The Hackmeeting community is renowned for its discussion-based decision making. The whole event is organized via a single mailing list where everybody contributes and where everything is being discussed over and over until a decision can be made that is backed by most or everybody on the list.
One of these decisions is to have a restricted access to the Internet. One of the reasons for it seems to be the good experience that was made with this in Catania two years ago where there was no Internet at all.
When I look around the rooms where people sit and work with their machines I see them doing basically the same things I am used to see at the Congress: trading files, watching some movies, playing Quake a bit, working with the command line and so on. The servers are filled with the usual mix of ripped media: audio, video and books. Quite a lot of Linux installed, almost no Windows in sight. I have seen around five Macs so far but some people confuse me when they look on my screen asking: „Ah! This is Mac OS X? Quite beautiful…“.
So the only real change is the absence of external web pages. But this also means: no researching, no updates, no search engines, no news, no web services. I don‘t get it but nobody seems to complain. They are busy discussing and learning which is not a bad thing.
I no longer make a distinction between Internet and Intranet. I can‘t work without Internet being „on“. I use it like a bookshelf and I feel handicapped if my favourite encyclopedias are gone.