Today, the CUNY Academic Commons team released The Commons In A Box — a set of tools that makes it easy for communities to download, install, and customize their very own Commons spaces.
It was a great launch, full of effort — from finalizing the codebase to pushing out news of the release via email and social media to jumping on support requests right away to show a level of attentiveness and care for an already engaged community of users — and the team showed its passion and enthusiasm for its work at every step.
In one respect, today was just a beta launch – the debut of our community site and the release of our code, yes, but a launch that will soon be supplanted by new site updates, bugfixes, and features. But what we all hope for — and I think the reason the team is still in this together — is that today marked the beginning of a significant, shared, free software project that we know will help communities of people — from educational institutions to non-profits to community groups to hacker collectives — create spaces that they can control and customize for their needs, far from the prying and invasive algorithms of proprietary corporate interests.
We can hope and expect, with good reason, that the software we’ve released today will be especially powerful for groups that can’t afford the kind of customized technical expertise that the CUNY Academic Commons has been lucky enough to receive. And in that respect, today marked not just the end of a period of very hard work from this entire team, but also the start of a wider, more distributed project that we hope will accomplish some real good in the world.
I want to congratulate the entire team. Special thanks go to Boone Gorges, whose dedication sustained the project from conception to fruition, and also to every single member of the CBOX collective, who each helped bring CBOX to its beta launch state. Most of all, thanks to the community of members on the CUNY Academic Commons, whose active and enthusiastic use of the site made others, looking in from the outside, say, “I want that.”
Here’s to the first of many collective builds.