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a man slumped on his desk, from 'The Sleep of Reason Produces



getting this party started

Curses. Thanks to the irresponsible exuberance of Matt R., David M., Andrew, Diggory and Adewale, I have sentenced myself and the internets to 30 days of blather (folks, if any of you would like links to your sites, send me a mail. Yeah, that’s right kids, I’ll trade my Google juice for your donations).

A few of my bribers mentioned some riders they’d like. First, a copy of my slides from the OpenTech talk, “Living on the Edge”. That seems perfectly reasonable, given that I promised all over the place that I’d do that too. Here’s the original PDF I used. There’s also an OpenOffice presentation file here that has slightly more detail in it.

The blurb I sent OpenTech six months ago is below.

Living on the Edge (of the Network)

When you want to make a private picture or note available only to your friends, why do you hand it over to a multi-national corporation first? What use is a mobile phone running Apache? Does IPv6 really exist? Can we be ecologically-sound and still run our terabyte home servers? Please? These, and other whining rhetorical questions answered by Danny O’Brien, ORG founder and EFF activist.

It was mostly a reworking of these blog entries. There’s been a lot of talk and independent thinking in this area for the last few months, leading to a flurry of public action in the last few weeks as many people come to the same conclusions: that we need to consider a counter-balance to the current move toward centralisation online.

The way I phrase it is that “we’re back at 1984” — not the novel, but the point where Richard Stallman realised that if he was going to preserve the most powerful freedoms of his community into the future, he was going to have to sit down and re-implement Unix with a better license.

We’ve reached the same point with the move to software as a service. If we want people to have the same degree of user autonomy as we’ve come to expect from the world, we may have to sit down and code alternatives to Google Docs, Twitter, and EC3 that can live with us oon the edge, not be run by third parties.

This is the spirit of the Franklin Street Statement and more practically, software like Laconica.

I’m sure to be blathering more on this topic in the next month: if it gets too much, I will consider taking more donations to shut myself up.

(Incidentally, if the slides don’t make sense, I’ll try and get around to recording a slidecast of the whole talk or uploading some video. Crossing ORG’s palms with silver and mailing me will make this more likely… :) )

2 Responses to “getting this party started”

  1. » Negative externalities aren’t: some thoughts on networks and ethics Says:

    […] systems to be as open as the operating systems you own. In his Open Tech talk and elsewhere, Danny O’Brien is doing a good job of teasing out the implications for ordinary people. As an ordinary person […]

  2. Lee Maguire Says:

    Cited in the Prophet presentation last Wednesday:


petit disclaimer:
My employer has enough opinions of its own, without having to have mine too.