Open Media Foundation and The Open Media Project Update

choicelildice's picture

Hello Drupalers,

My name is Joe Meersman, I was hired on at the end of last year by the Open Media Foundation (OMF) in Denver to start work on a new incarnation of the Open Media Project (OMP). As many of you know, the history of the OMP is full of successes and failures. My ultimate goal with the Drupal 7 version, is to get rid of as many of the failures as we can, and make the things that worked well work better. Easier said than done, I know, but where would we be without the evolutionary process?

I know there are several other people out there who have updated the modules from Drupal 6 to Drupal 7, and several public access and media centers who are installing and using the new versions. I believe Kevin Reynen is responsible for getting these up and running, and for helping the stations that are using them install and setup the system. The Community Media Project really has been successful overall, from what I hear, and I would love to open up discussion on what is working well there, and also what is not.

I believe we are taking this project in a different direction than what Community Media Project is doing. I am a newcomer to public access, and really Drupal in general, but have been making software and websites for quite some time. From what I understand, the two major failures of OMP were:

1) It required either a developer on staff at the station to install, maintain, and update the system, or required OMF’s developers to try and maintain many sites across the country, which obviously did not work. Too much work, not enough time or resources.

2) The previous system required serious network and hardware setup at the local stations. Developers from OMF were traveling to station to setup these systems. Our developers are not hardware specialists, and were unable to travel back if problems arose with the system they installed.

3) The overall design and user experience of the system was severely flawed. The system was never really designed in a way to be easily usable by station staff and admin, let alone the, for the most part, non-technically savvy communities the software was built to cater to.

The new vision this post is all about should really fix these three issues. To address problems 1 and 2, we are hoping to build something that is following the software as a service model. We hope to have something built that is deployable for many organizations. Updates to the system would be pushed through to all the sites, and we would also hopefully have a “golden build” that we could fall back to, if something gets majorly messed up for a station (which it inevitably will). The software would be configurable, at a basic level, to fit the needs and goals of each organization that signs on. The hardware would be “in the cloud”, and therefore would eliminate any need for OMF developers to be delving into the hardware realm.

To address problem 2, we have hired an experienced UX designer to help us make this software less “Drupally” and to make the user experience simple, clean, and hopefully enjoyable. We want the interfaces and forms to be clean, and intuitive.

We know we have a lot of work to do to accomplish these things, and we also have to update and create new modules that are going to handle all of the myriad tasks the original OMP could do, plus more. To tackle all of these issues, we have partnered with Warecorp, to increase our development power. They have a team of developers, and the Warecorp partner, Chris Dystra, also runs The Uptake, a citizen fueled news organization, who has interest in using the OMP as well.

I know this is a long post, so I will stop here and let this all sink in. Please feel free to respond with questions, concerns, comments, and ideas. We are really trying to make this thing work, and want to foster collaboration in both the Drupal and public access communities. We know that the previous version of OMP, while ambitious and functional, was not the best solution for all stations, and the new incarnation also may not meet everyone’s needs, but we hope it works for those who adopt it, and we hope it works well. I, for one, will be committed to making the best software I can, and hope to see several stations on board and using it come the middle of summer.

Comments

Funding? Business plan?

stefanwray's picture

I have a few questions:

How is this being funded? Is Warecorp providing the investment capital?

What's the business plan and model?

Will the end product modules be committed back to Drupal.org fully documented?

To what extent is this an open source project?

How will you determine the development needs of the diverse and varied in size community media centers?

Why are you doing this now? What's the motivation?

answers to your questions

choicelildice's picture

Hi Stefan,

Thanks for the great questions! Here we go...

How is this being funded? Is Warecorp providing the investment capital?

It is being funded almost completely internally by OMF. The model has proven successful in Denver and we’re trying to make that value available to other stations. The Uptake has contributed as well, but there is no “investment” happening here other than investing in a new future for Public Access. OMF has always provided our services at a break-even rate or less, relying on grant funding and donations, so no one is investing in the hope of some financial return.

What's the business plan and model?

