong foundation grounded in open standards, it must be logical and efficient.

While no such platform currently exists today which can satisfy both developers and lay users, there are
several candidates for such a platform. Of these candidates the most promising are: Joomla, Drupal, and
Wordpress. The reason Node-0 exists is to take one of them and use our resources and experience as a host and
developer as well as the participation of our customers (our users) and to build upon that platform until it is
evolved far beyond it's competitors and can satisfy the needs of both developer and lay person alike, with
minimal disruption to either group's workflow.

Node-0 is basing it's efforts on Joomla as a platform.

Further, we intend to fully utilize the implications of the GPL in order to "de-fragment" the current state of
the Joomla extensions environment. That means making our own versions of extensions based on the open source
work of others, and releasing such versions back to the community. It means working actively with developers
first and inviting them into a discussion about integration of their work with extensions made by others.
In short, Node-0 is all about looking at the state of a web platform based on real world data, as afforded a web
host. It means using that knowledge to propose and implement smarter solutions that benefit the whole userbase
rather than crafting custom solutions on a client by client basis and then releasing such narrowly customized
projects as "open source" software by the simple addition of a GPL license. The end result of this mode of
software development is not really opensource but rather proprietary development models with "open source"
labels in an attempt to gain a positive PR image and reputation.

An organization which is open source cannot truly embody it's spirit and thus gain it's efficiencies without
a community to engage with. Node-0 is such a web services provider. When a customer signs up for web services
with Node-0, two things happen. First, the customer is provisioned by one of our "distributions" of Joomla which
means they hit the ground running and are equipped with all the real world tools they need to efficiently publish their
content and get their message out. The second thing that happens is we engage with them and educate them,
responsibilities are made clear as to who will be the point of contact for site management duties and usually these
are laypeople, not technically skilled webmasters. This way of engaging and including our customers into the
community benefits everyone, customers are empowered to act on their own behalf rather than being "end-users"
on the long end of a one way development and release cycle, this is no static relationship of the service
provider becoming a distant special interest intent on finding ways to extract profit from a userbase. Our
mission isn't maximum profit, but instead maximum stability, of everyone involved.


In starting and operating Node-0, I am inspired by the spirit of the open source movement, which I would like
to emphasize in the projects at Node-0. While not all of the software being made here will be immediately
released as GNU GPL upon launch, ultimately, the goal is to release the higher quality applications as GPL.
Conversely, we are working on many "GPL-on-launch" extensions which I hope, will elevate the user experience
for operators of websites on the emerging Joomla platform. In other respects, Node-0 ascribes to the the motto:
"separate intent from feature request" and then go above and beyond the call of duty on user-experience. This
means our users get more than the usual support treatment by commodity web hosts, but it also means that
users are active participants in the process of creating and maintaining their web presence, this is not the top
down model of html based sites in the last decade. No effort is ever wasted, even the failure of an extension
implementation is documented carefully and posted for the benefit of others. Failure is only detrimental when
no knowledge is gained.

This means we care about giving out information as much as we care about releasing software under the GPL.
However, even charities have to eat and pay the bills, doubly so for a commercial enterprise, so don't be
surprised to find out we charge for our services, yet the services are priced such that everyone is able to
participate and gain.

As you read through the rest of our pages, you'll start to get a much better feel for how we handle the same
old things in the newest ways, we believe our approach is better, and if you're an ordnary person coming to the
web out of the cold we think you'll agree.

Last Updated (Thursday, 13 January 2011 02:41)

 
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