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Program Sessions





Saturday, March 25

09:00 - 09:45: Registration and breakfast

09:45 - 10:00: Welcome to LibrePlanet (Day 1)

10:00 - 10:45: Opening Keynote

When we fight we win: Technology and liberation in Trump’s America

Kade Crockford

Room 32-123

The 21st century techno-surveillance state is the oil that runs the deportation and mass incarceration machines. In Donald Trump and Jeff Sessions' America, it's more important than ever to fight for our core values: freedom, equality, justice, and democracy. That means using your technical skills in the service of liberation, but it also means engaging as an ordinary citizen in the messy work of lobbying and organizing. This talk will lay out some of the greatest challenges we face in 2017, and describe in detail some concrete ways we must unite to fight—not only against the Trump regime's dastardly plans, but also for the future we collectively need to build.

10:45 - 10:55: Break

10:55 - 11:40: Session block 1A

Meet them where they are: Free software and social justice today

Brett Smith

Room 32-123

At LibrePlanet, we often talk about how free software intersects with human rights and social justice issues. This talk will review recent technology choices and promotion in other activist communities, discuss how recent changes in politics and technology have motivated these changes, and use these lessons to learn how the free software community can improve its outreach to other advocacy groups. We'll also look at imminent technology developments, and consider where the free software movement can work now to affect change in the future.

The set of programmers: How math restricts us

Carol Smith

Room 32-141

This presentation will open a discussion about how we are introducing new developers to programming. Most textbooks, tutorials, and trainings begin by introducing new developers to mathematics lessons within the language. Many courses on programming require math skills as prerequisites. However, math prowess is not usually an indicator of one's potential programming abilities. Those people who have been told from a young age that they aren't good at math or generally doubt their math skills often feel excluded from the world of programming unnecessarily.

I will pose questions about whether we can be using methods other than math skills to teach programming languages to adult beginners. I propose logic and reasoning skills are more important programming concepts to master to help new developers succeed. Let's change the way we're teaching programming and break down more artificial barriers to entry for becoming a developer.

Running a TV channel with free software

Zeeshan Hasan

Room 32-144

For the last year, Sysnova has been helping a TV channel in Bangladesh to migrate from a soon-to-be discontinued proprietary TV media asset management server, program and ad playout server and news room control system to free alternatives. In the process, free video editing, office suites and desktop operating systems are also being implemented.

The importance of community-managed infrastructure

Michael Scherer

Room 32-155

One of the main benefits of free software is the inherent distribution of power among the members of community. Yet, one of the backbones of a free software project, the infrastructure, is often controlled by only a few people, a situation which causes all kind of issues on a philosophical as well as practical level.

However, thanks to the rise of the movement of configuration as code in the last years, great progress have been made on that front.

The first part of this talk will show how the modern methods can be used to empower community and increase the transparency of what is going on at an infrastructure level, and why it matter for resilience to security. Then we will examine practical concerns often raised by system administrators, and the various way to complement transparency to nurture a community caring about the project infrastructure.

Batten down the hatches - A non-technical security workshop for activists

Al Carter, René Pérez

Room 26-142

It's 2017 and the trolls are out in force. In the first session (10:55 - 11:40), we'll discuss strategies and programs to better secure friends and family. In the second section (11:50 - 12:35), we'll put together an operational security plan for a hypothetical high risk direct action of the group's choosing.

Topics we'll cover include secure communications, password management, encryption, and mitigating additional operational threats.

11:40 - 11:50: Break

11:50 - 12:35: Session block 2A

Software heritage: Preserving the free software commons

Stefano Zacchiroli

Room 32-123

The Software Commons is the vast body of human knowledge embedded in software source code that has been made publicly available and can be freely altered and reused. Free software constitutes the bulk of it. Sadly we seem to be at increasing risk of losing this precious heritage built by the Free Software community over the paste decades: once popular code hosting sites shut down, tapes of ancient versions of our toolchain (bit-)rot in basements, etc. The ambitious goal of the Software Heritage project is to contribute to address this risk, by collecting, preserving, and sharing all publicly available software in source code form. Together with its complete VCS development history. Forever, of course. Although still in Beta, Software Heritage has already archived more than 3 billion unique source code files and 700 million unique commits, spanning more than 50 million Free Software projects from major software development hubs, GNU/Linux distributions, and upstream software collections.

