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Technology is neither good nor bad; nor is it neutral.

- Melvin Kranzberg [1]

Contextual Citation

"My deep concern is that the new tech generations are having to face the age-old debate about decision-making through centralization V decentralization without necessarily understanding the stakes involved. Couple this with the fact that those stakes are rapidly changing as a result of the steady increase in global population and steady decline of the world's non-renewable resources.

There is a largely unmentioned battle going on between microeconomists and macroeconomists to describe and influence this worldview. It is now playing out in all facets of technology, including blockchain. Globalization (macro) was surely not a sustainable vision. The anti-globalization protectionist movement that we are witnessing has no elements of sustainability at all. (It is faux micro, at best.)

As we look to technology to help us deal with the world's increasing complexity and the prospects for enhancing sustainability, this technology needs to be fit for purpose -- not for the capitalist economy which is unsustainable because its source code is deeply rooted in geometric growth. In this area, I see a lot of circular reasoning through cyberationalisation which is often well-intentioned but rarely grasps the fullest meaning of the commons as a source of sustainability. This ought to be the standard that we aspire."

- James Quilligan (email, July 2018)


This is a place to monitor technological developments, the P2P infrastructure, software issues, technology-enabled cooperation, etc.. Eventually, this section should exhibit the answer to the following question: what are the technical requirements for human emancipation? How to we design and implement an infrastructure that guarantees the participation of all?

Our related Standards section monitors open standards, interoperability, etc...

Above all, never forget: Technology Is Not a Force for Either Liberation or Oppression, as explained by Dale Carrico.

And please read this:


- "If we are to preserve the democratic and creative promise of the Internet, we must continuously diagnose control points as they emerge and devise mechanisms of recreating diversity of constraint and degrees of freedom in the network to work around these forms of reconcentrated power."

Related Wiki Sections

  1. Projects to decentralize/distribute the internet: see our section on P2P Infrastructure
  2. Open Standards

Socio-technological frameworks to understand P2P Technology

"The capacity to promote autonomy is a fundament characteristic of a convivial tool".

- Ivan Illich, in: "Tools for Conviviality"

Brian Whitworth on Socio-Technological System Levels

"Today technology designers must recognize Socio-Technological System Levels:

  1. Hardware systems, based on physical energy exchanges.
  2. Software systems, based on information data exchanges.
  3. Human–computer interaction systems, based on personal semantic exchanges.
  4. Socio–technical systems, based on community–wide exchanges.

See the Graphic at

(Source: The social environment model: Small heroes and the evolution of human society by Brian Whitworth and Alex P. Whitworth. First Monday, Volume 15, Number 11 - 1 November 2010 [4])

Robert Paterson on the Emergence of Four Major Techno-Economic Paradigms

Historical overview of four major historical periods

See the graphic at

Alexander Laszlo on Technologies of Organizational Communion


Table 1
Table 3

Towards a P2P Philosophy of Technology

* The Bleeding Edge. Why Technology Turns Toxic in an Unequal World. By Bob Hughes. New Internationalist Books, 2016 [6]

  • Check out the work of Andrew Feenberg and his take on technological determinism.
  • Check out the works of Kevin Carson on technological autonomy for a peer to peer age
  • Read this interview of Bernard Stiegler, (the only specific philosopher who takes an explicitly p2p view, through his concept of the contributive society), on the New Desires of Post-Capitalism: ‘THIS SYSTEM DOES NOT PRODUCE PLEASURE ANYMORE’. AN INTERVIEW WITH BERNARD STIEGLER. Pieter Lemmens. Krisis, 2011, Issue 1 [7]

"Notwithstanding his rather bleak diagnosis of contemporary society, Stiegler is not pessimistic with regard to the future. Whereas today’s capitalism is headed for destruction, it is precisely in the digitalized networks through which it tries to control the populations that a new kind of economy is emerging, one that is not only inventing new modes of production like open source and peer-to-peer, but that is also slowly creating a new economy of desire that could lead to the invention of new ways of life, new modes of individual and collective existence. A new society could arise on the same technological base that is now still predominantly destroying the social bonds. The digital networks might be the prime catalysts in the transformation from today’s consumer society into what he calls a ‘society of contribution’. In this context he talks in this interview about technologies in terms of pharmaka (a term derived from Plato and from his teacher Derrida) that can act both as a poison, destroying sociality and proletarianizing human existence, as well as a medicine, producing social ties and deproletarianzing human existence."


