FSCONS 2010/Summary

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summary and key facts


5-7 November 2010




  • kyrah
  • Glyn Moody

Lars Sandman

Lars Sandman, professor of care ethics, associate professor of practical philosophy is mainly involved in research around health care priorities and clinical ethics focusing on practical implications of ethical norms and values.

Johan Söderberg

Johan Söderberg is a PhD researcher at Science & Technology Studies, Göteborg University, Sweden. Currently he is writing his thesis about the embryonic movement around free/open hardware. The research question which he investigates is how new kinds of political subjectivities are co-emerging together with the creation of new technologies. His main sources of theoretical inspiration is "critical theory of technology", "social philosophy", and "labour process theory". Some recent texts by Johan Söderberg includes a chapter in the book FREE BEER called "Hackers GNUnited", available: http://freebeer.fscons.org/, the article "Hacking as a continuation of labour struggle" (co-authored with George Dafermos) in CAPITAL & CLASS, available: http://www.cseweb.org.uk/pdfs/CC97/C&C_97_Art3.pdf, and a chapter (in Swedish, to be published in September 2010) "Varsågod att älska det immateriella ägandet också" in the book EFTER THE PIRATE BAY. His website can be found here: http://www.sociology.gu.se/kontakta_oss/Doktorander/Soderberg_Johan/

Christian Villum

Christian Villum (@villum) is the Creative Commons Public Lead for Denmark. He's a bootstrapper within media, digital arts, web, open culture and technology - and spends his time developing a myriad of different projects currently including art & technology experimentarium/co-working space Platform4, hackspace Hal9k and CC-pioneering audiovisual record label Urlyd/Uhrlaut. He also works for Aalborg University and is co-authoring two book projects. www.autofunk.dk


Karin Kosina vka kyrah has been in love with computers ever since her first encounter with a C=64 at the age of seven. She is a graduate of the Media Technology and Design programme at the University of Applied Science Hagenberg (Austria) and works as a researcher, university lecturer, and freelance programmer. kyrah is also a co-founder of the Metalab hackerspace [1], a non-profit innovation center and open space for knowledge sharing in Vienna. Website: http://kyrah.net Twitter: http://twitter.com/kyrah

Daniel Stenberg

Daniel is a free software and open source hacker since almost twenty years. He's actively contributing to a range of different projects, with curl (http://curl.haxx.se/) being one of the most known ones. Daniel has been a speaker at two previous years at FSCONS. He was awarded the "Nordic Free Software Award" at FSCONS 2009. Daniel works as a seasoned expert consultant within Linux, embedded systems and networking. He also tries to do his share of work within the IETF, primarily within the httpbis and httpstate working groups, but is also following the Hybi one with interest. Daniel blogs at http://daniel.haxx.se/blog/ and you can follow him on twitter at @bagder.

Erik de Bruijn

Erik de Bruijn is an open source entrepreneur, studied information management at the University of Tilburg and since 2008 is heavily involved in the RepRap project, currently as a core developer. As a self-proclaimed RepRap ambassador he is on a mission to democratize fabrication. Besides promoting the project worldwide, he researches the distributed mode of innovation as seen in open source communities and gives hands-on workshops on how to assemble your own copy of this machine.

Christina Gratorp

Christina Gratorp is an embedded C hacker and has a great interest in math, physics and feminism. You might have seen her blog Another Cyborg Manifesto, where she writes about life from a personal, but political point of view. Christina was introduced to free software not very long ago, but nowadays you can see her strolling around in a FSFE sweater, promoting the use of FOSS. This is Christinas second FSCONS as a visitor, and her first as a speaker.

Smari McCarthy

Ian Watson

Assistant professor of social science at Bifröst University, Iceland, editor of the Bifröst Journal of Social Science, member of Iceland's open access working group

Mathias Klang

Malin Nilsson

Malin Nilsson is a PhD-student at the department of Economic History at the University of Gothenburg. Her main field of research is gender and labor in informal or semi-formal industrial production, she is writing her thesis on intersectional dimensions of industrial homework in early 20th century Sweden and at FSCONS she will talk about what happens when companies excel in global flows of information and the labor movement doesn't. She also really likes tv and if you are interested in how the consumption of tv-series relates to global divisions of labor or why you watched “The Wire”, she has a piece on it in the latest issue of "Ord&bild".

Glyn Moody

I have been a technology journalist and consultant for a quarter of a century, covering the Internet since March 1994, and the free software world since 1995. One early feature I wrote was for Wired in 1997: The Greatest OS that (N)ever Was. My most recent books are Rebel Code: Linux and the Open Source Revolution, and Digital Code of Life: How Bioinformatics is Revolutionizing Science, Medicine and Business. I can be contacted at glyn dot moody at gmail dot com You can follow me on Twitter at @glynmoody

Øystein Jakobsen

Free Software consultant for FreeCode www.freecode.no Vice President of the Norwegian NGO FriBit www.fribit.no Digital rights activist and self-proclaimed visionary

Christian Siefkes

Denis Roio (Jaromil)

Originally trained as a linguist, Denis Roio (Jaromil) is an artist, theorist and programmer who is currently based in Amsterdam. He is working as a researcher at the Netherlands Media Art Institute.Through his support for the development and distribution of free and open software, he tries to overcome existing restrictions and borders, whether economic, social or scientific. Taking an alternative stance to 'profit and power' oriented apparatuses, he is strongly engaged in building networks as a means of sharing tools—choosing to view knowledge as a dialogical and non-hierarchical process. By channelling personal insights into collaborative action, he shows a deep understanding for the problems of our time and possible solutions. (Transmediale 2009, Vilém Flusser Award, jury statement)

Benjamin Bayart

Torsten Grote

Torsten Grote studied computer sciences and is now studying philosophy. He does work for the Free Software Foundation Europe and his focus is on the social and political impact of new technologies such as cloud computing.

Vjaceslavs Klimovs

Nicolae Paladi

Michael Chisari

Ludovic Bocquet

Mattias Wecksten

Jamie King

Andreas Nilsson

Karthik Jayaraman

Karthik Jayaraman is a technology strategist and researcher based in Oslo. He spent the past decade working for leading Linux / open source firms such as Red Hat, Novell, terrasoftsolutions (yellow dog linux) and Sun Microsystems. He holds an MBA from BI- Norwegian School of Management and Fudan University, China; a Master of Science in Information Technology from the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) in Stockholm, Sweden. He also has a four-year bachelor's degree in computer engineering from India. Karthik’s field of expertise is in open source, open innovation and other forms of commons based peer production. He can be reached at karthix@gmail.com

Stefan Kangas

Gustav Eek

My name is Gustav Eek and I was boorn in the early 80:s. I have been living in Gothenburg since 2004 studying physics. In 2004 I also started my interest in free software and the circumstances around, and methods used in, free software development. During FSCONS I will give a talk on email and freedom together with Stefan Kangas. I also hope that I can be helpful with regard to other matters during the conference.

Mikael von Knorring

Mikael started his free software activism a decade ago with Ung Vänster (youth organization for the Swedish left-wing party Vänsterpartiet). Back then Ung Vänster proposed a new radical culture programme where they pioneered free software and file sharing aspects as part of the programme. He runs a blog in Swedish, at http://vansterteknik.wordpress.com/

Gisle Hannemyr

Michael Christen

Matt Lee

Salve J. Nilsen

Free software guy from Oslo, Norway. Active in the local free software communities, organizer of several conferences and Perl hacker. Currently working on kaizendo.org, a tool for creating customizable textbooks.

