From August 9th until August 12th, the campus of the University of Twente will feature a congress that is unique in its kind: Hackers at Large, or HAL 2001. The congress expects to receive thousands of guests from all over the world and from many different disciplines to debate issues ranging from advanced technical issues regarding some obscure aspect of the Internet to easy-to-understand lectures on some of the dangers of the information society, as well as many, many other topics. But more than debate, the guests at HAL2001 take ample time to get on-line, relax, build and discuss cool stuff, and engage in good old analog interfacing.
The congress is unique in that the participants bring their tent and their computer, which is connected to a large high-speed outdoor computer network that provides high bandwidth Internet connectivity for everybody. On-site power generators provide all these computers with the necessary power: more than 1.5 mega-Watts.
Some of the people that are organizing HAL 2001 were also involved in the former hacker movement in The Netherlands: those responsible for the late hackers’ magazine Hack-Tic and for setting up the first Internet Service Provider in The Netherlands called “XS4ALL”. But also many people from Dutch universities, companies and other Internet Service Providers participate in making this event possible.
The HAL2001 convention is the fourth in a series that has been running every four years since 1989. Quite a few of the participants at “The Galactic Hacker Party” (1989), “Hacking at the End of the Universe” (1993) and “Hacking in Progress” (1997) have been instrumental in bringing about the changes that are upon us today.
HAL2001 is for those that can truly celebrate the Internet and embrace new technologies, without forgetting their responsability to tell others that all these wonderful new technologies come with new risks to the individual and to society as a whole.