[Discuss] Re Open Sourcde Conference, Sex Toys, & Posters

Dave Boyhan david.boyhan at gmail.com
Wed Jun 3 15:20:19 UTC 2015

Understood. My question about censorship was perhaps a visceral reaction,
but also a genuine one about imposing societal norms on what we think of as

I think Nancy Ouyang's posting was far more intelligent and eloquent than
anything I can possibly draft.

However, determining the "social merit" of an OSHW project is, I think,
tremendously fraught with risk.

The best example I can think of is the burqa. My own personal bias is that
for the most part it is a tool of oppression. I would not normally be happy
with an OS project that made them more prevalent.

However, the fact is that there are many parts of the world where they
cannot be avoided.

A little known fact in the west is that burqa's are also often quite
*expensive*. In some cases, the equivalent of 1 or 2 months salary. I have
classmates who were involved in a "reduced cost" burqa project. In short,
something that would satisfy societal demand, no matter how repellent we
may find it, but at the same time give at least some additional freedom to
those who cannot easily afford one.

I doubt someone is going to pitch an OSHW burqa for OSE-21 and I don't want
this to devolve, as you say, into a philosophy class. I just want to
emphasize that "need" is extremely complex and I can easily see projects we
in the west might find repugnant in that they appear to promote oppression
actually help more than we realize.

Getting off of soapbox now.


On Wed, Jun 3, 2015 at 8:24 AM, Robert Steele <
robert.david.steele.vivas at gmail.com> wrote:

> I've discussed this with others and three observations have emerged:
> 01 If a prototype exists and it is genuinely open source, there should be
> a place for it at the conference.
> 02 Poster status is assured but my reservations about reserving scheduled
> plenary and break-out session time for higher priorities is validated.
> 03 Subject to the anti-harrassment policy, birds of a feather and open
> discussion of open source sex toys is welcome.
> Censorship was mentioned.  I put that right up there with NSA mass
> surveillance. There is certainly a dark side to open source and that is
> something that should be discussed, I would be interested in suggestions
> along those lines, but coming back to prototype comment above, this is a
> practical conference focused on mega needs, not a philosophy class although
> I do deliberately close the second day with one of the great
> theologian-philosophers of our time because I consider open source a
> culture, a mind-set, a movement and our only hope for a future.
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