Move fast and break democracy

Shauna Gordon-McKeon

Room 32-141

Throughout the history of mankind, new tools have transformed our lives, bringing political and social change hard on the heels of technological change. For technologists at the vanguard of these changes, there is a tendency towards optimism, toward innovation for innovation’s sake. “Move fast and break things," the motto goes. But what if our democracy is the thing that gets broken? This talk discusses the "digital revolution" and its impact on American political culture, with a specific focus on the influence of social media on news and the influence of automation on the economy.

Turning sensors into signals: Free your IoT from walled gardens with JavaScript

Rabimba Karanjai

Room 32-144

People are already tired of the over-promise of IoT - the slew of marginally useful products, the overly confusing and crowded developer space, and endless examples of how to turn an LED on and off.

Take a break, step back from the crowd, and come learn how to solve real human problems with that old phone that's collecting dust on your shelf using an free technology, Web and JavaScript. Break away from the walled garden of proprietary solutions.

Aibohphobia: The Reifier's Schadenfreude

Luke Demarest

Room 32-155

Hacker? Activist? Neophyte? This shift-of-gears workshop aims to create a relaxed trans-disciplinary environment where all conference goers can create new thought processes around how we use language and art. We'll look at free software ideologies, reasons to use and create free software for art, and look at two programmatically generated 3D printed sculpture series. The sculpture series, created in part with free software and free hardware, explore communication, word play, and digital rights across media. Workshop participants will get to touch, feel, and play with sculptures.

Batten down the hatches - A non-technical security workshop for activists (con't)

Al Carter, René Pérez

Room 26-142

It's 2017 and the trolls are out in force. In the first session (10:55 - 11:40), we'll discuss strategies and programs to better secure friends and family. In the second section (11:50 - 12:35), we'll put together an operational security plan for a hypothetical high risk direct action of the group's choosing.

12:35 - 13:50: Lunch break

Birds of a feather sessions

Community members

Room All

Want to organize or attend a lunchtime BoF? Sign up on the wiki!

13:50 - 14:35: Session block 3A

Patents, copyrights and trademarks: Won't someone please think of the children?

Deb Nicholson

Room 32-123

Patents, copyrights and trademark rights have been growing and expanding in scope and application. In most cases, it seems the original intent of spurring innovation or protecting creators has gotten a bit lost, if not completely inverted. Certainly, there must be a way to support inventors without enabling predators and protect creators without empowering trolls. We need to slay our own monsters, instead of leaving them for the next generation. If you've ever wondered why a smell can be trademarked or why math can, no... can't, well... maybe gets patented, then this talk is for you. The kids of tomorrow might not want to sample our music or work with our legacy codebases, but they won't thank us for taking the option off the table. There are many entities that are highly invested in endless copyright, creative trademark enforcement or patent maximalism, but what do they want? More importantly, how can they be stopped? It won't be easy, but there are some things you can do. This talk will cover why it feels so darned difficult to get common sense policies in place. You'll learn about some likely avenues for political disruption, aka lobbying, voting and affecting policy. Consider attending this talk, for the children.

Technology for direct actions

Andrew Seeder

Room 32-141

This strategic action session follows-up from last year's "Community Technology for Solidarity Economies." This year's session is for anyone interested in activism through non-violent direct actions, such as boycotts, protests, advocacy, and political organizing. We explore how free software technology can empower organizers, with special emphasis on economic democracy initiatives. The session includes a presentation about which technology supports and which technology hinders direct actions. The session ends with an open conversation about how else organizers and technologists might support each other in the future. Please come ready to share ideas and best practices.

The cloud is dead

Gordon Hall

Room 32-144

There is no cloud, it's just someone else's computer and, as it turns out, that "someone else" is not your friend. We have been working tirelessly to take the cloud and bring it back down to the people, so that we can ensure it is equipped with the security, privacy, and potential for ecological sustainability that we all deserve. Gordon will be discussing how Storj Labs built their free software distributed object storage platform for developers with Node.js and demonstrating the tools that were developed to make it possible. He will cover implementations of Storj and how they have redefined what's possible in sustainable technology that respects the rights of all users.

