fscons 2011: free software, free society

28 November 2011 11:38 AM (guile | fscons | anarchy | scheme | web | gnu | fosdem)

Good morning, hackersphere! Time and space are moving, in the egocentric coordinate system at least, but before their trace is gone, I would like to say: FSCONS 2011 was fantastic!

FSCONS is a conference unlike any other I know. I mean, where else can you go from a talk about feminism in free software, to talk about the state of the OpenRISC chip design project, passing through a hallway track conversation on the impact of cryptocurrency on the welfare state, approached from an anarchist perspective?

Like many of you, I make software because I like to hack. But I make Free Software in particular because I value all kinds of freedom, as part of the "more beautiful world our hearts know is possible". We make the material conditions of tomorrow's social relations, and I want a world of sharing and mutual aid.

But when we reflect on what our hands are making, we tend do so in a context of how, not why. That's why I enjoyed FSCONS so much, that it created a space for joining the means of production to their ends: a cons of Free Software, Free Society.

As a GNU hacker, I'm especially honored by the appreciation that FSCONS particpants have for GNU. FSCONS has a tithe, in which a portion of the entry fees is donated to some project, and this year GNU was chosen as the recipient. It's especially humbling, given the other excellent projects that were nominated for the tithe.

So thank you very much, FSCONS organizers and participants. I had a great time!

are you bitter about it?

I gave a talk there at FSCONS, GNU Guile: Free Software Means of Production (slides, notes).

Unlike many of my other talks, this one was aimed at folks that didn't necessarily know very much about Guile. It was also different from other talks in that it emphasized Guile as a general programming environment, not as an extension language. Guile is both things, and as the general-purpose side gets a lot less publicity, I wanted to emphasize it in this talk. Hopefully the videos will be up soon.

In the last 20 minutes or so, we did a live-hack. Inspired by a tweet by mattmight, we built Bitter, a one-bit Twitter. I tried to convey what it's like to hack in Guile, with some success I think. Source code for the live-hack, such as it is, is linked to at the end of the page.

For a slightly more extended example of a web application, check out Peeple, originally presented in a talk at FOSDEM, back in February. Peeple has the advantage of being presented as a development of separate git commits. Slides of that talk, Dynamic Hacking with Guile, are also available, though they are not as developed as the ones from FSCONS.

Finally, for the real documentation, see the Guile manual.

Happy hacking, and hopefully see you at FSCONS next year!

6 responses

  1. Richard Loveland says:

    FSCONS sounds like a fascinating gathering, I'd like to go next year. I'm just now trying to "level up" to Guile from Perl for my web/scripting needs, so thanks for the great talks, slides, and projects, they're a great addition to the available "literature" on Guile (if you will). Thanks as well as your work on Free Software in general! You're a source of inspiration to us folks out here in userland. :-)

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  6. Millie Power says:

    FSCONS sounds like a captivating social event, I'd get a kick out of the chance to go one year from now. I'm seconds ago attempting to "level up" to Guile from Perl for my web/scripting needs, so Coursework help a debt of gratitude is in order for the immense talks, slides, and undertakings, they're an incredible expansion to the accessible "writing" on Guile (maybe). Much obliged and additionally your work on Free Software when all is said in done! You're a wellspring of motivation to us parents around here in userland. :- )

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