From HandWiki
Original author(s)Comunes Collective
Developer(s)Comunes Collective, IEPALA Foundation
Initial release2007; 17 years ago (2007)
Stable release
1.0.0 (Codename "free-riders")[1] / March 18, 2015; 8 years ago (2015-03-18)
Written inJava-based Google Web Toolkit
Available inMulti-language (more than 10)
TypeWeb application Collaborative software Distributed social network

Kune is a free/open source distributed social network focused on collaboration rather than just on communication.[2] That is, it focuses on online real-time collaborative editing, decentralized social networking and web publishing, while focusing on workgroups rather than just on individuals.[3][4] It aims to allow for the creation of online spaces for collaborative work where organizations and individuals can build projects online, coordinate common agendas, set up virtual meetings, publish on the web, and join organizations with similar interests. It has a special focus on Free Culture and social movements needs.[5][6] Kune is a project of the Comunes Collective.

Technical details

Kune is programmed using the Java-based GWT in the client-side, integrating Apache Wave (formerly Google Wave) and using mainly the open protocols XMPP and Wave Federation Protocol. GWT Java sources on the client side generates obfuscated and deeply optimized JavaScript conforming a single page application. Wave extensions (gadgets, bots) run on top of Kune (as in Facebook apps) and can be programmed in Java+GWT, JavaScript or Python.

The current version has been under development since 2007,[7] with a constant, stable growth and an established codebase.[8] Nowadays the code is hosted in the GIT of Gitorious,[9] it has a development site[2] and its main node[10] maintained by the Comunes Collective.

Kune is 100% free software and was built only using free software. Its software is licensed under the Affero GPL license while the art is under a Creative Commons BY-SA.


Kune was born in order to face a growing concern from the community behind it. Nowadays, groups (a group of friends, activists, a NGO, a small start-up) that need to work together typically will use multiple free (like beer) commercial centralized for-profit services (e.g. Google Docs, Google Groups, Facebook,, Dropbox, Flickr, eBay ...) in order to communicate and collaborate online. However, "If you're not paying for it, you're the product".[11] In order to avoid that, such groups of users may ask a technical expert to build them mailing lists, a webpage and maybe to set up an etherpad. However, technicians are needed for any new list (as they cannot configure e.g. GNU Mailman), configuration change, etc., creating a strong dependency and ultimately a bottle-neck.[12]

Kune aims to cover all those needs of groups to communicate and collaborate, in an usable way and thus without depending on technical experts.[13] It aims to be a free/libre web service (and thus in the cloud), but decentralized as email so a user can choose the server they want and still interoperate transparently with the rest.

Opposite to most distributed social networks, this software focuses on collaboration and building, not only on communication and sharing. Thus, Kune does not aim to ultimately replace Facebook, but also all the above-mentioned commercial services. Kune has a strong focus on the construction of Free Culture and eventually facilitate Commons-based peer production.[14]


Version Code name Release date
0.0.1 -- colspan="2" 2007
0.0.9 15M colspan="2" 2011-08-04
0.1.0 99%[15] colspan="2" 2012-04-13
0.2.0 Ostrom[16] colspan="2" 2012-10-22
1.0.0 "Free-riders"[1] colspan="2" 2015-03-18

The origin of Kune relies on the community behind Ourproject[17] aimed to provide for Free Culture (social/cultural projects) what Sourceforge and other software forges meant for free software: a collection of communication and collaboration tools that would boost the emergence of community-driven free projects.[18] However, although Ourproject was relatively successful, it was far from the original aims. The analysis of the situation in 2005[19] concluded that only the groups that had a techie among them (who would manage Mailman or install a CMS) were able to move forward, while the rest would abandon the service. Thus, new free collaborative tools were needed, more usable and suitable for anyone, as the available free tools required a high degree of technical expertise. This is why Kune, whose name means "together" in Esperanto, was developed.

The first prototypes of Kune were developed using Ruby on Rails and Pyjamas (later known as Pyjs). However, with the release of Java and the Google Web Toolkit as free software, the community embraced these technologies since 2007.[7] In 2009, with a stable codebase and about to release a major version of Kune,[20] Google announced the Google Wave project and promised it would be released as free software. Wave was using the same technologies of Kune (Java + GWT, Guice, XMPP protocol) so it would be easy to integrate after its release. Besides, Wave was offering an open federated protocol, easy extensibility (through gadgets), easy control versioning, and very good real-time edition of documents. Thus, the community decided to halt the development of Kune, and wait for its release... in the meanwhile developing gadgets that would be integrated in Kune later on.[21][22][23] In this same period, the community established the Comunes Association (with an acknowledged inspiration in Software in the Public Interest) as a non-profit legal umbrella for free software tools for encouraging the Commons and facilitating the work of social movements.[24] The umbrella covered Ourproject, Kune and Move Commons,[25] together with some other minor projects.

In November 2010, the free Apache Wave (previously Wave-in-a-Box) was released, under the umbrella of the Apache Foundation. Since then, the community began integrating its source code within the Kune previous codebase,[26] and with the support of the IEPALA Foundation.[27] Kune released its Beta and moved to production in April 2012.