OMF’s takeaway from the Beta Test is that a Software-as-a-Service solution has the best chance for success of the OMP goals and for reaching wide adoption in the public Access Community. I am completely realistic that this solution is not going to work for everyone, and probably won’t work for stations that do not agree with our vision.

The business plan is to run this as a SaaS and distribute the costs to the partners. We intend to charge a yet undecided “subscription” which will fund any development, setup, updates, and everything else we need to maintain and run the software from our office in Denver.

Will the end product modules be committed back to Drupal.org fully documented?

OMF is committed to releasing all of the modules we use, and keeping them updated. To the extent documentation is necessary, we will work with the community of users to develop it.

To what extent is this an open source project?

100%.

How will you determine the development needs of the diverse and varied in size community media centers?

The SaaS model is based on the needs identified through the Beta Test. We will have features that can be turned on or off for each station, and configured slightly, but overall we are selling a product based on OMF’s vision for an evolution of the Public Access community.

Why are you doing this now? What's the motivation?

In all honesty, we have never stopped developing for OMP, and the motivation has never changed. The goal of the OMP is to “put the power of the media in the hands of the people”... in other words, to lower the operating costs for Public Access stations by handing more control to the community. The other motivation (which has also remained consistent from the beginning) is to build a true network of independent stations sharing content.

OMF has been working on this since the Beta Test ended. Contributions to the initial software dropped off as we reinvestigated the best approach to move to D7 and SaaS. OMF came to the conclusion that the OMP will not be adopted until it can work for access stations that may not be able to afford a developer, Drupal training, and the hardware setup needed to run an OMP site the way we tried to build them during the Beta Test.

OMF was not invited to the Community Media Summit. Personally, I would have loved to meet everyone who is working on these modules, and hopefully form some sort of collaborative plan. CivicActions attended our last sprint planning meeting during DrupalCon, and it seems clear that there are plenty of opportunities for collaboration.

Thanks again!

The SaaS model is based on

stefanwray's picture

The SaaS model is based on the needs identified through the Beta Test.

channelAustin was one of the Beta sites. Curious to know in more detail what OMF considers to be the needs that were identified through the Beta Test.

The original Beta sites were in: Amherst, Austin, Boston, Davis, Portland, and Urbana.

OMF was not invited to the Community Media Summit.

This is true. The community media centers that were invited are currently actively engaged in Drupal 7 implementations. Amherst and Austin were at the Community Media Drupal Summit. Boston wanted to make it but was able to.

will you release SaaS related code?

ericG's picture

Often, (and this is not an accusation but a statement about how other folks have done things in the past) when someone goes to a Free Software based SaaS offering, partly it is done to exploit the "web services loophole" in the GPLv2 under which Drupal is licensed.

This loophole allows you to keep code that enables your solution private as SaaS is not considered "distribution" and therefor the people paying for the service have no rights to the source code.

The Affero GPL (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Affero_General_Public_License) which is used by tools such as CiviCRM closes that loophole, defining access via the web as distribution and thereby requiring the SaaS provider to release source code to the end-users.

Will you follow that model or do you intend to keep the SaaS enabling modifications private?

We'd want to do whatever has

civicpixel's picture

We'd want to do whatever has the best chance of making the vision/mission of this project succeed. What would you suggest?

well, what's your plan?

ericG's picture

That's not really an answer.

I find it hard to believe that you have not discussed licensing and how to handle the code you will build to enable the SaaS solution you have announced.

I think my position is clear. Instead of restating myself, I'll simply ask you to answer the questions posed.

What is your plan in regards to licensing the work you are producing? Do you intend to release your code? Have you thought about using the agpl in order to protect the freedoms of the organizations using your SaaS tools?

eric has a good point

stefanwray's picture

others would like to know the answer to these questions as well

I don't actually have an

civicpixel's picture

I don't actually have an answer to those questions -- it's not a topic we had discussed on our team yet. We're a nonprofit organization that only works with open source, and wherever our resources have allowed we've tried to get our work committed back to Drupal.org. I think I was just assuming the SaaS solution would be no different -- but I hadn't thought about the code/configuration we might create that doesn't fit nicely into a module or install profile on Drupal.org. Based on your initial comment, and the experience Open Flows has with open source projects I was hoping to get your perspective on good ways to deal with that. I apologize if my short response came off as snarky, offensive or dismissive -- that was not my intention. Thanks to your comment we are having the conversation now on the best, most open & sustainable way to handle the aspects unique to our SaaS approach. I think Tony will chime in and I would still love to hear more of what you think would be an ideal approach -- it sounds like one possibility is to adopt an AGPL license for the work, we just have to get organized around what that means.