Knut Yrvin

Knut Yrvin is co-founder of Skolelinux and a Community Manager at Nokia, Qt Software. Skolelinux is now a part of Debian Edu. Yrvin started his career at Telenor back in 1986. He graduated with an engineering degree in electronics in 1992 and Masters degree in Computer Science & System Development in 2000. Yrvin has since worked in various businesses from Telecom to consultancy and education.

Javier Serrano

Timo Jyrinki

Alessandro Rubini

Anders Arnholm

Developer for Mecel AB. "We make vehicles communicate" Will be talking about Linux in an automotive environment, or how to used Linux inside cars.

Gustav Simonsson

Fredrik Andersson

Ole Tange

Mikael Söderberg

GENIVI alliance and how biz can adapt FOSS

Carlos Garnacho

Multi-touch and gesture recognition

Björn Lundell

Public Sector ICT Procurement

Mattias Wecksten

Per Andersson avtobiff

Pers mother bought him and his brothers a NES video game when they were young with the intention that it was the future. That formed the foundation for a life-long interest in electronics, technology, science, and life. Being a long-term free software and Debian user, Per started to contribute to Debian a few years ago, working with Debian installer, maintaining packages, giving talks about Debian, and also teaching Debian packaging. Per is involved with Planka.nu, an organization that works for free public transport. Planka.nu organizes fare dodgers in Stockholm and Gothenburg, paying their members' fines if they should get some.

Calixte Tayoro



Conflicting Values and Norms

Date and Time: 6 November, 2010 - 10:00 - 10:30
Lars Sandman

Slides: http://www.slideshare.net/fscons/etik-och-it

FSCONS Schedule page: http://fscons.org/2010/ethics/conflicting-values-and-norms


The development within information technology has raised a number of ethical issues. These issues involve seemingly conflicting values and norms under some ethical framework. In order to be clear over to what extent we are dealing with a real ethical problem with an actual value / norm conflict we need to explicitly clarify the meaning of the ethical concepts used and the ethical framework within which we are discussing these issues.

When we have clarified the framework and concepts, the next question is whether we can actually solve such ethical conflicts or problems. For that we need som meta-ethical approach to how we should view ethical values and norms and whether they are the kind of ‘thing’ that we can have better or worse reason to subscribe to or not.

In the presentation a possible meta-ethical position that will enable the ‘solving’ of ethical value and norm conflicts will be presented. Furthermore a few different ethical framework that can be used as a starting point for the solving of these conflicts will be presented, ending with a possible ‘compromise’ suggestion for how different frameworks can be incorporated with each other.

File sharer? Go to jail!

Date and Time:  7 November, 2010 - 10:45 - 11:15
Mathias Klang

Slides: http://www.slideshare.net/fscons/filesharer-go-to-jail-5700096

FSCONS Schedule page: http://fscons.org/2010/ethics/file-sharer-go-jail


Illegitimately sharing and copying a movie, a book, a song, is a criminal offense. That millions of people do the same doesn't make it more legal. But does it make it right? In many countries, jaywalking is illegal, yet most people would not hesitate to cross an empty road even at a red light and we would not consider it morally wrong. But if you impede traffic by doing so, people's opinion might well change.

With file sharing, people will look at you if you impede the other traffic on the net. But as long as you don't impede, they couldn't care less in many cases, and many would agree that file sharing, while illegal, is morally right. But what does it say about our laws, or about our morals, if there's such a big discrepancy?

Mathias Klang will talk about the attempts to regulate technology in todays society, how it relates to our ethical (and cultural!) values and what the letter of the law ought to say to match our moral compass.

Keynote: Ethics of Intellectual Monopolies

Date and Time:  7 November, 2010 - 13:15 - 14:00
Speaker: Glyn Moody

Slides: http://www.slideshare.net/fscons/glyn-moody-ethics-of-intellectual-monopolies-fscons-2010

FSCONS Schedule page: http://fscons.org/2010/ethics/keynote-ethics-intellectual-monopolies


In the past, there have been two main classes of things we can share: physical objects and abstract ideas. Generally, people have regarded ideas as non-rivalrous, and so something that can and should be shared quite naturally (although many institutions have tried to put a brake on that for various reasons), whereas *not* sharing physical things is generally the rule because of the rivalrous nature of physical objects that have become property (the commons is obviously an important class of things that can and are shared).

But today, we have a third class of objects: digital artefacts like text, music, image and video files. These are not physical - although they have to be stored in some physical way - and they are not purely abstract like ideas: we can copy them and hand them around in various formats. So we need to think about what kind of sharing is appropriate for them.

The music and film industries are currently engaged in a war against the idea that these digital artefacts can be freely shared: the Digital Economy Act in the UK, HADOPI in France, ACTA globally. But these are artefacts with zero marginal cost; once the file is created, it can be passed on to every human being on this planet with the means to use that file, for effectively zero cost. This gives everyone with a computer/connection access to *all* human knowledge and creativity once it is digitised - an unprecedented situation.

I would argue the power of doing that - and the moral rightness of giving everyone in the world equal access to all knowledge and creativity - is now so great, that existing legal systems that try to apply intellectual monopolies like copyright and patents to stop it are not just unworkable (as we see) but ethically wrong. I believe that the arrival of this new class of digital artefacts with zero marginal cost brings with them a new imperative to share - and also means we will need new business models to sustain them.

Using Free Software to Fuel the Revolution

A Labour Process Perspective on the Development of Free Software

Date and Time: 6 November, 2010 - 10:45 - 11:15
Speaker: Johan Söderberg


FSCONS Schedule page: http://fscons.org/2010/using/labour-process-perspective-development-free-software


My presentation is founded in one branch of Marx-readings which are known as "labour process theory". It looks at how technology is developed and introduced at the workplace in the tug-of-war between managers and workers. Examples abound of how machinery has been designed to discipline factory workers, deprive them of their skills, and weaken the political power of trade unions. Computers and computer engineers have played a key role in this process. From the 1960s and onwards, however, the business press has expressed a need for subsuming the computer engineer under the same strict regime as has previously been imposed on the blue-collar worker. In my presentation I suggest that the movement around free software licenses should be understood against this background of worsened working conditions and tightened management control in the computer sector. I will suggest that the demand for having a computer run entirely on free software should be seen as not just a moral and political issue, but that it can also be intrepreted as a kind of trade union strategy.

Women in FLOSS

Date and Time:  6 November, 2010 - 16:15 - 17:00
Speaker: Christina Gratorp

Slides: http://www.slideshare.net/fscons/women-in-floss

FSCONS Schedule page: http://fscons.org/2010/using/women-floss


Free software is about freedom, but is that really a reality for everyone out there? Is it true, what a lot of people claim, that since free software by its nature is free, it therefore does not suffer from inequality? Everyone with the economical and practical resources has the possibility to contribute to any free software project, anyone can join. Unfortunately, reality does not look like this, we have a problem with inequality. If we exclude women from the free software community, we exclude contributors, both women and men. Is software really free if not everybody is free to join?