Animated GIF workshop with GIMP

Máirín Duffy

Room 32-155

Animated GIFs have become an omnipresent form of art on the internet; respective to their ubiquity there's a limited number of artists creating them. Let's change that! Express yourself via this art form using free software! Mo will cover different types of animated GIFs you can create showcasing some examples, explain how to obtain libre-licensed source content, and walk you through GIMP's animated GIF creation workflow so you can confidently create your own.

Introduction to Ansible

Spencer Krum

Room 26-142

Ansible is a tool for system administrators to configure machines. It is GPL v3 and uses ssh for its transport layer. This tool scales up to thousands of machines but down to a handful, or just one. This session will cover the basics of using it, and how to express system configuration in its YAML syntax.

14:35 - 14:45: Break

14:45 - 15:30: Session block 4A

Verifying software freedom with reproducible builds

Vagrant Cascadian

Room 32-123

The Reproducible Builds project aims to move towards a world where binary software can be independently verified, by anyone, as the product of a given source. Many people interested in Free Software rely on the distributors of binary software to respect their freedoms. Unfortunately, most software incorporates unintended information into the binaries, resulting in differences in the binaries between consecutive builds. If software normally produces different binaries every time it is built, how can we verify and prove that it is the intended result of the source code? By incorportating best practices documented by the Reproducible Builds project into software development projects, an independently verifyable chain from the source code to the binaries can be formed. Once independent verification becomes common practice, people can get back to working with software that respects user freedoms.

Accessibility, free software and the rights of people with disabilities

Chris Hofstader

Room 32-141

A high level view of accessibility in the context of free software with a focus on issues involving security, privacy and what some activists are doing. It will touch on the technical, legal and software development projects going on today.

Civilian Code Conservation Corps: Free software for governments of all sizes

Cecilia Donnelly

Room 32-144

Software purchased and used by our cities, states, and national governments is both a resource to be managed, like our wild places, and an infrastructure to be maintained, like our roads and bridges. These are our collective property and responsibility.

Many governments are afraid of releasing software into public view because of security concerns, lack of support, or contract complications. Education for civil servants and improved oversight for vendors can mitigate these concerns and increase the amount of government-purchased software that is released under a free license.

Let's encrypt office hours

Noah Swartz

Room 32-155

Want to encrypt your website? Noah Swartz from EFF will be on hand to help people with installing certificates using Let's Encrypt & EFF's tool Certbot. If you manage a website but haven't set up HTTPS this is your chance. Come to Certbot Office Hours and learn about how to do all this and more, to best secure your website, manage your certificates, and make a better web for all users. This session is for people who manage their own websites. Please bring a laptop.

Introduction to Ansible (con't)

Spencer Krum

Room 26-142

15:30 - 15:40: Break

15:40 - 16:25: Session block 5A

The free software movement in the age of Trump

Eben Moglen

Room 32-123

One sixth of the human race lives under the control of a regime that intends to use the Net to extinguish the very idea of freedom. Pettier despots of every description use computer networks to perfect civil unfreedom on a platform of unfree technology. Illiberal movements are sweeping towards political power in advanced democratic societies, which are also the hubs of surveillance capitalism. The rush to cashless society is replacing the anonymity of the free market with the tracked and monitored control points of a new totalitarian economy. The most powerful man in the world has no respect for freedom of speech or the rule of law. The free software movement came into existence fighting to prevent a future which is now our present. Ready or not, we have entered a new phase. Training is over. Here's the plan.

Pump.io - The federated, extensible social network

Alex Jordan

Room 32-141

Pump.io is a promising project to create a federated social network - think email, where you can have multiple providers that all work together, but for social networking. It stagnated for a while, but the project has recently completed the transfer of governance and code maintenance to the community. This presentation will talk about pump.io's history (right up to its newly-created community governance), its API, and why it's pretty freakin' neat. We'll end with the work that's gone out the door in recent releases, the work that remains, and how you can (should?) get involved. Attendees will walk out with an understanding of the historical context behind pump.io, an understanding of how the software works on a technical level, and how it fits into wider social web efforts. No prior knowledge necessary, although a basic familiarity with JSON and HTTP will help.

The monster on the project

Tiberius Hefflin

Room 32-144

Abusive behavior can have profound effects on personal relationships but it can also make free software contribution and office life miserable. For those stuck in a team with co-workers who exhibit toxic behavior, going to work every day can feel like going to a battlefield. Knowing how to identify and how to respond to unreasonable behavior is vital. In this talk we will look at the ways we can improve our office and free software communities by recognizing, managing and gracefully removing this toxic behavior.