OpenSaas?

part of the answer, I'll agree

ericG's picture

I'm a little obsessed with Free Software licenses and the culture and freedom that extend from them, so forgive me if I'm walking off on a tangent here.

I don't want to sound critical of OpenSasS, it is a great step in a positive direction. However, it is only part of the picture.

From my (probably incomplete) understanding, OpenSass is about promising an end-user access to their data as it is used by the SasS system. I'm unaware of any binding license related to OpenSasS, but it is great to see Acquia and others embracing this policy.

Without the code that can fully use that data and data schema, it's only half the equation.

For example, the AGPL is a binding license focused on giving end-users access to the fully functional source code as well. So in an OpenSasS project that also licenses their code in a way that guarantees the freedom to access, use and modify the source code, there is truly no vendor lock-in.

With access to your data and the code that works with the data in an unaltered format, things are possible that are more problematic if you are only promised an export of all your data from the system; data that could require complex manipulation and alteration to use even with the tools the SaaS was initially built upon.

@choicelildice I was hoping

kreynen's picture

@choicelildice I was hoping you would have responded to @stefanwray's questions already so my long response to your long post isn't a thread killer. While I don't doubt your commitment or skills, I do think you lack some perspective. You are correct that the OMF is taking a very different approach OMP2.0, but it has less to do with a UX expert, outsourcing coding, or moving the hardware to the cloud. Those things have all been done before. The biggest difference between the original OMP and today's OMP is there is no longer any confusion that one organization would have 100% control of the features and functionality included.

While I'm flattered that you think I am "responsible for getting [all these D7 sites] up and running"... I can only take credit for a small part of the work. Staff at each station have largely built these sites themselves. Aric Ruble did the majority of work on http://accessvision.tv/ himself as well as launching http://bccurrent.org/, Sonia Thompson has learned how to tweak the content types, themes and views to manage http://phillycam.org herself, Stefan Wray configured Drupal and CiviCRM into a solution that works for channelAustin's premium membership on http://channelaustin.org, Nia Grace's design and messaging work supports her outreach efforts at http://www.bnntv.org/, Jason Liggett rebuilding http://urbanapublictelevision.org/ as he learns Drupal, the teams from CivicActions and Openflows that have been working on MNN's Drupal 4.7 -> 7 upgrade, etc.

There's a reason the support service we offer through Make Data Make Sense is called "A Little Help" and not "Build Your Whole Site for You". We work with stations to manage their own sites similar to the way the stations teach producers to make their own television shows. We show them how to use the tools. What they do with that is up to them and their success is based on their effort, skills, and resources. This approach isn't for every station, but it often works for the groups who already realize that their future as an organization will have increasingly less to do with scheduling shows on a cable channel and more to do with continuing to engage and empower their local communities to have a voice online.

If this was just about writing code and building sites, I would have moved on long ago. The reason I stay involved is working with community media has many of the same rewards as working with the larger Drupal community. I'm helping a community solve their own problems. The Drupal and CiviCRM work I've been doing during the OMF's "contribution break" has really been the continuation of what Jacob Reading (MNN at the time) and Eric Goldhagen (Openflows) started when they created this GDO group as well as following through on what was once the mission of the Open Media Project...

http://openmediaproject.org/node/405

The Open Media Project, a powerful and configurable system, dismantles the traditional vendor/ client paradigm. Instead of investing in a proprietary software package, stations and centers become part of the collaborative community of other organizations with shared interests and the ability to execute as a team and develop open source software.

We've been building on improvements that larger organizations have funded in both Drupal (Views, Fields, Media, Features, etc) and CiviCRM. We're not trying to hide the Drupal and CiviCRM interfaces and make them "less Drupally", but build on the freely available code, training, and support those communities have already created.

