Demotech, design for self reliance

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Overtake environmental decline by environmental improvement by the intens collaboration on Internet of dedicated people in the re-design of technologies.

Please visit also our wiki research pages. (D50)

Copyright & Open Source

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.

Please refer to our work and provide us with usefull feedback and comments on our design initiatives.

Liability clause

We cannot be held accountable for injuries incurred during construction or usage of our designs and construction manuals.

Open Source design
<< Back to category Rethinking concepts

Introduced at users level Reduction till nill by replacing a product by a service Applicable in modern as well as in poor economies Environment Income Rural as well as urban.

For survival in decency on this planet, the present speed of environmental decline had to be overtaken by an even higher speed of environmental improvement. Such a rapid improvement can only come from a new method of innovative knowledge development. This improvement may come from inter-linking the imaginative constructive power in the minds of people. Performed in solidarity and targeted at commonly wanted goals, such a method may result into the necessary speed of development and the required quality.

In traditional development of crafts, applicable knowledge was created as well as used in a gradual and shared effort. The present common use of Internet results in a similar development of knowledge, notably of software. The difference being a wider participation, cooperation on specialized items, a high speed of development and rapid improvement of quality by continuous feedback from its users. This difference applied to the modern development of crafts has the potential of technology development for a sustainable economy.

Planned progress

  • The Forum page will be developed to ease entries of feedback or comments
  • Student internships will be dedicated mostly to one design. Her or his design work will is made part of design interaction on Internet.
  • Relevant information on a design will be published as soon as possible.

  • Internal links

    Open Source design and the GNU Public Licence

    Demotech is dedicated to OPEN SOURCE development and user rights on knowledge. Knowledge is only a description of facts that always have been there, that no one can own.
    Demotech has the strong impression that general welfare, reduction of poverty and sustainability can be reached by research and implementation of results under conditions of OPEN SOURCE and/or COPYLEFT as described in the GNU General Public Licence

    Literature on Open Source worth reading

    Several interesting and / or essential articles on the subject of open source.

    Demotech copyright and the GNU Public Licence

    Clause copyright and intellectual property in relation to the information as published in the Demotech website . The foundation ?Demotech, design for self-reliance?, having its seat in Dieren, the Netherlands, publishes in this website her designs and design considerations. These designs and design considerations, their description in written text, with accompanying or separately shown illustrations, as well graphics, photographs, audio and video or otherwise moving images, further to be called Demotech publications, are the intellectual property of the foundation Demotech or of its founder Reinder van Tijen. This intellectual property is protected by copyright. Nothing of the Demotech publications may be copied or otherwise used without written consent of the owners.

    The sole exception on the above clause is the use of Demotech publications in letter and spirit identical or similar to the GNU GENERAL PUBLIC LICENCE.

    Better licences to promote Open Source development in the field of hardware and crafts?

    We are looking for licences that better cover the idea as descibed in the related record. In this page we copy the URL's that follow a similar trail of thought.

    Discussion on Open Source in the Newsgroup

    Some first questions that arose around Demotech's Open Source approach where introduced by Rejo Zenger in the Dutch newsgroup
    Have a look at this thread.

    Accessing “Design Space” for Achieving Environmental Sustainability and Accelerated Poverty Reduction

    By Jaakko Kooroshy, based on a personal exchange with Reinder van Tijen on Sept. 18, 2006.
    Design space is structured by the necessity of fulfilling the needs which define the problem, the relevant time span that is available for coming up and implementing this solution, the entirety of the physical environment and materials available, the laws of physics and so on. Not included are however our cultural and social constraints such as habits and power constellations, our limitations in terms of knowledge and experience, patterns of problem solving, our fears, imagination etc., i.e. something that contemporary sociologists would perhaps describe as the dimension of the ‘discursive’ or the ‘mediated experience’ (reference? Perhaps Mouffe & Laclau?). In our actual life experience, the latter factors obviously lay very real and often severe constraints on our use of the design space, this however does not change the fact that the design space itself is typically unimaginably large or perhaps even infinite.

