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

News

Year of the High Five was Awesome
October 09, 2017

Thanks to all of our illustrious sponsors! We especially want to recognize Seattle Central College. They’ve been amazing each and every one of the five years that they’ve been our host. This year, though? They went above and beyond and managed to find us five new rooms for our sessions, just one week after a very, messy, no-good HVAC issue drowned out our original rooms.

We also want to thank all of our fine community sponsors for bringing their enthusiasm, their pals, their kids.. even their very adorable dogs. The expo floor was a thriving hub of friendly activity and excellent new connections this year. We especially want to thank the Free Software Foundation for helping us with promotion and accounting work as our fiscal sponsor, as well as continuing to send some of their lovely employees to SeaGL each year.

We have so many high fives to give out to our behind the scenes volunteers! Core volunteers have been showing up for weekly meetings for months. (Seriously, months of Monday night meetings.) People have pitched in over the years with many, many things like getting our volunteer info organized, making sure our prospectus is professional, hosting our website, schlepping our stuff and putting us in touch with potential speakers, sponsors and volunteers.

Our onsite volunteers this year were amazing. They warmly welcomed our attendees, they made sure our speakers were taken care of and they disposed of many dirty coffee cups and pizza boxes. They hopped in and helped each other get up to speed and they continually asked “what else can I help with?” We are very lucky to have attracted such a stellar crew this year.

Also, our lineup of speakers was off the hook this year! Two great keynotes, fifty-five informative and thought-provoking sessions, eight speedy lightning talks, six brave slide karaoke participants and two lovely party emcees! Every single one of our speakers donated their time, their energy, and their enthusiasm to help us make this community a continually learning, growing and improving place. They took time away from their families, their other hobbies or their work to be with us. Whether they travelled from Peru, or Minnesota, or just strolled down Capitol Hill, we can’t thank them enough.

Our Program Committee did a truly excellent job putting together a fantastic program this year. They deserve all the thanks for helping folks polish their talk ideas, reaching out to new speakers and for sorting though the many proposals we received. Their tremendous dedication and support of new speakers makes SeaGL a special event with fresh ideas and diverse voices.

Speaking of people who deserve all the thanks – congratulations to Lance Albertson who won this year’s Cascadia Community Builder Award! He’s a tireless champion for open source who is busy mentoring the next generation of developers and advocates at the Open Source Lab. (The OSL is always accepting donations for their work, if you are so moved.) We’d also like to thank everyone who serves on our CCBA commitee and everyone who took the time to nominate someone.

Finally, thanks to all of our attendees! We really, really like you. Did we forget anyone? Let us know @SeaGL and tag it #shoutouts

SeaGL speaker Q&A: Gareth Greenaway
October 05, 2017

Gareth Greenaway gives his talk titled, “Your Solution Is Not My Problem” on Saturday afternoon.

Gareth is also one of our illustrious party emcees! He might even wear a top hat!

Q: Could you please introduce yourself and tell us a little about your background?

A: My name is Gareth Greenaway and I’ve been an active free & open source user & supporter for over 20 years. I’m currently a senior software engineer at SaltStack where I have the fortunate privilege to spend my days writing open source code. Prior to that I’ve been a DevOps engineer at various companies. I am also an occasional co-host for the FLOSS Weekly podcast.

Q: Without tipping your hand on the actual talk, can you give us an idea of what we might expect?

A: When I’ve attended various talks at conferencesin the past, particular those of a technical nature, it can be tempting to take the ideas & concepts in their entirety. When often times those solutions are crafted to solve a particular problem in a particular environment. It can also be tempting to think that to order to be successful those presented solutions must be emulated completely. My hope is that this talk will illustrate that this isn’t the case.

Q: Is this your first visit to SeaGL? If so, what are your expectations? If not, can you give us your impressions of the event?

A: This will be my fifth SeaGL and I’ve really enjoyed attending since the first event. It’s been amazing watching it grow over the years and I always look forward to see everyone each year.

A: Question: What are you most looking forward to about visiting Seattle again? Answer: One of my favorite parts about travling to different conferences is experiencing the different climates meeting the different people.

Saturday's Party!
October 04, 2017

Join us for a post-SeaGL reception on Saturday evening, right after the event, aka 6:15pm, at the Silver Cloud Hotel on Capitol Hill. The event is all-ages and runs until 10pm. This year’s entertainment will be lightning talks and slide karaoke led by our most excellent emcees; Gareth Greenaway and VM Brasseur.

