If software such as operating systems and applications are not open source (libre software) then there is dependence on the owners to maintain it and evolve it in a direction which is maintains the user's best interests. For example the users depend on the owner to fix bugs in a timely manor, maintain compatibility with various operating system and hardware environments, and to keep the software free of charge.
Hardware and communications independence
We're not truly independent in the IT aspect of our lives while we still rely on corporate manufacturers for our hardware, and on telecommunications companies for our networking needs. To be truly independent for our IT needs, we need open source hardware developed by community projects, and a global mesh network environment that is completely peer-to-peer.
For communities to work and trade together privately and independently a money system independent of the centralised banking cartels is needed. Thanks to Bitcoin there are now viable alternatives and many more technologies have sprung off from the main concept.
Food, water and power independence (off-grid living)
See our water wheel project and our power project. This also involves becoming independent in terms of your requirements from the outside world such as for petrol and tools, building materials like timber, nails, screws and wire etc.
Another important aspect of the general concept of independence is to become independent mentally, so that you're less affected by external circumstance and require less to be content in life. This is achieved through meditation.