Register for SeaGL 2017
October 6th and 7th, 2017

News

Cascadia Award Nominations Closing
August 19, 2017

Take a moment to thank someone for their work

We know there’s a lot going on right now. We believe that building strong local communities is really important work that doesn’t get a lot of the splashy credit it deserves. Please help us recognize someone by nominating them for the Cascadia Community Builder Award by the end of the day Wednesday, August 23rd.

To nominate someone, please send us a quick email (award@seagl.org) with the nominee’s name in the subject line.

  • Name and email address of the nominee (if you have it)
  • A sentence or two about why you think they deserve this award
  • Projects or organizations they serve through (links are very helpful!)

Please only nominate people who are doing their free software work in the Casacadia region and who are currently living. Thanks in advance for helping us honor a great community builder!

The award will be presented in October at SeaGL and announced on Opensource.com

PS Got a suggestion for a hashtag for the award? Tweet at us at @seagl and let us know!

The SeaGL CFP Reviewing Criteria
August 17, 2017

Our team of external reviewers (one of whom just returned from seeing the 🚀 Hugo Award Ceremony 🚀 in Finland!) are making great progress on reading and scoring all 140 of the proposals we received for this year’s program. As we’re doing this we thought to ourselves, “Selves, wouldn’t it be cool if a conference actually shared its proposal selection criteria? That might help a lot of people craft their future proposals.”

So here it is! What follows is more or less exactly the guidance we sent our reviewers for how to rate proposals. Hopefully it’s helpful for you, our reader and potential speaker, and perhaps even for future conferences looking to direct their review process.

Audience profile

The audience runs the gamut from experienced FOSS technologists to the uninitiated/students, leaning quite heavily to the latter rather than the former.

Therefore talks about how to scale your unicorn are less applicable than more introductory topics.

Which isn’t to say there’s no space for unicorn scaling type talks, just that they will be in the minority for the program.

This is also a much less corporate conference/audience than, say, SCALE/OSCON/ATO/etc. The event is free to attend, so it attracts those who are interested in or passionate about technology more than those who are getting their company to pay for them to attend for training purposes. This also means that most of the audience will be very local to the Seattle region.

Reviewing/voting criteria

  • Our CFP system can’t do blind reviews, but try to do as blind as possible (the abstract/content is more important than the presenter, on first pass at least)
  • Only vote on talks which you feel qualified to judge
    • Leave stars blank else
    • Exception: something which sounds so cool or so crappy that you feel compelled to vote
  • Similarly, consider the proposer’s qualifications to present the material
    • For instance, if someone proposed a talk on mental health & has not shown either that they’ve trained in the field or have done enough research to speak from a position of authority on the topic
      • Mental health is just an example here; substitute “containerisation” or “Linux init systems” or what have you if that helps internalise this criterion
    • Please vote down proposals where the presenter lacks adequate qualifications
  • Keep the audience needs front and center
    • Don’t simply go with, “Yeah, I would like to see this” but rather, “Yeah, the audience would like to see this.”
  • No advertisements or sales pitches allowed
    • Please vote down anything which looks like it’ll be a pitch
  • GNU/Linux/Free Software not required
    • Yes, it’s the Seattle GNU/Linux conference
    • No, we’re not bigots against non-Free (as in speech) technologies
    • That said, proposals predominantly about proprietary technologies should be voted down
  • Proposals including questionable language/messaging should be voted down
    • Language/platform/community shaming
    • Colloquialisms based in or statements implying or outright stating racism, sexism, anti-LGBTQ-ism
    • Etc.
  • Non-software tech is welcome
    • For instance, last year we had a very well received talk about WW1 technologies
  • Naturally, if you proposed something, please don’t vote on your own talks

Final selection process

Once everyone has reviewed all of the talks, we’ll be getting together on a call to discuss them. The topics of discussion are currently up in the air (because we’re still voting on talks right now) but will probably include things like, “We received 5 good container talks and can’t accept them all. Which one(s) do we prefer?” and “This talk got voted down but I’d like to make a case for it to be included in the program.”

After the call it’s up to the program chair, leaning on the feedback from the external reviewers and in coordination with the official SeaGL program committee staff, to select which talks will become a part of this year’s 50 hours of scheduled programming. The program needs to be a balance of topics, speakers, and difficulty levels, so it may be that some otherwise highly-rated talks can’t be included lest they upset that balance. As well, we’re hoping (if possible) to limit each speaker to a single talk. This will allow us to give more people a chance to present. Naturally there may be exceptions to this rule, particularly as life situations cause selected speakers to need to drop out of the program as the event approaches. (eh, it happens; we don’t take it personally or hold it against you)

We’re aiming to notify all proposers on August 28th. Here’s hoping we can hit that target!

