November 13th and 14th, 2020

News

SeaGL speaker Q&A: Shauna Gordon-McKeon
October 21, 2015

Keynote speaker Shauna Gordon-McKeon talks to SeaGL:

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

My name’s Shauna Gordon-McKeon, and my background is in the sciences. I was a neuroscience researcher for several years during and after college, and that’s when I first started writing software, and understanding the difference between free and proprietary software. I didn’t leap into the free software community right away, though - I was more focused on open data and open knowledge. I started doing community organizing around government transparency and around open access to scientific research, and as I learned more about software I saw how FOSS fits in with that. To me, they’re all manifestations of the same core values - the belief that individuals have a right to information about the world around them, whether that’s the results of an experiment or data about policing or what exactly a program is doing when you run it on your computer.

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

I already did! Above, I mentioned the “core values” that draw me to free software. My talk is going to be highlighting the values that matter to the free software community - how individuals can follow their values to find meaningful ways to contribute, and how we as a community can grow in alignment with those values.

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 will be my first visit to SeaGL, and I’m looking forward to it. I’ve heard wonderful things! I enjoy smaller conferences a great deal - they’re less rushed, and it’s easier to connect with new people. I hope to have some great conversations with members of the community, and to be back next year.

SeaGL speaker Q&A: Georgia Young
October 21, 2015

Free Software Foundation staffer Georgia Young will speak at SeaGL this weekend:

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

My name is Georgia Young. I am the program manager for the Free Software Foundation and live in the Boston area. I joined the FSF in January as outreach and communication coordinator, had previously worked on LibrePlanet in 2014, and took on my new role this past summer. My job includes event management, writing about free software issues, connecting with the free software community, and fundraising to sustain the FSF’s work. I’m also a musician.

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

This is my first free software talk, and I wanted to introduce people to a great free software program that is licensed under the GNU General Public License, a free software license written by Richard Stallman and administered by the Free Software Foundation.

I discovered Scribus around 2009, when I was in graduate school. Much of my professional experience is in the publishing industry, where nonfree programs reign. I wasn’t consciously thinking about Free as in Freedom when I chose Scribus, but the idea of software that was effective but not created by huge corporations like Adobe or Microsoft inherently appealed to me.

Twelve years after its initial release, I feel like Scribus deserves more attention than it gets. My aim is to get people interested in using this program for their own documents, and to get them thinking about freely licensed fonts, and other free software programs that can be used in concert with Scribus.

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?

It’s my first visit to SeaGL, to Seattle, to the Pacific Northwest in general! I’m looking forward to seeing a few familiar faces, meeting lots of new people, and hearing other great ideas arising from the free software community.

Q: If attending your talk inspires others to present at a conference, what can they do?

A: Talk to me or visit the Free Software Foundation table in the exhibit hall for more information about submitting a proposal to LibrePlanet, the FSF’s annual free software conference in the Boston area, March 19-20, 2016!

SeaGL speaker Q&A: Gareth J. Greenaway
October 21, 2015

Speaker Gareth J. Greenaway talks SaltStack and ChatOps:

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

Absolutely! I’m Gareth J. Greenaway, I’m a semi-native Southern Californian. Semi-native because while I’ve lived in SoCal most of my life I was born in Auckland, New Zealand. I’ve been a member of the free & open source community for just over 20 years. The two major contributions I’ve been able to bring to the FOSS community are being one of the co-founders and organizers of the Southern California Linux Expo (SCALE) and the 2+ years I’ve been actively contributing to the SaltStack project.

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

I’m going to be talking about SaltStack and how it can fit into the ChatOps movement. Chatops, like DevOps, is a very subject term and means something different to everyone. I’m a fan and a believer of the definition that originally came out of Github, putting the tools in the middle of the conversation. Because of the way SaltStack was designed, it’s extremely flexible and extendable. It lends itself to fit nicely into this paradigm. The talk will, hopefully, illustrate a lot of these concepts to the attendees.

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 will be my second year attending and speaking at SeaGL. As an event organizer it’s always a unique experience attending events that you’re not responsible for. It’s definitely a good experience being able to watch the organizers run around like crazy making sure everything goes off how it show, especially knowing what it takes to do so. Knowing all this, I was impressed with SeaGL as a show ad the organizers. It made my nostalgic for the past SCALE events and I’m excited to see how SeaGL continues to grow in the coming years.

SeaGL speaker Q&A: Deb Nicholson
October 21, 2015

SeaGL speaker and staff member Deb Nicholson talks software patents:

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

My name is Deb Nicholson and I work at the Open Invention Network OIN. OIN is a defensive patent pool for lots of free and open source projects, including Linux, GNU, Android and a ton of other tools. I also serve as the Community Manager for GNU MediaGoblin, a decentralized media-hosting project, and as a board member at OpenHatch https://openhatch.org/, which we like to call “Free Software’s Welcoming Committee.”

