Free chapter web hosting, part 1 has begun an ambitious program to offer free web hosting to all of our registered chapters. On the web, we’ve seen a lot of successful chapters use a wiki for organizing notes and a blog for sharing ideas and events. As the national organization, we want all chapters who want these to have them, even if they don’t have tireless armies of local geeks. Today, we can provide mailing lists and a wiki to any chapter that asks!

If a chapter does not already have a wiki, we will create a new one for them, and it will spawn with default content to help them organize their activities and run an effective chapter. We have studied the wikis of successful Free Culture chapters, and used that real-world experience to create a default wiki structure that is proven to work well, so that a new chapter doesn’t have to learn through trial and error. If a chapter has an existing wiki, we can import it into our hosting setup for them, and our wiki hosting offers a number of additional benefits: we will always keep the wiki software up-to-date, we will install effective anti-spam measures, and soon we hope to offer federated logins so that you only have to sign up once to have an account on all of our wikis.

We intend to offer blogs to our chapters as well in the immediate future, in the same fashion that we offer wikis today. That would complete the basic package. Eventually we hope to add other useful tools to our chapter web hosting, such as calendar-sharing perhaps.

Our entire software stack is Free Software, of course.

freecult@www:~$ vrms
No non-free packages installed on www! rms would be proud.

Our mailing lists are managed by Mailman, our wikis run on Mediawiki, and our blogs will run on WordPress (or to be more accurate a multi-user version of WordPress called Lyceum).

(And remember, if your chapter does have an army of local geeks, we can give you a more powerful sandbox to play in.)