Feedback

If, on or around August 28th, you receive notification that your proposals were not selected, there are a few things you can do…

  1. Please don’t take it personally! We have a lot of proposals and a limited number of speaking slots. Declining your proposal only means it didn’t fit in with the program we chose. It does not necessarily mean it’s a bad talk idea or that you’ve failed in any way.
  2. You can ask for feedback. Email VM Brasseur, our program chair, and let her know the proposal on which you’d like feedback. She can’t promise that there will be feedback to give, but if there is then she’ll share it as soon as she can.
  3. Remember that all program selections are final. We cannot and will not change our decisions on whether to include a talk or not.

This post is copyright VM Brasseur and licensed CC BY-SA.

The CFP is closed. Long live the CFP!
August 11, 2017

Thank you, everyone, for participating in and sharing our CFP. It closed this past Monday, which means now is a good time for an update. So, how have we done so far this year?

CFP by the numbers

This year we received a grand total of 138 proposals. This is slightly fewer than last year’s 149, but we suspect that what we’ve lost in quantity we’re making up in quality.

We tried something new in 2017: both 50 and 20 minute time slots. This seems to have been a good idea, since 36 of the 138 proposals (26 percent) are the shorter 20 minute format. This leads to some really interesting possibilities for scheduling, but of course it will depend on which talks our reviewers select.

As far as topics, we have a nice distribution in the proposals:

  • Systems/Ops: 29
  • Programming: 24
  • Something different: 22
  • People: 20
  • Security/InfoSec: 18
  • Hardware/IoT: 7
  • Documentation: 6
  • Data/AI/ML: 5
  • Education: 4
  • Design/UI/UX/Accessibility: 1

It’s disappointing that we received so few proposals on Design/UI/UX/Accessibility, but that just shows where we can spend more effort in outreach next year. That Something different category is very exciting though. We can’t wait to see what sort of treasures are hidden in there.

This year for the first time the CFP form included checkboxes for whether the proposer is a first time speaker or self-identifies as a member of a group under-represented in tech. Unfortunately (due to a bug) that data wasn’t collected despite being on the form, so this is another place where we can do better next year.

Overall though, we’re really pleased with how the CFP went and how it ended. So far 2017 is a success!

So what’s next?

Now what? Well, for starters we’re starting to work with our reviewers to organise that process. Next week we start reviewing talks and… Wait, this is probably easier if I just give you a timeline:

  • August 6th: CFP closes (done!)
  • August 14-ish: Reviewers start voting on proposals
  • August 14 (or before): Schedule talk review call
  • August sometime: Have talk review call with reviewers
  • August 28th: Speaker notifications
  • September 4th: Schedule published

So if you’re waiting to hear back about your proposal: hang tight. You should hear back from us by the end of the month.

Last year we had 50 50-minute speaking slots. We don’t know how many speaking slots we’ll have this year since it will depend on how many of the new 20-minute proposals the reviewers accept. But at 138 proposals, even at the fewest number of time slots (50) we’ll still probably be accepting a nice proportion of them. Will yours be one? We’ll find out on August 28th!

Registration is now open

SeaGL is a free-to-attend conference. No registration is required to join us on October 6th and 7th. That said, it’s really handy when people register. It allows us to do better planning for our catering, coffee, and conference party.

If you would like to RSVP and be a part of our fifth year, create an account and register today. We can’t wait to see you!

This post is copyright VM Brasseur and licensed CC BY-SA.

The 2017 SeaGL CFP closes soon!
July 31, 2017

The SeaGL CFP closes at 23:59:59 PT on August 6th!

Less than one week remains to submit your talk proposals to the SeaGL Call For Proposals, which means it’s time to stop procrastinating and put on your favorite thinking cap.

Click here to propose a talk.

CFP by the numbers

In 2016 we received 149 talk proposals for a total of 50 talk slots.

So far this year we’ve received 50 talk proposals. We don’t know how many slots there’ll be since we’ve added a new 20 minute talk type. The number of talk slots will depend on the number of short and long talks we receive.

We’re really excited at the progress so far. Despite being open for much less time than in 2016, we’ve already received 1/3 of the number of proposals as we did last year. Most proposals always come in during the last week (the last day, really), so we’re well on track to receive a record breaking number of proposals in 2017.

