Sunday, June 24, 2012

Amateur Radio and Innovation in an Age of Austerity

Eben Moglen
Why would I watch an 88 minute YouTube speech by Eben Moglen?  It was John Naughton's hearty recommendation for  his talk given at F2C:Freedom to Connect 2012, Washington DC on May 22.

In a nutshell, Moglen gives an eloquent and provocative story about how what will save us all, economically, is innovation, and innovation in these economic times (austerity all around) will only succeed if we promote free (as in free speech) software and place tools for experimentation in the hands of young people around the world. (Jabbed for their closed nature: Apple, Facebook, etc.)  We need control of our own servers. (and logs!) Powerful stuff that folks in the Linux / GNU camp can all believe in.

So should everybody go spend an hour and a half on this?  Maybe not, but there were several comments at the end of the Q&A session that were related to Amateur Radio.   An unexpected reward for persevering!

Some folks brought up the Maker Movement as an example of a community that is developing along the lines Moglen is describing.   Then (at about 1:17:00), Doc Searls confessed that he had started out in life as a radio amateur, and he called on an audience member, Dwayne Hendricks (WA8DZP), to give a short spiel on Amateur Radio - no, it's not dead, and in fact it provides a great platform for open technology development.

Dwayne relates some of his work, suggesting among other things that hams can develop platforms for non-hams to use.  (This raises some questions for me!)  He also takes an unfortunate dig at the ARRL in these comments to this professional internet/computing audience.  (In another setting, his point about ARRL's stance vis-a-vis innovation deserves discussion.)

For your convenience, here is the full video:

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