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Burning Man Goes Open Source For Cell Phones

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the new-meaning-to-the-term-hot-spot dept.

Cellphones 152

coondoggie passes along this excerpt from Network World: "Today I bring you a story that has it all: a solar-powered, low-cost, open source cellular network that's revolutionizing coverage in underprivileged and off-grid spots. It uses VoIP yet works with existing cell phones. It has pedigreed founders. Best of all, it is part of the sex, drugs and art collectively known as Burning Man. ... The technology starts with the 'they-said-it-couldn't-be-done' open source software, OpenBTS. OpenBTS is built on Linux and distributed via the AGPLv3 license. When used with a software-defined radio such as the Universal Software Radio Peripheral (USRP), it presents a GSM air interface ("Um") to any standard GSM cell phone, with no modification whatsoever required of the phone. It uses open source Asterisk VoIP software as the PBX to connect calls, though it can be used with other soft switches, too. ... This is the third year its founders have decided to trial-by-fire the system by offering free cell phone service to the 50,000-ish attendees at Burning Man, which begins today in Black Rock City, Nevada. "

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Why is this on the front page in red? (2, Insightful)

The_mad_linguist (1019680) | more than 3 years ago | (#33420404)

Seriously, I'm totally confused by this. Did the burning man attendees actually set the /article/ on fire as well?

Re:Why is this on the front page in red? (1)

shoehornjob (1632387) | more than 3 years ago | (#33420530)

Once they get started burning iI guess it's hard to stop.

Re:Why is this on the front page in red? (1)

cappp (1822388) | more than 3 years ago | (#33420532)

I was under the impression that it means the story is "hot off the presses" as it were, somehow attached to seeing stories a little earlier than everyone else if you're a subscriber (maybe having an account ticks the right box too?). I've seen it a few times and as far as I can remember it's only ever happened to stories that have just been added, with few comments, and the colour changes given a little time.

Re:Why is this on the front page in red? (1)

blackraven14250 (902843) | more than 3 years ago | (#33420536)

You were seeing the article before it's officially open for comments.

Re:Why is this on the front page in red? (1)

butalearner (1235200) | more than 3 years ago | (#33420784)

Actually he was seeing it when it just opened for comments to everybody, but nobody had commented yet (not even subscribers, who see the articles earlier.

Re:Why is this on the front page in red? (1)

blackraven14250 (902843) | more than 3 years ago | (#33421420)

You can't comment while it's red. You have to wait until it turns green, which is at the time listed on the article as the post time.

I may have read that one wrong (1)

shoehornjob (1632387) | more than 3 years ago | (#33420452)

I never figured the Burning Man crowd as open source developers. Yeah pretty much just the sex drugs and art crowd. Gotta stay off the drugs man.

Re:I may have read that one wrong (1)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 3 years ago | (#33420490)

There's certainly a lot of overlap between the techie crowd and the hippie crowd. Steve Jobs, for example, experimented with LSD.

Re:I may have read that one wrong (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 3 years ago | (#33420542)

so LSD is a requirement for an RDF?

That actually makes sense.

Re:I may have read that one wrong (4, Insightful)

bertoelcon (1557907) | more than 3 years ago | (#33420564)

There's certainly a lot of overlap between the techie crowd and the hippie crowd. Steve Jobs, for example, experimented with LSD.

Jobs never has been been really a techie though, he is more of a hipster businessman.

Re:I may have read that one wrong (1)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | more than 3 years ago | (#33420718)

Steve Jobs was a coke dealer.

[Citation Needed] (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33421132)

[I]Citation Needed[/I]

lol

Re:[Citation Needed] (2, Insightful)

rhook (943951) | more than 3 years ago | (#33421248)

I think what he's trying to say is that he was Steve Jobs best customer.

Re:[Citation Needed] (1)

shoehornjob (1632387) | more than 4 years ago | (#33421972)

I think what he's trying to say is that he was Steve Jobs best customer.

