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Wednesday, 19 January 2011 12:17

LCA 2011 keynotes: Pesce wants a new internet

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The focus of the keynotes at the 12th Australian national Linux conference is the internet; every speaker has contributed to the growth of the global network in a significant way.


But one of the speakers, Mark Pesce, educator, inventor and writer, will be looking a bit beyond - to what he sees as the growing need for a new internet, built on free and open source software.

More importantly, Pesce wants an internet that is as unlike the commercial area that the existing implementation has become as possible.

Pesce is a well-known figure in technology circles and appears regularly on Australia's ABC radio and TV. He is best known for being the co-inventor of VRML, an open-source 3D interface to the web back in 1994.

"We always thought that the Internet was free and open - it wasn't until the takedown of WikiLeaks in December (2010) that we realised the net had been completely colonised by forces political and commercial," Pesce told iTWire.

"We need to do it all again, fork off from the commercial implementation - which only left us with a global shopping mall - and build something that is resilient, encrypted, secure and distributed.

"These are the 21st century design parameters for both our hardware and our software.  It can only happen if we share - together - what we have learned. It can only happen through FOSS."
Mark Pesce
Pesce is the author of five books, including The Playful World: How Technology is Transforming Our Imagination, which used toys such as Furby and PlayStation to explain our interactive future. 

He has set up graduate programs in interactive media at both the University of Southern California's world-famous Cinema School, and the Australian Film, Radio and Television School.

Pesce has also been a panelist and judge on the ABC TV series The New Inventors, and a commentator on technology and society for JJJ Hack, the 7.30 Report, the 7PM Project, and ABC local radio. In 2006, he set up FutureSt, a Sydney consultancy dedicated to helping clients negotiate the challenges presented by our hyperconnected future. 

But with all this going on, he is still very much a geek at heart and is coding away, building Plexus, a FOSS protocol layer for social APIs.

The new internet he visualises is not going to be one where big business has the final say. He does not see the need for big pipes to carry data. instead asking, "Why do we need big pipes?  Aren't a billion little pipes just as useful?"

His keynote, which he has tentatively titled "Smoke Signals", will be delivered on the final day of the conference, January 28.

 


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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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