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SeaGL speaker Q&A: Garrett Honeycutt
October 16, 2015

Garrett Honeycutt talks with SeaGL about Test Driven Development:

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

I’ve been hacking *nix based systems and spreading the word about free software for over fifteen years. Previously I’ve worked on such things as building core internet infrastructure at Speakeasy, creating mobile media distribution platforms and as a professional services engineer with Puppet Labs. At my company, LearnPuppet.com, I consult and teach people around the world about automation with Puppet and DevOps processes. At Transforia, I am co-founder and CTO where we lease fully managed, secure, GNU/Linux based laptops and desktops. Besides submitting patches, I give back to the community by speaking at user groups, conferences and co-organizing FOSSETCON in Orlando.

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

Developers have long been using Test Driven Development (TDD) for building applications. Now that SysAdmins are treating their infrastructure as software, we must look to best practices in development. This talk will explain how to implement TDD and gain confidence through testing for system administrators.

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?

I had the good fortune to speak last year with the talk “Intro to Puppet and Why Configuration Management is Important”. I enjoy the atmosphere of the conference taking place inside a school and the exceptionally high quality of the other speakers.

SeaGL speaker Q&A: Lance Albertson
October 15, 2015

Speaker Lance Albertson answers a few questions from SeaGL:

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

I am a native of Northeast Kansas and lived most of my life in the wonderful sunflower state. I grew up on a corn/soybeans farm near Hiawatha, KS where my family farms around 1800 acres. I attended Kansas State University and got a degree in Agriculture Technology Management. I also received minors in Agronomy and Computer Science at K-State.

In June of 2007, I took a huge leap of faith and moved to Oregon. I left my whole family and most of my friends behind to take on a dream job at Oregon State University. Currently I’m the Director at the OSU Open Source Lab and help make sure important open source projects keep their servers running!

I’ve also been involved with the Ganeti project off and on over the years.

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

This will be a combination of a historical overview of FOSS hosting over the past 10-15 years, how hosting has changed at the OSL and where I think things are going as far as hosting for FOSS projects. It will largely be focused on how this impacts the future of FOSS hosting at the OSL and where we are thinking about going.

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?

Yes! The only expectation or impression I have is that it will be a high-impact, but low-key event with key people from the FOSS ecosystem.

SeaGL speaker Q&A: Aaron Wolf
October 13, 2015

SeaGL speaker Aaron Wolf talks about making music with free/libre/open tools:

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

I’m a musician and music teacher. I used to use Apple computers and was introduced to software freedom as a user of GPL software such as Musescore and Audacity. As more of my students started using iThings, I initially hoped to see such tools there. Instead, I learned that Apple made terms that censored out GPL software, and instead iThings were left with a proprietary walled-garden where even a simple guitar tuner app gets injected with obnoxious advertisements.

I switched to GNU/Linux in January 2012, and that brought me tons of new perspectives and led to co-founding an ambitious new project that has taken over my life: Snowdrift.coop is a free-software, free-culture fundraising platform that aims to better coordinate the global community to fund deserving projects that respect our freedoms. The core idea is a network-matching pledge in which a patron of a project can say “I will donate more each month for each additional patron who will support this project with me.” The details are a talk in itself, but interested folks can visit the site at Snowdrift.coop.

I continue using GNU/Linux while making a modest living teaching private music lessons. Where feasible, I promote the issues of software freedom to my students and encourage them to move to GNU/Linux.

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

My talk will simply be a tour through the basics of music production on GNU/Linux. We’ll cover basics about hardware setup, latency, JACK, ALSA, and such. I’ll mention repos and community websites. Then, we’ll explore some simple introductions to the most user-friendly music software: Audacity, Ardour, Musescore, Guitarix, Hydrogen, the Cadence Suite, and more. We’ll be making some new music on the fly to demonstrate these tools.

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?

This is my first visit to SeaGL. I expect it will be something like LinuxFest Northwest with a little more emphasis on GNU. I know many of the people involved.

I hope that it will attract diverse attendees both in terms of things like gender and cultural background and in terms of interests and occupations. However, I won’t be surprised if there’s the common unfortunate heavy white male programmer / sysadmin dominance — after all, it’s a GNU/Linux conference. I also hope that the emphasis on software freedom and GNU bring out clear political messages about the importance of building a free society rather than the typical tech conference focus on just the technology itself.

Besides my talk, I look forward to continue recruiting more folks to help with Snowdrift.coop, and I’m sure I’ll see a mix of familiar faces and also meet new supportive people.

SeaGL speaker Q&A: Lee Fisher
October 10, 2015

SeaGL speaker Lee Fisher shares information about his upcoming UEFI presentation:

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

I’ve been working on computers for many years, mostly at the OS level, more recently at the firmware level. I started with a Commodore 64, started working on AT&T UNIX and DEC VAX/VMS systems. These days I use Debian, and other FOSS OSes, and focus on *nix-based firmware, Open Hardware, open source firmware, and FOSS.

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

Learning some of the threats that UEFI exposes, and some of the existing open source tools you can use to test your firmware for signs of attacks. I’ll be focusing on tools like CHIPSEC, FirmWare Test Suite (FWTS), BIOS Interface Test Suite (BITS), UEFItool, UEFI Firmware Parser, and some other tools, as well as the Yocto-based LUV (Linux UEFI Validation) distro, and it’s LUV-live release.