Score...literally. OMG so funny wish I hadn't spent my mod points as rhook clearly needs to be modded up. As for Steve's excessive LSD use he obviously didn't listen to me when I told him not to eat the brown acid. Sadly some things can never be undone.

Re:I may have read that one wrong (3, Informative)

camperslo (704715) | more than 4 years ago | (#33422630)

Steve Jobs was a coke dealer.

No, it was John Scully and Pepsi

Re:I may have read that one wrong (1)

Jorl17 (1716772) | more than 3 years ago | (#33420730)

Yes, and then there's the Balmer Peek [xkcd.com] !

Re:I may have read that one wrong (1)

Jorl17 (1716772) | more than 3 years ago | (#33420750)

And then there's the idiot who can't spell Peak...

Yikes!

Re:I may have read that one wrong (1)

gregrah (1605707) | more than 3 years ago | (#33421338)

My bad... I modded you as a troll for correcting your own spelling mistake. I thought it was someone else being a jerk.

Posting here to undo my mod. :)

Burning Man: Disneyland for Marketing Suits (5, Insightful)

RobotRunAmok (595286) | more than 4 years ago | (#33421786)

Burning Man had its brief, shining moment, but when was that...? Circa mid-90's? Now it's a staged pseudo-event the very promotion of which cuts against the grain of what it was supposed to be. I see the jowly middle-aged Marketing Suits queuing up for their Burning Man tickets and I am reminded of the giddy tourists in and around Woodstock, NY paying $25 for a tie-dyed peace-sign T-shirt.

Re:Burning Man: Disneyland for Marketing Suits (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 4 years ago | (#33422552)

Doesn't mean it can't still be awesome.

Some of those marketing suits probably did some pretty wild stuff in their younger days, before settling down to make some serious money.

Re:I may have read that one wrong (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33420628)

The people who make Burning Man happen are awesome, and they're seriously into tech.
As with any festival, there is a large contingent of "tourists" who are just there for the party.
But the organizers and contributors are skilled, interesting, and motivated.

Re:I may have read that one wrong (3, Interesting)

Requiem18th (742389) | more than 3 years ago | (#33420892)

After reading their regulations section however I feel freer out here in the network than in that caged city.

Re:I may have read that one wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33421160)

Agree with you. And I personally wouldn't attend for exactly those reasons. However given the lack of a sovereign state willing to give them a temporary 'law free' zone, I can see the purpose of some of them for protecting their attendees from backlash when they return to the outside world.

Re:I may have read that one wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33421728)

You would be surprised then, Black Rock City very probably has more open source developers per capita than any other city on earth.

watch out for cops (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33420462)

A little OT, but I fear the burning man festival may soon flame out, or at best, morph into an anemic lame-o semblance of it's former self, due to hordes of overzealous local cops storming the party like a bunch of killjoy stormtroopers.

Re:watch out for cops (3, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#33421336)

I fear the burning man festival may soon flame out, or at best, morph into an anemic lame-o semblance of it's former self

I think I've been hearing that it's already done that from people who have attended it every year in the last decade. People were probably saying the same thing before then, I just wasn't paying attention.

Re:watch out for cops (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#33421580)

On the Current TV documentary last night, the organizers themselves said it had gone from being a counter-culture event to a mainstream cultural event. I still like the idea of a gift economy, but think I think most music festivals operate at least partially on that principle. For any gathering to survive, as the number of attendees goes way up you need to implement some fascist rules just to maintain public safety, e.g. "Don't climb the 100-foot tall artwork" and "Don't stand so close to the Burning Man that it lands on you when it collapses".

Re:watch out for cops (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33421626)

My Burning Man village built "The Museum of It Was Better Last Year" for exactly this reason.

Bummer (5, Insightful)

joebok (457904) | more than 3 years ago | (#33420476)

I haven't been to Burning Man in a few years, but when I did go it was nice to get away from it all. I suppose I could choose to not use/bring my cell phone - but if other people are still tethered to the ordinary world...? Well - bummer!