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

Well, we’ve seen some really big changes to the patent landscape in a short amount of time. In the US, we went from almost no software patents to an exponential increase in patenting in computing which lead to a huge uptick in software patent agression. For a while, it seemed like nothing could be done but there’s been lots of progress; both in community awareness and understanding what can be done. Finally, the Supreme Court addressed the scope of patentability twice last year and I’ll talk about how that is affecting cases around the country.

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 every single SeaGL since I’m also one of the organizers, which is a little weird since I live in Boston. I blame the rest of the amazing SeaGL team and the ridiculously good Seattle coffee. So I’m probably a little biased, but I think we put on a great conference for beginners, hobbyists, activists and long-time free software users.

Q: Aren’t legal issues sort of boring for the layperson?

A: Not at all! Software patent cases involve actual people trying to change the way the law treats our community and our industry. Some of those people are heroic, others are craven bullies, and some are just trying to make the best of a bad situation. Toss in ridiculous piles of money and there’s easily enough drama for a TV show.

SeaGL speaker Q&A: Corey Quinn
October 21, 2015

SeaGL talks with speaker Corey Quinn:

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

Sure! I head up the DevOps group at FutureAdvisor in San Francisco. I’m fairly active in the open source community personally – I helped run the freenode IRC network for over five years, I was one of the (very) early developers behind SaltStack, and I’ve made it a point to build my team around the ethos of giving back to the larger community. To be more direct, a job requirement here is to contribute in some way to the larger community, be it through contributions to open source software, writing blog posts, or tricking people like you into letting people like me speak at community-oriented conferences against your better judgement.

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

I’ve seen a lot of talks over the years that are fantastic technical resources, but the audience wasn’t particularly engaged, either due to a lack of understanding of the material, or a lack of ability for the presenter to paint a picture of what their technology actually did. To talk about a complex subject like git almost requires that the talk be entertaining first, and educational second. So let’s just say that my talk is likely to be… nontraditional.

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 was at SeaGL last year, and it was absolutely one of the best conferences I’ve had the privilege of attending. People were extremely welcoming, the talks were interesting, and it was just a first class event all around.

SeaGL speaker Q&A: Alex Jordan
October 21, 2015

Alex Jordan answers some questions from SeaGL staff:

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

My name’s Alex Jordan, but I generally introduce myself to people as “AJ”. I’m a senior in high school. My first experience with free software was when I installed Ubuntu when I was 10, but I only started getting seriously involved in the free software community about three years ago. I like Emacs, Arch Linux, and zsh, and I’m almost entirely self-hosted.

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

So here’s the idea: when you’re working with free software, you can open up a terminal and type “python3” (for example) and get a working Python 3 environment. We all take that for granted, but in the proprietary world, there’s no equivalent. In my talk, I address the reason for this and the ramifications for the future of our community. Think about it: people teach programming with our stuff. So why are so many developers drawn to proprietary platforms?

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 will be my second visit to SeaGL. My visit last year was nothing short of wonderful. SeaGL has such a strong focus on the freedom of free software (as opposed to “open source”) which makes it a really unique environment to be in.

SeaGL speaker Q&A: Paige Peterson
October 20, 2015

SeaGL speaker Paige Peterson talks privacy, security, and freedom:

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

Paige is an advocate for open standards, user privacy and decentralized technologies. After receiving a BFA from Massachusetts College of Art practicing experimental tech art with a strong focus on complexity in nature, her interests were drawn towards decentralization as a concept that would bring reliability and sustainability into existing human-designed systems. Her job with mesh networking startup, Open Garden and becoming an organiser of the San Francisco bitcoin meetup put her at the center of the newest technologies with decentralization at their core. In early 2014, Paige met Scotland-based company MaidSafe, who are building a peer-to-peer Internet using the very principles of natural systems which she became attracted to many years prior, and she has been working on various communication efforts for them since.

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

For almost a decade, a small but growing team based in Scotland has been researching and developing what it would take to build an Internet with privacy, security and freedom for all its users. It was observed that servers were the primary points of vulnerability in the existing Internet and that while there is no one central point of control, they not only allow but incentivize major points of centralization and dependency. By drawing inspiration from the resiliency of systems found in nature, MaidSafe has built an open source peer-to-peer network and developer framework with inherent properties of privacy, security and freedom for users and their data. I’ll be talking about how this system works and what to expect as a user, developer and node operator.

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 have not been but am very much looking forward to experiencing the free/libre culture from this part of the world. I attended LibrePlanet earlier this year and had a great time bonding with folks who value freedom in software.