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?

I’ve been to all of the SeaGLs, exhibiting at community booths, Free Geek Seattle, TA3M Seattle booths. It was rather small at first, but has had some nice presentations. It has been getting bigger each year, I’m hoping for 200 people, at least.

SeaGL speaker Q&A: Noah Swartz
October 08, 2015

SeaGL speaker Noah Swartz answers a few questions from SeaGL staff:

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

A: Noah is a Staff Technologist on the Tech Projects team. He works on the various software the EFF produces and maintains, including but not limited to Privacy Badger.

Before joining EFF Noah was a researcher at the MIT Media Lab as well as a technomancer and free software/culture advocate.

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

A: This talk will go over the state of tracking on the web, how advertisers cause this, how browsers allow this, how EFF’s Privacy Badger aims to stop this, and what you can do to help.

Q: How can attendees help the EFF with their efforts to end web tracking?

A: EFF maintains a tracker blocker called Privacy Badger. Due to the size of the EFF it’s hard for us to develop and maintain large software projects at the same speed as commercial alternatives. We’d love to see more outside contributions from the wider Free Software community. I’ll be available throughout the conference to help people get acquainted with EFF’s software projects, and help new contributors make their first contributions.

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 attended SeaGL last year, it was a lot of fun. Many great Free Software advocates all giving really enlightening talks.

SeaGL speaker Q&A: edunham
October 08, 2015

SeaGL speaker and staff member edunham answers a few questions about the upcoming conference:

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

A: Hi, I’m edunham. I’m a “DevOps” engineer for Mozilla Research and alum of the OSU Open Source Lab. I enjoy working on and with free and open source software, and find that public speaking is a natural extension of that instinct to share information.

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

A: My talk is called “You Should Speak”, and it’s all about offering technical solutions to the obstacles which keep others from taking advantage of the excellent personal and professional opportunities that result from presenting at tech conferences. Halfway through my education at Oregon State University, I accidentally founded a sysadmin training program called DevOps Bootcamp, and found myself teaching a bunch of newbies about topics that I wasn’t yet super confident at myself. I’ve gone on to speak at over a dozen different tech conferences in the past few years. This SeaGL will be my 19th talk since 2013, and the 3rd or 4th conference I’ve helped organize, so the suggestions in my talk are drawn from a reasonable amount of experience (though I haven’t been doing this long enough to forget what it’s like to be new).

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?

I spoke at SeaGL last year, and found it to be a really pleasant, welcoming event. I think its size is in the sweet spot for Northwest tech conferences: Large enough to offer a wide variety of talks and cater to diverse experience levels, yet small enough to mitigate problems with getting lost in the crowd. It also fits in a downtown venue surrounded by restaraunts, which you’ll appreciate if you’ve ever been to a gathering at a convention center in a “food desert”! Socially, I felt like SeaGL was less “cliquey” than some larger conferences, as well – attendees seemed happy to talk to strangers, and always had something interesting to say!

SeaGL seeking conference volunteers
September 27, 2015

We’re looking for volunteers to help out on the days of the conference. We need helpers to assist speakers setting up in the presentation rooms, direct attendees towards rooms, and to complete other tasks.

If you’re interested in volunteering, please contact us here.

The 2015 Schedule is up!
September 03, 2015

Our schedule is up! Take a look! The first day is visible first, but if you change the tab at the top, you’ll see the second day.

The schedule doesn’t include our very exciting keynotes yet. Shauna Gordon-McKeon will speak on Saturday morning from 9:30 - 10:30am about her work with brand new contributors to free software. At the end of the day on Saturday, Richard M. Stallman will speak at 2:30pm about Free Software and Your Freedom. Expect news about the expo floor, post-conference party and our community partners soon!

If you are just marking your calendar now, we’ll be at Seattle Central College again and the conference will be held on Friday October 23rd and Saturday October 24th,

  1. Booth space is definitely filling up, so now’s the time to drop us a line by emailing sponsor@seagl.org about your company or group. Our sponsor prospectus is right here. We’d love to hear from you!

Check back here or subscribe to our mailing list for updates!

Feel free to contact us if you have any questions, either by emailing participate@seagl.org or visiting us on IRC on Freenode in #seagl.

Call for Participation extended to July 31
July 28, 2015

Due to the response from potential speakers we’re extending our Call for Participation deadline to Friday, July 31, 11:59:59 p.m. PDT.

Submit your proposal here.

We can help with your presentation proposal
July 15, 2015

This year we’re hosting live help sessions for potential speakers on our IRC channel on Freenode. If you’d like to know of your idea is a good fit for our conferece, or just want help finessing a few sentences in your proposal, please join our channel on the dates below:

Thursday, July 16, 1 p.m. - 3 p.m. PDT Sunday, July 26th, 1 p.m. - 3 p.m. PDT

Freenode channel: #seagl

Of course, if you can’t make our live help sessions, we’re always available by email at participate@seagl.org and many of the conference organizers can be found at random times hanging out in the IRC channel.


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