Re:Bummer (3, Insightful)

Radres (776901) | more than 3 years ago | (#33420776)

Well, if this project does what it says, there won't be any place left in the world where you won't be tethered to the grid.

Re:Bummer (2, Informative)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 3 years ago | (#33420978)

Theres always the Alaska Highway

Re:Bummer (2, Funny)

nanospook (521118) | more than 3 years ago | (#33420830)

I haven't been there in about 10 years, but if I was there this year, I would be too busy dancing, sexing, eating shrooms to mess around with that tech shit.. sometimes you have to just walk away from the tech stuff and just "experience" :)

Re:Bummer (1)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 3 years ago | (#33420842)

I couldn't make it this year, but myself and friends are renting/buying an RV and driving out there next year. Looking forward to it =)

Re:Bummer (1)

joebok (457904) | more than 3 years ago | (#33421010)

Experience is good, participation is better!

Re:Bummer (1)

random735 (102808) | more than 3 years ago | (#33421226)

seconded... I went in 2008 (would love to go back but it's a bit of a hike+ a lot of gear from the east coast) and one of my favorite aspects of it was knowing that for the next week I would have no contact with the outside world. Even when i left to drive home, i left my cellphone turned off for a few hours just to savor my last moments of "freedom" before listening to the inevitable voicemails, letting my parents know i'd survived "that crazy thing in the desert", etc.

As you say...you can choose to leave it off, but it's awfully hard to resist that urge to just check in on one little thing, if you know you can..... it's also a lot easier to tell people you're not going to be reachable for a week when there's literally no cell service, than to say "i'm turning my phone off for a week and no, i'm not even going to turn it on once a day to check for voicemails/texts just in case"

Maybe it's just me (and my job at the time which involved a lot of late night wakeup calls for server issues) but a whole week of not being reachable was utterly amazing. (so was the rest of the burn, of course)

Re:Bummer (0, Offtopic)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 3 years ago | (#33421482)

How 'bout you just assume it ISN'T secure, and don't do any drug deals or order any mob hits over the phone while you're at Burning Man, ok?

Re:Bummer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33421486)

I am pretty sure you are not going to get your original cell phone number in this network, so you would have to activate call forwarding to your burning man telephone number (if they even have enough external numbers for all the users) to be disturbed by the "real world".
We had this at last years Hacking At Random near Amsterdam (https://wiki.har2009.org/page/GSM) and it is really helpful to communicate with your fellow geeks without carrying a usually way bigger DECT phone around.

Let creativity flow, be it through 802.11, gsm or regular sound waves!

p.s. why does it take so long to get a confirmation mail?

Re:Bummer (1)

DynamiteNeon (623949) | more than 4 years ago | (#33421794)

To be fair, I've been with large enough groups that had to bring in sat phones to coordinate trucks and supplies, and having an emergency line wasn't such a bad thing. Most of that stops at the beginning of the week though.

I didn't see any people using their phones last year either, so it's not that hard to avoid. I was a bit surprised to find my cell phone had signal at all during the event, but just did what I always do and stored it in the glove compartment the whole week.

I swear though, I'll punch someone if they start twittering or some other bullshit during the event next year when I plan to go again.

Re:Bummer (1)

Damek (515688) | more than 4 years ago | (#33422194)

You're always tethered to reality.

My bias:

I just spent the weekend on a farm in upstate new york (with about 20-30 other cityfolk) and it was more socially & sensorily taxing than my usual weekday office existence. Insects, breezes, sunlight, socializing, games, activities... so much to do and think about! For an introvert, corporate anonymity is much more relaxing.

I'm not being facetious. Burning man is a temporary city, after all - different and creative, but a city nonetheless. May as well remain connected to the rest of them, unless you're still harboring that false "nature/civilization" dichotomy, but even then - hello, town full of people, it ain't disconnected from civilization...

Encryption? (0)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 3 years ago | (#33420518)

What about encryption? How do I know my call is safe, and do I trust the operator of these devices?