Pentesting loves free software

Christian Fernandez

Room 32-155

A session describing how and why is possible to do professional security penetration testing solely using free software code and tools. We will be showcasing some of this tools and having a conversation to see how we can make this tools succeed in the field, come up with new ideas and maybe a project we can work on during the year for the intention to promote free software in the redteam security field.

You, too, can write reproducible software!

Ximin Luo, Vagrant Cascadian, Valerie Young

Room 26-142

This workshop will give a hands-on look at the tools that we use at the Reproducible Builds project to analyze build products and make them more reproducible. We'll go through how to use tools like diffoscope and reprotest, and give a few exercises for participants to try out. Then we'll do a brief tour of the Debian reproducibility toolchain, pointing out things like SOURCE_DATE_EPOCH and strip-nondeterminism. Finally, we'll pick out an unreproducible package from Debian unstable and apply what we've learned to try to make it reproducible.

Bring a laptop and a project you want to make reproducible, including its build dependencies. We'll install diffoscope and reprotest during the session, but if you're not on a Debian system then you're welcome to test that these programs work on your OS beforehand and submit bugs if they don't.

16:25 - 16:35: Break

16:35 - 17:20: Session block 6A

The Lisp machine and GNU

Christopher Webber

Room 32-123

You may have heard of Stallman and the printer, but much of free software's genesis involves the battle over the soul of the lisp machine. We'll trace Lisp and the Lisp Machine's roots, from its genesis in early hacker culture and the AI labs, to the split that (largely) pushed RMS to found GNU, through its role within and without the free software community. Why did GNU become a "Not Unix", and why not a lisp machine? What about the role of Lisp within GNU, with projects like Emacs, Guile, and Guix? For those who are new to Lisp, there will be a mini-tutorial.

Lightning talks

Organized by Donald Robertson

Room 32-155

Five minute talks on a range of topics. Sign up on the wiki!

Free software & the law: A lighthearted trip down memory lane

Robinson Tryon

Room 32-144

Since its beginning, the free software community has found novel ways of hacking the law to serve the greater good. Though starting with copyright, as patents and trademarks became increasingly relevant for projects, our leaders and lawyers found it necessary to include specific language in new and updated licenses. Whether this is your first conference or you've been a part of the FLOSS community for decades, come enjoy a lighthearted, informative look at the relationship of Free Software and the Law over the years, plus a glimpse into the legal future of libre hardware and the Internet of Things (IoT).

Rock and roll bands and free software projects: A comparative analysis

Pamela Chestek

Room 32-155

Bands get together, they perform, they make records, members shuffle in and out. They often don't have any kind of formal agreement or legal entity, or sometimes they were put together by a producer who made all the decisions for the band. Then things fall apart, members split off, they have a falling out with the producer, someone thinks they are more deserving because they contributed more, sometimes one or more going forward as the One True Band. Bands have been around a long time, free software not as long. The session will compare the two types of organizations for similarities and differences to see whether there is anything interesting to learn.

You, too, can write reproducible software! (con't)

Ximin Luo, Vagrant Cascadian, Valerie Young

Room 26-142

17:20 - 17:30: Break

17:30 - 18:30: Free Software Awards, with Richard Stallman

Awards presentation and speech

Richard Stallman

Room 32-123

Announcement of the 2017 Free Software Award winners.

Sunday, March 26

09:00 - 09:45: Registration and Breakfast

09:45 - 10:00: Morning Announcement

Welcome to LibrePlanet (Day 2)

Georgia Young

Room 32-123

10:00 - 10:45: Keynote, Cory Doctorow

Beyond unfree: The software you can go to jail for talking about

Cory Doctorow

Room 32-123

Software has eaten the world, and all too often, that code is a black box — not just designed to be unauditable, but to be illegal to audit, to improve, to reconfigure. Software freedom is human freedom: not because 'information wants to be free,' but because people can't be free in an information age when their information technology is designed to control them.

