The atmosphere is friendly and relaxed, the average level of knowledge is high and outside of the official lectures the site is buzzing with energy, ideas and projects. The New York Times likened the 1997 edition to a “Woodstock for Hackers”. We do our best to keep that atmosphere.
When these conferences first happened twenty years ago, the internet was like the Wild West, a new frontier to explore. That has changed, virtually every household in the Western world has access to the internet and, just as happened in the Wild West, new questions have risen. Questions of governance, sustainability, integration with existing power structures, shortage of IP space and energy, censorship, security, etc. The notion of hacking, to use a system in a creative way that was not thought of when it was invented, has also shown to be applicable to fields outside of ICT technology.