Re:Encryption? (1, Insightful)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 3 years ago | (#33420590)

What about encryption? How do I know my call is safe, and do I trust the operator of these devices?

In a crowd of 50,000 people I'm not sure that call safety and call security are the most reasonable things to be concerned about...

Re:Encryption? (1)

phantomcircuit (938963) | more than 3 years ago | (#33420848)

They're in the middle of the desert. It's not like there are 50K people crammed into a tiny area.

Re:Encryption? (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 3 years ago | (#33421180)

They're in the middle of the desert. It's not like there are 50K people crammed into a tiny area.

Sure, there is a fair bit of space available, but for the popular acts (especially performing arts) the crowd density can get rather high. After all, Burning Man isn't just MOMA spread out randomly across the desert.

Re:Encryption? (4, Informative)

abulafia (7826) | more than 4 years ago | (#33421838)

Have you ever been? It is the population density of a city, modulo the multistory units (except for the nuts who do build those). I don't know what the plan this year is (I'm missing it this year, sniff), but last year, the camp radius was 2100 feet [burningman.com] , putting the vast bulk of those 50K people in a 1-mile diameter area. Not many people camp in "deep playa" (the burner term for the area outside of the radial roads but inside the trash perimeter).

Back on topic, there's been signal there for at least the last three years, but it became useless once the gates opened and the hordes descended. My take is that cell service during the main event is going to be a net negative, but it is inevitable. It will become something akin to the ongoing war on glow sticks - a bunch of us will mercilessly mock glow-stuck cellphone users and try to shame them into putting the fucking things down and be present, and it mostly won't work.

Those of us who do LNT (Leave No Trace, the massive cleanup effort post event) will get to ground score cellphones, though. People lose everything else.

Re:Encryption? (2, Funny)

Requiem18th (742389) | more than 3 years ago | (#33420920)

You think that's bad? Right now you are surrounded by almost 7 billion people!

Re:Encryption? (1)

Damek (515688) | more than 4 years ago | (#33422206)

Amen.

Re:Encryption? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33421558)

After attending a talk about GSM fuzzing at last years Hacking At Random (https://har2009.org/program/events/185.en.html) and considering the amount of exploitable bluetooth bugs, I would say being tapped shouldn't be your biggest concern...

How do you know that now? (1)

weston (16146) | more than 4 years ago | (#33421902)

It's not as if most carriers have a reputation for really caring about customer privacy...

Re:Encryption? (0)

dissy (172727) | more than 4 years ago | (#33421984)

What about encryption? How do I know my call is safe, and do I trust the operator of these devices?

The same way you do for any transceiver your cell phone connects to (IE you don't, and it isn't)

Little tip though, I doubt the burning man operators will be working with the feds to install backdoor monitoring equipment that records all your calls as a matter of course.

Right Now ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33420550)

BTW: BurningMan Art Festival is just Right Now !

\o/

- Charly

ehhh! (1)

nanospook (521118) | more than 3 years ago | (#33420778)

Sex? Drugs? I saw NOTHING, NOTHING I say *shrugging shoulders*

Re:ehhh! (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 3 years ago | (#33421500)

Don't know what your problem is... My wife went there and she got LOTS of sex and drugs! ;-)

Re:ehhh! (1)

Macrat (638047) | more than 4 years ago | (#33421844)

Your wording implies that she got sex and drugs without you.

Re:ehhh! (2, Informative)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#33422128)

Thank you for explaining the joke to our slower slashdot readers...

Missing the point (3, Informative)

Jherico (39763) | more than 3 years ago | (#33420786)

While cell phones are nifty and I wouldn't want to live day to day without mine, I think this is largely missing the point of Burning Man.

Re:Missing the point (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33420876)

I cringe at how many calls are going to be "Hey! I'm calling you from Burning Man PRETTY COOL HEY!"

Actually I wonder how many phone calls will go out to emergency services claiming "there's a fire" as some sort of joke.

What really surprises me is that they've only had cell service for 3 years.