    External Links

  • Arnoud Engelfriet mailed Demotech (10/20/03) the following sites that refer to 'Open Source' Hardware. Most of the information is about electronic hardware and its development.
    In the site 'Why free' (see below) an approach is mentioned that is closer to what Demotech wants to promote: the OSCar-project. In this site, go to 'Other sources and click The OSCar Project - not an electronic design, but a car!
  • ZOPE and the power of communities
    If you like open source technology and want to develop a nice website based on the power of communities, read about ZOPE, or visit some weblogs, and familiarize with the free weblog software It's slick and slim, and a lot of nice things happen in these communities (a contribution from Inne, inneATxs4allDOTnl)
  • Patent Avoidance ?Library
    For most individuals and small scale startups, patents are virtually certain to result in a net loss of time, energy, money, and sanity. One reason for this is the outrageously wrong urban lore involving patents and patenting. A second involves the outright scams which inevitably surround "inventions" and "inventing".???
    A third is that the economic break even needed to recover patent costs is something between $12,000,000.00 and $40,000,000 in gross sales.??
    It is ludicrously absurd to try and patent a million dollar idea.??
    This library explores many tested and fully proven real-world alternates to patents and patenting.??
  • Understanding when, why and how networks promote development
    A literature review from the Overseas Development Institute shows why networks matter and identifies how they shape agenda setting, policy formulation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation. The authors identify lessons for improving communications.
    In this respect it should be studied how networks relate to adopting new technologies and how innovative processes are supported.
  • Creative Comments
    Offering your work under a Creative Commons license does not mean giving up your copyright. It means offering some of your rights to any member of the public but only on certain conditions. Different licenses can be chosen. Yahoo's Creative Comments Search directed at content available on Cc-Licenses:
  • Marketing Open Source licensed products
    Wikipedia explains why free licensed products can sell in a profitable way and why this should be promoted.
  • Send us an email form about any relevant link, that should be added here Links on violation of copyright and legal consequences
  • ?10 Big Myths about copyright explained.
    An attempt to answer common myths about copyright seen on the net and cover issues related to copyright and USENET/Internet publication.>

    General topics relating to Open Source

  • "Barn Raising" or what is good for a Community

  • What other people say...

    If you like you can add your own comment

    by Richard Nelson - Fri Nov 01 (2002)
    Open Eco Design Collaboration
    Hello friends at DemoTech,

    We were informed recently of your work by a post at our forums:
    The post provided a link to your website and I have been exploring it with great interest.
    I am an inventor of solar construction methods for building solar greenhouses, garden homes and ecoCommunities. Our methods are new breakthroughs for low energy climate controlled structures with modulated daylight and high night time insulation (removable liquid bubble technology) for cold nights and shading for hot days.
    These are liquid solar processes that use soap solutions for the control of the properties of the building envelope. The building envelope is transparent or translucent and the radiation in and out is controlled as well as the temperature and R-Value by using dynamic liquid technology that can respond to the climate and environmental control conditions.

    These are patented technologies that I have been working on for more than twenty years and the original, broad patents have expired or are near the end of their life. I was deeply concerned that our conventional business appoach to bring technologies for sustainable living to the market is not working and I therefore have adopted the opensource path to building collaborative communities that make a sustainable future possible for all of humanity.
    I have worked towards simplification and the DIY approach so that the methods will be accessible, affordable and adaptable to all kinds of situations.

    I am now focused on building an opensource community around these solaroof methods and we have active forums that are working on the technology and also the broader social transformation that is needed. I would like to link up and join with you in your effort to bring about this collaboration that can provide solutions more quickly and hopefully on time to save us from the crisis that are not to distant - the "overshoot & die-off" disaster that is forcaste if present trends continue.

    I am therefore very pleased to associate with your program of collaboration and I would like to find ways to connect and merge our activities. I include some thoughts on the challenges of collaboration below. There are also some useful links in the text:

    The solaroofgarden community is sponsoring a GrassRoots initiative for the collaboration and sharing of know-how for DIY (DoItYourself) projects that individuals and families can undertake to build sustainable homes and communities. Under the GrassRoots Initiative our Sponsors and Partners are contributing to the implementation of solaroofgarden projects by the members of our www community who are most in need and have the least means.
    Our Members are encouraged to form Teams to implement these projects at the local level.

    I wish the Team Members to be able to collaborate and communicate with the general Membership through intranet services that permit the individuals to publish their project plan at a Team Website, which is then accessible to other Members who can give advise, feedback and financial support. The Teams are to work as North/South collaborations with Advisors selected to join the Team by polling the members of the Team.
    These interactions are essential to the vision for wide spread projects and for the provision of the necessary Global support and encouragement to the Local Team Members as they implement the GrassRoots Project.

    Many of the solaroofgarden Members in the developing world may not be able to afford the cost of ISP services, such as an email account and access to an intranet where they can author and publish WebPages that will permit the collaboration as envisioned above. Therefore the kind of services that described below would be ideal for our solaroofgarden community to grow in all parts of the world and reach those in the developing world without concern about how the costs will be covered. Not wanting to make a distinction between Members I would like to be able to offer the same access to these services to all Members of the solaroofgarden community.
    What I will propose is that those who can afford a payment for these services will make a voluntary contribution to cover the costs of these services and surplus of these funds, if any, would flow through to the GrassRoots initiative to financially assist the Team Projects that are underway or in a planning stage.

    The intranet services would be available to all the Members of the solaroofgarden community and would be accessed through portal pages on the solaroofgarden website where visitors may sign up to become members and then register for these intranet services and join Teams.
    Individuals will be able to find fellow collaborators and advisors and Teams will poll their existing members to accept new team members and advisory members.
    Having established a working group the Teams would then begin the planning and implementation of their projects.