THANK YOU! The more talks you propose, the more interesting our schedule. Please keep them coming!

Click here to propose a talk.

Topic gaps

As we skim over the proposals received so far, we notice that there are some topics which could use more love. Maybe you’re the one to provide it for one (or more!) of these?

  • Programming languages: We’re surprisingly light on language content. PHP? Perl? Python? Javascript? Rust? Swift? Go? Ruby? Scala? C/C++? Whatever your language of choice, we’d love to see a proposal from you about it.
  • Cloud, containers, & virtualization: We didn’t see this coming: a relative lack of cloudy-containery-type proposals. We have a few but as you know these are huge topics so we could always use more.
  • Design, UI, UX: Making software usable is hard! Not just web or desktop interfaces, either. APIs, CLIs, and even hardware all have interfaces as well. Will you be the one to introduce us to the design/UI/UX concepts which will improve what we create?
  • Document Document Document: The recent GitHub Open Source Survey highlighted the effects poor or lacking documentation have on free and open source software projects. Documentarians, please propose talks to help the rest of us learn more about the importance of docs and how we can do them better.
  • People: The hardest part of software isn’t the coding or the infrastructure. The hardest part of software is learning how to work together. Project management, people management, community management, time management… How can we create together through open, inclusive, and welcoming teams?

These are just a few of the many different topics. If you don’t see anything inspiring here, check out the #cfpideas hashtag on Twitter for dozens and dozens of potential talk ideas.

Click here to propose a talk.

New speakers welcome!

SeaGL is a friendly, low-stress, low-pressure environment. A large percent of our attendees are community college students, just starting their software dev and free/open source software journeys.

While we love all of our experienced speakers, SeaGL is a great place for new speakers to dip their toes into the conference pool. You have knowledge to share and a story to tell. Tell it to us!

  • We offer skilled support to help you craft your proposals.
  • You only need a proposal now, not an entire talk (low barrier to entry!).
  • The 20 minute talk type is a great option if you want to start small.

Click here to propose a talk.

Extended CFP office hours this week

As this is the final week of the CFP, not only will we be doing our regular Wednesday afternoon office hours, we’ll also be adding extra time on the weekend to help you with any and all questions relating to the CFP. Our office hours this week will be:

  • Wednesday, 2-3PM PT
  • Saturday, 11-12PM PT
  • Sunday, 12PM-??? (we’ll try to be available most of the afternoon/evening if possible)

All office hours are held in the #seagl IRC channel on Freenode IRC. Don’t worry if you’re not familiar with IRC. Just click here for the webchat, choose a nickname, and you’re good to go!

Assistance via email

If you can’t make it to CFP office hours in IRC, or if you feel more comfortable with a less public venue, you can email the SeaGL program committee with any questions about the CFP or for help with your proposal.

Just drop us a line at s-p-e-a-k-e-r-s (remove the dashes) at seagl.org. We’re excited to help you and to answer your questions!

Target dates

Here’s our target timeline for proposal review, notification, and schedule publication:

  • CFP Opens: June 19th, 2017
  • CFP Closes: August 6th, 2017 - Midnight PDT
  • Speaker Notifications: August 28th 2017
  • Schedule Published: September 4th, 2017

Speaker travel support

As SeaGL is a free to attend community-organized conference, we regret that at this time we are unable to help with the cost of travel and accommodation for speakers.

Code of Conduct

All speakers and attendees of SeaGL must agree and adhere to the Code of Conduct for the safety and enjoyment of all organizers, volunteers, speakers, and attendees. We ask that all prospective speakers review and confirm their willingness to abide by the Code of Conduct terms and expectations when interacting within SeaGL community spaces.

Propose today!

So what are you waiting for? Propose a talk today and join our flock in October!

This post is copyright VM Brasseur and licensed CC BY-SA.

Nominate a Community Superhero!
July 27, 2017

Nominations are open for the 2017 Cascadia Community Builder Award

The Cascadia Community Builder Award is designed to recognize work in software projects, non-profit organizations, outreach and education, hackerspace, user groups or any activity that promotes the adoption and appreciation of free software to new and larger groups of people. The awards committee is especially interested in individuals who have successfully reached out to traditionally under-represented groups, even if that isn’t their primary goal.

To nominate someone, please send us an email (award@seagl.org) with the nominee’s name in the subject line.

  • Name and email address of the nominee (if you have it)
  • A sentence or two about why you think they deserve this award
  • Projects or organizations they serve through (links are very helpful!)