Gender, class and global flows

Date and Time: 7 November, 2010 - 11:30 - 12:00
Speaker: Malin Nilsson


FSCONS Schedule page: http://fscons.org/2010/using/gender-class-and-global-flows


Thinking from a global north perspective one might get the impression that we live in some kind of Post-Fordist service economy. In a global perspective, this is obviously not the case. Someone still need to make our Ipads or t-shirts and according to the International Labor Organization, ILO the share of manufacturing jobs worldwide is actually increasing and has been since the 1970s. Along with this there is another global trend, manufacturing jobs are more and more often jobs in subcontracted global production chains, in sweatshops and home based industrial work. The labor force in these ways of production makes for flexible labor that to a very large extent is unorganized and isolated from each other. They are often not able to form neither a collective identity nor a bargaining platform as workers. Laborers in home based industrial work are often at the margins of the labor market, often female, people with disabilities, belonging to ethnic minorities, and/or are very old or very young, which does not really put them in a great bargaining position to start with. To be able to organize there is a great need for information transfers. Especially as at the same time, the companies employing the workers excel in and are heavily dependent on effective global flows of information. So, information is as important as ever in organizing labor in manufacturing today. Cheap and easy ways to transfer information is crucial not to fuel new social movements but to empower the old.

Who are the Free Users?

Date and Time:  7 November, 2010 - 14:15 - 15:00
Speaker: Micke von Knorring

Slides: http://www.slideshare.net/fscons/who-are-the-free-users

FSCONS Schedule page: http://fscons.org/2010/using/who-are-free-users


The early socialists found themselves in a position somewhat like the free users movement today: with plenty of ideas for a better world, but little strength to put behind those ideas. Karl Marx had a point about that: ideas don't triumph simply because they are sound. They need to express the needs and viewpoints of enough people to fuel a revolution.

The socialist movement found it's strength in organizing the working class. Where are the people we can mobilize for user freedom? Among the techies, scientists, librarians, teachers? The file sharing youth? The unions, the environmental movement? Developing countries fighting for their right to use their knowledge?

What kind of political action are these groups capable of? How do we knit them all together? Bring along your experience with working for user freedom in different contexts for this discussion on political strategy.

Makers of the Future

Please copy this record to all of your friends!

Date and Time:  6 November, 2010 - 11:30 - 12:00
Speaker: Christian Villum

Slides: http://www.slideshare.net/fscons/christian-villum-fscons10pres

FSCONS Schedule page: http://fscons.org/2010/making/please-copy-record-all-your-friends


The story of how Urlyd Audiovisual Recordings and female artist Tone made am international music platform out of experimenting with CC-licenses.

Printing on the back of their records 'Please copy this record to all of your friends', Danish maverick label Urlyd Audiovisual Recordings pioneered as the first label in the world to use a CC-license on music releases, while still being backed by the local collecting society.

Inviting people to copy and re-distribute the contents as well as offering non-drm downloads for free while also distributing vinyl's and cd's for sale in retail outlets seemed absurd for most people, but turned out to be anything but that: The release -'Small Arm of Sea' by female experimental indietronica artist Tone - received heavy buzz and press attention both nationally and internationally, as well as boasting thousands and thousands of free downloads via the website and various torrent trackers. On top of all this - and most significantly - the records sold like hot cakes.

Subsequently Urlyd and Tone found themselves touring heavily in Europe and soon gained a distribution-deal across the continent - and was even flown across the pond to play this years SXSW festival in Austin. While at the same adding a licensing deal for release in the US to the setup, Tone and Urlyd now have a an international music platform in place for the next Tone album, due 2011 - entirely based on encouraging music file sharing.

Label manager Christian Villum will present insight into this music venture from 2007 and up until now - as well as present other non-traditional and diy-based initiatives taken that helped pave the way.

Keynote: The Inanna Project

Date and Time:  6 November, 2010 - 13:15 - 14:00
Speaker: kyrah

Slides: http://www.slideshare.net/fscons/the-inanna-project

FSCONS Schedule page: http://fscons.org/2010/making/keynote-inanna-project


An experiment in art, technology, and the transformative power of Free Hardware and Software

In June 2010, two Austrian artists/hackers went to Damascus to make an experiment.

We wanted to challenge the notion that art and technology are somehow opposites, so we decided to teach artists to use micro controllers and programming. We wanted to challenge the notion that technology is somehow a "guy thing", so we decided to work specifically with women artists. And we wanted to make people aware that freedom of expression is inseparable from free access to knowledge, so we decided to use only Free Hardware and Free Software in our workshop.

My presentation is about this experiment and its results. But it is also about the general potential of technology as a medium for self-expression and as an agent of change - and about what that means for us who want to be the creators of our future and not only its product.

The Future of RepRap and Free and Open Hardware

Date and Time:  6 November, 2010 - 15:15 - 16:00
Speaker: Erik de Bruijn

Slides: http://www.slideshare.net/erikdebruijn/reprap-open-source-3d-printing-fscons-2010

FSCONS Schedule page: http://fscons.org/2010/making/future-reprap-and-free-and-open-hardware


The RepRap project is a thriving community that develops an open source 3D printer that fabricates not only arbitrary objects, but also the parts to make more 3D printers. Besides being interesting in itself, the project provides valuable indications of the impact of affordable digital production tools. I will show how a distributed community is enabled to collaboratively develop not only the software but also physical innovations and content, independent of manufacturers. I will also show how a commons of open source 3D content can emerge and how this further lowers the barriers for individuals to innovate and express themselves. It is exciting to see more and more individuals empowered to participate in this expanded scope of open source. Possibly, projects like the RepRap will revolutionize "making" not entirely unlike the PC and Linux have done for computing.

In addition to proliferation of digital fabrication tools such as RepRaps, there are important trends that hint at the significance of this emerging trend. Development of open source development toolchains, easy-to-use and/or free CAD software and cheap MaaS (Manufacturing as a Service) are unleashing the creative potential of eventually every person on this planet. I argue for more broad recognition of the positive welfare implication of this open and distributed mode of production. I will speculate that further emergence of the phenomenon may have far reaching implications for the meaning of property when even physical matter can be copied or shared as easily as software.

As a bonus: a demonstration of the RepRap hardware will be provided during the conference!

The End of the World as we Know it: How do you feel?

Date and Time: 6 November, 2010 - 17:15 - 17:59
Speaker: Smari McCarthy


FSCONS Schedule page: http://fscons.org/2010/making/end-world-we-know-it-how-do-you-feel


If you're not worried about the current status of the world, you probably need to look up from that hexdump or stop fiddling with those servos. Widespread systemic collapse has become such a common theme in todays society that the general public has adopted the lingo. Greece, speculative bubbles, oil spills, climate change, unemployment, hyperinflation, hunger... all causing enormous stress on the social fabric. But what is fueling these failures? Is this a sign of something bigger? And more importantly, how can hacker culture save the world?

Continuing on from my theme of the last two years, I will this year present "Societal Cybernetics", a constructive model that I have been developing with co-conspirator Herbert Snorrason. In so doing I will lay out an analysis on the organization of society that scared the bejeepers out of us, but will likely make you very, very optimistic.

I'll conclude by giving you a list of ten pretty simple task items that need to be solved before FSCONS 2011.

Challenges to Copyright: The shift towards collaboration

Date and Time: 7 November, 2010 - 15:15 - 16:00
Speaker: Gisle Hannemyr

Slides: http://www.slideshare.net/fscons/fcons

FSCONS Schedule page: http://fscons.org/2010/making/challenges-copyright-shift-towards-collaboration

Free Software

Scalable application layer transfers

Date and Time: 6 November, 2010 - 14:15 - 15:00
Speaker: Daniel Stenberg


FSCONS Schedule page: http://fscons.org/2010/fs/scalable-application-layer-transfers


Go over what the mechanisms are and what methods there exist to make TCP and application-protocol using client-side applications fast(er) and scale properly.

Show and describe how those theories are mapped against libcurl's features and API, and how to write and design applications with libcurl to achieve high performance and reliability, up to extreme amounts of simultaneous connections - up to 10K connections and beyond.

