What is this? These pages started as a detailed straw-man proposal to flesh-out what it would take to realize our vision of a free and open cloud. They now serve as examples of the technology needed to implement the different facets of open cloud services. Here's how we are going to get there.

Welcome to OneCommons

OneCommons is a platform for running cloud services developed and run by its users. We are applying the same principles of openness, collaboration, and decentrialization upon which Linux, Wikipedia and Bitcoin were built to create a new cloud infrastructure that guarantees users security, privacy and control.

Developers

Imagine you could create online services just like open source projects and run them for free and forever.

Imagine you could fork a live web services and both services’ data and user accounts stayed in sync.

Users

Imagine using social media sites that gave you complete control over your privacy and your online identity.

Imaging if the contributions you make to sites were always available to you. No vendor lock-in, no walled gardens.

Creators

Imagine a platform where you could create what you love, make it available to all and still get fairly compensated.

Sounds impossible?

Running a online service can be considerably more challenging then releasing open source code. Maintaining highly reliable services with ongoing obligations such as support require consistent attention to often tedious tasks. There are hard costs such as hardware and bandwidth that can’t be avoided. And running public services opens up new policy and governance challenges that can be tougher to address than technical issues.

In order to succeed OneCommons needs to institute mechanisms that address these issues. These “pillars for success” shape the architecture of OneCommons:

Pillars for Success

How it works

  1. Infrastructure providers that want to run a OneCommons cloud agree to share the data. Data is shared in real-time between clouds.
  2. Developers can run their services on these clouds for free as long as it is open source and commits to privacy and data sharing guarantees.
  3. Users get basic access any service running in the cloud for free and can contribute funds to get enhanced access.
  4. These contributions fund the hard costs of running the cloud and eventually all participants in the creation and maintainance of the service.

Why it works

Appealing to one’s idealism is not enough to be successful. Our services must provide clear, concrete advantages. Luckily, the nature of OneCommons provides it with unfair advantages over proprietary alternatives:

  1. Network externalities
  2. Unleashed creativity
  3. Aligned incentives
  4. Clear economic value for businesses paying for SAAS services, such as a lack of vendor lock-in and a consistent all-you-can-eat payment model.

Status

OneCommons has recently graduated from crazy to not-so-crazy idea! Here’s how you can help it become a kind of working prototype.