A podcast about free software, free culture, and making things together

FOSS and Crafts is an interdisciplinary exploration of collaborative creation. We believe that all works (whether digital or traditional in nature) are informed by history as well as one's surrounding culture and community, whether directly or indirectly, and that everyone benefits from the expansion of the commons. We explore such topics as computer programming, craft production, user freedom and agency, especially informed by the principles of the F(L)OSS (Free, Libre, and Open Source Software) and free culture movements.

FOSS and Crafts's usual hosts are Morgan Lemmer-Webber and Christopher Lemmer Webber.

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Episodes and news

  • 3: Textile production and a nostalgic past
    Thu 30 July 2020

    These days textile production is mostly automated aside from some niche markets and craft production. Craft production of textiles today taps into a vision of a nostalgic past, often evoking memories of a time the audience member wasn't there for. It turns out this potent imagery has been used not just for inspiring hobbyist crafters everywhere to pull out the drop spindle and knitting needles, but also by political participants going back all the way to (at least) Ancient Rome to try to steer a particular narrative. Follow some of that history from past to present, and hear from Morgan about how the whole process of textile production works starting from raw materials... from sheep to sweater!

  • 2: The impact of machines that "learn" and produce
    Thu 23 July 2020

    The results from machine learning have been getting better and better and the results seen so far from OpenAI's GPT-3 model look stunningly good. But unlike GPT-2 (which was publicly released under a free license), so far GPT-3 is accessible via API-only. What's the reasoning and possible impact of that decision? For that matter, what kind of impacts could machine learning advancements make on FOSS, programming in general, art production, and civic society?

  • 1: Collaborative Storytelling with Dice
    Thu 16 July 2020

    You've probably heard of "tabletop Role Playing Games" (or, tabletop RPGs) before, but what are they? In this episode, Chris and Morgan introduce a subset of RPGs called "Narrative RPGs" whose mechanics are focused primarily around storytelling (as opposed to tactical combat).2 Hear about how narrative RPGs can be used as "collaborative storytelling with dice", some of the narrative RPG systems that exist, as well as an in-depth look at one particular RPG system, Freeform Universal. Freeform Universal is so simple and easy to pick up that by the end of this episode, you should have enough information to use it for weaving stories with your friends!

  • Episode 0: Welcome to FOSS and Crafts!
    Wed 15 July 2020

    Here it is, the very first episode of FOSS and Crafts! Co-hosts Chris and Morgan introduce themselves, their backgrounds, and give some sense of what to expect from the show.