/tmp/lab started by several french people (Jeremie, Florian, Philippe, Benjamin, Xavier, Xeu, ...) meeting at the Chaos Communication Camp 2007. Everyone agreed that Paris was really lacking a Hacker Space. We then decided to create something when back in Paris and to call it "lelab" hence "lelab.fr".
The idea was to rent something by mutualizing costs and thus share this between all the Hacker Space Members.
Rent is hard in Paris, expensive. We got an offer 3 month later from a artist collective to have a artist space outside of Paris in the industrial suburb of Vitry Sur Seine. The space having a contract negotiated with the building owner and not a rent, and its distance from the center of Paris discouraged some people from the original group. Therefore, we named the new space with a different name so that when we'd find a correct spot in Paris, we'd be able to name it "Le Lab".
The little group composed of Xavier, Philippe, Sébastien, Rike, Florian and Nico took possession of the space, and after much cleaning transformed an underground workshop into an industrial-style hacker space in November-December 2007.
However important -even vital- to develop a civil space for technology creation and research, we didn't want the lab to become a new institution. The name /tmp/lab was inspired by the idea of the permatemp, the temporary that stays in place but still, is temporary and nomadic in its concept, as well as the Unix tradition of Open Systems. The goal was to provide an infrastructure first, as the respected "Hackerspace Patterns" presentation details, and let one thousand beautiful projects blossom in this fertile environment: Open Source, hardware, cultural and artistic events, activism, etc. We wanted everyone to see the /tmp/lab and say "Oh.. it's simple, lets build one with my friends in my town."
Just one year after the opening of the /tmp/lab, projects blossomed here with many new people joining the group month by month or just naturally connected and cooperated. These projects are listed here in a semi-chronogical order:
- Boot party! :) and several other social events so far
- Several presentations to various conference, art students, biennale
- OpenPattern - Modular FPGA-based project with many /tmp/lab members
- OLPC France - One Laptop Per Child local chapter
- Experimental biodiesel
- Dynamips-based SS7 experimentation lab with TSTF
- Circuit bending workshops
- OpenWRT routers tinkering and flashing, with two notable members of OpenWRT
- Consumer B Gone - Cell phone that blocks shopping cart wheels
- Hacker Space Fest - A conference+workshop+performance 6 day festival
- Chip imaging
- /tmp/usine - Reprap project here
- Freedom not Fear + Church of Security demonstration in Paris
- Annale - "hacking+art" Contemporary Art Biennale with VSS
- /tmp/van - for mobile operations
We were also really pleased to see two friends open Hacker Spaces in Brussels and in Montreal.
We started recently to get more connection to local associations and offering some NGO, journalists and association some support on getting their privacy back. We are also looking more actively for a new space in Paris and will be developing many more projects.