Free Society Conference and Nordic Summit 2012

FSCONS is the largest gathering for free culture, Free Software and a free society in the Nordic countries. Held in Göteborg, this year it will take place the 9-11th November.An unparalleled mix of international speakers will convene to discuss the process of liberating society with the principles of Free Software. FSFE will host one track there about "General Purpose Computing".

As in previous years, the FSFE will be hosting its own track at FSCONS. Our five talks form a series entitled 'General Purpose Computing', and will end with a panel discussion moderated by Karsten Gerloff, the President of the Free Software Foundation Europe.

Computers and - more and more - portable devices are universal machines, that - in theory - you can program to do whatever you want. But several IT companies have another understanding of computing and sell their hardware with anti-features or user-restrictions to actively prevent users from doing whatever they want. These (re-)sellers want to arbitrarily limit what we as a society can do with general purpose computing machines.

They use for example Digital Restrictions Management and technical measures, to take away rights from us, which we usually received when we buy a product. This industry wants to decide what we can do with computers, so they can maximise their profits. But the biggest price is the threat to users freedom as well as to Free Software in a whole.

This years talks that will be given in the "General Purpose Computing" track by the FSFE, will focus on this ongoing and increasing process of users restrictions. They concentrate on current trends and what we are in need of to stop them.


  • - An endangered species: computer as a universal machine. Saturday, 10 November at 10:00
  • Computers are universal machines, which you can program to do whatever you want. Matthias Kirschner's speech will focus on how several IT companies, seeking to maximise their profits, are trying to limit our technological rights.

  • - All about Free Your Android. Saturday, 10 November at 11:00
  • Erik Albers will explain how to regain control of your Android device and your data. He will talk about the different ways to make phone liberation effortless and also, his speech will give you an insight of the current FSFE Free Your Android Campaign.

  • - How software patents are delaying the future. Saturday, 10 November at 12:00
  • Karsten Gerloff, FSFE President, will give a talk about the problem of patents in software and in a free market as they are a barrier to entry for newcomers. Therefore, they act as a tax on users and avoid the development of new technologies.

  • - Terms of Services; Didn't Read!. Sunday, 11 November at 10:00
  • Hugo Roy speech will focus on the complexity of Terms of Services and the importance of understanding them. He will present the project Terms of Service; Didn't Read (ToS;DR) as an easy way to understand all the legal details.

  • - Fixing public procurement: how we'll stop European governments from renewing their Microsoft licences. Sunday, 11 November at 11:00
  • Otto Kekäläinen, FSFE Finnish team coordinator, will explain how it is possible to fix discriminatory free competition in the public IT sector. His talk will focus on the efforts made at public administrations in Finnland and how this should be done in other European countries.

  • - TheyDontWantYou.To. Sunday, 11 November at 16:15
  • TheyDontWantYou.To is a brand new campaign that attempts to make freedom interesting to young people. Sam Tuke talk will get people talking about everyday experiences and the importance of participation in digital activism.

  • - Dirty tactics against LibreOffice in public administration and how to overcome them. Sunday, 11 November at 16:15
  • Helsinki city council and other Finnish cities moved towards LibreOffice in the last years. But the process has been dealing with dirty tactics against LibreOffice. Otto Kekäläinen speech will focus on how to overcome them.


    FSFE will host a Free Your Android workshop at FSCONS on November, 9th at 13: Android is a mostly free operating system mainly developed by Google. Unfortunately, the drivers for most devices and most applications from the "market" are not free as in Free Software. They frequently work against the interest of the users, spy on them and sometimes can not even be removed.

    Therefore, the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) launched its FreeYourAndroid campaign, to help users to regain full control of their device and their data. This workshop helps you in setting up an alternative Android-based free operating system. You will no longer be in need of a Google account and you get to know F-Droid, a Free Software App repository, instead.

    Free Software Booth

    FSFE's Free Software Booth will be located at the entrance of the FSCONS conference building. As well as the opportunity to join the FSFE Fellowship and buy books and Free Software hoodies, you'll also be able to meet FSFE staff and get answers to questions about all aspects of Free Software and what the organisation does.

    FSFE warmly welcomes you to come and visit the booth.