We’ll have some snacks; including stuff for our vegan and gluten-free pals. There will also be drinks, including delicious non-alcoholic options. Expect a convivial, but not ear-bleedingly loud environment.

We’ll have door prizes from the Linux Foundation and NoStarch. Thanks to all of our fabulous sponsors for allowing us to make SeaGL and Saturday night’s party free as in cost.

For Speakers: A/V, Recording, & Presentation Tips
September 29, 2017

Hello, SeaGL (or other conference!) speakers! Our big event is only a week away, so here’s some information to help you prepare and be ready to go when you arrived.

A/V details

All rooms will have HDMI connectors (though a few may also have VGA). Please come prepared with whatever adapters you’ll need to hook up your laptop to the HDMI connector. If you forget your adapter, don’t worry. We’ll have a few on hand, just in case.

Recording your talk

Due to some administrative changes, we got a later start on organising the event than usual this year. Because of that we’re unable to record the 2017 SeaGL sessions. We don’t want to lose all of that great content, though.

We encourage all speakers to record their own talks and make them available online (more on that in a moment). Regardless of the platform you use for presenting, we have instructions for you:

The Windows instructions also include details for using Open Broadcaster Software (which is Free software) to record your screencast. These instructions will work for any platform where you can run OBS (read: pretty much all of them).

The room moderator for your talk may not be familiar with the recording instructions for your platform, so please test this out ahead of time to make sure you know how to do it.

Out of respect for everyone else using the conference wifi, we ask that you not attempt to live stream your presentation.

Sharing your slides, video, etc.

Once you’ve recorded your talk, what do you do with it? Or with your slides?

You could upload the video to YouTube and the slides to SlideShare, and if that’s your preference that’s great. But we encourage you to upload the video and the slides together to a single item at Internet Archive.

Here are instructions for uploading a video to the Archive. The exact same instructions will work for slides or any other digital material you wish to share.

If you upload your video and/or slides to Internet Archive, please include seagl2017 as a subject tag. That will make it easier for us to locate your material and share it around.

Presentation tips

Our friends at opensource.com have just published an article titled 7 best practices for giving a conference talk.

If you’ve never presented at a conference before, or even if you have but are looking to improve your presentation performance, this article will help you out.

Contact us!

If you have any questions about these topics or anything else related to presenting at SeaGL, don’t hesitate to contact the program committee. Drop us a line at speakers AT seagl DOT org and let us know how we can help.

SeaGL speaker Q&A: Tony Sebro
September 28, 2017

Tony Sebro gives his talk titled, “ROI: Return on Inclusion” on Friday afternoon.

Q: Could you please introduce yourself and tell us a little about your background?

A: Hi, I’m Tony Sebro. I currently serve as General Counsel of Software Freedom Conservancy, a public charity that educates, empowers, and defends communities that develop ethical technology. I’m also an organizer of Outreachy, an initiative that provides paid internships for people from groups underrepresented in tech to get introduced to free and open source software.

I live in Harlem with my wife, Beth, and my son, Ezra.

Q: Without tipping your hand on the actual talk, can you give us an idea of what we might expect?

A: I plan to discuss how FLOSS communities benefits from investing in promoting diversity.

Q: Is this your first visit to SeaGL? If so, what are your expectations? If not, can you give us your impressions of the event?

A: This is my first time – and, it will be my first time attending a community-organized conference. I look forward to connecting with other attendees and learning more about how these events are organized.

Q: The Conservancy sounds great! Is there any way that our readers can support it’s work?

A: Conservancy is a public charity; we depend on the public’s generosity to carry on our work. If you’d like to support Conservancy, become a Conservancy Supporter!.

We also appreciate volunteers who donate their time and skills to help further our charitable mission. We’re always in need of skilled volunteers willing to help with systems administration, blogging, social media support, graphic design, photography and videography, web development, and documentation. And, of course, we need volunteers to help us find new mentors and applicants to participate in our Outreachy program.

If you’re interested in volunteering for Conservancy, please email us at volunteer@sfconservancy.org. Or, visit our IRC channel: #conservancy on freenode.

