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2015 keynote videos now posted
May 12, 2016

Videos of our 2015 keynote addresses are now posted on our YouTube channel:

Shauna Gordon-McKeon, “Beneath the Code, the Heart”

Richard M. Stallman, “Free Software and Your Freedom”

Announcing SeaGL 2016 Dates!
April 20, 2016

We’re excited to announce the dates for this year’s Seattle GNU/Linux Conference: Friday, November 11 and Saturday, November 12, 2016.

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

Michael Dexter Wins The First Annual Cascadia Community Builder Award
October 26, 2015

The Cascadia Community Builder Award recognizes a person who has made an outstanding contribution to the free software movement in the Cascadia region. The 2015 inaugural winner is Michael Dexter.

The award was given for the first time on Saturday, October 24th at the Seattle GNU/Linux conference and is expected to remain a feature of the local event. Michael was chosen because his work with the Portland Linux/Unix Group and the BSD community exemplified the type of unsung community-building work that is so critical to the growth of the free software movement.

Michael has used BSD Unix systems since January of 1991 and provides BSD and ZFS support at Gainframe. He has supported BSD Unix with download mirrors, events, and projects for over a decade and is best known for his virtualization work. His advice for free software community activists is, “Trust your instincts, ask lots of questions, and ignore the discouragement that will come from every side.”

Michael was nominated by someone who got to know him through his tireless work with the Portland Linux User Group. The nomination reads, “Michael has organized over one hundred speakers for our two monthly meetings, including Linus Torvalds, Bradley Kuhn, and Ward Cunningham.”

Michael received an engraved multi-tool, made by the Oregon-based Leatherman company, that includes both a bottle opener and a wire stripper – critical tools for every free software community organizer. He will also be invited to participate in choosing the recipient of future Cascadia Community Builder awards.

Nominations for the 2016 honoree will open next summer.

Thanks For a Great Year Three!
October 25, 2015

As we wrap up our third annual conference, we thank all of our speakers, sponsors, volunteers, exhibitors, and attendees! Each year we see greater community participation and record attendance numbers.

We’re also grateful to everyone who either invited friends to SeaGL or spread the word through social media. Word of mouth is absolutely critical to the success of our conference.

Special thanks goes to the staff at 500 East, who hosted our keynote speeches and after-party.

Join our mailing list to get announcements about the 2016 conference.

We’d love your feedback! Tell us what you liked and what you’d like to see next year:

See you in 2016!

Information for Speakers: Streaming talks
October 23, 2015


If Google Hangouts works on your laptop and you want to livestream talks to the SeaGL YouTube channel (they’ll also be automatically recorded by this process), here are the directions!

1) Go to and log in with the account credentials provided by an organizer.

2) Click the round avatar in the upper right, and select SeaGL from the list.


3) Click the “google+ page” link. You’re now on the SeaGL Google+ page.

4) In the upper left, click the “google+ page” button then select “hangouts” from the menu which drops down.


5) On the hangouts page, click “hangouts on air” (the middle link in the bar at the top). Then click the big yellow “create a hangout on air” button.


6) Put in your talk title, paste in your abstract if you have time, and click the big green “share” button.


7) Click the big blue “Start” button.

8) When it tells you to invite guests, click “skip”.

9) Point your webcam at yourself and click the big green “start broadcast” button at the bottom. Optionally, before you start the broadcast, use the icons on the left of the hangout to share your screen.


Talk recordings are available at

Important announcement about our keynote speeches
October 21, 2015

Due to some logistical issues, we’ve had to move this year’s keynote speeches off-site from Seattle Central College.

The keynotes will take place at 500 East, “a social house” just a short walk from the school. Here’s the address:

500 E Pine St, Seattle, WA 98122

Here’s the Saturday afternoon schedule:

Time Event
1:30 - 2:30 p.m. Last batch of talks at the school
2:30 - 3:00 p.m. Everyone moves to 500 East
3:00 - 4:00 p.m. Shauna Gordon-McKeon’s talk and the Cascadia Builder Award presentation
4:00 - 6:00 p.m. Richard M. Stallman’s talk
6:00 p.m. Bar opens and attendees can mingle

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, 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.