Please only nominate people who are doing their free software work in the Casacadia region and who are currently living. Thanks in advance for helping us honor a great community builder!

The award will be presented in October at SeaGL. Want to be part of the action? Our Call for Presentations is still open! Click here to propose a talk.

Our Amazing 2017 Keynotes
July 25, 2017

Announcing our Amazing 2017 Keynotes

We could not be more excited about our keynotes this year.

Nithya Ruff will be speaking to us on Friday morning. She has been a passionate advocate and a speaker for opening doors to new people in Open Source for many years. She has also been a promoter of valuing diverse ways of contributing to open source such as in marketing, legal and community. You can often find her on social media promoting dialogue on diversity and open source. She has spoken at multiple conferences such as LinuxCon, OSCON, All Things Open, SCALE, Grace Hopper, OpenStack and Red Hat Summit on the business and community of open source. In recognition of her work in open source both on the business and community side, she was named to CIO magazine’s most influential women in open source list. And most recently, the O’Reilly Conference awarded Nithya the 2017 Open Source award for exceptional contributions to open source software. You can follow her on twitter: @nithyaruff

Rikki Endsley will kick off our second day. She is an editor and community manager for Opensource.com where she mentors writers and helps people tell their tech stories. Previously she worked as a community evangelist on the Open Source and Standards team at Red Hat. Other hats she has worn include: tech journalist; community manager for the USENIX Association; associate publisher of Linux Pro Magazine, ADMIN, and Ubuntu User; and managing editor of Sys Admin magazine and UnixReview.com. In 2016 she won an O’Reilly Open Source Award for her tireless work to build a vibrant, creative and well-documented open source community. Follow her on Twitter: @rikkiends

Want to be part of the action? Our Call for Presentations is still open! Click here to propose a talk.

The 2017 SeaGL CFP is open for business!
June 19, 2017

Calling all speakers or speakers-to-be! Our 2017 Call for Participation is open!

SeaGL is dedicated to supporting newer local Seattle speakers! We welcome speakers of all backgrounds and levels of experience – even if you’ve never spoken at a technical conference. If you’re excited about Free/Libre/Open technologies or communities, then we want to hear from you!

Click here to propose a talk.

Target dates

  • CFP Opens: June 19th, 2017
  • CFP Closes: August 6th, 2017 - Midnight PDT
  • Speaker Notifications: August 28th 2017
  • Schedule Published: September 4th, 2017

Talk formats

This year SeaGL is looking for talks in two formats:

  • 20 minutes: Introduce the audience to a new technology, concept, or just recap an older idea which you think is really neat.
  • 50 minutes: Go more in depth! Do a demo! This is your chance to really educate the audience about something you enjoy.

Both of these time slots include the Q&A time. Please time your presentations accordingly. We suggest aiming for a 15 minute presentation for the 20 minute time slot and for 40-45 minutes for the 50 minute time slot, but as the speaker the final presentation time is up to you (as long as you don’t exceed your time slot).

Click here to propose a talk.

Topic ideas

Not sure what to propose? Here are some ideas!

  • How to get involved in free and open source software
  • DevOps, system administration, infrastructure
  • Career tips and strategies
  • Web development tools and techniques
  • Policy and licensing affecting free and open source software use or development
  • Hardware, embedded Linux, or the Internet of Things
  • The cloud and other distributed services
  • Building free and open source communities
  • Using free software at home, work, or school
  • Security and privacy online
  • Free and open software on non-GNU/Linux platforms (Windows, macOS)
  • Anything else that you think would be interesting to new or seasoned Free/Libre/Open source fans!

Click here to propose a talk.

Proposal and public speaking resources

Never presented at a conference or meetup before? Presented but still not feeling confident? It’s OK, even the most experienced conference presenters aren’t necessarily confident at this stuff.

The Public_Speaking repository has collected a lot of resources to help you level up in your conference presenting.

Pay particular attention to the Proposing talks section of this page. Follow these tips and your talk proposals will stand a better chance of being selected.

PLEASE NOTE: Whether your talk is accepted or not often doesn’t have as much to do with how great your proposal is as it does with how many speaking slots the conference has available and the balance of the program the organisers need to craft. It’s nothing personal: we just don’t have enough time to accept all the great talk proposals we receive.

Don’t let that stop you from proposing! You can’t win a race you don’t even run, so click here to propose a talk.

