Timeline February-September 2012

The story starts back in February 2012 at QuintanaCamp.

A bunch of ex-wifi-geeks gathered at a remote village in Cordoba because of NicoEchaniz‘s call, with the task of designing a community wireless network model that could be explained in a two-day intensive workshop. The workshops would be held at typical small towns (population < 3k) of Argentina, training the local people on how to build & maintain the network themselves.

Most of us had spent the last few years away from 802.11, so we needed a mutual heads-up on current wifi tech.

Elektra had recommended Nico the TL-MR3220 as a cheap usb-enabled lite-n router, so with a bunch of those, some USB dongles (notably, TL-WN722N), soldering skills and a couple of laptops, we hacked our way through PoE’s, OpenWRT, uci, batman-adv, and ath9k_htc, eventually coming up with a working prototype, after two intense weeks of geek summer.

It’s still surprising nobody developed a serious sleeping disorder, with a typical week divided into 3 "days" of 36 hours with 4-12 hour naps interleaved. 😉

During the Camp, we installed 5 nodes in different locations, and NicoEchaniz with JesiGiudice continued expanding it thereafter, (eventually reaching 15 nodes as of October 2012) turning a practically isolated village (doesn’t even have proper cell phone coverage) into a part of the Internet.

GuiIribarren went back to Delta de Tigre, Buenos Aires, with the inspiring experience of QuintanaLibre and tired of struggling with 3G service in the area, kick-starts DeltaLibre on March 10, with a couple of non-geek but enthusiast neighbors. (As of October 2012 DeltaLibre sums up 20 nodes, distributed in 3 separate mesh clouds along different rivers)

Apr 20, DeltaCamp week-end. Using USB hubs we made successful experiments on connecting 2 dongles to one router, yielding a cheap 3-radio mesh node.

Mar 29, Stepping into batman-adv maillist with the wrong foot: shamelessly blaming batman-adv for poor performance, only to be politely taught about crosschannel interference. Batman devels are really nice people!

May 5, Osiux is invited and sponsored to go to Colombia to give a talk on Libre Networks at Flisol Bogota, with great reception from the audience.

May 25, After one long eye-straining day of reading documentation, RFCs, and howtos… "I know kun6 fu!": DeltaLibre goes dual-stack, rendering IPv4 a deprecated protocol (no more efforts put into preventing range overlap/collision). QuintanaLibre walks the same path a few weeks later, coincidentally on WorldIpv6LaunchDay. No more IP shortage for us!

May 27, Al Cano from guifi.net visits the DeltaLibre network, to learn what we are doing with "those ridiculously cheap routers" and in return share with us all the invaluable experience of guifi.net, describing the big picture of how they became a exponentially growing free network.

Jun 14, Presented a lengthy proposal for a FRIDA grant.

Jun 26, Osiux is (again!) invited and sponsored to go to Colombia, giving a crowded room another talk on Libre Networks and Internet access at CampusParty Bogota.

Jun 29, QuintanaLibre sets up a long-shot link (16km) to a nearby bigger town, bringing to the small village of Quintana more bandwidth than the sum of all local WISPs operators.

July 3, GuiIribarren debugged and reported a bad interaction in batman-adv between gw_mode and the recently introduced BLAII; a thankful Simon replied promptly with a patch.

July 5, An annoying bug on OpenWRT ($PATH broken on non-interactive ssh sessions) prompts a patch for dropbear, a definitely trivial contribution in itself, but that served as a first-hand experience and a good minimal example about the inner workings of community driven developments such as OpenWRT.

July 22, NicoEchaniz uncovers a regression on batman-adv gw_mode. Both Gui and Nico are noted as rigorous testers in batman-adv-2012.3.0 release announcement.

Aug 11, Soon after migrating from radvd to dnsmasq 2.62 for RAs, IPv6 traffic started behaving strange in DeltaLibre. A tcpdump revealed a simple devel’s oversight of a pretty significant bit, begging for a one-liner patch = another trivial contribution to the free software world, fix included in dnsmasq 2.63.

Sep 14, A Delta inhabitant, Sebastian Pisani publishes a CC-by-sa music release, named after DeltaLibre, recorded entirely with free software, and uploaded to the Internet from the heart of an island, thanks to the connectivity provided by the local Libre Network.

Sep 19, Sponsored by LibreBus, three workshops were held in different towns of Cordoba province, explaining the Free Culture movement, how Internet is organized, how are bytes physically carried along it, and the role of Libre Networks in the big picture. Attendants flashed and PoEtized routers, put them into weatherproof enclosures, built USB extenders with UTP cable, and planned the first steps towards beginning a local WCN.

Sep 20, We didn’t win FRIDA. No problem, we concluded we must try a crowdfunding approach, given the social aspects and objectives of the project.

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