[Cu-wireless] Introduction

Willy Smith willy at linuxgazette.com
Thu Apr 29 20:49:54 CDT 2004

On Thursday 29 April 2004 17:12, Willy Smith wrote:
> I downloaded both the gzipped tarballs <snip>

Got in too big a hurry...ISOs, not tarballs...

I would like to introduce myself. My name is Willy Smith, and I live in Panama 
City, Panama, Central America. I am editor of LinuxGazette.com and A42.com, 
and webmaster for Linux Media. These publications are public forums for 
Linux; Linux Gazette is technical in nature, while A42 (a new publication) is 
more sociological: "The mission of A42.com is to foster public awareness of 
the increasing positive changes in our societies which started with GNU/Linux 
and Free/Open Source Software, but which are now extending into the arts, 
sciences, economics, and politics."

Right now, I'm posting the links to the Champaign-Urbana Community Wireless 
Network site and an article from WiFi Networking news on both sites. I'm also 
going to mirror the ISO images in Costa Rica. 

I'm going to write more on this as I personally think it's a very important 
development. I just moved to Panama. I lived in Costa Rica for the five years 
preceding that, where I got involved with wireless networking out of 
necessity. We had set up a WAN among half a dozen geeks in the metro San José 
area, and had talked about the necessity of something like the CUWIN project. 
My own Internet connection, for example, was made with two Cabletron WiFi 
cards running on Linux gateways and connected to old DirecTV dishes with a 
feed I designed: http://www.a42.com/node/view/73 
This particular link was 15 Km, and we had other links which were longer. We 
even tested a link from Alajuela to Montezuma, a distance of 100 Km, and had 
a 1.5 Mbit connection going with less than $200 in equipment. So I know that 
this effort is viable and valuable. 

We wanted to extend this network, to include schools and other interested 
individuals. Unfortunately for the effort in Costa Rica, most of the people 
involved for one reason or another ended up leaving the country. But, they 
will probably all be involved in wireless networked communities where they 
are going. 

What I'd like to do on LinuxGazette especially is to write more about this 
development and get some more participants involved. I've jumped the gun a 
little on this project - I first titled it an "Open Source Mesh Project", but 
now I realize that it's not Open Source, it's a "free downloadable boot 
image". So, I'm wondering what your intentions are in this regard, and if 
there are some restrictions in the software which would inhibit it from 
becoming OS. 

Linux Gazette is a worldwide community of people helping each other with 
Linux. As of today we have a little under 5,000 subscribers (it's free), and 
many times that of casual readers. A vast majority of these readers are from 
outside the US. Over 50% of our readership is from the greater Euro zone (not 
just the EU), and we have lots of signups every day from people all over the 
world. There are a lot of readers who can use this software, and I suspect 
there are quite a few who could contribute to the project. 

All this is to say that I am open to doing something with LG on this project. 
At the very least I will encourage people to download and use the software. 
But I am also open to suggestions if you want to open the source up to the 

I'd like to have further discussions about this on this list. My personal 
participation would be promoting it rather than contributing very much 
technically. I do have the personal intention of setting up a couple of PCs 
to try the software, and making a community network here in Ciudad Panamá, 
but I'm still in the middle of an international move and won't be able to do 
that for some time - realistically at least a month or two. 

I'd like to go slowly, though. The need for this project is definitely there, 
especially in countries with less-developed infrastructures. The difficult 
thing is education and getting people motivated to actually do the things 
necessary to make it work. But, it is possible, and it is beginning to happen 

I apologize in advance if I'm making too many assumptions. I realize that my 
experience is not the same as for those who live in the urban US, and that 
there may be some cultural difficulty relating to what's going on outside the 
US. I would like to say that what you're doing is really great and I 
personally appreciate it. I especially like the fact that the platform is 
kept to a minimal requirement, as this is the reality in developing 
countries. I can buy an old PC to run this on practically anywhere for $100 
or less; what's generally not recognized is that $100 is a *major investment* 
for someone in a developing country. 

Well, that's a start. Any comments are appreciated. I will also understand if 
you tell me to go away, and won't be offended in the least.

Thanks and regards,

Willy Smith
Editor in Chief

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