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The Free Range Network

The Free Range Activism Website has been on-line since 1996, and is the on-line home of the Free Range Activism Network – a "dysorganization" of campaigners, activists and experts with an interest in developing technical resources for community groups and individuals interested in "changing the world".

In this page:

The FRAW site
the background to the FRAW site and the Free Range Network

Copyright and Open Documentation
all about 'free' documentation, and a guide to the open documentation licences used on the FRAW site

Digital Ecological Footprint
the problem of the ecological impacts of the Internet, and how the FRAW site is designed to help with that

Contacting the Free Range Network

Welcome to our site and archives!

Most of those working with the Free Range Network are full time campaigners, activists, or specialists working in related fields (who sublimate their need for more grassroots action by contributing to the network). Consequently, as we're all so busy and under-resourced.

Please note: We don't spend a lot of time updating the web site.

Apologies if you find that annoying, but for us the Internet is a means of cheaply distributing the documentation produced as part of our work rather than it's use for "virtual action" becoming an end in itself!

This page explains a little of what the FRAW site is about.

The FRAW site

Free Range Weekend Camp and Workshop

The Free Range Activism Website (FRAW) has been the on-line arm of the Free Range Network since 1996. It originally started-up as part of the GreenNet system in 1995. Initially containing just five megabytes of information for grassroots/community-based campaigners, it has evolved to holding almost two gigabytes of information today.

The major part of the FRAW site is taken up by the Free Range Virtual Library. This is a categorized collection of official reports, scientific papers and educational information across a variety of themes.

FRAW Library In the early days much of the content was scanned government reports, primarily those associated with planning and local environmental regulation. Today, now that this task is being done by the government themselves, the role of the website has changed significantly. The greater issue today is gaining access to the scientific research and technical reports which are at the heart of campaigns over pollution and public policy.

The purpose of the virtual library seeks to provide the evidence to support campaigns, but more importantly, a broad base of information around a selection of issues to allow people to educate themselves.

Copyright and Open Documentation

CC logo Wherever possible the information on this site is made available under free documentation licences.

That doesn't make it "copyright free" (or "anti-copyright"/"@-copyright") – which would allow anyone to appropriate it and use for wholly different purposes. Instead the use of open licences allows copyright material to be made freely available under certain conditions.

In general, you should assume that any information on FRAW site is freely available for use on a non-commercial, attribution and share-alike basis. Each page should clearly state the copyright status so that you can use the material appropriately.

The free documentation licences we use on the FRAW site are:

The Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share-Alike 2.0 Licence
The 'CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 UK – England & Wales' licence. Since the Creative Commons licences was updated to reflect the legal jurisdictions of different states we've been using this licence for on-line and hard-copy works.
The Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share-Alike 3.0 Licence
The CC BY-NC-SA 3.0' licence. This is the generic Creative Commons 'BY-NC-SA' licence we sometimes use for on-line and hard-copy distribution.
GNU Free Documentation License version 1.2
The 'GFDLv1.2' licence. This is the older free documentation licence used on some of our works from the early 2000s.
The 'GPL3' licence. Gnu General Public Licence version 3
We use GPLv3 to licence software works.
Recycled computer workshop, Grizedale Centre, 2002

Click on the links above to obtain a copy of each licence.

The principal difference between these licences is that the GPL/GFDL allow commercial use of the information with the appropriate acknowledgement of the authors, whilst the CC-NC-SA does not allow commercial use in any form.

Some activists use the @nticopyright label to release their information under. The problem with this is that it allows those who the activists campaign against to appropriate the information and use it against them.

For this reason this site uses free documentation licences that use the law as a tool, to control the use of the information provided through the FRAW site, in order to prevent the undesirable commercial exploitation of our work.

Digital Ecological Footprint

Today web sites are simply "compiled" rather than "designed"

That might sound a semantic difference, but it holds within it one of the issues that's driving the bloat, and hence the ecological impact of digital networks. If you want an efficient site it must be designed – this has been the approach taken in the design of the FRAW site.

For the complete background to the design issue see Paul Mobbs' Ecolonomics 12Promulgating the Web's calorie controlled diet
Darth Tux

In developed nations, information systems are now an indispensable part of most people's lives. But the development of the global communications networks, and the equipment attached to it, has come at a cost. The reality is that these services are not 'free'.

Quite apart from the financial cost, the production and use of these systems is affecting the global ecosystem which supports life on earth, as well as depleting the stock of mineral resources. For example, by some estimates the impact of information systems and telecommunications has a greater effect on the climate than air transport. How great those impacts are, or how we can reduce or manage them, is defined by how we choose to use these machines.

If we're going to have access to these technologies in the future, without harming the planet or depleting the resources from which they are manufactured, we must learn to plan our use of information systems to maximize material efficiency while minimizing their environmental impact.

This is not so much a technological issue, or the type of content you create, it's all about design; you have to deliberately set out to create a site that uses the least possible resources.

For these reasons you'll find that the FRAW site is rather different to most: It does not use scripting unless absolutely necessary; it does not use web tracking or external code to generate data/clicks; and its design is extremely light in terms of both formatting and the graphical content...
As Gandhi said, "be the change you wish to create".

Contacting the Free Range Network

To get in touch with FRAW/the Free Range Network use the email addresses below. As the Free Range Network/FRAW is a voluntary network we can't guarantee a reply!

Note, so that we don't receive humongous amounts of spam, please replace '☮' with the '@' symbol):

BTW (as we get asked!): Want to use the '☮' in your web pages too? All you have to do is represent it in the appropriate location using the unicode character ☮