Redefining Hackerspaces.


photo by :sfslim

Disclaimer: These are opinions. You may not like them. These things happen when you express opinions.

In 2007, at the 24th Chaos Computer Congress the first effort at drafting design patterns was attempted. At the CCC Camp that same year, hackers on a plane brought Americans to Europe en masse for the first time to experience a far more vibrant hacker culture than existed in the US, at that time. Americans returned, and two new American hackerspaces sprung up. The first of many new spaces. The first drops in what would become a worldwide deluge.

5 years on, I find that a lot of the excitement that I was wrapped up in in 2007 has gone. What was once new, and full of promise, is now very much real, and part of the day to day humdrum routine of life. Hackerspaces are now so common place as to afford the term an entry in the Oxford English Dictionary. Hackerspaces.org’s blog hasn’t been updated in a year. Because honestly, what is there to say that we don’t already know? The new hackerspace smell is gone.

At one of the earliest NYC Resistor meetings Bre said “This thing isn’t real until it’s been around for five years.” Bre was trying to make a point about how much can happen in five years and why we’d need to plan for the things we didn’t see as being immediate concerns. He was right, more right I think, than he could ever have imagined. In the next 5 years of Resistor’s existence we saw enough members move to California to start a space there. And others move to even more far flung regions of the world. We’ve seen members marry, have kids, and start companies. One of those companies exploding out into the world, and maybe exploding a bit inside of itself as well. I myself, ended up spending a couple years at NASA Ames working on a wildly successful Open Source project. Something I would never have thought possible at the time. And, now after three years in California, I find myself back in NYC taking stock of things.

I think I have a message for Hackerspaces. One that I think is of critical importance. An addendum to the Design Patterns. Something new, that’s worth saying. At the 5 year mark, I find that my definition of hackerspace has changed.

Read more “Redefining Hackerspaces.”

Open Research Network for Hackerspaces

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Last summer at Hacking at Random ( 2009 ), Eric Michaud spoke to me about his plans to develop “Warzone”. Warzone is an international cyber range project, targeted at hackerspaces. Well, as it happens I knew that the CCC had been doing some mesh VPN networking for a fairly long time. In fact, well before I joined NYC Resistor I had been attempting to link my apartment into the very same mesh VPN along with the folks at the HHH. I ran down Mcfly from CCC Hamburg and got us all talking. Next thing we know we’ve got this awesome idea to link up hackerspaces via a mesh vpn network. That was last summer. Today we have fifty endpoints, and some actually functional code for this. Largely thanks to support from all over including Guss from tinc, who pushed a whole release of tinc just for us.

Today NYC Resistor is linked fully to the network. Noisebridge, Nullspace, and Pumping Station One have joined using the Fonera 2.0n images we’ve built. Other spaces are using homebrew setups built from source or debian packages. The warzone VPN is being put together right now so that we can host an international CTF competition using the new network. DNS is becoming available, and many spaces are setting up to do some really cool stuff.

We’re far from our goal of linking every hackerspace. So if your hackerspace or lab is interested in getting involved, we want you! Get in touch with us.

You can read more about all of this here: