adhocracy, n. An organization with little or no structure; the opposite of a bureaucracy.
From the conversations recorded and archived at: http://www.personaltelco.net/static/meetings/200304/index.html
[The idea is] doing some sort of package where people who want to build nodes but don't know the first thing about wireless can drop their name off and say, hey look I'm curious about setting up a node, I don't know the first thing about it, but there are all of these guys here who do know a whole bunch about it. You drop your name in the hat and a message goes out to all of these guys who know things about wireless. Each of them can then choose to send a message back to the interested party - saying, hey, I'm interested, I want to help you out; we can take it from here. As the number of nodes grows, managing them all grows increasingly complex. So, we get to push out the management of the nodes out to these smaller groups, and it becomes very heirarchial.
The process of selecting groups of people to work together can be aided by a trust metric system; people can go in and say, I trust this person (or not), and they'll receive a rating that says as much.
We can build on this system further by allowing the system itself to handle a significant portion of the necessary management overhead; it should be able to keep track of all types of information, plot the layout of the network, generate configuration files and entire system images.
This project has been started many times. Initially, in 2003, there were Python and Java implementations by DarrinEden and AdamShand (respectively, I think). In 2004 and early 2005, KeeganQuinn did the majority of the backend work for an XML-RPC-oriented Python version, then in mid-2005 discarded the code to begin work on a Ruby on Rails version.
The current Ruby on Rails stuff is under extremely heavy development at the moment, and has nothing resembling a stable API yet. The latest code can be found in Subversion at: http://svn.personaltelco.net/svn/ptp/code/trunk/adhocracy This codebase has been under development more-or-less actively since May of 2004; even the change to Rails was done in a somewhat evolutionary manner.
The original working Python XML-RPC interface is still housed in same Subversion repository at: http://svn.personaltelco.net/svn/ptp/code/tags/adhocracy-py-final
Adhocracy is a poor name for this piece of software. Any suggestions for a new name would be appreciated.