    Visitors and other Members of the solaroofgarden community will be able to rate the GrassRoots projects, offer advice and comments and provide direct financial support to the project. A project budget and a target for financial support will be established as part of the published project plan. Direct financial contributions (by any visitors) and votes by Members will create a non-administrative and strictly merit based evaluation of the existing projects by the entire Membership and the public at large. All projects will then receive an allocation prorate from any indirect contributions (from our commercial Sponsors and Partners, for example) and from any surplus general revenues. After costs have been covered all contributions will flow through to the GrassRoots Projects covering each project up to the stated goal amount.
    The method for the handling of funds would be decentralized and made transparent as a published data base; possibly using a mechanism similar to the payments system of

    I am, as a member of seeking collaboration from your organization that could assist the implementation of this vision.
    With your support these components would be incorporated into the Solaroofgarden member services:
    An Intranet including these features:
  • A personal e-mail system
  • Facilities for document management (creation, editing, storage and commenting) known as ?conferences?
  • Facilities for private & public chat
  • Facilities for establishing and posting documents onto a web-page (for Team Leaders)

    I would be very pleased if I could work with you to implement my vision of the solaroofgarden community as a DIY portal for sustainable development technology. All the know-how presented on our site will be provided on an ?opensource? basis which means that there are no proprietary restrictions and no payments are required for the use of this technology ( see and
    Furthermore the technology and information is available to all members for their personal non-commercial use without any cost (but also without any warrantee as being fit for any particular use) and can be modified and reproduced without restriction.
    Our community is business friendly; any individual or group can make commercial use of the know-how and those who can afford are requested to make a voluntary payment of 3% to 10% of their revenue from the use of the know-how, according to the value received and their desire to support the GrassRoots Projects.
    Many small professional and construction services business may be established ? all with access to the same growing body of know-how. All funds (called Honor Payments) that flow from commercial Partners, who are Materials, Components and Product manufacturers and Service companies, firms and consultants will go (as described above) to the support of the current GrassRoots Projects. Businesses will be linked to the community website and our Members will relate to them not as ?consumers? but as a powerful and empowering collective purchasing group that can set specifications and standards and obtain commodity prices.

    Individuals are asked to a voluntary contribution of money for their personal use of solaroofgarden concepts in their homes or communities, and the individuals and families in the developed nations (the North) are encouraged to assess the value received and in exchange offer a contribution to the GrassRoots initiative (Families helping Families).
    When these GrassRoots Projects have had a beneficial result and have helped families and communities in the South to rise out of poverty these people who have been helped are encouraged to extent their support and financial assistance to others who have need to build a project. This ?pay-it-forward? policy is similar to that of Habitat for Humanity and can involve the contribution of direct labor by those who have previous experience to offer in the construction and implementation of solaroofgarden projects.

    Solaroofgarden projects are appropriate for both the North and South and will help to bridge the development gap by enabling the North to consume less non-renewable resources and to use natural, renewable resources more efficiently. In every home or community our methods will create food & water supply security and safety and contribute to energy self-sufficiency that create the LOCAL conditions that contribute to GLOBAL security and peace.

    The GrassRoots Initiative will engender Leadership and Participation by individuals, families and communities. It encourages the formation of Teams that will bring North and South together (through the internet and intranet) in a GLOBAL collaboration that brings wide spread human resources to focus on the practical support the LOCAL implementation of projects.
    The publication of project plans and results will assist the diffusion and adoption of best practices for sustainable development. The solaroofgarden policy of ?opensource? publication of know-how will inspire worldwide collaboration and has the potential to arrive at fundamental solutions to hunger and could mobilize the creativity to win the war on poverty. Sharing our experience with sustainable living and livelihood will help to pull everyone up the learning curve and many mistakes and loss of time and effort will be achieved.

    I believe that solaroofgarden can enrich the lives of thousands, perhaps millions of people and I look forward to your feedback.
    Rick Nelson
    Together we can BUILD a sustainable future

    by Richard Nelson - Sat Dec 06 (2003)
    Re: Open Eco Design Collaboration - missing links
    In my message there were some links that were lost in this text:
  • by Richard Nelson - Fri Nov 01 (2002)
    links to opensource forums
    It seems the links in my previous message are dead. I will try again. This is a forum for wide scope of discussion on ecological design and sustainable living and how we can collaborate and create new patterns of economy and lifestyle. Also my solaroofgarden website is moving to a new host and the present site is dead but I have a webpage at This is technical forum on new methods of solar buildings and greenhouse structures that are very effective, efficient and low cost. It is a forum for DIY enthusiasts interested in building projects using "bubble technology" and the liquid solaroof system. A few projects are operational and many more are in the planning stage. I hope that the links will work and that many friends at Demotech will join us in our opensource collaboration and we will also work with Demotech to build a sustainable future for everyone. - Rick

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