10:45 - 10:55: Break

10:55 - 11:40: Session block 1B

Contacts to connections: CRM funneling for FLOSS projects

Wm Salt Hale

Room 32-123

Do you have a pile of sticky notes and a folder full of spreadsheets with contacts? Have you ever had a donor approached by two people trying to gather the same information? As an organization or project grows, it often becomes hard to keep track of the various community members, donors, and volunteers who are connected. An answer to this is the often used sales tool, a contact relationship manager (CRM). You will learn about a non-sales focused tool, CiviCRM and see how it can be combined with Discourse and various Drupal forms to clean up and funnel your contact data.

Procedural 3D animation in Blender

Bassam Kurdali

Room 32-141

While Blender's typical interface is aimed squarely at 3D artists, and it's Python API provides a powerful way to make great procedural art through coding, there is also a third way in between, via two animation addons, Sverchok and Animation Nodes. This workshop will walk through using Animation Nodes to create procedural animation without writing a line of code - instead we'll do 'visual programming' via node trees, to create procedural art.

The surreptitious assault on privacy, security, and freedom

Mike Gerwitz

Room 32-144

Privacy, security, and personal freedom: each of these essential rights are being surreptitiously assaulted by governments, corporations, and ill-minded individuals that are spying and preying upon us with unprecedented frequency and breadth. This talk will survey the most pressing issues of today, including topics of government surveillance and espionage; advertisers and data analytics; IoT; policy and the crypto wars; the Web, "cloud", and centralization; vehicles; societal pressures and complacency; and more. Attendees will be presented with an overview of mitigations and dozens of resources.

Text, layout, and calligraphy on the Arabic Web

Nick Doiron

Room 32-155

In this workshop, you will learn principles of internationalization to support Arabic and other right-to-left languages. The focus will be on practical examples where you can adapt CSS and JavaScript to support both languages. Some of the real examples will include: the OpenStreetMap iD editor, right-to-left text in the HTML5 Canvas, a calligraphy editor, and use of the zero-width-join character to stylize Arabic text.

11:40 - 11:50: Break

11:50 - 12:35: Session block 2B

Birds of a feather

Community members

Room 32-123, Room 32-141, Room 32-144, Room 32-155

Birds of a feather sessions are a time for conference attendees to put together ad-hoc sessions to discuss shared interests.

12:35 - 13:50: Lunch

Lunchtime BoFs

Community members

Room All

Want to organize or attend a lunchtime BoF? Sign up on the wiki!

13:50 - 14:35: Session block 3B

A free software portfolio: The importance of free software in computer science

Tom Callaway

Room 32-123

As Free Software becomes more widespread in technology solutions across all industries, there is demand for workers who not only have experience with Free Software tools, but also for those who can help organizations to become involved in those communities. Companies are increasingly looking to take the leap from consumer to contributor, but they are often unsure how to actually proceed. I will discuss the idea of exposing students to the ideas and tools that Free Software depends on, with the explicit goal of enabling students to build a technology portfolio that helps them to stand out and teaches them how to work collaboratively and transparently. There are some success stories to tell, but I hope that this talk will inspire other educators to incorporate Free Software concepts into their standard curriculum.

SecureDrop: Leaking safely to modern news organizations

Conor Schaefer

Room 32-141

Whistleblowing and leaking have dominated news coverage in recent years. Learn how Freedom of the Press Foundation maintains a free software anonymous whistleblowing platform used by major news organizations. Discussion will center on challenges of principled centralization when partnering with media outlets, and managing a largely decentralized platform with high security requirements.

Machine learning: Key battleground for free technology

Helen Jiang

Room 32-144

Machine learning (ML) has a long legacy of proprietary technology. As ML becomes more popular with industry-scale applications, new proprietary pushes have been entering parts of the ML application stack. We need to prepare for the challenges of keeping free technology, which come from the legacy side and the new proprietary push. Although many free software alternatives have made ways into ML research, development, and industry applications, the topic is frequently overlooked. In this session, we will look at the history of ML stack in research and development; explore ML's proprietary legacy and its status quo; look at where the proprietary army is coming (again) while we were not looking; and strategies about what we can do to keep ML research and development free. Your thoughts, questions, and further discussions are also cordially welcome!

Algorithmic bias: Where it comes from and what to do about it

Andrew Oram, Ifeoma Ajunwa, Geoff A. Cohen, Ben Green

Room 32-155

Algorithms are the new boogie men in social control and institutional discrimination. There is bias and lack of accountability in the algorithms that determine who gets hired for a job, who can get a loan, who qualifies for insurance, and even who goes to jail.