Poster in 45 Minutes

Date and Time: 6 November, 2010 - 17:15 - 18:00
Speaker: Andreas Nilsson


FSCONS Schedule page: http://fscons.org/2010/fs/poster-45-minutes


Make your own poster in 45 minutes, using nothing but Free Software.

The economics of open innovation and FOSS

Date and Time: 7 November, 2010 - 10:00 - 10:30
Speaker: Karthik Jayaraman


FSCONS Schedule page: http://fscons.org/2010/fs/economics-open-innovation-and-foss


Free software and the process of development of FOSS through a commons based peer production model are among the fastest growing phenomenon today.

In the first part of my talk, I will focus on the maturity of FOSS software in various software segments and the growing market share of FOSS. The talk will delve into a detailed analysis of various business models used by companies in the evolving FOSS landscape and the reasons for the rapid growth of FOSS in some segments while slow growth in other segments.

The second part of my talk will look at the process of open innovation and how companies can and have leveraged open innovation to succeed in the competitive IT industry today.

The third and final part of my talk will look at how the FOSS model of development is going beyond the software world and is being a disruptive innovation in industries ranging from automobiles to spirituality and finance.

Kaizendo: Customizable schoolbooks

Date and Time: 
6 November, 2010 - 10:00 - 10:30
Speaker: Salve J. Nilsen

Slides: http://www.slideshare.net/fscons/kaizendo-customizable-schoolbooks

FSCONS Schedule page: http://fscons.org/2010/fs/kaizendo-customizable-schoolbooks


Imagine a textbook where a pupil and her teacher can choose topic depth, clarity of text or homework difficulty as needed and necessary. Where teachers can choose alternatives supporting different instruction methods and teaching styles, and schools can allow different chapter content based on time constraints or policy. Books where parents can get a topic summary to read before helping with homework. And then imagine finding all this in the same book.

This talk introduces the Kaizendo project, where the goal is to make books like this possible.

The speaker will be presenting an overview of the project and it's motivation, followed by a look at the application in such a way that anyone who wants the project to succeed can jump in and help.

Qt on MeeGo

Date and Time: 6 November, 2010 - 10:45 - 11:15
Speaker: Knut Yrvin


FSCONS Schedule page: http://fscons.org/2010/fs/qt-meego


Many free software developers has heard about MeeGo, the new GNU/Linux based platform for handsets, setup boxes, in-vehicle infotainment devices etc. Qt is the default development framework for MeeGo. Knut Yrvin from Qt at Nokia will go through the different reasons for making MeeGo, and using Qt for application development.

GNU Parallel

Date and Time: 7 November, 2010 - 11:30 - 12:00
Speaker: Ole Tange

Slides: http://www.slideshare.net/fscons/gnu-parallel-ole-tange

FSCONS Schedule page: http://fscons.org/2010/fs/gnu-parallel


If you have used xargs, foreach-loops, or while-read-loops in shell GNU Parallel is for you.

GNU Parallel is a tool that make it easy to run jobs in parallel. In addition to that GNU Parallel is also useful for writing small scripts - especially the use-once scripts that most sysadmins write all the time.

GNU Parallel is options compatible with xargs, but is much more powerful. It deals nicely with file name containing spaces and quotes - only if the file names contain newline do you have to take extra precautions.

Small scripts can be written with {} representing the file name. The scripts will be run in parallel.

GNU Parallel automatically detects the number of CPU cores and can schedule jobs depending on this number - e.g. -j+0 would schedule one job per core.

GNU Parallel can distribute jobs to remote computers using SSH, collect the results and present them as if they were executed serially. With the autodetection of number of CPU cores it is possible to mix both fast and slow computers: GNU Parallel will schedule more jobs on the fast computers than on the slow.

The video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LlXDtd_pRaY describes the most basic use of GNU Parallel. During the talk both the basic use and more advanced examples will be shown.

Bits and bytes: the importance of free software in the industry

Date and Time: 7 November, 2010 - 15:15 - 16:00
Speaker: Alessandro Rubini


FSCONS Schedule page: http://fscons.org/2010/fs/bits-bytes


Even though most visible uses of computers move megabytes and gigabytes at a time, there are areas where the details still count, and research is vibrant in the field. The talk will describe some real-world cases where every bit counts and free software is a basic ingredient for success. At least until patent people sneaks in.

Public Sector ICT Procurement

Date and Time: 7 November, 2010 - 17:15 - 18:00
Speaker: Björn Lundell


FSCONS Schedule page: http://fscons.org/2010/fs/public-sector-ict-procurement


In this presentation we consider the inability of many Swedish governmental organisations to communicate in open document formats, and report on policies on document format and ICT procurement related to office document processing. We find that there is limited or no evidence of consideration given to document formats when procuring software. The presentation highlights a lack of strategic decision making with respect to accessibility, and a resultant lack of transparency with respect to ICT procurement. The objective is to understand the influences behind established practice in decision making in Swedish municipalities, and hence help to explain earlier findings of a lack of engagement with the issue of document formats.

Workshop: Packaging for Debian using Git

Date and Time: 6 November, 2010 - 14:15 - 16:00
Speaker: Per Andersson avtobiff


FSCONS Schedule page: http://fscons.org/2010/fs/workshop-packaging-debian-using-git


Debian is a GNU/Linux distribution with the goal of being the Universal Operating System. The Debian packaging system is industrial grade and widespread. Git is a distributed version control system (DVCS), originally developed for tracking the Linux kernel. It is designed to be fast, among other features. Using a VCS for Debian packaging makes much sense.

It is a good to keep track of the packaging work, patches, and to test experimental stuff. This workshop will give quick introductions to both Debian packaging and Git. Focus will then be on packaging something, either a test/hello world package, move an existing Debian package to Git or start packaging a program for Debian.

Please note that to get the most out of this workshop you need to bring with you a computer with some debian derivate installed.


From Free Software to Open Access

Date and Time: 7 November, 2010 - 10:00 - 10:30
Speaker: Ian Watson


FSCONS Schedule page: http://fscons.org/2010/extensions/free-software-open-access


The open-access movement is gaining ground among researchers and scientists. A recent study showed that 20% of scholarly articles published in 2008 are available online for free, and the number is growing. It is cheaper for universities to pay for putting articles up on websites than for expensive journal subscriptions. Most open-access publishing uses free software platforms, notably OJS and DSpace. In common with free software, open standards, and Wikipedia, open access publishing shares the philosophy that it is inefficient to sell copies of information that have a zero or nearly zero marginal cost.

Distributed Democracy

Date and Time: 7 November, 2010 - 14:15 - 15:00
Speaker: Øystein Jakobsen

Slides: http://www.slideshare.net/fscons/distributed-democracy

FSCONS Schedule page: http://fscons.org/2010/extensions/distributed-democracy


The idea behind Democracy is "rule by the people", but its implementation has proven difficult. Representative Democracy has been the governance of choice in the western world, but how democratic is it? Limited choices, lack of transparency, high barriers for civil participation and private lobby organizations are just some of the threats to the idea of democracy in a representative democracy.

This talk will first present how technology is being used to make western democracies more democratic. The use of open data, collaborative development, 3rd party access and free licenses are already transforming goverment as we know it. It will then present how these methods can separate policy and execution to transform the representative democracy into a Distributed Democracy.

