Free Society Conference and Nordic Summit '08, Göteborg (Day 1) - 25/10/2008, 20:44

Today I attended day one of the FSCONS'08 (let's not talk about day 0, as the "social" event left much to be desired.. let's just say that social "events" in CONSOL were WAY better. With all the implications.). Unfortunately I could not get to the morning presentations as a combination of oversleeping and having to do some laundry stuff (no available clean clothes) had the best of me.

The afternoon presentations to which I attended were excellent though.

Lately I've been more interested in the "philosophical and social impact" side of Free Software, even if I feel that a great part of the population finds it absurd (I don't, and I think they shouldn't. Seriously, if it weren't for activists, a GREAT part of which are made aware by the Free Software people, we'd have been thoroughly fsck'ed up by mass media moguls already).

I attended
- A conflict perspective on hacking, Johan Söderberg.
In this talk, Johan exposed the way he considers the Hacker (as in Stallmanian hacker, not as in Mitnickian hacker) movement as essentially a new "new movement", having its roots partly in '68, but one of the few (according to him; I agree though) that has evolved beyond '68's original ideals, but also having much in common with the luddite/tailorist movement, as he considers Free Software as a challenge to mechanization of programming, thereby "protecting programmer's skills", as well as putting the power in the hands of the individual instead of corporations, and corporations responding with Intellectual Property as the means to control.

- Free Software and the freedom of creation, Denis Jaromil Rojo - A self-described cyberpunk ("Didn't that movement die in the 90's?"), some sort of artist as well, he is the co-founder of the dyne:bolic OS, a GNU/Linux distro geared towards media enthusiasts and creators, which takes privacy issues very seriously. He speaks about how small, no-funding projects are possible, about how capitalism has basically eaten itself up, and about how localized projects can in fact have as much impact as big mass-media productions, but with more efficiency. But he also touched on several sensitive issues concerning the "privacy" part - how the software is used for people in high repression circumstances to anonymously and securely express themselves, and how the mass media empires are trampling people's liberties - along with some nasty tactics from italian politicians.

All of these rang lots of bells with me. I'll elaborate more on that afterwards.

- Global Independent Streaming Support, Yves Degoyon. OK LIDSOLeros, this is EXACTLY what we need for PUMASOLs, CONSOLs and *SOLs.: A live CD. With easy to use software. For streaming. That can connect to a global channel service (specifically designed with and for free formats).
This really nice system makes it very easy to set up a broadcasting station - all we need is to open an account to get a channel at and we'll be ready to broadcast in a distributed manner. We can even track in realtime who's tuning our channel.
And best of all: the video files get _saved_ on the server automatically, so no more waiting for that lanjoe guy to fix his sodding desktop PC in order to extract the damn videos. Including the one where Maop and Hunab occlude the videocamera with their damn badges. I just can't get over it! Some day you'll pay for that!

The service is absolutely great, so I urge you to use it in whatever next conference is there.

- Finally, The end of free communication? by Oscar Schwartz. In Sweden some very nasty anti-privacy laws have passed, the most scandalous one being the famous "FRA/Orwellian/Bodström" law, but a lot of other stupid, pointless and technically impossible laws have also been proposed and approved, either by Sweden or the EU.
First he discussed the state of these laws as well as the main actors behind them: Politics, money, mass media empires, and money.
Then he discussed the unprecedented response to the FRA law's (finest mexican "madruguete" style) approval: Out of nowhere a multitude of "1984" chanting people appeared. Then he discussed the funny sloppiness of the EU legislators conveniently forgetting some previously agreed-upon law fragments being dropped before the final law takes place. Finally he cited several ways in which these law initiatives can be defeated, because basically neither politicians nor mass media empires will ever behave.

And now that we're at it, all the videos may be found here:

I'll elaborate more on the 2nd conference in my next message, or something like that.

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