The initial OrganicDesign package is still in development and will act as a seed that grows into a Platform when its roles are filled and its other requirements are met. The system that Platforms use is being defined in the platform specification document. It will eventually become a family of packages and will contain within it the tools for groups to refine their selected package and redistribute them themselves. The package can be deployed as an ISO for so it can be booted via DVD or USB drive or as an application which can run within an existing operating system.
The full package will contain the following aspects starting with the most general layer, the operating system.
We have a Create a LiveCD procedure, which describes how to maintain a set of virtual machines operating in specific configurations used on computers in our organisation. These are maintained and made available as ISO images for 32bit and 64bit x86 architectures. Our distro's are Debian and Ubuntu based, and pre-configured and installed with one or more of our Debian packages.
All the applications we use and specific configurations for the operating system and applications that best suit our system are defined as Debian packages so that our infrastructure can easily be installed into existing Debian or Ubuntu environments such as remote servers and VPS's.
Currently our Debian packages are used to maintain our server and workstation applications and configuration. We have our own package repository with a package designed for servers and one for workstations. The distro's are essentially a collection of Debian packages but are packaged up into an installable form.
Platform management system
One application is central to our system which the whole operating system is set up to support which is our chosen content management framework that houses the main organisational system common to all Platforms including procedures, workflow, administrational records and documents. We've been developing this system over the last few years in MediaWiki (see Wiki Organisation), but are in the process of changing over to Drupal because it has existing support for many of the features we require that are missing in MediaWiki such as group decision making mechanisms, groupware and discussion forums.
The overall idea is to allow people with a common interest or who are working on a project together to form a group in the system and then use the group decision-making tools to decide amongst themselves what other tools and resources they require within their group and what roles and workflows they need to carry out their purpose together. For a more detailed description and discussion on this system, see Platform specification.
The functionality of the platform management system alone isn't much help to a new user; a pre-prepared working structure of content is required. The main aspect of the content is the ontology which defines the general organisational structure including content types, portals, procedures, contracts and documentation. This content is the main work that Organic Design will be doing from now on rather than development.
Over the years we have collected a large repository of education media such as eBooks and documentaries which help to educate people on the problems facing our society such as the financial system. We plan to maintain these as a set of different sized packages to be included with the main packages depending on the space available after the core functionality is included.
Network & Communications
Even though our system is a web application, the package is designed to be installed on each users machine as a local application. It is then able to form a network with other running instances when connectivity is available but still able to operate without degradation in performance when bandwidth is low or absent.
This robust peer-to-peer network layer can also be used as the foundation for communications. The idea is to make maximum use of the most local connectivity available to reduce costs and dependence as much as possible.
Another area that's critical to maximising independence is the ability to choose from a variety of alternative currency models when trading with other entities in the network. Our package will include support for trading with alternative currencies in the form of documentation, procedures, connections to experts and exchanges, and simple integration with standard payment mechanisms such as credit card and Paypal.