Re:Missing the point (1)

tibit (1762298) | more than 3 years ago | (#33421196)

I presume that 911 calls could be screened, allowing the operator to take over. It's easy enough to set up on Asterisk, and obviously when the screening capacity is up, they can go straight through.

Re:Missing the point (3, Funny)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 3 years ago | (#33421522)

Burning man is about freedom to do whatever you want as long as it doesn't infringe on the freedom of others. If what you want to do is play with your GSM phone rather than indulge in all the music, art, alcohol, drugs, and sex that is going on, well then more power to you, you pathetic little nerd.

Re:Missing the point (1)

Damek (515688) | more than 4 years ago | (#33422220)

But I want to be free of cell phone radiation. D'oh!

Oucheroo (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#33420806)

Looks like you have to spend thousands to build a working solution. If you were hoping to use GSM phones as cordless phones any time soon, you'd better have buckets of ducats.

Re:Oucheroo (1)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 3 years ago | (#33420890)

Open source solution = ~$10,000; Typical commercial installation = $50K-100K. Cost is relative.

Re:Oucheroo (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33421122)

What's unreal about that?

nobody is going to make you a GSM antenna/BTS/BSC in a box. (when somebody tries, expect "fm transmitter" quality)

there's always going to be a lot of work involved with making groups of people with unique requirements happy. this is LIGHT YEARS ahead of the last ten years, trying to get Motorola or Siemens to put up JUST a BTS, would have started at $250K + installation, and you still need all the signaling system / authentication hardware to go with it. to be able to put up a macro cell with > 10 subscribers allowed over it is revolutionary.

all said and done, to provide service in north america, you could put up about $25K worth of equipment, and get multi point coverage for a city of about 20K. (depending on density, the denser the better) couple that with a few redundant routers($10K a year) and redundant 100/100 internet connections (about $18K a month), plus a decent contract with a major PSTN termination provider estimate WAY high at $10K a month, and you could be supplying GSM cell service for unmodified phones, with unlimited voice, and unlimited data for a whopping cost of $2.00/month/subscriber. (that'll get you NEARLY unlimited capacity, for the few times you go over, take it out of your huge profit you'd be making at even $10/month/person.

that price is going to go up a bit, (tower rental space, installation, salaries, general business overhead) but a well run business would be able to automate most of the process, and start turning a profit in the first year. (likely in the first few months, with a decent ad campaign! )

compare that to modern cell companies, and I think you'll see how far we've come.

Re:Oucheroo (1)

tibit (1762298) | more than 3 years ago | (#33421212)

As long as the hardware would be FCC certified, and they could obtain base station licensing, that is. I figure that's another $100k per year amortized over 10 years. If you're lucky. Or am I off base here?

Looks cool, where do I get one? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33420814)

Now if only they made it consumer affordable so I could get reception in my basement...

Wait. (4, Interesting)

_KiTA_ (241027) | more than 3 years ago | (#33420870)

Is this the same Burning Man that claims copyright on any PRIVATE photos taken at their events? [techdirt.com]

PASS. Horrible IP grab + single Open Source project is still a negative, methinks.

Re:Wait. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33420984)

You also can't spend money at Burning Man because it's a "gift economy". Unless you are buying something off the organisers, of course, like food, drink and big blocks of ice. At Soviet Burning Man, some are more equal than others.

Pretentious hipster shitheads.

Re:Wait. (1)

random735 (102808) | more than 3 years ago | (#33421466)

spoken like someone who's never been there.

first off there's no food for sale.

There is ice, mainly because that's one item that most people will probably want and can't provide themselves very easily.

Coffee is also available for sale, i have to admit i don't understand that one, but plenty of people provide free coffee for themselves and anyone else. There was a community tea/coffee house around the corner from my tent that offered free coffee/tea every morning. My guess is they use it as a bit of a fundraiser for the organization....if that's a problem for you, don't buy it...I didn't.