While we accomplished a lot while the Knight Foundation funded the development and training, the $380K and 2 years spent was really a small part of a much larger and longer effort that has grown the number of open source practitioners within community media that have the same passion and DYI spirit that drove the previous generation of public access advocates to create their own TV stations in the first place.

MNN's investment in improving the staff driven workflows in what are now cm_ modules has really brought this effort full circle. The original OMP was inspired largely by the custom modules Openflow developed for MNN, but re-designed for smaller stations with a self service workflow. The code that is available now can support either workflow.

When talking with the beta stations after the OMP we discussed many of the issues you've probably experienced at DOM... but came up with a very different list of what would have made the project better. I thought we would have been a lot more effective if we had:

  • Focussed on basic Drupal and CiviCRM training so that stations could do at least some of the work building their sites themselves instead of having the OMF staff create DOM clones in 3-4 days.
  • Partnered with groups already doing custom module development like the stations using PEGEvent and MNN to develop versions of those modules that worked for everyone, regardless of staff or producer driven workflows.
  • Stopped putting the project's collective resources into features only a small number of the "partners" wanted... like vote based scheduling, sms voting, etc
  • Developed the structure that supported any organization using the code driving improvements they wanted to fund without negatively impacting how other stations use the modules
  • Prepared the partners for the day when the OMF would stop contributing so the community would be self supporting

we also have to update and create new modules that are going to handle all of the myriad tasks the original OMP could do, plus more

The plus more is probably the most disturbing part of your post. Are saying that the OMP2.0 is going to do everything promised from OMP1.0 and more? Instead of building on what this group has done with the cm_ modules, your going to revive the om_ versions?

Building solutions that are both easy to use and very flexible is VERY hard. Drupal and CiviCRM have been at it for years with 100x (or even 1000x?) the resources that community media has and most of us are well aware of how long progress takes in those projects. We also VERY aware that having the idea to develop a solution that will work for several stations and actually doing it are 2 very different things... and require very different types of people, skills, focus. Having grand vision != the ability to execute that vision or work well with other groups. MNN learned this the hard way with their Java based Oceans7 solution then again with Drupal 4.7 and AccessCenter. Lowell learned this lesson with the Digital Bicycle Project. Denver learned it with Drupal 5 and Congo, then with again with Drupal 6 and the Open Media Project.

This is a community that likes to focus on the positive. We don't often discuss failures. As a result we often repeat the same mistakes.

When the Open Media Project started, Denver Open Media was going to be one of 6 "partners" in the project. Somewhere along the way things started changing. Deproduction became the Open Media Foundation and the partners were eventually told they would need to become customers and pay the OMF changes and support. Some of those "partners" felt like this was a bait and switch.

If the OMF really wants to collaborate with the rest of the Drupal and CiviCRM using Community Media organizations, I'd welcome it... but I'd recommend restarting this relationship by asking how you can help. After the all the effort the OMF's previous "partners" put into using and continuing the OMF's last project, telling them about this great thing you have coming reminds me of the promises MNN made with AccessCenter.

Please stop working on another solution. We have something great coming soon!

The Community Media Project really has been successful overall, from what I hear, and I would love to open up discussion on what is working well there, and also what is not.

Thanks, but there really is no single "Community Media Project". The successes and failures of configuring a community media site are the same as any other site... poor planing, lack of project management, unrealistic goals, etc.

The stations interested in working together (including many of the former OMP partners) met before SXSW at channelAustin. Stefan did a great job summarizing what these Community Media groups felt were the the challenges of working with Drupal, CiviCRM, and open source in general. The summary also outlines several specific plans to address those issues. Even more specific technical issues can be found within the Community Media specific modules the group wants included in Starter Kits.

My biggest concern is that it really sounds like the OMF wants help building Facil as a web service you plan to turn around and sell. This has similar challenges to what Acquia faces with Gardens. Acquia knows it has to make substantial contributions back to Drupal community or people will start to question why they contribute code and documentation that Acquia turns around and profits from. There is also the challenge of support. Acquia has a large team that handles that. The OMF does not.