This typology by David Weinberger [8] is actually quite useful in determining basic attitudes towards the internet and technology:

"1. Exceptionalist (E) vs. Ordinarist (O). Exceptionalists believe that the Internet is exceptional, extraordinary, and disruptive, the way, say, the printing press was. Ordinarists believe that the Internet is just another new medium, no more revolutionary than, say, CB radio.

2. Technodeterminist (T) vs. Contextualist (C). Technodeterminists believe that the Net by itself brings about transformations against which it is futile to struggle. Contextualists believe that technology by itself does nothing and changes nothing; other factos determine the effects of technology.

3. Optimist (H) vs. Pessimist (P). Optimists believe that the Net is, or brings about, good things. Pessimists believe otherwise. (Note: Since everyone believes their beliefs are true, everyone thinks they are a realist. When someone actively asserts s/he is a realist, s/he is actually asserting a form of counter-optimism, i.e., pessimism.) (Note: The “H” stands for Happiness or Hope."


Short Quotes

All P2P really means is person-to-person: normal folk using web tools - without the annoyance of an institution or mega-corp getting in the way.

- James Cherkoff [9]

"The most profound technologies are those that disappear. They weave themselves into the fabric of everyday life until they are indistinguishable from it"

- Weiser [10]

“Man is a Tool-using Animal. . . . Nowhere do you find him without Tools; without Tools he is nothing, with Tools he is all.”

- Thomas Carlyle)

One of the key elements of p2p is the end of the distinction between infrastructure and users. Under p2p the users BECOME the infrastructure.

- Paul Hartzog

We have community supported agriculture, and it works. Now, we need community supported technology!

- Sam Rose [11]

Long Quotes

"If we are to preserve the democratic and creative promise of the Internet, we must continuously diagnose control points as they emerge and devise mechanisms of recreating diversity of constraint and degrees of freedom in the network to work around these forms of reconcentrated power."

- Yochai Benkler [12]

“Modern methods of production have given us the possibility of ease and security for all; we have chosen, instead, to have overwork for some and starvation for others. Hitherto we have continued to be as energetic as we were before there were machines; in this we have been foolish, but there is no reason to go on being foolish forever.”

- Bertrand Russell. 1932

A truly technological machine is an open one, and the ensemble of open machines presupposes man as permanent organiser, as living interpreter of machines both in themselves and in relation to other machines. Far from being overseer of a gang of slaves, man is the permanent organiser of a society of technical objects which need him as musicians need a conductor... So man's function is to become both coordinator and permanent inventor of the machines around him.

- Simondon, Du mode d'existence des objets techniques (1958) [13]

“I choose to see personal web‐server technology (Opera Unite, Firefox POW, etc) as a breakthrough technology, so people can put their own data into the cloud without paying Flickr or whomever. It is this sort of 'personal technology' I believe will characterize (what we now call) Web 3.0 (and not 3D, or semantic web, etc.). So my dilemma is that, while these technologies are pretty evident today, it is not clear that the people I suspect Pew counts as “the savviest innovators” are looking at them. So I pick “out of the blue” even though (I think) I can see them coming from a mile away.”

– Stephen Downes, National Research Council, Canada [14]

"Advocating for appropriate technology is not "anti-technology," directing our attention to politically pernicious deployments of technodevelopment exploiting the vulnerable and profiting elite-incumbents is not "anti-technology," delineating the catastrophic impacts of false models and marketing hype is not "anti-technology."

As I keep on insisting, time and time again, "technology" doesn't exist at a level of generality that properly enables one to affirm a "pro-technology" or "anti-technology" stance in any kind of monolithic way. Technology is better conceived not as an idol to affirm or as an ethos with which to identify but as an interminable process of collective technodevelopmental social struggle in which a diversity of stakeholders (not all of them necessarily even human) are constantly contesting, collaborating, educating, agitating, organizing, appropriating, and coping with ongoing and proximately emerging technoscientific changes, costs, risks, and benefits."

- Dale Carrico [15]

"There are tools, technologies and discourses which favour diffuse power, and tools, technologies and discourses which favour concentrated power. Today the concentrated power mechanisms have the upper hand. All it would take to turn the tide is for the diffuse power mechanisms to gain the upper hand. I’d speculate that diffuse power mechanisms may have gained the upper hand in some fields in the 1960s-70s, and only the recomposition of capitalism as neoliberalism (with new technologies and discourses) saved it at this point (e.g. states were losing guerrilla wars to popular forces across the board in this period). If diffuse power retained the upper hand then any authoritarian regime created on the backs of diffuse power would itself be vulnerable to a reactivation of diffuse power."