I'm not sure what offends you so much about a week in which you can't spend money....i found it fascinating. Not going to claim society could work that way long term, but it's certainly a novel experience.

Re:Wait. (2, Informative)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 3 years ago | (#33421008)

I've never been to Burning Man, I've been to other free-love-get-high-hippy-alt-fests so I "get" the point of it, but I don't understand how the Open Source community can stomach Burning Man's copyright claims.

Re:Wait. (5, Interesting)

_KiTA_ (241027) | more than 3 years ago | (#33421110)

I've never been to Burning Man, I've been to other free-love-get-high-hippy-alt-fests so I "get" the point of it, but I don't understand how the Open Source community can stomach Burning Man's copyright claims.

On paper it sounds really good. "We have a bunch of nudists and hippies (and exhibitionsts) that show up and walk around naked for most of the event. We don't want voyeurs to be getting their rocks off on them."

Then they went after private photographers own galleries, and the Wiki Commons. Oh, and they sell their own DVDs [burningman.com] . Complete coincidence, there.

Unfortunately Burning Man itself has kinda become mainstream. It's less about art and free love and the like, and more about college guys getting drunk/stoned and harassing girls, trying to get them to strip. I imagine there are other, better, alt-fests around, but the closest thing I get to Hippydome is reading Brad Warner's series of Zen books.

Re:Wait. (1)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 3 years ago | (#33421194)

When I was in Middle School through High School I spent the summers in Eugene Oregon, so I got burnt out really quickly on the nudist/hippie/stoner/exhibitionist subculture.

That and the fact that I hate the heat and the sun gives me migraines have kept me from Burning Man.

But I totally get that they've become the man now and are against the same sorts of open community that embraces them.

Re:Wait. (1)

Strange Ranger (454494) | more than 4 years ago | (#33421770)

Burning Man itself has kinda become mainstream. It's less about art and free love and the like, and more about college guys getting drunk/stoned and harassing girls, trying to get them to strip. .

Except for your choice of the exceptionally strong word "harass", I think this might be a good thing. Having participated in my fair share of naked hippie art and body festivals I can almost assure you that, sadly, with few exceptions the girls who don't need to be talked into it are the last girls on earth anyone wants to see naked.

Re:Wait. (1)

DynamiteNeon (623949) | more than 4 years ago | (#33421914)

"It's less about art and free love and the like, and more about college guys getting drunk/stoned and harassing girls, trying to get them to strip."

You seem to be confusing BM with spring break parties in Mexico. There are certainly a few of those types that show up every year, but it has grown enough that you get a variety of sub-cultures and not just hippies or frat-boys. Plus, the location they chose still tends to keep out more of the obnoxious people that couldn't handle the camping, which I believe was always intentional. Really, there's enough going on that you can choose what you want from the event and stay away from the things you aren't interested in.

Also, any large enough festival like this is going to have some bits of drama, most of it brought on from people that haven't really been there or get the point. I also don't really agree with the photo policies at BM, but I do understand the need to protect privacy in events like this.

They are specifically interested in giving people some control over their privacy (which is a good thing) so they can do what they want without fear of it ending up on youtube, facebook, or flickr. I wouldn't look at this like some evil corporation trying to take control of everything so much as a group that has good intentions and may just need to modify the rules to make sense. When the EFF criticized them last year they were willing to have conversations about how to change the rules, and that still seems to be an on-going conversation. I'm not sure where that is at exactly since I haven't paid attention to every detail, but I do believe they made at least some slight modifications during the last year or so based on the feedback.

Re:Wait. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33421088)

As I understand it they give license for personal use of any pictures taken there. The copyright is to prevent commercial exploitation of the the copious amounts of art and naked people there who frequently only want to be displayed to the other Burning Man participants. The organizers aren't really profiting from the pictures taken there.

Re:Wait. (4, Interesting)

blhack (921171) | more than 3 years ago | (#33421114)

They do this to prevent people from going there, taking pictures, and selling a "BURNERS GONE WILD!" calendar or something like it.