Since then, Kune has been catalogued as "activism 2.0"[28] and citizen tool,[29][30] a tool for NGOs,[31][32] multi-tool for general purpose[33] (and following that, criticized for the risk of falling on the second-system effect[34]) and example of the new paradigm.[35] It was selected as "open website of the week" by the Open University of Catalonia[36] and as one of the #Occupy Tech projects.[37] Nowadays there are plans of another federated social network, Lorea (based on Elgg), to connect with Kune.[38]

Feature list

  • All the functionalities of Apache Wave, that is collaborative federated real-time editing, plus
  • Communication
    • Chat and chatrooms compatible with Gmail and Jabber through XMPP (with several XEP extensions), as it integrates Emite[39]
    • Social networking (federated)
  • Real-time collaboration for groups in:
    • Documents: as in Google Docs
    • Wikis
    • Lists: as in Google Groups but minimizing emails, through waves
    • Group Tasks
    • Group Calendar: as in Google Calendar, with ical export
    • Group Blogs
    • Web-creation: aiming to publish contents directly on the web (as in WordPress, with a dashboard and public view) (in development)
    • Bartering: aiming to decentralize bartering as in eBay
  • Advanced email
    • Waves: aims to replace most uses of email
    • Inbox: as in email, all your conversations and documents in all kunes are controlled from your inbox
    • Email notifications (Projected: replies from email)
  • Multimedia & Gadgets
    • Image or Video galleries integrated in any doc
    • Maps, mindmaps, Twitter streams, etc.
    • Polls, voting, events, etc.
    • and more via Apache Wave extensions, easy to program (as in Facebook apps, they run on top of Kune)
  • Federation
    • Distributed Social Networking the same way as e-mail: from one inbox you control all your activity in all kunes, and you can collaborate with anyone or any group regardless of the kune where they were registered.
    • Interoperable with any Kune server or Wave-based system
    • Chat interoperable with any XMPP server
  • Usability
    • Strong focus on usability for any user
    • Animated tutorials for each tool
    • Drag&Drop for sharing contents, add users to a doc, change roles, delete contents, etc.
    • Shortcuts
  • Free culture
    • Developed using free software and released under AGPL
    • Easy assistant for choosing content licenses for groups. Default license is Creative Commons BY-SA.
  • Developer-friendly
    • Debian/Ubuntu package for easy installation
    • Wave Gadgets can be programmed in Java+GWT, JavaScript or Python

Supporters and adopters

Kune has the active support of several organizations and institutions:

  • Comunes Association, whose community is behind Kune development. It hosts a Kune server for free projects:
  • IEPALA Foundation,[40] which is supporting the development with economical and technical resources. It hosts a Kune server for non-governmental organizations: "Social Gloobal" (previously EuroSur).
  • Grasia Software Agent Research Group[41] of the Complutense University of Madrid has provided technical resources. It seeks to host a Kune server for academic article collaboration.
  • Interns from the Master of Free Software from the King Juan Carlos University are participating in the development.
  • Trainees from the American University of Science and Technology (Lebanon) participate in the system administration.
  • Paulo Freire Institute in Brazil participated in the early design and prototypes.
  • The Kune workgroup of the Medialab Prado[42] are participating in the beta-testing.[43]