While I think the OMF might be able to get something launched and hype the hell out of it, I fear in the long run a lack the resources without more stations signing up year after year the OMF will lack the resources to continue development. This leaves stations who choose to participate in a similar situation as Facil.... or what the original OMP partners experienced. Exciting as the community grows. Frustrating as it shrinks.

Again... if the OMF is really interested in working with other stations in the development and support a common community media contrib layer that isn't owned by any one organization and can support either a staff driven or producer driven workflows, I look forward to those conversations and contributions.

I agree, let's talk about failures.

ericG's picture

I think you make a very important point when you say that we don't talk about our failures often enough. As I mentioned to you a little while ago, at NYC DrupalCamp 9 we did a session called "my biggest drupal fail" and had some big name folks (and some smaller name folks ) talk about some of the worst things they have ever done with drupal. It was an amazingly educational session for participants of all skill levels.

Owning our failures and being willing to criticize ourselves is a critical part of a healthy community. We have to be able to say "yes, I did that wrong" in order to grow and move forward. We need to avoid becoming defensive when criticized and understand the motivation of criticism is most often positive.

So, to get the ball rolling I'll talk about one of my big fails in the community media drupal initiative. When openflows was finishing up the initial build for MNN, I was delusional and naive about how simple it was going to be to abstract the work we had done so it could be released to the community. As a result I spread some false hopes and possibly had the opposite effect than I was looking to have.

It's great that years later we are seeing that code merge with the code built by other centers and that is all coming together here. Thanks for all the effort from everyone involved.

Motivations...

deproduction's picture

Criticisms of the Beta-Test are valid and welcome. That’s what a beta-test is for. We have requested feedback all along and we’re continuing to learn from the process.

Stefan Wrote: Why are you doing this now? What's the motivation?

OMF has been working on these tools since 2005 and we’ve never stopped. Initially, they weren’t very useful to other stations. When we re-built them for the Beta-Test, we kept them flexible so they’d work in very disparate workflows and environments, but customizing and maintaining the tools required more technical skills than most stations possessed.

It was clear at Denver Open Media that adding a full-time Drupal Developer (we only had one when we started) could enable the OMP tools to replace the work of several staff people, but we hadn’t really considered how stations would receive the proposition, which was essentially: “Hire a drupal developer and your community can engage on a level that makes half of your other staff obsolete.”

Most stations were not prepared to hire or manage a Drupal Developer. Many did not want to embrace the aspects of the OMP that really hand the reigns over to their community... and few wanted to make their staff “obsolete” (even if that meant freeing them up to serve the community in other ways). The tools were so flexible, that a few stations hired other developers to strip away the aspects of the software that empowered the community the most... primarily viewer & producer-driven scheduling and self-managed equipment reservations.

OMF only had the resources to focus on community-driven aspects of the project... and if some of the stations felt left out to dry, that’s why it’s great that your Community Media Project fork serves those needs.

The Open Media Project is designed for those who share a common view for community-driven media, and we’re not all going to agree on that view. Its good for alternative solutions to exist, but we don’t want to replicate software that already exists, and our limited resources are entirely devoted to aspects of the tools that are aligned with the mission and vision of the project. We want to enable new ways of running a community media operation, leveraging the involvement of the community in a way no other tools enable.

To summarize: OMF’s motivation with the OMP-In-A-Cloud is the same vision we’ve always had: to empower community members to manage their community media stations, working towards a cooperative network of user-driven Public Access stations sharing content nation-wide. We want to help Public Access stations modernize and leverage the power of more constituent-led, crowd-sourced models that empower the producers and viewers. OMF and our partners see this fully-managed, cloud-based approach as the best way to support the needs of smaller stations.

As Kevin stated: Building solutions that are both easy to use and very flexible is VERY hard

Larger stations can afford to manage a tool set that is as flexible as the OMP was, but smaller stations need it to be easier to use, and that’s who the SaaS solution is aimed at. To supplement what Joe said about our business model, there will never be a proprietary software package tied to the OMP. OMF does not believe in tying-down information. We will never have a profit model that is based on IP.

