What is /dev/fort?
Imagine a place with no distractions—no IM, no Twitter, in fact no internet access at all. Within, you find a group of a dozen or more developers, designers, thinkers and doers. And a lot of a food.
Now imagine that place is a fort.
/dev/fort is band camp for geeks. It is a week away from the rest of the world to learn, to think, to play and to build. The aim is to make something—it could be a website, a game or a world-conquering robot—from scratch, in a week.
But it is equally about enjoying the company and the scenery, a working holiday. Past forts have seen people exploring World War II tunnels, raising the property’s flag each morning to the sound of a bugle, swimming out to deserted islands and investigating medieval artefacts.
Forts happen in isolated locations; a castle or other fortifiable structure (in an emergency we can use pillows) usually in an area of outstanding natural beauty, sometimes when it’s freezing cold.
/dev/forts are enjoyable for many reasons, including:
a holiday somewhere beautiful
a chance to geek out for an entire week without anyone judging you
proper home-cooked food instead of take-out for a week
the challenge of trying to build something in about five days
the opportunity to work with, and learn from, people with different skills and knowledge from yourself
spending a week in a fort
(but castles and country homes can be substituted for forts as necessary and are almost as awesome)
This is ultimately Matthew Somerville's fault.
In his presentation for BarCamp London 4, Matthew used photos taken on some of his holiday trips as placeholder images in his talk (not having enough internet to find anything more suitable). The first slide was of Fort Clonque in Alderney. A few excitable people in the audience, including James Aylett and Mark Norman Francis, demanded to see more pictures of forts.
Later, they decided that Fort Clonque would make a great venue for an event that they had talked about running for a while—a kind of extended Hack Day, allowing time to build something more ambitious with a larger group of people.
The first event was jokingly named “Super Evil Dev Fort” (inspired by SuperHappyDevHouse). The name stuck, but we decided to be less (explicitly) evil later.