So I recently discovered a project called PirateBox. It is an open source project designed to give people an easy way to share files, without using the internet as a backbone. Instead, PirateBox focuses on local area networks, like a coffee shop, library, or home WiFi.
Piratebox is software that can run on any OpenWRT device, or on the cheap ($35) single board computer the Raspberry Pi.
What it does is it makes a WiFi access point that any wireless device can connect to. This box does not access the internet, so you’ll find no internet connectivity while connected to this access point, but what it does offer is a way for users who are close to each other to share anything they’d like, and chat or post on a locally hosted message board. The box hosts a storage location, say, a large flash drive, so that anyone can view or add to it’s contents. Like adding books to your local library.
Useful for parties or events, people can all upload their images and videos of the event to one centralized place while they are there, and those can later be taken in bulk and shared or archived.
The box comes in handy for people in areas with limited or controlled internet to allow free communication and information to flow, while the internet itself may be censored, blocked, or entirely down. Since these boxes are little computers, they can be adapted easily to expand their capabilities. They draw very little power and are very cheap to set up compared to a full fledged server. Even if you arent interested in PirateBox you should check out some of the things people are doing with Raspberry Pis
PirateBox has a funded brother called the LibraryBox, both projects share a linked code-base.