It’s true that we invested a lot of the resources into features that some of our Beta partners felt didn’t fit their priorities, like vote-based scheduling, sms voting, and self-scheduling for producers. These tools are core to our mission and vision for public access and were deliverables required by the grant that Knight provided. Again, its good that alternatives exist for those who are not supportive of the vision we proposed and Knight supported. There are several who do. The ideals in the OMP are not original. They are not OMF’s. There were people all over the world utilizing aspects of the OMP approach long before we came around and we’ll continue to try to partner with anyone who shares a common vision.

Kevin: ...partners were eventually told they would need to become customers and pay the OMF changes and support. Some of those "partners" felt like this was a bait and switch.

I don’t think we sent a proposal to even a single beta-test partner, asking them to pay us to do more work for them. It was (and is) certainly an option for those who supported the user-driven design of the tools and wanted to help sustain a committed, nonprofit development team who puts mission first. At the same time, OMF was always supportive of for-profit development firms working with the Beta Test partners.

We selected Beta-Test partners based more on their commitment hire internal developers and local contractors than any other single factor, so suggesting that we wanted them to be our customers is off-base. We do face the reality of needing to financially sustain this project, but we charge less than half what commercial developers charge, so we rely on a development team so devoted to the mission and vision of the OMP that they’re willing to work at a fraction of what they could make elsewhere. With that situation, we've never had the capacity to fill the needs of all the partners and we’re supportive of them looking elsewhere.

We are 100% mission driven. We don’t have competitors. If someone is fulfilling the mission and vision of the OMP, then we will support them in every way we can.

Kevin wrote: ...Please stop working on another solution. We have something great coming soon!

We’ve never said anything of the sort. Please continue working on another solution. It would be good to understand everyone's motivations and to get the philosophical/vision differences out in the open. Where there’s overlap in goals, we should collaborate. Where there’s not, it's great to have other options like those that were explored at Austin’s invitation-only meeting.

Tony

Whatever your first issue of concern, media had better be your second, because without change in the media, the chances of progress in your primary area are far less likely. http://denveropenmedia.org

Whose mission?

stefanwray's picture

Tony wrote: . . .Its good for alternative solutions to exist, but we don’t want to replicate software that already exists, and our limited resources are entirely devoted to aspects of the tools that are aligned with the mission and vision of the project. . . .

. . .It’s true that we invested a lot of the resources into features that some of our Beta partners felt didn’t fit their priorities, like vote-based scheduling, sms voting, and self-scheduling for producers. These tools are core to our mission and vision for public access . . . .

. . . to help sustain a committed, nonprofit development team who puts mission first. . . .

. . . so we rely on a development team so devoted to the mission and vision of the OMP that they’re willing to work at a fraction of what they could make elsewhere . . .

. . . We are 100% mission driven. We don’t have competitors. If someone is fulfilling the mission and vision of the OMP . . .

I don't think we can talk about "the mission" or "the vision" when it comes to the development of open source tools for community media centers and public access television stations. There is not a monolithic direction or goal. Instead, it seems better to consider that there are a multitude of missions and visions that sometimes converge and sometimes diverge.

It may very well be that the Open Media Foundation has a mission and a vision. But it doesn't follow logically that this mission, and the "mission and vision of the project" is necessarily one that fits many or even some of the other community media centers around the country.

It seems like you're going about this wrong way. It feels like you're still wanting to impose a solution that doesn't or won't necessarily work well in many cases. To suggest that vote-based scheduling is central to the vision of public access is difficult to accept. I'm not aware of any public access facility or community media center that is looking for this feature. It never comes up in conversations.

What's really needed is a bottom-up approach. The current shared and collective needs of diverse community media centers should drive the development. Not the other way around. This was one of the key ideas behind the Community Media Drupal Summit.

There were 8 stations represented at the summit. There are perhaps another 8 or so that are centrally or tangentially involved with community media development. Regardless of the exact number, there is a good baseline. Together we are a decent cross section in terms of size of staff and user community. Beyond that, there are a number of centers that are already using Drupal but perhaps not in the same way - just as web sites.

