A call to arms

A contribution by Benjamin Bollen, community member visiting MaidSafe.

When William Wallace shouted `Freedom!’ moments before his execution — remember Braveheart — he embodied the fighting spirit of the Scottish people. After spending two weeks in Troon, to me the second characteristic of the Scots is their boundless hospitatility. Suddenly it becomes clear why the birth of a new internet is happening here, of all places, near the Scottish Highlands.

Make no mistake, we too are fighting for our freedom. Our internet has been taken from us. We have to reclaim it. Scotland is inviting us to take up arms and start coding our way to victory! Many battles have already been fought, but the war is not yet won. The MaidSafe team works on one crucial weapon at our disposal: redesigning the internet to protect our basic rights at protocol level.

MaidSafe invited Chris and I from the community forums to learn and work with them on the core development at their office. MaidSafe is a close team of competent and committed people. They work non-stop to push their passion forward.

At the risk of making a huge understatement: this is a hard problem to solve. It requires an exceptionally elegant design. It demands the highest quality of code. It forces rigorous testing. MaidSafe ticks all these boxes, but there is a fourth condition. This project can only succeed when the community takes ownership.

Ownership takes many forms. It starts from understanding why this fight for our freedom matters and convincing others to join us. It can include imagining and building new opportunities on top of the SAFE network. Ownership by the community, however, does not allow us to accept the core code and trust it without looking under the hood.

Open source software by itself is not enough. Heartbleed taught us that. We need to build decentralised open communities, much like the network itself. We need to organise to learn, question and improve the core. We need many eyes to forge a network so strong it can withstand any attack.

This is our fight. This is not a time to stand on the sidelines. Scotland is welcoming you to join ranks. Let’s code for an internet that is ours!