Well-designed algorithms can eliminate natural human bias. But with black-box algorithms, humans seem to be losing control over the machines that control our lives.

Sharing the source code implementing algorithms isn’t enough. Bias may be built into algorithms: for instance, an algorithm using actual random stops and arrests could recommend harsh treatment for blacks, as they are targeted more frequently by cops.

Research suggests a counter-intuitive approach to ameliorating bias. One must not be blind to demographic categories who experience discrimination--instead one must actively monitor these factors.

Panelists will present their views for a few minutes, then taking comments and questions from the audience.

14:00 - 17:00: Workshop

Free Software Directory sprint

Donald Robertson and Ted Teah

Room 26-142

Join us to help improve the Free Software Directory. Tens of thousands of people visit the Free Software Directory each month to discover free software. Feel free to drop in at any time. During this sprint we will train new volunteers on vetting and updating free software entries in the Directory. Bring a laptop!

14:35 - 14:45: Break

14:45 - 15:30: Session block 4B

The post-truth Santa Claus and the concealed present

Alexandre Oliva

Room 32-123

Santa Claus knows it all, and will reward authority-approved behavior. Grownups take other social control myths for granted. Enter the World Wide Web, and the propaganda machines behind them lose their local monopolies. Now, in the globalized competition for hearts (brains might tell fake from fact), they wish to censor fake news, the post-truth label for both competing propaganda and concealed truth. Such censorship will not stop at social(-control) media: (centralized) web searches are already censored and otherwise distorted, and even (proprietary) software assistants, running on our own mobile computers, may end up assisting not us, but the censors that control their software by concealing the present from us--our future. To make intelligent decisions, we need truth, and to get it we will need not just education for critical thinking, decentralized social media and a neutral network, but also software freedom on our own communication and computing devices.

Prospects for free software and free culture in the workplace

Mustafa Shameem

Room 32-141

One avenue for advancing free software and free culture is the workplace. It's the one place where we spend a substantial (if not the majority) of our time, have potential access to large audiences, funds, and resources. The talk explores free software, free culture, and the prospects for both in the workplace. Questions explored include: What kind of workplaces are amenable to free software? What is the impact of the current economic trends (increasing job insecurity, short work tenure, stagnating wages, and increasing hours worked)? How is free software leveraged in environments where workers have limited control or agency? What is the impact of wide scale adoption and intensifying of 'stick' models of employee management in place of cooperative models?

Understanding the complexity of copyleft defense

Bradley Kuhn

Room 32-144

The fundamental mechanism defending software freedom is copyleft, embodied in GPL. GPL, however, functions only through upholding it--via GPL enforcement. For some, enforcement has been a regular activity for 30 years, but most projects don't enforce: they live with regular violations. Today, even under the Community Principles of GPL Enforcement, GPL enforcement is regularly criticized and questioned. The complex landscape is now impenetrable for developers who wish their code to remain forever free. This talk provides basic history and background information on the topic.

Lightning talks

Organized by Donald Robertson

Room 32-155

Five minute talks by conference attendees. Sign up to give one!

15:30 - 15:40: Break

15:40 - 16:25: Session block 5B

Freedom and loathing on the campaign trail '16

Remy DeCausemaker

Room 32-123

Like it or Loathe it, this election was historic--for the candidates, for citizens, and even the Free Software Movement. The creation of DevProgress.us marks the first time that a major national political party or presidential campaign in the United States has officially adopted contribution policies embracing copyleft licenses. Come hear about how hackers and artists from around the world made an impact up and down the ticket, and ways #wewillcontinue.

Fixing trust on the Internet

Tom Marble

Room 32-141

The challenge with centralized network services isn't just that users may not have software freedom: data matters too. This talk explores the contours of trust on the Internet in the context of verifying network services and how we might craft solutions that match the spirit of the four freedoms of free software. We need an application level API that allows us to corroborate trust assertions and increase (or decrease) our confidence in the assertions based on our transitive trust network. Before choosing to use a network service, users need confidence that the service is free software, provides the complete and corresponding source, can be built reproducibly and that such builds were verified by people those users trust. To bring software freedom to network services users we must create a new trust model for the Internet that manages identity, authentication and assertions at the application level for the Free software services we write and share. We can build it!

