Last updated 9 months ago

What is OCE

OCE (Open Cooperative Ecosystem) is an open and informal network, made up of various people and groups, who work to interconnect useful software using standard vocabularies and protocols, to create technical infrastructure that supports the needs of a transitional or post-capitalist economic community. People also use the term OCE to refer to the software itself.

Then what is OCP? That's confusing.

OCP (Open Collaborative Platform) was the starting point for OCE. Note "platform" vs. "ecosystem". OCP is an open source platform that was adopted by FairCoop initially for the Freedom Coop project. It has since been used to maintain the organizational structure of the ecosystem; for managing OCW (Open Coop Work), which is the internal FairCoop group that coordinates and does the central work of FairCoop; for Bank of the Commons. FairCoop and Bank of the Commons have contributed new features to OCP since adopting it, including various membership functions and integrating it with faircoin wallets and transactions. The initial work being done for OCE involves a new UI which uses OCP as its backend, but can be used with other backends also. The goal of OCE is to create an ecosystem of software that supports the same functions as OCP plus more, using smaller interoperable apps, and moving to a distributed/decentralized architecture. For one thing, software apps are proliferating quickly in FairCoop, with increasing needs for interoperability. Some of these software apps duplicate functions already in OCP, leading to even more need for interoperability. Also, moving to an OCE will enable developers to use the language of their choice to develop features that can be very customized to specific needs or more generic, without having to learn a large existing code base. Or to plug in all or part of an existing software app that people like better. In reality, there is always newer and better software coming along, it won't stand still. The goal is to be able to plug new or existing apps into the software ecosystem as easily as possible.

Why is FairCoop investing in something like OCP/OCE? Is it related to Faircoin?

FairCoop is much more than faircoin, it is focused in building a grassroots and cooperative economy worldwide. This was also the original goal of OCP, and is the goal of OCE.

I saw there is a kanban, is OCE a project manager for coops?

Some groups use it for project management, such as OCW. But it is more like an ERP system for economic networks instead of enterprises. It is designed to support any kind of economic activity. So besides coordinating work, it supports FairCoin transactions, also production and distribution of goods and services, any kind of exchange, etc. The kanban interface was created at the request of FairCoop users who are doing project management. However, it is different than the usual kanban or other project management tool, which are fine for what they do, but do not support the resource flow structure needed to coordinate say a regional economy, or even just a supply chain. The OCE kanban can track what people made, and what other resoruces they used to do that, and where those resources came from, and where the resources they created went. FairCoop is moving towards fair production, with some starts on producing eggs and wind generators and soon electrical power. There's a Common Routes transportation system being created.

But aren't there lots of open source ERP systems already? Couldn't we try this instead of building it from scratch?

First of all, FairCoop did not start from scratch, it adopted an existing open source platform called NRP, created by a collaboration of and, and used by Sensorica and a few other networks since. However, it is true that NRP/OCP has not been used as much as many of the ERP open source platforms. But using an ERP means the core model and logic is based on capitalist practices, and not easily modified to support open collaborative economic networks. OCP was designed from the ground up to support those kinds of networks. You can find other people in FairCoop who would rather use an existing ERP system, it has been sometimes controversial. But those people have not tried to do that yet except for project management. Besides working around the underlying core logic, the features that FairCoop has added to NRP would almost certainly need to be added to or modified in any existing ERP system. Nobody here is trying to make a new version of something that exists. Sometimes things do need to be re-invented, such as our current economic system. The OCE view is that part of the work that is needed in the world includes some level of re-invention of supporting software, as one contribution towards the next economy. We do not think this can be done using just existing software. We also think that it can only be done with the collaboration of developers and groups working on the ground, both being essential parts of this re-invention.

What is ValueFlows then?

ValueFlows ( ) is a standard economic vocabulary (in process), based on an ISO - international standards organization - standard for economics and accounting called REA (resources, events, agents). ValueFlows is a domain vocabulary and can be used in many standard formats. OCP and OCE use the same base model as ValueFlows. ValueFlows is being extended by a FairCoop team into a FairSpecificationLayer vocabulary to support interoperability in the growing software ecosystem, starting with data analytics. ValueFlows is not an app, it is an enabler for standard communicaton between apps, which we believe is necessary to create an ecosystem that is easy to plug into.

How did OCP come to FairCoop?

FairCoop decided in an early assembly to use the NRP software, initially for the Freedom Coop project, but also because it can support the longer term goals of FairCoop towards a whole new economy. FairCoop changed the name to OCP, and contacted the developers of the NRP software, who stayed around to help with implementation and enhancement, because of shared values. FairCoop developers started working on the enhancements. The original NRP developers, as well as FairCoop developers interested in working in the OCE direction, as well as some developers who occasionally work with FairCoop, are part of OCE.

Can OCE develop some improvements for Usefaircoin or Fairmarket?

FairCoop technical people are somewhat spread out organizationally. OCE does not support the development of either of those apps. On the other hand, FairCoop has conducted several interoperability meetings to understand how to connect tools, including these, assisted by the OCE team. The goal of OCE is to tie all these apps together as much as possible.

How does OCE relate to FairCoop?

OCE's relationship to FairCoop is being discussed. OCE thus far has worked mostly on software specified by FairCoop. However, OCE supports more than FairCoop, most immediately Bank of the Commons. OCE also bridges to interoperability teams in other next-economy groups, and attempts to unify all of this as much as possible, to minimize duplication and to support synergies between the groups. OCE does not set priorities for FairCoop. When OCE does work for FairCoop, we work on their priorities. This is also true for other groups OCE works with. OCE maintains its overall direction and goals, but in close collaboration with user groups making change on the ground, working directly with them on their needs. We believe this is the best way to develop useful software, and do not do any development that is not immediately needed.

Isn't it a waste to spend resources on OCP and then just move to OCE?

OCP is now performing some critical functions for faircoop that as of now, no other software is ready to do. OCP is still needed in production until 2020 at least. The OCE team has committed to moving gradually from OCP so that users continue to be fully supported. And really this is about transforming OCP, not replacing it, and making those functions interoperable with other software. For example, the Agent app is the first app of the intended suite. It works with OCP now, but is also independent of OCP and can eventually work as part of a decentralized system.

Where can I learn more?

Website: Docs: UI component Library: An article about Agent app:‚Äč