The emergence of free software/open source cooperatives: India’s WikiOcean collaborative

I was already aware of the existence of the OS Alliance in Austria, a successfull free software cooperative.

I’m also aware of Kunlabori Collabortive in Sweden but have no updated information on their status.

Now comes news of a very ambitious initiative in Pune (and Mumbai), India, which uses a peer-to-peer based decision-making and revenue distribution models, based on “Wekos” and “Reppos”.

They started preparing their initiative in May 2007, are active in the ERP and CRM fields, and migration to Linux and free software generally, and have achieved a turnover of $37,000 so far, with an expectation of being break-even in two months. They are looking to expand their model worldwide.

This group, called, WikiOcean, describes itself as “a People owned Participatory and Transparent Platform for mutual exchange of products and services by leveraging the power of crowdsourcing and P2P. Everyone can participate in WikiOcean either by selling their expertise or buying the expertise or do both. All transactions are transparent and the organization is operating in a totally decentralized structure.”

Here’s a description of the Wekosystem of management:

Wekosystem promotes a p2p economy built on a transparent foundation.

The management of a wekosystem happens without a traditional centralized structure. It consists of two levels of management, macro and micro levels, and these levels are not hierarchical.

Macro management is driven by wekos. A right decision increases the peer’s wekos while a wrong decision will deplete.

Weko is not an alternate currency. Though it may have some features of it. It is a measure of your relative power of decision-making in the system. For e.g. there are thousand wekos floating around the system and if you have hundred wekos your possible control at that point in time would be say about 10%.

When a decision needs to be taken it is not the cost of the decision but the highest weko bid that decides what decision will be taken and in a competition to enforce a particular choice on the system you may end up spending more wekos in the bidding process. So this directly gets in the experience factor of that person.

Micro management is driven by reppos. Repos are earned by the peers based on the quantity and quality of their inputs to the system as adjudged by the other peers of the system. This forms the reputation measurement of the peers.

These points denote relative performance of a peer as compared to other peers in the system. These points are taken into account while calculating the peers share of surplus. These are valid for certain multiples of time periods (e.g. 12 months) for which they are calculated (e.g., 1 month). This enables senior peers in the system to get higher share of surplus.”

They are looking for the following collaborations:

*Peers who would want to join us.
*Peers who would want to extend and help us evolve and refine this further.
*Peers who are working in similar lines in true spirit of a co-operative.
*Peers who could fund new experiments that we are planning.
*Peers who could help us explain and document this.
*Peers who could guide us and help us take this concept to potential peers.

For more information contact Paritosh Pungaliya via email at pungaliya dot ag at gmail dot com

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