Self-organized Plenty: The Emergence of Physical Peer Production

Date and Time: 7 November, 2010 - 16:15 - 17:00
Speaker: Christian Siefkes

Slides: http://www.keimform.de/2010/self-organized-plenty/

FSCONS Schedule page: http://fscons.org/2010/extensions/self-organized-plenty-emergence-physical-peer-production


Commons-based peer production, as described by Yochai Benkler and others, has become an essential driving force of the digital world. The Wikipedia and some other community-driven websites are among the most successful online projects, and the Internet wouldn t even work without free software. But peer production is starting to expand from the digital into the material realm.

In my talk I will look at four essential building blocks of generalized peer production:

1. Voluntary cooperation among peers: Peer production is goal-driven people cooperate in order to reach a shared goal. Participants decide for themselves whether and how to get involved; nobody can order others around. Cooperation is stigmergic: people leave hints about what there is to do and others decide voluntarily which hints (if any) to follow.

2. Common knowledge: Digital peer production is based on treating knowledge as a commons that can be used, shared, and improved by all. Projects developing and sharing free design information on how to produce, use, repair and recycle physical goods (often called open-source hardware) provide a basis for physical peer production.

3. Common resources: Free design information is not enough for physical production access to land and other natural resources is essential as well. In the logic of peer production, these too become commons to be used, shared (in a fair manner) and maintained by all.

4. Distributed, openly accessible means of production: In peer production, the means of production tend to be distributed among many people there is no single person or entity controlling their usage. Hackerspaces, Fab Labs, and mesh networks provide the basis for a distributed physical production infrastructure. If the machines and other equipment used in such open making facilities become themselves the result of peer production, the circle is closed: Peer producers can jointly produce, use and manage their own productive facilities, allowing to overcome the dependency on proprietary, market-driven production.

Design Patterns between Free Software and Permaculture

Date and Time: 7 November, 2010 - 17:15 - 18:00
Speaker: Denis Jaromil Roio

Slides: http://jaromil.dyne.org/journal/free_software_permaculture_fscons10.pdf

FSCONS Schedule page: http://fscons.org/2010/extensions/design-patterns-between-free-software-and-permaculture

Divide and Re-Conquer

Building Socially Responsible Social Networks

Date and Time: 6 November, 2010 - 14:15 - 15:00
Speaker: Michael Chisari, Ludovic Bocquet

Slides: http://www.slideshare.net/fscons/gothenburg-november-6-2010

FSCONS Schedule page: http://fscons.org/2010/divide/building-socially-responsible-social-networks


Two leading social networking projects explore the solutions that Free Software can offer to the threat of centralised Internet communication services.

Michael Chisari of the Appleseed Project:

1. Data privacy itself is easily achieved, we have decades of experience and precedence in how to secure data, but adding human relationships and trust complicates it exponentially. In distributed social networks, you have questions of identity, trust, claims, relationship, that you often don't have in centralized networks, let alone in systems where an administrator makes the decisions from the top down. And the problems of privacy and trust are as much social problems as they are technological ones, and we often look to technological solutions to solve these social problems.

2. Technology can't solve social problems, however. No algorithm can ever predict that Bob would feel scorned by Alice, and use his position of trust to share her photos outside of her accepted circle. But we can create tools which aid social solutions to technological problems.

3. Privacy is the most obvious concern, and the issues that exist today with privacy are more user-facing than anything. Facebook's approach to privacy is not always terrible, they have friend categorization and access control, much like Appleseed or other privacy-centric solutions. But their user interface for managing them is particularly dense and poorly designed (some might argue purposely so). A feature isn't worth anything if nobody uses it, and a powerful privacy user interface is an example of technology aiding the user to solve social problems of trust, instead of trying to make the decisions for them.

4. These questions come down to the most important aspect of the social web: The interface is the killer app, not the engine. Your underlying code can be the most private, secure, encrypted, etc. code ever written, but if the user interface fails to explain and urge the lowest common denominator to use those features, then often, the rest of the social web follows suit. The biggest challenge the open source community has is only partly a technological one, but mostly a social one. The user interfaces we build will determine whether users of the social web can have a reasonable expectation of privacy, or whether they continue to operate in a panopticon ever without realizing it.

Web Search By The People, For The People

Date and Time: 7 November, 2010 - 16:15 - 17:00
Speaker: Michael Christen

Slides: http://www.slideshare.net/fscons/web-search-by-the-people-for-the-people

FSCONS Schedule page: http://fscons.org/2010/divide/web-search-people-people


Today, most information in the Internet is accessed through search engines, and it is increasingly important that search services remain uncensored.

Whilst major search portal providers are able to manipulate search results to reflect particular interests, 'YaCy' uses a peer-to-peer model to keep search results unrestricted.

YaCy is a free-software, open-source Web Search Engine by the people and for the people. We want to achieve freedom of information through a free, distributed web search technology which is powered by the world's users.

YaCy is the missing link between free/open content and the user. This link is currently filled mostly with the service of closed/proprietary and commercial search portal operators. When you use your own search engine, nobody can trace and store your search requests and nobody can censor the search results.

We demonstrate how everyone can set up a search service for web- and ftp-sites, make use of sitemaps and keep a search up-to-date with rss feeds. You will be able to do this yourself in just five minutes. We show how to evaluate the crawled data for statistics and web page link structures.

Developers may be interested in YaCys software architecture. We also show how APIs can be used for search retrieval, index import/data export and how to integrate a opensearch.org-compliant search service like YaCy into own web pages easily.

GNU social and GNU FM: Empowering Communities

Date and Time: 7 November, 2010 - 17:15 - 18:00
Speaker: Matt Lee


FSCONS Schedule page: http://fscons.org/2010/divide/gnu-social-and-gnu-fm-empowering-communities


The future of social networking is decentralization -- powering community sites and giving users control over their social relationships.

GNU social is one such project which hopes to deliver on this goal. Working side-by-side with StatusNet, creators of status.net and the identi.ca community, GNU social is a decentralized platform for sharing messages, photographs, music and video.

GNU FM is a platform for music sharing. Compatible with the Audioscrobber API, GNU FM lets you run your own music community site, or use Libre.fm, the free culture community run by the developers!

Matt Lee is the campaigns manager at the Free Software Foundation.

Designed For Decentralisation: Understanding the Internet

Date and Time: 6 November, 2010 - 10:00 - 10:30
Speaker: Benjamin Bayart


FSCONS Schedule page: http://fscons.org/2010/divide/designed-decentralisation-understanding-internet


Two particular points make the structure of the Internet unique. Firstly, there is no single backbone through which all information is routed. Instead, it consists of thousands of aggregated independent networks, which work together to make their content accessible. There is no central controlling network or organisation therefore; the Internet's design precludes traditional power hierarchies.

Secondly, it uses 'packet-switching' for transferring chunks of data. This gives computers the ability to connect to several targets simultaneously, and contrasts sharply with traditional 'circuit-switching' networks. The packet- switched technique creates a symmetrical network, where the intelligence is peripheral, and where each point can assume any role.

The decentralised structure of the Internet is a key part of its success, and has had enormous consequences for society. The emergence of the global network has redefined methods of politics, communication, and business. Both the growth and impact of the Internet are the result of its fascinating distributed structure.

