Apple legend Bill Atkinson, left, and Andrew Stone talk Steve Jobs, drugs and the Internet at AltConf 2014 in San Francisco. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
SAN FRANCISCO — At Apple’s WWDC developer conference, there are talks about interface design, writing code and fixing bugs.
Across the street at indie spinoff AltConf, the talks are concerned with spying on users and making choices between good and evil.
“We have had a hand in creating one of the most dystopian and undesirable societies imaginable,” said Andrew Stone, a veteran programmer who once worked with Steve Jobs, during a talk entitled “What Have We Built Here?”
It’s not the kind of stuff you’d expect to hear at a developer’s conference, but in an age of widespread government spying and cynicism about corporate slogans like “Don’t be evil,” AltConf highlights that programmers are often presented with moral choices. There’s a growing awareness in the coding community that although the activity of programming is benign, what’s created can be used for evil. Take Maciej Cegłowski’s talk last month in Germany, which has been widely discussed on the Web. Cegłowski argues — convincingly — that the utopian ideals of the early internet have been thoroughly corrupted, and the entire industry is “rotten.”
If you didn’t win the lottery for Apple’s World Wide Developers Conference, you’re in good company. For the third year in a row, AltConf is hosting a get-together for the rest of us.
Formerly called AltWWDC, the conference will boost Fog City’s already-high nerd quotient by hundreds of developers who didn’t get the golden tickets. AltConf will be held in parallel to WWDC at the Children’s Creativity Museum in Yerba Buena Center near Moscone West — which means that haves and have-nots will be waiting at the same stoplights and heading to the same bars after hours.
SAN FRANCISCO, CA Collin Donnell wants app developers to learn from his mistakes.
Donnell, a full-time iOS developer since 2008 whose app credits include Pinbook for Pinboard, shared some tips to a packed room at AltWWDC, which we have beenallover like an snuggle iPad case. He divided them into practical and philosophical, but they sort of blend together.
SAN FRANCISCO, CA — Andrew Stone, an indie NeXT developer who worked with Steve Jobs for almost a quarter century, believes that Jobs would’ve never let Apple be a part of the United States National Security surveillance program PRISM.
SAN FRANCISCO, CA — Top developers at an AltWWDC panel conference gathered to openly discuss Apple’s keynote announcements on iOS 7, Mac Pro, and Mac OS X. The overriding feeling from the main panel is that while many are happy about iOS changes, most are disappointed with the lack of focus on actual news of tools for developers.
SAN FRANCISCO, CA — Apple has been holding developer conferences for almost a quarter century, so it’s not surprising that the AltWWDC Keynote breakfast is less like Ugly Betty’s anti-prom and more like a midnight run of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.”
How much interest is there in Apple’s World Wide Developer Conference?
Enough to stage an alternative free five-day conference with over 40 speakers and hands-on labs that WWDC attendees may want to check out for all the topics Apple isn’t likely to cover. For the second year running, AltWWDC will be hosting the have-nots (as in have no WWDC tickets) for a gathering cloned from the official conference.
Around 1,500 people have signed up, meaning, yeah, even free/freewheeling AltWWDC is technically “sold out.” No worries: if you don’t have a ticket, as long as there’s room to plant your laptop, you’re in.
Cult of Mac talked to Rob Elkin, a London-based software engineer and one of the four founders of AltWWDC about what constitutes an “alt” keynote breakfast, talks Apple doesn’t want you to hear and sponsors.
Didn’t get a ticket to WWDC this year? Don’t worry, you’re certainly not the only one. But if you were looking forward to a week out of the office, then there is another event you can attend instead.
It’s called AltWWDC, and it’s a free, open alternative to Apple’s prestigious conference that encourages Mac and iOS developers to meet up and mingle and discuss the latest software from Cupertino. You won’t get your hands on OS X 10.9 or iOS 7, but you will get free lunch for a week.