SeaGL speaker Q&A: Paul English
September 28, 2017

Paul English gives his talk titled, “Detecting BadBIOS, Evil Maids, Bootkits, and Other Firmware Malware” on Friday afternoon.

Q: Could you please introduce yourself and tell us a little about your background?

A: I’m the CEO of a startup, PreOS Security working on platform firmware security. Previously I was a system and network administrator, and a manager of sysadmins. I bring a defensive IT perspective to our business, and I’m trying to pick up sales and marketing skills as quickly as I can. My business partner and PreOS Security CTO Lee Fisher has given talks about platform firmware and UEFI security at SeaGL and LinuxFest Northwest in the past, and brings the firmware level expertise. Lee ran and continues to run the best blog on this topic.

Q: Without tipping your hand on the actual talk, can you give us an idea of what we might expect?

A: Everyone, always needs to know more about cybersecurity these days - as our lives are increasingly digital, cybersecurity is just plain security. Part of life. The recent Equifax breaches illustrate the issue. Platform firmware (as opposed to IoT style “full blown operating system-as-firmware”) is an obscure area, but steadily increasing in importance. The saying in the field is “firmware is the new software.” I think in future years, scanning your firmware for malware and viruses will be just as important as operating system and application level protection. While you might gain some level of protection from attacks by running Linux or FreeBSD, as a smaller target than Windows, you’ll still be using the same firmware as everyone else! We’re in the early days, so expect a fairly technical talk, with examples of firmware-level hacks and what to expect as attacks evolve.

This seems like a good time to mention that attendees will get access to our upcoming ebook, tentatively titled “Firmware Security for Everyone” aimed as much as possible at the average person with several computing devices to manage. Everyone is a sysadmin for their own system these days. We’ll also give access to our ebook “Firmware Security for Sysadmins” aimed at people managing much larger fleets of machines.

Q: Is this your first visit to SeaGL? If so, what are your expectations? If not, can you give us your impressions of the event?

A: I love SeaGl, and I’ve attended every year (except last year, unfortunately), and spoken before on “So You Want to Be a Sysadmin.” There’s nothing quite like a gathering of people all passionate about a given subject, enough to put on an event of this scale. And of course, I’m passionate about open source and Linux!

Q: Other than speaking at SeaGL, how do you contribute to OSS?

A: Like most people in the community, I’ve always provided a some amount of free technical support to and the occasional bit of documentation to help others. But I’m more excited about my first ever real open source standalone application in the form of the upcoming PreOS Security firmware scanning software. While my business partner has written most of the code, it is still exciting for me to be involved in a standalone application from start to release.

SeaGL speaker Q&A: Paul Berg
September 25, 2017

Paul Berg gives his talk titled, “Giving The Public What They Pay For: Opening Government Funded Research” on Saturday afternoon.

Q: Could you please introduce yourself and tell us a little about your background?

A: By trade I am a computer scientist, software engineer and security engineer. I have been active in the Open Source community since the mid 1990’s and became professionally involved in software licensing in the mid 2000’s in Microsoft’s anti-piracy initiative. Later I went on to help run Amazon’s Open Source program for over 5 years and am now working with the Department of Energy of the United States to ensure Open Source best practices and to encourage heavy release of government funded software projects as Open Source.

Q: Is this your first visit to SeaGL? If so, what are your expectations? If not, can you give us your impressions of the event?

A: Yes. I had planned to attend last year, but life had other plans. I do know many of the organizers of SeaGL and know that they are some of the best in the industry so I expect it to be a very well run conference with interesting speakers on a variety of topics.

Q: What do you see as the most exciting recent development in the software industry?

A: A combination of recent advances in artificial intelligence and machine learning, pervasive connectivity, and cloud based microservice offerings are presenting an opportunity we could only dream about just a couple of years ago. In the past we needed specialized, powerful hardware and a lot of AI know-how in order to do interesting machine learning tasks. Now we can offload the processor intensive tasks to specialized cloud services, and use off-the-shelf building blocks for pattern recognition, natural language processing and other complex tasks without requiring specialized machine learning knowledge. This allows us to focus on solving real world problems on the client side without getting bogged down in the details of the algorithms and is opening up possibilities for a tidal wave of smart applications that we are only just beginning to see.

SeaGL speaker Q&A: John (Genehack) Anderson
September 25, 2017

John (Genehack) is giving two talks; “Logs Are Magic: Why Git Workflows and Commit Structure Should Matter To You “ on Friday afternoon and “A static site generator should be your next language learning project” on Saturday afternoon.