Centralised Internet Services and Problems of Power

Date and Time: 6 November, 2010 - 10:45 - 11:15
Speaker: Torsten Grote

Slides: http://www.slideshare.net/fscons/centralised-internet-services-and-problems-of-power

FSCONS Schedule page: http://fscons.org/2010/divide/centralised-internet-services-and-problems-power

Embedded Linux

Open Hardware Repository

Date and Time: 6 November, 2010 - 11:30 - 12:00
Speaker: Javier Serrano

Slides: http://www.slideshare.net/fscons/open-hardware-repository

FSCONS Schedule page: http://fscons.org/2010/embedded/open-hardware-repository


The Open Hardware Repository (http://www.ohwr.org/) is a place on the web for electronics designers to collaborate on Open Hardware (OH) design. This effort was initiated by CERN's Hardware & Timing section and has since been joined by a number of other groups in and outside CERN. The talk will explore ways in which open software and hardware are different (although they certainly complement each other very well), and justify the choice of OH from the point of view of developers in public scientific institutions. It will then proceed to explore the applicability of the reasons in a wider context, with a stress on how Society can benefit from OH and what non-designers can do to help in the effort. We will also explore different licensing schemes and possible business models for companies. Finally, a real use-case, the White Rabbit project (http://www.ohwr.org/projects/white-rabbit) will be used to illustrate the advantages of this approach to hardware design.

Tuning an old but free phone

Date and Time: 6 November, 2010 - 14:15 - 15:00
Speaker: Timo Jyrinki

Slides: http://www.slideshare.net/fscons/tuning-an-old-but-free-phone-timo-jyrinki

FSCONS Schedule page: http://fscons.org/2010/embedded/tuning-old-free-phone


Update on Neo FreeRunner, the most free mobile phone on the planet, concentrating on the obstacles overcome by the community and features added. Hardware fixes, Glamo timing, overclocking et cetera. Additionally the status of Debian on FreeRunner, my way of using Debian and the future of eventually switching to some other (free) phone. I like to compare tweaking FreeRunner to fixing an old car - you know it's not the coolest nor fastest four-wheel on the block, but it feels so good to get it going.

Timo has worked in various free software and culture communities, moving from the Finnish Wikipedia's starting steps onward to founding Ubuntu Finland, via which eventually becoming a Debian Developer.

Interests still lie within Debian and Ubuntu, added with the Finnish Wikipedia press contact task, Openmoko and its spin-offs, FSF Europe, GNOME, a Finnish "all things libre" site vapaasuomi.fi and nowadays MeeGo. Employed by Nomovok Ltd., M.Sc in Communications Engineering (major subject Cognitive Technology).

Generic data structures in the Linux kernel

Date and Time: 6 November, 2010 - 16:15 - 17:00
Speaker: Alessandro Rubini


FSCONS Schedule page: http://fscons.org/2010/embedded/generic-data-structures


The kernel, like any non-trivial program, uses reknown data structures like lists and trees. We'll look at the specific implementation of linked lists and rb-trees as examples of good software engineering: with a pair of simple user-space applications we'll verify how the code the code is completely generic and well optimized.

Embedding Linux for an Automotive Environment

Date and Time: 6 November, 2010 - 17:15 - 18:00
Speaker: Anders Arnholm

Slides: http://www.slideshare.net/fscons/embedding-linux-for-an-automotive-environment

FSCONS Schedule page: http://fscons.org/2010/embedded/embedding-linux-automotive-environment


Running Linux on an embedded node in the automotive environment adds a number of new challenges that have to be addressed. One of the problems we have been working on is start-up times. We have trimmed the start-up time of the Linux kernel in less than 0.2 seconds on low end hardware. This presentation will look into and discuss some of the trade-offs we did to get the system starting up quicker on a limited hardware.

In an automotive environment many systems have to have there communication up within factions of a second, as the car get more complex more CPU power is needed in many different places. Traditional automotive solutions have been using two CPU’s on each node one small quick starting to handle the communication and one for the applications. If only one CPU can get the main applications starting quick enough that can make the hardware both simpler and cheaper.

About Mecel Mecel is a systems and software development company with more than 25 years of experience in developing solutions for the automotive industry. We specialize in in-car communication technologies, user interface development and consumer device interaction.

Erlang on Embedded Devices

Date and Time: 7 November, 2010 - 10:45 - 11:15
Speaker: Gustav Simonsson, Fredrik Andersson

Slides: http://www.slideshare.net/fscons/embedded-erlangfscons2010

FSCONS Schedule page: http://fscons.org/2010/embedded/erlang-embedded-devices


Erlang holds great potential for use in Embedded devices. The distributed and fault-tolerant nature of Erlang has many uses in embedded systems, and yet there is not much available for the enthusiastic Erlang developer who wants to run Erlang applications on embedded devices.

This talk will discuss the potential of a Linux-based Embedded Platform developed with focus on running a minimal Erlang/OTP system. During the talk an example application will be presented in form of a music player which features automatic song sharing.

GENIVI alliance and how biz can adapt FOSS

Date and Time: 7 November, 2010 - 14:15 - 15:00
Speaker: (mikael.soderberg) replaced by Jeremiah Foster


FSCONS Schedule page: http://fscons.org/2010/embedded/genivi-alliance-and-how-biz-can-adapt-foss

The talk was held by Jeremiah Foster.

Multi-touch and gesture recognition

Date and Time: 7 November, 2010 - 16:15 - 17:00
Speaker: Carlos Garnacho

Slides: http://www.slideshare.net/fscons/multitouching-your-apps

FSCONS Schedule page: http://fscons.org/2010/embedded/multi-touch


A lot of work is being put into developing libraries, programs and drivers for Multi-touch devices.

Carlos has been involved in the development for a long time and will explain the basic concepts, show how it works as well as give some code examples on how to integrate M-t and gesture support into your application.

Workshop: File system formats

Date and Time: 6 November, 2010 - 10:00 - 11:15
Speaker: Mattias Wecksten


FSCONS Schedule page: http://fscons.org/2010/embedded/workshop-file-system-formats


We will digg deep into the core of the hidden realm of file system formats. We will dissect a few of the most common file system formats, have a look at how file systems are implemented and discuss the file system from an embedded systems point of view.

Images of example file systems will be available, but you should bring your own computer pre installed with dd, xxd, mmls and a handy calculator.

Workshop: OS from scratch

Date and Time: 7 November, 2010 - 10:00 - 11:30
Speaker: Alessandro Rubini


FSCONS Schedule page: http://fscons.org/2010/embedded/workshop-os-scratch


The workshop aims at writing a "complete" operating system, for one of the various meanings of the word. Starting with an empty directory, we'll design and write the Makefile, linker script, assembly and C code that builds up an OS for cooperative-multitasking. At the end we'll have several tasks running on an ARM7 development board. We'll base on gcc and make, which won't be rewritten during this time slot.


Are you weak in the middle?

Date and Time: 6 November, 2010 - 11:30 - 12:00
Speaker: Vjaceslavs Klimovs, Nicolae Paladi

Slides: http://www.slideshare.net/fscons/are-you-weak-in-the-middle

FSCONS Schedule page: http://fscons.org/2010/infrastructure/are-you-weak-middle


Obviously or not, the truth is that not everything needs to happen right away in modern digital technosphere. Perhaps that was the case before the explosion of user generated content, but not any longer. A typical example of this phenomena is your random social networking website. Does it really matter for a particular user, right now, this very second, that their status update, tweet or whatever highly important information they have just created reaches their friends immediately? Probably not. As it turns out, the solution was there for a while already - queue everything and delight everyone!

In this talk we touch the topic of Message-oriented middleware, both the obvious benefits this concept brings - scalability, availability, the less obvious aspects - upgradeability, no vendor lock-in, as well as some hidden rocks in the sea of queueing.

We also talk about standards in the field, current Open Source implementations (with their advantages and disadvantages) and why we chose Apache ActiveMQ as a messaging provider for the system we develop here, at Peer Mobile AB. Last, but not least, we discuss XA Open transactions and why these are important in certain use cases, such as ours.

