Free Software Foundation, or https://fsf.org runs an annual meeting called LibrePlanet, in 2017 it is at MIT on March 25 and 26. Both days are chock full of events and speakers — see the list here. Among the speakers, Cory Doctorow and Richard Stallman just to tickle your interest. Don’t recognize the names? Just look for them on StartPage (private search engine that won’t track you). You can tell your children and grandchildren you met them and shook hands, and yes it’s worth the trip.
You may not have heard of Sumana Harihareswara, but her talk from last year is inspirational in pointing out the tendency of geeks to even unintentionally intimidate or distance people by imposing an “inessential weirdness” in our writing and speech. Her energy is infectious and fun. Other presentations from 2016 are also on the event page.
One excellent way to support FSF is to become an associate member, and your fee to attend LibrePlanet 2017 is included. You can as a perk of membership also get a credit card sized /format bootable USB drive with the Trisquel operating system on it.
Perhaps we’ll bump into each other there — look for my name badge: djilpmh — and privacyworkshop.wordpress (and ran out of characters…). Look for a topic of your choice and have fun!
Wait, you ask, what does this have to do with privacy? Free software allows users of all means, particularly limited means, to have access to the technologies, operating systems and applications to support privacy.
Note “free” is not the same as “open source” and should not be mungled together: there is overlap but they are not the same thing. FSF’s definition of “free” is like this:
A program is free software if the program’s users have the four essential freedoms:
- The freedom to run the program as you wish, for any purpose (freedom 0).
- The freedom to study how the program works, and change it so it does your computing as you wish (freedom 1). Access to the source code is a precondition for this.
- The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbor (freedom 2).
- The freedom to distribute copies of your modified versions to others (freedom 3). By doing this you can give the whole community a chance to benefit from your changes. Access to the source code is a precondition for this.
And yes, how charmingly geeky that counting starts at zero and ends at three.