The 35th Chaos Communications Congress (35c3) ended about two weeks ago, and F-Droid was well represented there. Indeed, tons of free software projects and communities were there. Starting with the F-Droid Meetup on the first day, there were frequent events and impromptu meetups between F-Droid core team, contributors, and app developers and users throughout the whole event. The F-Droid Meetup was in a small room, packed full of people, including developers of many key apps in the F-Droid ecosystem. I enjoyed meeting everyone in person after years of communicating online. I’ll try to list the represented apps, but I’m sure I’ll forget some: 35c3 Schedule, Bitcoin Wallet, Conversations, Etar, F-Droid, K-9, NewPipe, Öffi, OpenKeychain, Orbot, Tor Browser, Tusky. There were lots of good discussions in that session, lead mostly by @bubu and @jspricke. We encouraged more developers to run their own repos, @NicoAlt wrote up a thorough explanation.
I think my talk went well, the room was 100% full with about 330 people in it. The audience seemed into it, and I got follow up questions after the thing was over. I ended up not going into detail, which I think was a mistake. The talk would have been better with a detailed section of how to work through all the nearby/offline issues in an app. Next time!
Then the whole event is the giant mix of a bunch of things that seem very unlikely in combination:
- high profile IT and security talks attended by thousands
- on site discos and parties
- all sorts of interactive art displays
- a well respected opt-in photo/video policy
- a huge amount of topical “assemblies” which vary from Burning Man-like
- tent villages to seas of tables full of hackers
- a giant social event for introverts
- one whole wing devoted to children’s activities and events inter-mixed in the conference
- Burning Man-like “art cars” of all sorts driving around, but small since it was indoors, and even a race track
Then of course, there is lots of opportunity to meet people in person and have in-depth conversations. I had a good talk with Jeremy_Rand, a Replicant developer, about how to make a 100% free version of F-Droid for Replicant. That is summarized on their issue tracker about making F-Droid.org have only 100% free software.
Pretty much every F-Droid contributor who was there meet up at various points. One key topic was how to start businesses around F-Droid. From my point of view, it seems that the consensus is building around following the Debian model: F-Droid as its own entirely, represented by a non-profit entity only as needed. Then for doing consulting business, people can do F-Droid work under any organization they see fit. @dschuermann took the initiative to finally get the consulting page up: https://f-droid.org/consulting. Any contributor who is a member of GitLab fdroid group is welcome to submit a merge request to add themselves there.
Talks worth checking out:
There were many interesting and relevant talks, here are a few that I enjoyed:
Erik Albers of the FSFE gave F-Droid: Pimp your Android(-fork) with the best Free Software apps
Trammel Hudson’s talk basically confirms the Bloomberg story about supply chain implants with technical detail and a working proof of concept
How Facebook tracks you on Android from Privacy International