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WOS Days Two and Three

My day two at WOS started with a session by public libary activists giving information on their efforts to preserve computer games. While gaining recognition from academia and the public in the recent years both the funding situation and the problem of copyrights are hindering the sustainable development of computer game preservation. We also learned again that the Amiga is not dead...

The Panel Globlalization: Bridging the Digital Divide showed that the digital divide is actually a set of divides, with not only hardware and connectivity missing in developing countrys, but also policy, skills and language being important barriers that are to overcome. The case of detentions in Ghana over the use of VoIP where just one example on the impact of the policy barriers that Marek Tuszynski from the Tactical Technology Collective gave.

I was particulary taken by Ethan Zuckermans presentation of Geekcorps. It is a great organisation that deserves more help and credit for their work. The panel again stressed the notion, that propritary software is actually deepening the digital gap, and that an appropriate answer for developing countrys is to gain digital independency through the use of Free Software.

Next on my schedule was the Workshop Free Privacy Enhancing Technologys. FOEBUD a German privacy organisation, that manages the German Big Brother Award, presented its Stop RFID campaign. The biggest success so far is the publicity around the Metro Future Store, a testbed for RFID technologys in supermarkets, that finally led to the withdrawal of 10000 RFIDed Payback Cards by Metro. Metro had secretly RFIDed its Payback Cards, a fact that was only discovered by accident during a FOEBUD organized public demonstration of RFID sensing technologys. Currently FOEBUD is developing a "Data Privatizer", that can sense RFIDs within a 10m range, and is also able to overwrite the serial number of RFIDs in order to make them useless for data-mining purposes. The device was shown as a "not even alpha" -prototype, and is scheduled to be available this fall.

Also on the panel was Roger Dingledine who presented TOR an anonymizing overlay network for TCP available as Free Software, which Wendy Seltzer apparently already managed to install on her Mac. I wish it would run on mine.

The following Session Beyond the Unix Paradigm was an arena for übergeeks showing off their pet-projects that would have satisfied even the most picky slashdot crowd. Conclusion: the Unix paradigm of a monolithic kernel and a modular userland of small, factored tools will be around a lot longer. But at least to my impression, security sensible OS projects seem to shift to microkernel-architectures for reasons of transparency, process isolation and damage containment. Examples are Mikro-Sina and not at least Microsofts trusted computing architecture based on the NT-microkernel.

Friday evening was the apex of Wizards of Conference having Larry Lessig lauch Creative Commons Germany with a remarkable mulitmedia enhanced speech . After this much celebrated event day two of the WOS found its end with the screening of CH7, the first full-feature-length movie released under the Creative Commons License, while downstairs DJs rocked a party with CCed tunes soley.

Among the highlights on of the final day were the artist performances. The project 24hourdotcom timewarped back to new economy days by setting up a complete dotcom in 24 hours and then selling off the IP on ebay. The participants, which had never meet before, started their performance Friday evening 7pm. Relying on Free Software tools and the Internet for workforce collaberation, they coded through the night, expanded internationally within 15 minutes and had their »Dozomo« metasearch-portal for purchase on ebay saturday at 7pm. They also had hacked the WOS Wlan proxys, so that Google queries got re-directed to their portal, and all placeholder pictures on Ebay where hijacked by their logo. All in all an impressive and frightening performance at the same time, this was not only an art project, but also was an demonstration of the rationalization potentials that FS provides.

Wireless activists/artists TAKE2030 (London) and c-base (Berlin) build a open wireless mesh-network based on ad-hoc routing protocols implemented into "Lunchbox Chiputers" (must have) being carried by rollerblade girls through the city.

As a result from the discussion among the particpants of the
Compensation withouth Control - Towards a Music Flatrate Panel, the Berlin Declaration on Collectively Managed Online Rights:
Compensation without Control
, among others signed by Larry Lessig and Wendy Seltzer, was published and send to the EU.

The conference closed saturday evening with a high profile symposium on the future of the commons. All speakers agreed that we see signs of a new movement around the commons question, with David Bollier comparing it to the enviromental movement of the seventies and eighties. One central question proposed by the panelists was how to sustain this movement, especially what incentives can be created in order to push the market and the state into responsibility and to have individuals participate in building the commons. Can an activist infrastructure be achieved, that might even lead to a reasonable "commons management"?

Both the symposium and the audience shared a certain enthusiasm for being part of this "movement", and this spirit made the WOS a great success. Personally I walked away partly sceptically thinking about what kind of obligations and subtle authority such a commons management might bring up.

Nevertheless, the next WOS will be in two years in I am already looking forward too it.

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