How does one start an Open Source project?

Traditionally, folk get this off the ground using the resources and income that come to them as part of their work, work that’s often (though not always) related to the project.

In my case I’ve come up with a sort of portal, something that would support what I call “participatory deliberation”, a process that would at once reward civil exchange and create a credible knowledge base, all the while facilitating access to primary sources such as academic publications and public policy papers. (Wondered why productivity has increased only slightly while technical capacity has gone through the roof? or why forums and discussion boards seem to produce very little light, for all their heat? Seems like some sort of cognitive bottleneck to me!) This portal-like structure (I describe it as a method of combining techniques such as concept mapping and Wiki, along with a more conventional forum suite) relates directly to what I’ve done throughout my adult life, starting with public education on foreign affairs and trade (in the early 70s, producing slide-tape presentations), and more recently using the web to encourage discourse in the domain of globalization and social justice. (I helped with HyperNews in the mid-90s, and have co-piloted the global Indymedia network since a couple of months after its beginnings.)

But that’s where the parallel grinds to a halt: the work I had been doing just before the accident that left me on disability brought me a laptop (a sweet little Dell 233MHz; it died last fall), and the benefits I’ve been living on since then have afforded me the time to research this sort of project, but my entitlements don’t allow me the tools of my trade … no PC and no web hosting, no internet connection … not even a phone line.

I imagine contracting out services for customs setups once the system is rolling, and can likewise imagine having it play a role in some academic research … but how can I get /there from /here//?

Perhaps someone has a bit of contract work for a technical writer? FWIW, gnodal_selections.html is something I cobbled together in a couple of days. (When my venerable old HD failed in May it took most of my source documents with it. However my back-up procedures had included my EMail, and some of those messages comprised of selections from what I happened to be reading while away from my desk; those email message gave me the material for this collection.)

p.s. my preliminary “proof of concept”: prototype … and a preliminary index, of sorts.