They're preventing *others* from profiting off of photos of burners, not profiting off of them themselves.

This is generally considered a good thing.

Re:Wait. (3, Insightful)

stephanruby (542433) | more than 4 years ago | (#33422002)

Couldn't they just have said it Slashdot style? The people being photographed at Burning Man own the copyright of their own image. And please, since we can not determine who is sober and who is not during the event, for any non-personal publication of those photographs, do not make anyone sign any model release form until well after the event has ended. Get their email address, or contact information instead.

Re:Wait. (1)

uncanny (954868) | more than 4 years ago | (#33422464)

why protect the idiots from themselves?

Re:Wait. (1)

deathguppie (768263) | more than 4 years ago | (#33421752)

it's to prevent you from having your wife from finding out what you did there..

Re:Wait. (3, Informative)

Prien715 (251944) | more than 4 years ago | (#33422422)

It's a non-commercial event. You can't sell food there. You can't sell photos of the event. You can't go take pictures of the human carcass wash or critical tits ride. If there were photographers, these events couldn't happen. There are no "observer" tickets for the event -- it's not a concert.

Why is it that people always bitch about privacy, and about Google putting up photos of their house or their friends online, a non-profit bans this practice and everyone gets up in arms? I've taken numerous pictures at the event, and as long as you don't try to sell them, you don't get hassled.

Especially when the policy's author is was the lead council for the Electronic Freedom Frontier.

License? (0, Redundant)

Obfuscant (592200) | more than 3 years ago | (#33420922)

Ummm, I'm confused. The frequencies that GSM uses are licensed by the FCC to specific operators. The phones are used under the control of the operator, who has a license for each and every cell site.

How is Burning Man getting away with using these frequencies without a license?

More important, what happens when half a dozen people in an area with existing service start setting these up and interfering with the big companies who are selling service? We lived through the heyday of CB radio and how unusable it became when the FCC gave up on licensing after an explosion of popularity. Do we have to live through the same thing with our cell phones?

Re:License? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33421002)

TFA says they get a license for the bands they are using up there. Of course, they could be lying through their teeth. In either case, the FCC really doesn't do that much unless you are causing QRM to folks who do have licenses.

Re:License? (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33421264)

Their FAQ, http://pagalegba2010.wikispaces.com/FAQ [wikispaces.com] , has a link to the experimental FCC license: http://openbts.sourceforge.net/FieldTest3/STAGrant.pdf [sourceforge.net]

Re:License? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33421722)

Mod parent up. Real data, as opposed to an AC just mouthing off, like the GP. Oh, wait, that was me.

Re:License? (3, Informative)

Wesley Felter (138342) | more than 3 years ago | (#33421246)

The FCC grants them a temporary experimental license because they can't cause much interference out in the middle of the desert. If you fire up OpenBTS anywhere in civilization you're probably breaking the law. Fortunately the equipment is a bit more expensive than CB radio and the carriers have a real incentive to crack down on interferers, so I doubt there will be too many problems in the real world.

Re:License? (4, Informative)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 3 years ago | (#33421368)

Ummm, I'm confused. The frequencies that GSM uses are licensed by the FCC to specific operators. The phones are used under the control of the operator, who has a license for each and every cell site.

It's the confusion born from not RTFAing.

GSM operates on licensed bandwidth, so for any U.S. installation, the OpenBTS crew always obtains a FCC license and works with the local carrier to coordinate frequency use. When attendees get into range and power up their phones, the system sends them a text that says "Reply to this message with your phone number and you can send and receive text messages and make voice calls."

I'm guessing the person who modded you up didn't RTFA either.

Re:License? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33421556)

Shut the fuck up cuntface. No one asked you.

Re:License? (1)

Obfuscant (592200) | more than 4 years ago | (#33421888)

It's the confusion born from not RTFAing.

This is /..

When I see "open source" I assume that there can be no "licensing fee". My bad.