SeaGL speaker Q&A: Jeremy Lindblom
October 19, 2015

SeaGL asks Jeremy Lindblom a few questions:

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

Hi, I’m Jeremy, or @jeremeamia on Twitter and GitHub. I’m a software engineer and have been doing PHP/LAMP and web development for about 10 years. I recently started working at McGraw-Hill Education, but I was working for Amazon Web Services prior to that, which is what brought my family and me up to the Seattle area. I’m a big fan of open source and have contributed to a number of projects in the PHP community. I’m passionate about the PHP community and have been running the Seattle PHP User Group for a few years and also the Pacific Northwest PHP conference, which debuted last month. I am also a frequent speaker at PHP conferences around the country.

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

My presentation is called “20 Years if PHP”, and I want to talk about PHP and how it has evolved over time. This year is PHP’s 20th birthday, and the PHP community is stronger than ever. In the latter part of last decade, PHP dwindled, but there were some very important events that led to a renewal of PHP, both in the language and community. I want to talk about all of that and showcase the cool features, tools, and practices that are a part of modern PHP.

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 will be my first time at SeaGL. I’ve been trying to get involved in more events outside of just PHP-themed ones. This event sounds awesome, and I’m excited to attend.

Q: How can people get involved in the PHP community in the Seattle area?

A: The Seattle PHP User Group meets monthly to socialize and host technical presentations about PHP topics and related technology and tools. Come hang out with us. You can find us on Meetup.com (https://www.meetup.com/seaphp/) and on Twitter (@seaphp).

SeaGL speaker Q&A: Benjamin Mako Hill
October 19, 2015

Benjamin Mako Hill shares some thoughts with SeaGL:

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

I’m an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Washington and a faculty affiliate at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society and an affiliate at the Institute for Quantitative Social Science — both at Harvard.

By night, I’ve been a hacker and contributor to a bunch of different free software communities over more than a decade. Most visibly, I’ve contributed to the Debian and Ubuntu projects. I’ve written several best-selling technical books, I’m a member of the Free Software Foundation board of directors, and I’m an advisor to the Wikimedia Foundation.

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

The free software movement has twin goals: promoting access to software through users’ freedom to share, and empowering users by giving them control over their technology. For all our movement’s success, we have been much more successful at the former. I will use data from free software and from several related movements to explain why promoting empowerment is systematically more difficult than promoting access and I will explore how our movement might address the second challenge in the future.

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 attended last year’s conference and I had a fantastic time. I love that it’s a real community driven conference. Back when I first started playing in the free software world in the nineties, GNU/Linux conferences (like the Atlanta Linux Showcase) were places for excited newcomers to get together with other likeminded folks. Between then and now, most have become big corporate affairs. SeaGL reminds me of why I loved going to conferences in the first place.

SeaGL speaker Q&A: Andrew Kane
October 19, 2015

Andrew Kane will speak about contributing to projects:

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

I’m not very interesting in my own right. My personal background is both boring and depressing.

I became interested in computing early on, and had a Commodore 64 when I was a small. I heard about Linux in 1994 from a person I worked with, but didn’t have and couldn’t afford a computer at that time. After hitchhiking to Washington in 1995 and living in the woods for a year, I moved to Seattle because there were no computers where I was. Also I wanted to participate in this Internet thing I’d heard so much about (later I realized I’d already been on it via GOPHER, but that’s another story).

I first installed Slackware in 1996 and have run GNU/Linux on all my computers since. About this time I learned about the GNU Project and the idea of Free Software and I wanted to be part of this new way of doing things.

More recently I worked with and helped to destroy Free Geek Seattle, and am working on another project to help make such an organization live again. I decided that another layer of abstraction was needed. During this time I switched to using Debian for all my computers, and am trying to help that project.

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

The talk is about how newcomers can contribute to Libre projects. Since the talk is itself Free Software and I’m a Debian booster, the talk will use itself and Debian as example projects. There will be some discussion of technical topics (how to submit patches, etc.) and some discussion of interpersonal topics (since ‘politics’ is a dirty word) including but not limited to the thickness of skins as a hidden requirement for participation in some projects.

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 have attended the previous two SeaGL events as a table anchor for Free Geek Seattle (and incidentally for GSLUG also). I’m very impressed with the growth of the event and the quality of the information presented there. I’ve also enjoyed interacting with the organizers. Good times all round thus far.

Q: This is an optional question. If you have a question you’d like to ask yourself to answer, put it here and then answer it:

The question: “Does it matter who you are?”

The answer: For the purposes of this presentation, not at all. If this talk is only accessible to people like me, then it will be a complete failure. If it cannot be successfully repeated by someone who is not me nor similar to me, then it will be mostly a failure.

Free Software cannot work without radical inclusion. It must be open to all or it isn’t really open at all.

Free Software projects are collaborative projects. Without collaboration there is no reason to publish your code. When people work together they must be able to communicate honestly and openly. This means that barriers to communication must be addressed and overcome.


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