One Wire Sensor Networking

Date and Time: 6 November, 2010 - 15:15 - 16:00
Speaker: Mattias Wecksten

Slides: http://www.slideshare.net/fscons/1-wire-v4

FSCONS Schedule page: http://fscons.org/2010/infrastructure/one-wire-sensor-networking


Since computing power per area has increased and power consumption dropped, sensor networking has become a really hot topic. Monitoring of e.g. room temperature could be performed for off line optimization, differentiated debiting or even direct regulation.

The near future for these kinds of networks will be discussed from a security and integrity point of view.

An demonstration will be held, showing one-wire temperature measurements using Dallas 1820 sensors, open hardware interface and the OWFS (one wire file system).

A few simple serial port based starter kits for one wire networking will be available at component cost.

VODO, Past and Future

Date and Time: 6 November, 2010 - 16:15 - 17:00
Speaker: (jamie) replaced by Stian Rødven Eide

Slides: http://fscons.org/2010/infrastructure/vodo-past-and-future

FSCONS Schedule page: http://fscons.org/2010/infrastructure/vodo-past-and-future

About the VoDo video project.

Future Transports

Date and Time: 
7 November, 2010 - 10:45 - 11:15
Speaker: Daniel Stenberg


FSCONS Schedule page: http://fscons.org/2010/infrastructure/future-transports


An overview and run-through of evolving technologies that will/might hit mainstream soon and change how Internet transports are made.

Where are the limits and restrictions in current transport layers? TCP and HTTP are everywhere. Are they up for a future of much faster traffic and higher demands from users?

People and groups working on the TCP stack and on the application layer both on client-side and on server-side all have different technologies in the works to further the user experience.

In particular this talk will cover WebSockets, SPDY, MPTCP and SCTP. How they work and how they will make future Internet transports better.

Distributed email system

Date and Time: 7 November, 2010 - 11:30 - 12:00
Stefan Kangas
Gustav Eek

Slides: http://www.slideshare.net/fscons/2010-11-eek-kangas-5745050

FSCONS Schedule page: http://fscons.org/2010/infrastructure/distributed-email-system



User freedom is the most important property of tomorrow's infrastructure. This property is necessary to safeguard the relative freedom of speech, provided by the Internet against increasingly aggressive attacks by preying commercial and opportune state interests.

In this abstract of the talk for FSCONS 2010 we first try to define freedom in computer work. Then the problem of increased centralization of the Internet is discussed, and a number of ongoing threats to this freedom are identified. We then present the Free Email Association, which built-up infrastructure we have, and our principles. Finally we try to sketch, what we think the future paths might look like. Background

The centralisation of influence and rectification of decision-making is not unique for the Internet. This is written in a wider context of general social criticism of economic and cultural globalisation and the current forms of the globalisation of information flows. Many decisions are made in multi-lateral arenas, where the democratic control is limited.1 A decreasing number of transnational operators, not only controls the means of production and the production of goods, but also have great influence in markets demands.

The Internet is, or will soon be, the most important communication medium in the majority of the industrialized world. The story of its development from its conception as a highly distributed network through the establishment of the free and open web towards the increasingly privatized web, we see today, is indeed saddening for those, who takes user freedom seriously. A few strong parties control major segments of important infrastructure, that millions of users depend on every day. Those who control the technology and its infrastructure, also have power over its users. Computing, computer labour, and power over the infrastructure

The Free Software Foundation suggest definition of free software consisting of four requirements: "freedom to run, copy, distribute, study, change and improve the software". (Free Software Foundation "The Free Software Definition") As a complement to those we define the more general freedom with regard to own computer labour 2 as requiring that

  1. the work is performed exclusively with free software,
  2. the work is performed with computer hardware that entirely is at one's possession and control,
  3. the information worked with is information that one possess, and
  4. the result from the computer work also is at one's possession and control.

We here use "information" to denote data and documents that are the object of computer work. In this context computer labour is defined as all use of computers, and own computer labour as computer work performed for one's own part.3 Internet and its servers

The Internet, seen as an infrastructure scheme, was constructed as a distributed peer-to-peer non-hierarchical network of independent and self-determined parts.4 Despite this immanent property, the Internet today, seen from a regular user's point of view, is structured in a hierarchical manner around a decreasing number of server clouds, which are continuously growing in size and power. Historically the meaning of servers was to gather and publish information provided from its clients. However, in many applications today, publishing is not performed as a separate process, and the clients are no longer always independent. For example social networking sites, like Facebook, often require their users to perform their work directly on the company's servers. (Moglen 2010) Software as a service

A concept introduced in the spirit of centralisation is Software as a Service (SaaS). Shortly SaaS means that users are invited to perform their computer work on or through a network server on Internet or a local network. The main purpose of SaaS is to separate possession and ownership of software from its usage. This software is said to be "licenced on demand". (Turner 2003)

In this text Software as a Service is used in a more narrow sense in accordance with Stallman (Stallman 2010), to mean one's own computer work on hardware that the user do not control. Popular Internet services that are examples of SaaS are Google Docs and Facebook, but the concept is widely used. Computer work performed with this software is non-free in a double sense; using SaaS also leads to vendor lock-in. However, the complex of lock-in problems reach far outside SaaS. The infrastructure of email

The email infrastructure is not an exception from the tendency towards centralisation and rectification of Internet's services and usage. We now see even large institutions being lured in by the economic benefits offered by these large scale solutions.

Email communication through the Internet involves several computers and servers, among those a mail user agent, a computer program controlled by the sending person; several mail transfer agents, Internet servers responsible for getting the mail though using the SMTP protocol; domain name system servers, servers keeping track of the addresses to all those servers; and finally another mail user agent, used by the receiving person to read the emails. It is also common to make use of extra inbox handling services like IMAP access or webmail, which usually involve separate servers.

What about email and freedom? We here need to distinguish what part of emailing which is one's own computer labour and which is not. Editing email definitely is, along with all sort of contact management. The transfer process, however, is not; whether the email arrives is of course of great concern to the sender, but there is generally no human activity (directly) involved and thus no actual work performed. In principle the same holds also for the process of receiving email. However, most popular email services are not content with that:

Some sites whose main service is publication and communication extend it with "contact management", keeping track of people you have relationships with. Sending mail to those people for you is not SaaS, but keeping track of your dealings with them, if substantial, is SaaS. (Stallman 2010)

And using SaaS is not free computer labour. Furthermore, the question of whether hiring a company for handling one's email, implies usage of non-free computer labour or not, might not be the only matter of importance. Privacy and survelliance

With large clientele comes a lot of power. Google is currently not the largest email service provider; both Windows Live Hotmail and Yahoo Mail has more customers. (Brownlow 2010) We believe nonetheless that it is important to single Google out as a company, because of how effectively they utilize privacy invading schemes, and because of how these are integrated between their services. Together with Google's e-mail service one also gets services that probably was not asked for: advertisement, semantic analyses of email contents, and spying. (Moglen 2010) The data resulting from Google's analysis and espionage is later used indirectly in marketing campaigns with Google's customers or sold directly to third party. Google is profiting on their email users with the means of the users' private information provided by themselves.

Google link that data to individuals' surf activities using Google's search engine, Google accounts and cookies. Additionally, many websites utilize Google's JavaScript APIs, website statistics or reCAPTCHA service, which indirectly exposes individuals to Google's supervision. Organisation for a change

Technology has never been neutral. Behind technology changes and innovations today lie commercial interests and social factors. On the one hand, the ownership structure of technology companies and their endeavour for profit ensure, that usage of their services for work and communication never will be free. On the other hand, only a fraction of the everyday Internet users have knowledge and resources enough to create free alternatives on their own hand. The question is also: What we can reasonably expect from an average user in terms of engagement in their privacy and freedom?