CFP office hours

Want to propose a talk but want feedback on your idea, proposal wording, talk title or just on how to deal with nerves? The speaker committee is running weekly office hours during the CFP. We’ll do everything possible to help you be successful with your proposal and presenatation. Office hour times:

  • 2-3 PM Pacific Time, every Wednesday until August 6th.

All office hours are held in the #seagl IRC channel on Freenode IRC. Don’t worry if you’re not familiar with IRC. Just click here for the webchat, choose a nickname, and you’re good to go!

Speaker travel support

As SeaGL is a free to attend community-oriented conference, we regret that we are unable to help with the cost of travel and accommodation for speakers at this time.

Code of Conduct

All speakers and attendees of SeaGL must agree and adhere to the Code of Conduct for the safety and enjoyment of all organizers, volunteers, speakers, and attendees. We ask that all prospective speakers review and confirm their willingness to abide by the Code of Conduct terms and expectations when interacting within SeaGL community spaces.

No, really, click here to propose a talk. Please. We want to hear from you!

This post is copyright VM Brasseur and licensed CC BY-SA.

Announcing SeaGL 2017 Dates!
May 06, 2017

We’re excited to announce the dates for this year’s Seattle GNU/Linux Conference: Friday, October 6 and Saturday, October 7, 2017.

We’re also happy that Seattle Central College will once again host us this year.

Thanks for Making the Fourth SeaGL Amazing!
November 15, 2016

Thanks to everyone who helped make SeaGL amazing this year! We had lots of new sponsors and lots of returning sponsors that helped us provide coffee and donuts on both days, lunch on Saturday and pay for our lovely post-conference party. Sponsors also allow us to keep SeaGL a free as in cost (as well as a free as in freedom) event for attendees. We especially owe a huge debt to Seattle Central College. Their ongoing involvement allows us to keep running SeaGL as a grass-roots conference.

We had a really great line-up of speakers this year. Some people joined us from a few blocks away while others travelled from Indianapolis, Raleigh and even Lima, Peru. We had a wide range of topics from the practical; how to write a technical resume or compile your first kernel to specific; how to use IRC or understanding API’s. We also had talks that were more inspirational in nature on topics like the mission of free software or how to get amazing things done with volunteers. Our keynotes assured that us failure is ok and that we can be the future of free software. We could not be more pleased with this year’s content and look forward to sharing it with you as video in the coming weeks.

Thanks to everyone who attended SeaGL. Especially those of you who spent the day tabling and talking passionately about your organization or your workplace. We also appreciate everyone who invited their friends, colleagues and fellow user group goers. As a small conference, word of mouth is a crucial part of how we grow SeaGL each year.

Finally, I’d like to express what an honor it is to work with so many smart, dedicated and thoughtful volunteers. People woke up early to fetch coffee, they did unfun things like taking out the garbage or running back upstairs for the fifth time in an hour. They learned new things on the fly so they could get the talks recorded or make updates to this website. They asked for support from our community for cash and time and donations. They answered questions – large and small – from speakers, attendees, students and others. They did a lot of toting and carrying.

SeaGL is truly a community effort. I want to take this moment to thank everyone who helped make this year’s event happen, whether you attended every single weekly organizing call or hopped in to help when you arrived at Seattle Central.

I can’t wait to do it all again with you next year! Really!

Deb

Contact us either by emailing participate@seagl.org or visting us on IRC on Freenode in #seagl.

FAQ about SeaGL
November 09, 2016

Q: Is SeaGL really free?

A: We are both free as in cost and free as in freedom. We’re able to keep SeaGL free because of all the amazing support we receive from our generous sponsors. (Thanks, generous sponsors!)

Q: What kinds of people attend SeaGL?

A: Friendly folks who care about free software and increasing access to technology and people who are curious about free and open source software. We’ll have plenty of content for beginners, experts, free software advocates and everyone in between. There will also be an expo floor where you can talk with local employers and some of the dot-orgs that make the Seattle tech scene so vibrant.

Q: What about the Saturday night party?

A: First of all, it will be fun! We’ve got Corey Quinn and VM Brasseur hosting an interactive variety show. We’ve also got food (including snacks for vegans and gluten intolerant folks) plus we are providing both tasty non-alcoholic drinks and some alcoholic ones. The party will be all-ages and free to attend. (Thanks again, sponsors!)

Q: I’m sold. How do I get to SeaGL?

A: We put together a handy post with all kinds of travel and logistics information. If you still have questions, get in touch and we’ll do our best to help.

Contact us either by emailing participate@seagl.org or visting us on IRC on Freenode in #seagl.


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