Giving people the tools they need to share knowledge and advance open society through social software.


We are a network of people that have come together to give you the tools you need to share knowledge and advance open digital society.


Why 'Barnraiser'?

Barn logoWhen an Amish family needs a new barn their community gathers to build a barn in a single day, a tradition called barn raising. In building a barn together in a day they achieve something that no single family can do.

We share that spirit as we build for society.

  • Prairie is a lightweight OpenID based Internet identity server. Instead of registering at every web site with different username and password combinations you use your identity server to log you in.

    Prairie is free software and released under the GPL (version 3) license. Please visit the Prairie product page at for more information, downloads, case studies, guides and a technical specification.

    We want your feedback

    We wanted Prairie to be lightweight because it is easy to manage, customise and support when it is small. Prairie is 350KB without themes and language packs. It has 8 pages all of which allow themes to be added and templates to be customised. Added to that we have used Gettext making language packs easy to add and customise.

    Whilst lightweight we wanted Prairie to look and feel nice to use. We have included two themes to choose from and a tool that allows account holder to make a nice graphic at the top of their profile page. So question 1; did we succeed in making Prairie look and feel nice to use?

    Usability is important to us, but as an Alpha release we have not had time to test this yet. You may wish to read two earlier blogs about OpenID usability (the results of which are included in Prairie). Our goal is to make Prairie (and the OpenID authentication process) intuitive. Question 2; Is Prairie easy to use? Do you get stuck with any screens, fields or instructions?

    OpenID authentication can assist visually impaired people. Imagine how difficult it must be today being faced with every web site offering a unique way to register. Giving them one authentication process to go through which is identical for every web site makes the web more accessible to them. We want to achieve this along with meeting all W3C web standards. This includes conformance level Triple-A of the W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines ensuring accessibility for people with disabilities. Question 3; Have we achieved this?

    Lastly for those of you wanting to play with code, we have introduced a MAPTCHA test at registration and on the profile page "contact me" form to test if the person registering/contacting me is human. We went with MAPTCHA over CAPTCHA to reach accessibility levels that we were happy with (blind people cannot read characters displayed within an image). Our MAPTCHA is already being bypassed by spammers and we want to know how. Question 4; how to stop we stop our MAPTCHA from being bypassed?

    Feel free to post comments, thoughts, answers or any other feedback below.

    A big thanks to Sebastian Ă–blom and Tom Calthrop for developing Prairie.

    Enjoy free software. If you would like to support free software then please take a moment to watch the 25th GNU Birthday video:

    From all of us at Barnraiser "Happy birthday to GNU, happy birthday to GNU, happy birthday dear GNU, happy birthday to you.":)

Free social software

  • Dutch
    Share information quickly and easily with Dutch; our knowledge sharing network tool.
  • Roundhouse
    Import blog entries from the whole blogsphere into your blog stream with Roundhouse; our social blogging tool.
  • Prairie
    Forget all those different username and password combinations once and for all with Prairie; our Internet identity server.
    A collaborative networking suite.