- Andy Robinson [16]

John Robb on the War over the Means of Reality Production

"Over the last seven years, with the advent of social networking, there’s been an online civil war over who controls our information flow and how they get to do it. It’s been a messy, confusing fight that has touched on the following:

  • What type of information is allowed amplification, and what should be de-amplified?
  • What is fact or fiction? Can truth be hate speech? Is fiction harmful (conspiracy theories or unapproved theories)? Should false information and ideas be censored?
  • What is disinformation (harmful fiction or spun facts designed to mislead), and how can it be suppressed (de-amplification, soft bans, hard bans, blacklists)?

Until late last year, it looked like the conflict was over, and we were on a worrisome trajectory toward disaster:

  • An open-source alliance of global corporations, online political networks (networked tribes held together by their opposition to some great evil), and struggling institutions (from academia to government) had won that fight.

This alliance had established a censorship and control system growing ever more constrictive by the day (that could, given time, rival the networked authoritarianism we have seen in China). It also used the system to control political outcomes in the US and beyond.

Worse, the system showed signs of non-linear behavior — we saw this when the networked monoculture created by this system rapidly escalated Russia’s invasion of Ukraine into a sprawling global war between the West and Russia (China, etc.).

Elon’s acquisition of Twitter and use of information warfare (the Twitter files) paused this trajectory. However, it won’t last long. One reason is that nothing was done to fundamentally change the nature of our information system (digital rights and ownership); another is that a new and much more disruptive wave of technological change is on the way."

- John Robb [17]

Yu Hui on Cosmotechnics

"Technology is not anthropologically universal; it is enabled and constrained by particular cosmologies, which go beyond mere functionality or utility. Therefore, there is no one single technology, but rather multiple cosmotechnics."

- Yuk Hui [18]

Huberto Maturana: Technology is not the Solution to Human Problems

“Technological transformations do not impress me, biological technology does not impress me, Internet does not impress me. I say this not out of arrogance. No doubt much of what we do will change if we adopt the different technological options at hand, but our actions will not change unless our emotioning changes. We live a culture centered in domination and submission, mistrust and control, dishonesty, commerce and greediness, appropriation and mutual manipulation ... and unless our emotioning changes all that will change in our lives will be the way in which we continue in wars, greediness, mistrust, dishonesty, and abuse of others and of nature. Indeed, we shall remain the same. Technology is not the solution for human problems because human problems belong to the emotional domain as they are conflicts in our relational living that arise when we have desires that lead to contradictory actions. It is the kind of human being, Homo sapiens amans, Homo sapiens aggressans, or Homo sapiens arrogans, at the moment in which we have access to a new technology, either as users or observers, that determines how we use it or what we see in it.”

- Huberto Maturana [19]

Key Resources: Generic


Check out the mega-classic books on the topic by Lewis Mumford.

  • Global Magic. Technologies of Appropriation from Ancient Rome to Wall Street. By Alf Hornborg. [20] : "This book reveals how our ideas about growth and progress ignore how money and machines throughout history have been used to exploit less affluent parts of world society."
  • THE END OF THE MEGAMACHINE. A Brief History of a Failing Civilization. by Fabian Scheidler. Zero Books, 2020. [21]

Key Resources by Topic

General Infrastructure

See also:

  1. CircleID is a good source to monitor internet infrastructure developments
  2. History of the Internet in a Nutshell:

Anonymity and Censorship Circumvention

  1. Virtual Private Network sites are ideal to circumvent internet censorship: HotSpot Shield , AlwaysVPN (also for Linux) and Social VPN: Run the installer and they just work with one click every time you get to a blocked website.
  2. Anonymizer Sites & Services: "there are two general types: networked and single-point. There is one known networked anonymizer called EFF Tor, highly recommended"
  3. Free proxy lists
  4. Free Public Proxy Servers Lists


  1. Various strategies to achieve Free Fiber to the home


  1. Free groupware: links to collaborative software which can be freely used, copied, studied, modified, and redistributed
  2. The Big List of Social Sites includes a directory of social networking sites, social bookmarking sites, and social aggregation sitges.
  3. List of collaborative software and ofwiki software compiled by Mark Elliot


  1. Complete list of P2P Filesharing programs with comparative notes. + A list of free and open source filesharing systems

