FSCONS 2013 summary

Here comes a  summary of FSCONS 2013, from my view. This was the third time around for me at the FSCONS meetup, and it’s always a cozy place to go. In fact , it’s one of the three meetups/festivals I try to go to every year (the other ones being Jfokus and the Norbergfestival. Interesting talks about democracy, tech , society ,FOSS and everything in-between. (And beer, with interesting people as optional;) is what FSCONS is about.. This year i feel that the gathering has taken a slightly different direction than earlier. First, it has changed place. It used to be at “IT-universitet”, but is now housed at “Humanisten”. Second, there (at least when I was here earlier) has always been a strong prescient from Free software Foundation in talks and booth, but this year not so much. And third, a bit more focus on different society issues than technical details.

This years ”tracks” were

  • Welcome to Dystopia
  • Language and Technology
  • Visions and concrete examples for a just and sustainable economy
  • Trust is good, control is better.

The first session i went to were ”Sustainable banking according to JAK , in which the subject of sustainable economics and membership owned banks are talked about. JAK also have strategy to use Open Source and FOSS, as it’s close to, and greatly matches their ethics. I’m already a JAKmember since a couple of years, so I found it good to see JAK there.

The second session for me was ”The 4th Pillarthat tried to address the questions about how we better can use the tools we already have, and whats missing to reach “The vision is for a decentralized, emergent consensus of reputation and identity. How to implement and live with it”

Next, session for me was ”One Person’s Utopia Is Another’s Dystopia” which was a philosophical session, discussing consumerism vs producerism, singularity vs the unabomber.

Lunch, quick lunchdiscussions, and then off to the keynote for Saturday – Karen Sandler from the GNOME-foundation speaking about Proactivism, about making the changes we need for software freedom to succeed Specifically about how for example, we can get more participation of women in the Open Source world. Oh, She also convinced me to try GNOME 3.10. Thanks Karen!:)

Quick coffebreak, some discussions and coming up next was Democracy in organisations, regions and nations which was held by ”Aktiv demokrati”. It’s an interesting and concept which would be nice to see take off, so please check it out.

Next, off to Subverting subversion”The ultimate horror is not the end of civilization, but its endless decline. This sitting was reminding me of the yes men. Artistic pranks with a serious undertone. Ohh, and a Jar-Jar Binks picture I really can live without.

Last official talk of the day was ”Ten years with education and freedom, a it-teacher telling us about his experience about learning students to think, and to give them the power over computing, especially with free software and open software. Also we had an interesting informal grouptalk after that. Talked about unity and gnome 3 with Karen Sandler a bit.

After that I had to run and eat as I was shaking of hunger. For the last part of the night, I teamed up with ersi, and we drank beer, and talked around. I was glad to meet one of the FSFE fellas I’d met a coupe of times before at FSCONS. As he had moved to Stockholm, I hope to see him at one of our ULUG hackathons. But there’s always another day, so after that we headed back to our dear STF.

Second day kicked off with Administering the revolution” – how can you fund activism, and developing thoughts. the politics of money funding and its recent developments (Arab spring) and ways to find money to administer the revolution today. And about the consequences of administering the revolution – burn out in activists and some examples of how to avoid it, the gender dimension and women’s situation in the Arab world

Post-Snowden Crypto

asked how we could go next? And also really said that nothing is secure (besides OTR):)

After that, an inspiring talk on how to create Make Space after that, which makes me wanna start a Hacker Space in Uppsala. But alas, the funding for a place to be is not easy to get…

Saturday’s keynote was Engineering our way out of Fascism, which basically said that were dangerously close to one kind of Fascism, where the Democracy rules are violated, and that we need tech, legislation, and campaign to fix this. Now..

For me and ersi the day ended after that, with Erik and Erik where Erik Kylin and Erik Josefsson talked about Kylins’ new movie and EPFUSG’s work in the parliament. Erik J works as an adviser regarding Internet topics in the European Parliament.

The volunteers do a great work with the meetup, and I hope that they continue doing it for many years. It’s a unique meeting point in between tech and society. But – maybe an earlier announcement of the schedule, and some more marketing in different forums could make it better though and more well known. Also, I think there were less people visiting this year, maybe due to a late set schedule and late selling off tickets online, But I really don’t know, just guessing. Anyway, hope to see you all next year!!