Q: Could you please introduce yourself and tell us a little about your background?

A: Hi, I’m John aka Genehack most places online. Currently, I work for a custom software development and technology consulting shop, but I used to be a molecular biologist and bioinformatician (which is how I acquired the handle).

Q: Without tipping your hand on the actual talk, can you give us an idea of what we might expect?

A: I’m doing two talks: one of them is about creating better revision control history while developing software, and ways to better use that history once it exists. It’s kinda Git-centric but most of the stuff applies to any revision control system. It’s part theory, part tips and tricks, and a big chunk of semi-opinionated ranting. It’s a fun talk.

The second one is about this idea I’ve had for a while, that a static site generation system is an ideal learning project. I’m still pulling this one together (read: I haven’t actually written it yet…) but it’s going to be a quick romp through what a static site generation system is, and what you need to do to put one together. I expect it will also be a rockin’ good time.

Q: Is this your first visit to SeaGL? If so, what are your expectations? If not, can you give us your impressions of the event?

A: This will be my second SeaGL. Last year I was taken with, well pretty much everything: the great content in the tracks, the good sized crowds, and the wonderful venue. 8^)

Q: What is the one superpower you wish you had?

A: I wish I had the superpower of coming up with a good question for myself when somebody tells me to make up my own question and answer it at the end of an interview. ;^)

SeaGL speaker Q&A: Aaron Wolf
September 25, 2017

Aaron Wolf gives his talk titled, “Snowdrift.coop: 5 years of a work-in-progress” on Saturday afternoon.

Q: Could you please introduce yourself and tell us a little about your background?

A: My name is Aaron Wolf. I’m a musician and music teacher who got sidetracked by questions about the nature of cultural freedom, creativity, technology, and economic equity. In 2012, I pivoted from Apple to GNU and from the prospect of a musicology PhD to co-founding a funding cooperative for free/libre/open software and culture. Although I’ve found a place in the FLO world and tech community, I’m still not a tech enthusiast per se or a programmer. I focus on how technology can be empowering rather than exploitive and how economic foundations play into all this stuff.

Q: Without tipping your hand on the actual talk, can you give us an idea of what we might expect?

A: I always want to be modest and acknowledge that Snowdrift.coop is just a support project hoping to help the real projects that create primary value. But when I focus on the challenges and why we have taken so long to launch, I realize we just might be one of the most ambitious projects out there. We’re trying to fundamentally change economic and social structures all while living up to the highest standards of software freedom in our own development. Our mission involves everything any software project deals with plus handling money, cooperative governance, international issues…

My talk will be a race through an inside look at what happened over the last 5 years. I’ll share the details of politics, communication struggles, pivots and mission-creep, and where we are now. It will give everyone a good sense of what’s involved in a project like this.

Q: Is this your first visit to SeaGL? If so, what are your expectations? If not, can you give us your impressions of the event?

A: My past SeaGL experience felt like a wonderful volunteer-run event. Many things to learn and improve, but overall good. It had a local feel, and the shoestring budget was apparent, but it did what a good conference should do in connecting people and sharing ideas.

SeaGL speaker Q&A: Margaret Staples
September 21, 2017

Margaret Staples gives her talk titled, “Philosophy in Code: I Kant Even” on Saturday morning.

Q: Could you please introduce yourself and tell us a little about your background?

A: I’m a cyborg but with really primitive upgrades. You’ll see me rolling around and sometimes maybe laying down to give my bionicness some recharge time. I’ve been into computers since before they were common enough for me to have touched one, but my formal education is in World History.

Q: Without tipping your hand on the actual talk, can you give us an idea of what we might expect?

A: You can expect me to be ridiculously enthusiastic about logic and programming.

Q: Is this your first visit to SeaGL? If so, what are your expectations? If not, can you give us your impressions of the event?

A: Yes! I’m doing my best not to form any expectations, but I did meet someone from the org at PNWPHP last week and they were super nice, so I am hoping most people there will also be super nice :)

Q: Do you have a dog you would like to tell us about?

A: Why yes I do! Her name is Lilith. She’s a black lab border collie mix made entirely of sweetness and joy. She’s been with me for 16 years so you could say she’s my old lady. She’s a very good girl.


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