A fully-free cell phone experience, no baseband required

Denver Gingerich

Room 32-144

Free software users have been able to use laptops with fully-free software for several years now. However, using a cell phone in the same way is still impossible due to the non-free baseband firmware present in all cellular devices on the market today. But does the cell phone experience even require a baseband? In this session, Denver will describe how to achieve much of the cell phone experience (especially voice and SMS/MMS) using existing free software, as well as strategies for surpassing the range and reach of emergency calling and data on the cellular network.

A role for free software in movements, communities and platform cooperativism

Micky Metts

Room 32-155

This session includes steps and concrete solutions for anyone--especially non-programmers wanting to learn how to build things with free software--starting with Drupal. If you are a coder, I will reveal ways that you can get involved in building things; if you are not a coder you will learn about the large network that already exists. You can create a sustainable existence building things with free software. Drupal is free software and a framework to build your dreams. There are free Drupal tutorials and a large global community of people that are helpful. Platform Cooperativism pulls it all together with an ecosystem of people actively building platforms that are owned by the people that use them. This session will include ample time for questions, and a general discussion on ways to bring your creative skills to movements and communities.

16:25 - 16:35: Break

16:35 - 17:20: Session block 6B

Secret life of the bitcoin blockchain

Skye Elijah

Room 32-123

Global solidarity economy or a decentralized den of inequity?

According to evangelists, cryptocurrency's future is heading towards social solidarity. Bitcoin's distributed database protocol is breathlessly described as the solution to all kinds of social and political problems, and an escape from relying on centralized institutions.

It's worth considering, however, whether the overall arc of blockchain innovation bends towards social empowerment, or if this network of interaction is an invisible structure of techno-authoritarianism, disguised in decentralized form. Review of current uses, its trajectory, and the political context of governance issues threatening its future.

The GNU philosophy: Ethics beyond ethics

Marianne Corvellec

Room 32-141

Ethics is at the root of free software. In a philosophical perspective where ethics is operational rather than moral, we argue that the ethics of Free Software goes beyond ethics. It is morality. The ever-present concern for self-respect, autonomy and, of course, freedom makes free software akin to historical philosophical movements (humanism, Enlightenment, existentialism). Besides, the Free Software Movement contribute their principles (such as transparency) and practices (such as cryptography) to support whistleblowers, journalists, and activists. Similarities with other social movements let us derive existing and possible coalitions.

Will the FCC still ban your operating system? (Maybe.)

Eric Schultz

Room 32-144

Last year, we thought the FCC was going to ban our operating system. Has anything changed? As it turns out, plenty. Eric Schultz, one of the leaders of the Save Wifi Initiative, highlights the changing interests by the FCC on free software. He’ll also discuss his efforts participating as part of the FCC’s Technical Advisory Council, Software Configurable Radio sub-group to advocate for software freedom. Finally, he will detail specific ways in which we can educate regulators on the benefits of free software-based wireless and protect user freedom.

Securely backing up GPG private keys… to the cloud?

Joey Hess

Room 32-155

Imagine a world in which GnuPG was not hard to use, and was used widely: users exchange encrypted email, gpg signed comments on websites, make encrypted backups, and so on. What happens, in that world, when a user's gpg private key gets deleted? The only backup is encrypted with the lost private key. Catch 22. We're not in that world, and so we don't often worry about this problem, but solving the gpg key backup problem seems a necessary step in the path toward that world. Keysafe is an attempt at taking that step, backing up to the cloud. Can this possibly be secure? Come and find out.

17:20 - 17:30: Break

17:30 - 18:15 - Keynote

Lessons, myths, and lenses: What I wish I'd known in 1998
Recording or slides available

Sumana Harihareswara

Room 32-123

As a teenager arriving at university in the fall of 1998, Sumana Harihareswara was about to meet the free software movement and dive in. Free software taught her engineering principles and political truths. It snuck myths into her head that she'd have to take several years to scrub out. And it gave her lenses, models for understanding the world, that she would reuse in her work, relationships, and activism. For the first time, Harihareswara sums up this two-decade diff into what she wishes she could tell her younger self.

18:15 - 18:30 - Closing, FSF staff