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Released Kune Version 1.0.0 Codename "free-riders"". 2015-03-18. Retrieved 2015-06-23. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Kune development site". Retrieved 3 February 2011. 
  3. "Presentando el proyecto Kune, redes sociales y colaboración libre para grupos" (in Spanish). Barrapunto (Spanish Slashdot). 22 August 2011. Retrieved 28 August 2011. 
  4. "Presentando el proyecto Kune, redes sociales y colaboración libre para grupos" (in Spanish). Menéame (Spanish Digg). 23 August 2011. Retrieved 28 August 2011. 
  5. "Kune FAQ". Retrieved 7 July 2012. 
  6. Boeing, Niels (31 August 2012). "Das neue Internet" (in German). Die Zeit (Germany). Retrieved 5 September 2012. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 Video: Status of Kune development (Jan 2008) (AVI). 26 January 2008. Retrieved 28 August 2011. Cite has empty unknown parameter: |trans_title= (help)
  8. Ohloh. "Kune project in Ohloh". Retrieved 28 August 2011. 
  9. "Kune repository in Gitorious". Gitorious. Archived from the original on 2012-10-24. Retrieved 2 September 2012. 
  10. "Kune node """. Maintained by Comunes Collective. Retrieved 5 September 2012. 
  11. "If You're Not Paying for It; You're the Product". Lifehacker. 23 November 2010. Retrieved 7 July 2012. 
  12. "Kune 0.0.9 published (codename "15M")". Kune Blog. 4 August 2011. Retrieved 12 April 2012. 
  13. "Software libre, hardware libre, ¿servicios libres?". Libertonia News. 27 May 2009. Retrieved 3 February 2011. 
  14. Mass Araya, Elizabeth Roxana; Borsetti Gregorio Vidotti, Silvana Aparecida (15 July 2012). "Creative Commons: a Convergence Model Between the Ideal of Commons and the Possibilities of Creation in Contemporary TimesOpposed to Copyright Impediments". in Baptista, Ana Alice; Linde, Peter; Lavesson, Niklas et al.. Social Shaping of Digital Publishing: Exploring the Interplay Between Culture and Technology. IOS Press. pp. 3–11. ISBN 9781614990642. Retrieved 19 August 2012. 
  15. "Kune new release "99%" & production site". #Occupy Tech News. 24 April 2012. Retrieved 9 June 2012. 
  16. "New release of collaborative distributed social network Kune: "Ostrom"". #Occupy Tech News. 26 November 2012. Retrieved 26 November 2012. [yes|permanent dead link|dead link}}]
  17. "There's Life after Microsoft - Free Software Advocates". Inter Press Service News Agency. 24 January 2004. Archived from the original on 7 September 2010. Retrieved 3 February 2011. 
  18. Camino, S.; F. Javier; M. Jiménez Gañán; S. Frutos Cid (2008). "Collaborative Development within Open Source Communities". Encyclopedia of Networked and Virtual Organizations. IGI Global, Information Science Reference. ISBN 978-1-59904-885-7. 
  19. "Towards a new manager of free projects (Hacia un nuevo gestor de proyectos libres)" (Press release). 6 December 2005. Archived from the original on 17 March 2012. Retrieved 22 April 2012.
  20. "¡Colabora con Kune! Llamado a desarrolladores/as". Peru Free Software Association. 5 May 2009. Archived from the original on 22 August 2010. Retrieved 3 February 2011. 
  21. "MassMob: Meetings and Smart Mobs". Comunes Collective. 2009. Retrieved 22 April 2012. 
  22. "Troco project: an experimental peer-to-peer currency". Comunes Collective. 2010. Retrieved 22 April 2012. 
  23. "Karma: A Reputation Rating System". Comunes Collective. 2010. Retrieved 22 April 2012. 
  24. "Free Culture Forum 2011". Free Culture Forum 2011 (Interview). Interviewed by Serotonina EH. Burgos, Spain: Radio Onda Expansiva. 9 November 2011. Retrieved April 8, 2017. Cite uses deprecated parameter |subjectlink= (help)
  25. "Move Commons, crowdfunding y etiquetado de proyectos sociales". Mis APIs por tus Cookies. 1 December 2012. Retrieved 11 April 2012. 
  26. Toledo, Jorge (14 February 2012). "Move Commons & Kune: free tools for activism and collaboration (Move Commons y Kune: herramientas libres para el activismo y la colaboración)". Ecosistema Urbano. Retrieved 11 April 2012. 
  27. "Presenting status of Kune development Jan-2011". 24 January 2011. Retrieved 22 April 2012. 
  28. Gonzalo, Pilar (4 November 2011). "Activism 2.0 and citizen empowerment in the net (I) (Activismo 2.0 y empoderamiento ciudadano en red (I))". Retrieved 11 April 2012. 
  29. "Free Knowledge: Collective intelligence for developing free tools and community resources (Conocimiento libre: Inteligencia colectiva para desarrollar herramientas libres y recursos comunitarios)". ¡Rebelaos! 1: 10. 2012. 
  30. "Cooperation, Collaboration and citizen power (Cooperación, colaboración y poder ciudadano)". Sindikos. 20 January 2012. Retrieved 11 April 2012. 
  31. "Las redes de organizaciones sociales del CIS generan propuestas para la internacionalización de la acción". Foro Internacional Democracia y Cooperación. 5 March 2011. Retrieved 11 April 2012. 
  32. Document Summary of the Rapporteur of Second Regional Workshop Latin America and the Caribbean (Report). Mexico City: Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation (Spain). February 2012. pp. 15. Retrieved 12 April 2012. 
  33. "Kune". Contenidos en Red. 17 February 2012. Retrieved 11 April 2012. 
  34. Palacios, J. Ramón (24 October 2011). "Against social networks (Contra las redes sociales)". Jotarp. Archived from the original on 2011-10-27. Retrieved 11 April 2012. 
  35. "On the need to bring closer city and country (Sobre la necesidad de acercar la ciudad al campo y viceversa)". Semillas de Innovación. 13 March 2012. Retrieved 11 April 2012. 
  36. "Open website of the week: Kune". Open Minds, Open University of Catalonia. 5 March 2012. Archived from the original on 14 January 2015. Retrieved 11 April 2012. 
  37. "#Occupy Tech projects". Retrieved 22 April 2012. 
  38. "Radical Community Manager". Nociones Comunes. 17 March 2012. Retrieved 11 April 2012. 
  39. "Emite: XMPP & GWT". Retrieved 22 April 2012. 
  40. "IEPALA Foundation homepage". Retrieved 22 April 2012. 
  41. "Grasia Research Group homepage". Archived from the original on 4 May 2012. Retrieved 22 April 2012. 
  42. "Medialab-Prado (Madrid) homepage". Retrieved 22 April 2012. 
  43. "Comunes profile in Medialab-Prado". Retrieved 22 April 2012. 

External links