I don't think that I, or anyone involved in any of these spaces, can authoritatively speak about what the mission and vision is. Rather it is better to concentrate on how we can continue to jointly identify our development needs and figure out how we can pool capital funds, or other monies, to fund that work.

But if you need a mission and a vision to follow, how about this:

"Our mission is to work together as equals and collaborate to identify and understand our shared open source Drupal-based development goals and to establish a method to jointly fund that work."

It may very well be that the

deproduction's picture

It may very well be that the Open Media Foundation has a mission and a vision. But it doesn't follow logically that this mission, and the "mission and vision of the project" is necessarily one that fits many or even some of the other community media centers around the country.

The OMP vision is not based on what community media centers want. Its based on models designed to fulfill what the public wants, inspired by groups like wikipedia with bits and pieces stolen from other successes and failures in the web2.0 world. The Open Media Project has a focus, a vision. The more we tried to be all things to all people, the more we failed.

It seems like you're going about this wrong way. It feels like you're still wanting to impose a solution that doesn't or won't necessarily work well in many cases. To suggest that vote-based scheduling is central to the vision of public access is difficult to accept.

Community-driven scheduling is not part of the "vision" of Public Access, for sure. Handing that power to the viewers is a complex process, and isn't something many public access stations want. Here in Denver, we had the opportunity to start from scratch in 2005. We studied the origin of Public Access, we were inspired by a number of experiments in the web2.0 world, and we designed a public access station, not based on the information and technologies that were available in the 70's or 80's, but based on the technology of today.
I visited dozens of Public Access TV stations, and honestly, I saw some members of that community clinging to a business model that would ensure their own extinction. As we designed the OMP, we were't looking at what Public Access stations wanted, we were looking at what the people wanted and looking at what would help keep Public Access relevant in the future. To us, the key is expanding the engagement and control of the people, having them help make the most compelling content float to the top, sharing that content nation-wide, and starting to build the viewership of Public Access as a unique, user-driven national network of stations catering to communities that are under-served by mainstream media and have little interest to advertisers. The original is explained in this video and summarized in the OpenMediaProject Website.
The project will not be controlled by OMF. It will be open-source. We will never work against anything anyone else is doing, but OMF will have to focus its limited resources on efforts aligned with that vision and we will constantly push for tools that shift control to the public and enable content-sharing across a national network.

I don't think that I, or anyone involved in any of these spaces, can authoritatively speak about what the mission and vision is. Rather it is better to concentrate on how we can continue to jointly identify our development needs and figure out how we can pool capital funds, or other monies, to fund that work.

OMF will appreciate being involved in that effort. I think everyone is clear on our priorities, and even though not everyone agrees with them, there are clear areas of overlap. We brought OMF's developers together with Warecorp and CivicActions just two weeks ago to help identify that overlap in the hopes that it may benefit the work they are doing with MNN and other stations.

Tony

Whatever your first issue of concern, media had better be your second, because without change in the media, the chances of progress in your primary area are far less likely. http://denveropenmedia.org

progress

synchlayer's picture

As one of the original OMP beta testers, Amherst Media are the smallest of those pioneers to have persevered and continued promoting the OMP’s positive goals. We persisted even through long stretches when no help, code or documentation was forthcoming from OMF, and when it was difficult to continue D6 implementation without considerable development on some heavily customized modules.

This did have positive consequences: we grew much closer to the Western Mass Drupal community for support, and began to more fully consider the idea of what we wanted as a station, independent from what OMF thought we should do, or were willing to fix. This is when things really began to happen, and I’m immensely grateful for the momentum that the OMP provided.

It isn’t fair to say that the D7 Community Media work is somehow a fork off from OMP, and you’ll note it’s not been given an acronym or branded by anyone involved in it. This initiative is rather a fuller consideration of what using Drupal means and the necessary components involved, shifting focus from one specific install profile to a layer of code that includes Drupal, CiviCRM, Drupal's Contrib modules, the Community Media modules, and custom development.