Our idea is to form an association and together take back a small, but important, part of our Internet life, namely the email communication infrastructure. We gather around several servers that receives and stores the members' email. The purpose of the association is to render it possible for individuals to bring their computer usage under their own control, and to show that user freedom is possible, even only through active, prolonged and collective struggle.

In more detail, we start with five or six servers spread out in Sweden and Europe connected through the Internet: at the very least two mail exchange and one IMAP server, separate backup and log servers, and hopefully a webmail server. In the beginning we will not have an SMTP send mail service, and we will hire the DNS service from third party. Though we will have tight economic boundaries, our focus on reliability and stability forces us to try hard to maintain a sufficiently high level of redundancy.

The email service provided through the Free Email Association is free as in free speech. This because of the democratic structure and of non-profit and commonly owned organisations like the Free Email Association. The association promises to

  1. work hard to receive email for the sake of its members in a reliable manner
  2. protect its member's integrity, that is to never
    1. read or analyse its members emails, either manually or automatically, (possibly with exception for voluntary spam filter services and alike)
    2. gather statistics about or analyse member's traffic through the association's servers, and
    3. under no circumstances hand out information about members, their emailing and other activities, or any other information to third party, and
  3. provide for transparency regarding administration, economy and the decision-making process.

Transparency and continuous information about the work of the board is of cause extra important, and the democratic regime requires constant attention. A declaration of principles serve as a founding document for the association, but still a high level of trust is laid on the elected officers. On the long term

We recommend and encourage everyone to perform his or her's computer labour with free software at machines that are in their own possession. But many solutions on Internet servers, like Google Docs and Facebook, are quite usable and practical and adopted to a modern way of meeting and working computer-aided. The Free Software Community has a great challenge in the creation of free and distributed alternatives, where free means that their usage imply only free computing.

Despite this, we must not deceive ourselves into thinking, that the final and greatest challenge is about building physical infrastructure or programming advanced distributed social networking solutions. The real challenge is to get people engaged in the issue of the Internet's power structures and in their own freedom and privacy.

No one in their right mind would put their blind trust in a government that was dabbling in surveillance on a scale anywhere near what Google is doing. But when it comes to Google, their marketing strategy has been so successful that many people need no additional guarantees, that Google will behave – people are willing to take Google's word for it.

The reason behind the described changeover of the Internet is structural. The structural tendency, as described, is that already powerful operators get even more power, when computer labour is generally becoming less free. Structural problems need structural change, but projects like the Free Email Association serve as an alternative to structural change for those, who are eager to establish free alternatives. In the long-term, however, we realise that a larger social change on a structural level is necessary. The best we can hope for, is to give a small contribution, bringing about that change.

Footnotes 1 Good, recent examples are the European Unions IPRED directive or the ACTA agreement.

2 Stallman uses your own computing to denote what we call one's own computer labour. [2] We use the latter because of its broader associations.

3 Stallman points out that work performed as employee in some company or in a cooperation project as Wikipedia is not one's own computer work, but a part of that company's or project's work. In that case it is not one's own freedom that is threatened, but the company's or project's. (Stallman 2010):

4 Technically the parts of a network are nodes, which in the case of Internet are servers, switches, and personal computers, and edges, which are interconnecting wires.


Turner, M. et.al. (2003). "Turning Software into a Service", Computer vol. 36, IEEE Computer Society 2003.

Stallman, R. M (2010). "Who does that server realy serve?", Boston review, only web version http://bostonreview.net/BR35.2/stallman.php. Revised version på http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/who-does-that-server-really-serve.html. Fetched 2010-08-30.

Moglen E. (2010). "Freedom in the Cloud", talk given to the New York chapter of ISOC February 2nd 2010. Video available at http://new.law.columbia.edu/isoc/eben_moglen_freedom_in_the_cloud.ogv, and transcription at http://www.softwarefreedom.org/events/2010/isoc-ny/FreedomInTheCloud-transcript.html. Checked 2010-09-10.

Free Software Foundation. "The Free Software Definition", http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-sw.html. Fetched 2010-08-30.

Brownlow M. (2010). "Email and webmail statistics", http://www.email-marketing-reports.com/metrics/email-statistics.htm. Updated May 2010. First published April 2008. Fetched 2010-09-21.

Workshop: Icelandic Modern Media Initiative

Date and Time: 
7 November, 2010 - 14:15 - 16:00
Speaker: Calixte Tayoro, Smari McCarthy

Slides: http://www.slideshare.net/fscons/how-far-are-we-ready-to-go

FSCONS Schedule page: http://fscons.org/2010/infrastructure/workshop-icelandic-modern-media-initiative


On June 16th the Icelandic Parliament unanimously passed a proposal tasking the government to intoduce a new legislative regime to protect and strengthen modern freedom of expression, and the free flow of information in Iceland and around the world. The unanimous vote included all government members. The Iceland Modern Media Initiative (IMMI) thus became a parliamentary proposal. Birgitta Jonsdottir, the chief sponsor in parliament of the IMMI proposal said: "Iceland will become the inverse of a tax haven; by offering journalists and publishers some of the most powerful protections for free speech and investigative journalism in the world. Tax havens aim is to make everything opaque. Our aim it to make everything transparent." she said.

The values promoted by IMMI are not specific to Iceland but are shared by most Scandinavian and Nordic countries. As a matter of fact, the world's first freedom of information law was passed in 1766 by the Swedish Parliament, with the strong support and help from a political thinker from Finland: Anders Chydenius. Because of this strong tradition for openness and transparency in the Nordic region at large, it is important to create in this part of Europe as broad a support for IMMI as possible. The goal is to make IMMI the basis of a common approach to issues regarding freedom of information, freedom of speech and internet policy. This approach will thus allow to extend the legacy of Anders Chydenius into the 21st century.

Number of visitors

  • Number of visitors: 292
    • from Sweden: 174
    • from the Nordic countries: 44
    • from Europe: 45
    • from outside of Europe: 29


Platinum sponsors

  • Nordic Culture Fund provides 45,000 SEK to the conference. In particular, their sponsorship provides funding for the scholarships for Nordic participants.

Gold sponsors

  • Google, contributes as a Gold sponsor to the conference.
  • Nokia, contributes as a Gold sponsor to the conference.
  • .SE - The Internet Infrastructure Foundation, contributes as a Gold sponsor to the conference.

Silver sponsors

  • Göteborg & Co, näringslivsgruppen, contributes with 15,000 SEK to the conference.
  • GGS-Data, contributes as a Silver sponsor.

Conference sponsors

  • bentrix, contributes installation and support of an approved cash register system.
  • The Department of Applied IT, IT Faculty of the University of Gothenburg and Chalmers Technical University provide the conference venue.
  • The Society for Free Culture and Software, provides administrative support, personnel, financial management and marketing.

Media sponsors

  • Linux Journal, sponsors with advertisement space in their magazine and on their web pages.
  • O'reilly, sponsors with advertisement space in their magazine and on their web pages.
  • Linux Magazine, sponsors with advertisement space in their magazine and on their web pages.
  • Ubuntu User, sponsors with advertisement space in their magazine and on their web pages.


The talks we have encoded so far are uploaded to the FSCONS 2010 channel on Vimeo.


Some photos are on our Flickr page.


See each talk abobe, and here: http://www.slideshare.net/fscons

Press mentions FSCONS 2010


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