Free Software Infrastructure

  1. High Priority Free Software Projects: "The FSF high-priority projects list serves to foster the development of projects
  2. Find Open Source Alternatives to commercial software in the OSALT directory
  3. Government and Open Source Software + the 2007 Government Open Source Policies from the Center for Strategic and International Studies, listing the Open Source policies of hundreds of national, state/province/territory and local governments
  4. Directory of Open Source Alternatives to commercial software (also here).
  5. Top 100 Open Source Linux Applications
  6. Open Source Living: guide to the best freely available open source software on the web

Meshworks and Wireless Commons

  1. List of Wireless Community Networks Worldwide
  2. Open Source Mesh Networking projects monitored by Open Source Mesh

Political Organizing

  1. The Organizer's Tool Crib is a participatory directory of online tools and resources for social change activists.
  2. Infrastructure for social movements at Rise Up
  3. Tactical Tech helps activist organizations with training, support and tools such as NGO in a Box

P2P Network Computing

  1. For the most fully distributed Peer to Peer Computer Networks at present, please check out Tribler ;Peerple ; Wipeer
  2. Research into more fully distributed P2P systems for the future: Chord, CX Project, Farsite, Globe Project, Oceanstore, Pastry
  3. Decentralized P2P software programs are monitored and indexed here; Flud maintains a list of Distributed Internet-based Backup Systemssuch as Tahoe

P2P Searching

  1. List of Distributed Search Engines; [24]
  2. Privacy-Friendly Alternative Search Engines: List compiled by We Rebuild available at

Virtual Worlds

  1. Peer to Peer Virtual Worlds: VastPark, Solipsis, Vast; see also: Multiverse



General Infrastructure

  1. The Rise of the Stupid Network. David Isenberg's classic essay for locating intelligence in the periphery, not the core.
  2. End-to-End Arguments in System Design: The best way to design a network is to allow the sender and receiver to decide what the data means, without asking the intervening network to interpret the data.
  3. World of Ends: Doc Searls and David Weinberger summarize the key characteristics of the internet.
  4. The Matrix of Convivial Technology – Assessing technologies for degrowth. By Andrea Vetter. Journal of Cleaner Production. Volume 197, Part 2, 1 October 2018, Pages 1778-1786 [26]

Anonymity and Censorship Circumvention

  1. How Anonymizers Work
  2. How To Communicate Securely in Repressive Environments. Patrick Meier: Core to effective strategic nonviolent action is the need to remain proactive and on the offensive; the rationale being that both the resistance movement and repressive regime have an equal amount of time allocated when the show-down begins. If the movement becomes idle at any point, this may give the regime the opportunity to regain the upper hand, or vice versa.
  3. Top Ten methods to access banned websites + Everyone's guide to circumvent internet censorship

Internet Security Resources and How-to Guides

  1. FLOSS Manual for Circumvention Tools‎ ; Bypassing Internet Censorship. [27]
  2. Guide to Mobile Security for Citizen Journalists‎; [28]
  3. EPIC Online Guide to Practical Privacy Tools‎ [29]
  4. Anonymous Blogging with WordPress and Tor[30]
  5. Security in a Box‎
  6. Quick Guide to Secure Communication‎ [31]
  7. Everyone's Guide to Bypassing Internet Censorship‎

Broadband and Connectivity

  1. Telecommunication expert Gordon Cook asks: Is Bandwidth Infinite?
  2. Various strategies to achieve Free Fiber to the home
  3. How To Set Up An Open Mesh Network in Your Neighborhood

Free Software Infrastructure

  1. Understanding Free Software, Open Source Software and Floss, thanks to this booklet
  2. Open Source Software Tools And Directories: Where To Find Them, How To Evaluate Them. By Robin Good

P2P Network Computing

  1. Peer-to-Peer Networks as a Distribution and Publishing Model: the best introduction to the advantages of P2P Computing!

Podcasts on P2P Technology

  1. Adam Greenfield on Ubiquitous Computing
  2. Bruce Sterling on the Internet of Things
  3. Conversation with Ward Cunningham

Webcasts on P2P Technology

Full list at: P2P Videos on Internet Technology

Wikipedia Articles

Collaborative Filtering,

Collaborative software,

Computer-supported collaboration,

Computer-supported cooperative work,

Debian Free Software Guidelines,



GNU General Public License,

Grid Computing,



Free Content,

Free software,

Open Source,

Open Source Initiative,

Open Source Definition,

Open Source software,

Open Source Software,

Peer to Peer (technology),

Point to Point (technology),

Public Domain,

Recommendation system,


Social software,


Wiki software,


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