The OMP may have been the best-funded and most widely broadcast initiative but it was not the only one. Even in this small corner of Massachusetts there are stations inspired by its credo, but built without using it. Greenfield Community Television and Willinet in Williamstown both worked with member of Common Media who made them rather lovely Drupal sites, built in the spirit of community development that’s long been the hallmark of Drupal and open source.

The Community Media work done in D7 has improved and extended the original OMP goals, and for the first time a wide spectrum of functioning sites, soon to include a revamp of Amherst Media, are able to showcase Drupal as a viable Community Media resource, that delivers on the early promises.

This is not a fork, this is progress. I hope that OMF builds and contributes to modules that are common between what most stations want and their SaaS offering to stations that know nothing about Drupal. There’s lots of people turning to Wordpress right now, who need convincing that whatever Drupal based development they might otherwise choose has a harmonious future that plays well with other modules and doesn’t get its entities in a twist.

It isn’t fair to say that the

deproduction's picture

It isn’t fair to say that the D7 Community Media work is somehow a fork off from OMP, and you’ll note it’s not been given an acronym or branded by anyone involved in it. This initiative is rather a fuller consideration of what using Drupal means and the necessary components involved, shifting focus from one specific install profile to a layer of code that includes Drupal, CiviCRM, Drupal's Contrib modules, the Community Media modules, and custom development.

We're getting a clearer understanding of the goals of the D7 Community Media effort and for what its worth, I think its great. OMF is, of course, very supportive of Public Access stations using Drupal, but the Open Media Project was and is distinct. The OMP was founded out of a vision for giving communities more direct control over their community media stations and building a network of stations sharing content. Perhaps we did a poor job of communicating that vision at the outset and partnering with partners and staff who were aligned.

The OMP may have been the best-funded and most widely broadcast initiative but it was not the only one.

If you combine all grant funding and support from our city & cable provider, together with all our discretionary funds we received since we started building the OMP in 2005, it averages out to about $100,000/year. Remember, OMF/DOM gets $0 operating dollars from our city and cable provider, and we have invested every possible dollar we could considerably invest in this project for the past 7 years, which is still just a fraction of what several of these other stations get every year.

The Community Media work done in D7 has improved and extended the original OMP goals, and for the first time a wide spectrum of functioning sites, soon to include a revamp of Amherst Media, are able to showcase Drupal as a viable Community Media resource, that delivers on the early promises.

That is great. I get that its only a fork from the perspective of the original goals and vision of the OMP and OMF, which not everyone shared. Open Source has a unique value proposition for Community Media/Public Access whether or not people ascribe to the goals/vision of the OMP. I hope we've contributed in the past and I hope we contribute more in the future. But collaboration and open-source was not the only goal of the OMP. Giving communities more control over public access was first and foremost.

As we continue to communicate in an open, authentic discourse, the overlap and opportunities for collaborating towards common goals will surface. Equally valuable, the distinctions between our goals will become more clear. We look forward to that clarity and collaboration.

Tony

Whatever your first issue of concern, media had better be your second, because without change in the media, the chances of progress in your primary area are far less likely. http://denveropenmedia.org

Tony will you address ericG's

stefanwray's picture

Tony will you address ericG's questions and comments about SaaS and licensing etc that started with this thread: http://groups.drupal.org/node/221344#comment-729249

Ideas

jdcreativity's picture

It’s true that we invested a lot of the resources into features that some of our Beta partners felt didn’t fit their priorities, like vote-based scheduling, sms voting, and self-scheduling for producers.

@choicelildice @deproduction
I think companion media experiences to television viewing (like those mentioned in the quote above) on mobile phones and tablets could be a real area where your model and development can thrive. SMS voting is just the start and not the end.

I'm deeply committed to where the CM_Drupal project has taken the direction of facility management. I'm excited about the theming work and further Telvue integration that is right on the cusp. Perhaps in 2-3 years I'll be interested in some kind of companion media application. Maybe a companion app to TV watching is actually part of the National Public Access Network that is central to the vision of the OMP. Maybe I am just overly optimistic.

Hopefully, pieces of of both of these projects can be built out so that at the very least they are not in conflict with each other. This forum seems to be a good place for this and I am glad this was brought up in the open.

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