Bad license choice (2, Insightful)

kRutOn (28796) | more than 3 years ago | (#33420926)

Cool project. Unfortunately the use of AGPL will guarantee no one ever uses it. Too bad. Imagine having a base station where you have to require a partition for the source. Or people with broken cell phones saying you're not providing an equal opportunity to download the software source. Ugh.

Re:Bad license choice (1)

mercutioviz (1350573) | more than 3 years ago | (#33421224)

Not sure I grok this... what license would be better than AGPL for this particular software?

Re:Bad license choice (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#33421384)

Anything? The AGPL attempts to close some 'loopholes' in the GPL, which makes it even more of a pain to comply with than the GPL. Given the choice between a proprietary solution for $250K and an open source solution for $10K and having to deal with the AGPL, I suspect a lot of people would opt for the proprietary solution. Once you factor in lawyer time, it might even be cheaper...

Re:Bad license choice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33421564)

Only if you want to keep some of the code you write for yourself. If you give in to the Viralness of the AGPL and release any changes or wrapper code, then what's the big deal?

If you want their software to run a business and make a profit, buy the proprietary option. I don't see how setting up rogue cell towers without FCC licenses would be a good business model anyway.

Re:Bad license choice (1)

stephanruby (542433) | more than 4 years ago | (#33422176)

Imagine having a base station where you have to require a partition for the source.

Are you saying that posting the source code on github or posting it on their asterisks server wouldn't qualify??? Are we both even reading the same license [gnu.org] , because it doesn't seem like we are. Please tell me which key paragraph/phrase I've missed, assuming I'm the one who's read the license incorrectly.

Or people with broken cell phones saying you're not providing an equal opportunity to download the software source.

Now, I know you're just joking. You really have to work on your humor, a few of the mods actually took your post at face value.

good job the software is free (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33421052)

Because the money you save will be needed for spending $25k on transmitting hardware (or have a highly qualified electronics engineer spend a couple of months building it for less), a 100 ft guy-wired radio tower with antennas and a crew of climbing riggers, a 150ft $750K telescopic crane with operator, 3 skilled RF engineers to wire it up, 2 people with a degree in CS to set up the software and 5+ days to spare to set it up and debug it, oh and a license.

but at least the software is free

Re:good job the software is free (1)

mspohr (589790) | more than 3 years ago | (#33421266)

If you RTFA, you would find out that they do the entire thing for a cost of about $10,000. Not cheap but much less than "standard" GSM base stations.

Also, re: "crew of climbing riggers, a 150ft $750K telescopic crane with operator, 3 skilled RF engineers to wire it up, 2 people with a degree in CS to set up the software and 5+ days to spare to set it up and debug it"... They sent one of these to Haiti and it was set up and running in about an hour in a hospital which used it for two weeks until their regular phones were fixed after the earthquake.

Re:good job the software is free (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#33421644)

How much of that $10,000 is the cost of the Solar Power? Photovoltaics, inverters, and batteries ain't cheap. As far as the crane, they've got plenty of those on site for the build anyway, so it's a shared expense. The labor is presumably all volunteer.

OpenBTS With FreeSWITCH (3, Informative)

mercutioviz (1350573) | more than 3 years ago | (#33421192)

FYI,

Some have inquired as to using OpenBTS with FreeSWITCH as well as Asterisk. Alberto Escudero (aka AEP) wrote this wiki page nearly a year ago:

http://wiki.freeswitch.org/wiki/OpenBTS [freeswitch.org]

It's slightly dated but the information is accurate.

-MC

Nekkid People (1)

Macrat (638047) | more than 4 years ago | (#33421854)

Where do naked people carry their phones?

Re:Nekkid People (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33422122)

Guess?

Re:Nekkid People (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | more than 4 years ago | (#33422214)

In their other hand.

Networked displays (1)

solweil (1168955) | more than 4 years ago | (#33422378)

It would be interesting to use the network to coordinate light and fire displays across the playa.

RMS (1)

tsa (15680) | more than 4 years ago | (#33422426)

Does this mean that RMS can finally use a cellphone?

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