Anansi Spaceworks is Terry Hancock and Rosalyn Hunter. And yes, we are married. To each other, even.
We established this company to explore the possibilities for combining our love of space, space flight, space exploration, and space development with the insights and techniques of free culture and commons-based enterprise.
Space, like desktop computer software, exists in a highly politicized climate with extreme market distortion: Government interference and monopoly powers are commonplace. Making a profit is not straightforward or easy, but both areas represent a huge benefit to humanity. So they are hard problems in much the same way.
Twenty-three years after Richard Stallman started the GNU project, 20 years after Linus Torvalds started Linux, and 18 years after the World Wide Web was first invented at CERN, the free software paradigm has shown remarkable sticking power, continuing to make progress against entrenched monopoly powers like Microsoft. How many little commercial/proprietary software companies has Microsoft trodden down under its feet in those years? Yet free software just keeps on ticking.
I wish we had something like that in space development: It is now over 50 years since the first person went into space and over 40 since the first person set foot on the Moon. Yet we have stalled. Indeed, it's hard not to say that we have gone backwards. We are now limited to Low Earth Orbit. And Americans have to endure the shame of buying even that access from our old rivals, the Russians. I hope that exciting new, entrepreneurial companies like SpaceX with their Dragon capsule will change that. But they'll have to get past the guantlet of obstructionist government agencies, both in the USA and in Russia in order to do it.
It's not easy. And it's not because of the engineering. It's because of the politics.
So, we thought it might be a good idea to do some cross-pollination. I'd like to say that that has gone smoothly, but the truth is much more complex. We tried a store for awhile, which failed somewhat ignominiously. We worked hard on an open hardware project incubator for awhile, but never quite reached the "starting line" of having a working platform before we ran out of resources (i.e. some of us had to get new and improved day jobs). Terry's done a lot of writing for Free Software Magazine and he's written a book. Rosalyn's wrote the "Space Homestead Corner" for awhile (which I hope we can still find on our backup disks). The site has been up and down, and a little confused. We've gone through several different incarnations and strategies. Lately, we've decided to have some more fun and create an animated web video series, called "Lunatics!". This may not seem like the sanest strategy, but rest assured, we do have many ulterior motives, as any sneaky-mythical-trickster-spider ought to do.
By the way, if you're thinking this site looks a little minimal, that's because it is -- please go look at our new "Lunatics!" site, or the collection of intriguing bits of technological flotsom at the Narya site, which we run. Also because this is the "fallback" static page that we use when the Plone server is not up.