Thank you for an amazing SeaGL 2020!
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News

Call for Volunteers
October 05, 2020

SeaGL is approaching fast, and we need your help! SeaGL is a completely volunteer run conference, and with our new new techinical landscape we’re going to need some extra hands. Please signup using our Nextcloud webform

if you’re interested in volunteering. We will then send you information about volunteer training sessions (about an hour) and signing up for specific sessions. Here’s what we need help with:

Help Desk

Be in our Help Desk IRC channel to answer common questions about registration, recording, talk tracks, etc. We will provide FAQ fact sheet that will hopefully answer most questions, and give you direct contact info for SeaGL staff in case a question comes up you can’t answer.

Talk Emcee

Host the talk!

  • Be in a dedicated video call with the speaker
  • Be in the talk 10 minutes before it starts to chat with the speaker, get name pronunciation + preferences, etc.
  • Introduce the speaker if they’d like
  • Give speaker time cues if they’d like
  • Questions will be asked in the track IRC channel. Ask questions aloud to speaker on video call during Q&A.
  • Enforce Code of Conduct in IRC channel
  • Escalate to SeaGL staff if needed

All volunteers will be trained on the Code of Conduct and on their roles 2 weeks before the conference - if you’d like to volunteer, we will do everything we can to ensure you feel prepared before the conference!

Please signup if you would like to volunteer. Feel free to email participate@seagl.org if volunteering or have questions. We’re happy to have you help whenever works for your schedule. SeaGL could not happen without our volunteers, and we would love to have you be a part of our community!

Meet our Keynoters: Máirín Duffy
September 29, 2020

Máirín Duffy

Continuing our Meet our Keynoters blog series, it is our pleasure to announce our next keynoter, Máirín Duffy.

Máirín is a senior principal interaction designer at Red Hat as well as the team lead for Fedora’s community design team. A recipient of the 2016 O’Reilly Open Source Award, Máirín has over a decade of expertise in user experience and design in Free/Libre and Open Source Software (FLOSS) communities. Her portfolio includes a wide range of designs for FLOSS including the ChRIS project, Mailman/Hyperkitty, Anaconda, numerous components of the Fedora project infrastructure, Spacewalk, virt-manager, the GNOME desktop, as well as other projects such as the SELinux and Container Coloring Books.

You are the artist behind the SELinux Coloring Book. Was that as fun to make as it sounds like? Can we expect more coloring books in the future?

Yes, that was an extremely fun project! I’ve worked with Dan Walsh on a number of these so far - The SELinux Coloring Book, The Containers Coloring Book, and the Container Commandos Coloring Book. Dan is a really brilliant engineer and the whole idea was his - he had been using the dogs & cats analogy in his SELinux talks for some time, and wanted some illustrations for an adaptation he was writing for an opensource.com article. He came to me for help, and as the illustrations came along he had the idea to package it up as a coloring book. It’s been an awesome collaboration with him and the books are still quite popular as hand outs (now as virtual PDF handouts, but all the same otherwise!)

I also wrote the script for and mentored a couple of interns on an Ansible coloring book, and the final version of that should be coming out in the next couple of months or so. Finally, my intern from this past summer Madeline has been working on another new one that should be coming out in the next couple of months or so, Event-Driven-Architecture (EDA) and the Three Dwarves. Her illustration skills are really next-level, so I’m anticipating that one will be a big hit! You can follow the progress on that in the GitHub repo.

We also may have another one coming down the line around container security. No solid plans yet, but attaching a teaser. :)

As a UX Designer at Red Hat you’ve been part of improving the FOSS user experience over many years. What’s the biggest positive change you’ve seen in FOSS UX recently?

I think the biggest positive change in FOSS user experience recently is just the number of practitioners who are out there, working with open source projects. I think it’s fantastic to see - I also think it’s part of open source generally being the new default way to go in software. We have more projects starting up as open source, and UX as a practice is more and more recognized as important in the software development community, so those projects as a matter of course are bringing designers on board.

What I would like to see more of is designers working even further into upstream project leadership and getting a seat at the table at that level. I think we are on track to get there, and it’ll further accelerate the improvement of the FOSS user experience.

How and when did you get involved in FOSS? What attracted you?

I was raised in a technologically savvy family well before that was really a thing in the 1980s and 1990s; I remember playing Smurfs Paint ‘n Play on a Coleco ADAM while a preschooler and imagining someday I’d be a computer artist for video games!

When I was in high school, my brother commuted to the state university and studied computer science. At the time, our house only had one phone line, and I was a teenager so that phone line was tied up. A lot. This was often an impediment to my brother’s ability to telnet into his school to compile his homework. He came home with a copy of Red Hat Linux one day and installed it on the family computer so he could use gcc. I loved playing with the desktop, redesigning it and customizing it to my liking - because it was open source, there was a much greater ability to do cool things with it than you had with Microsoft Windows 98 which was the dominant desktop of the time. These were pre-GNOME days, and the aesthetics and generally usability left a lot to be desired. I wanted to help make it better and thought with my own creative background that I had skills that would be worthwhile to contribute.

While I didn’t fully understand or was even aware of the GNU Manifesto or The Cathedral and the Bazaar at the time, I did understand that Microsoft’s monopoly on desktop computing was a widespread problem and it would be better to have usable alternatives. The general concept around free software being an essential freedom for users was a lesson I learned early on in my college career, when I became a whiz with a creative tool called Macromedia Director. I used it for projects my freshman year of college that by my senior year had completely bitrotted due to Macromedia changing focus to Flash and then getting bought out by Adobe. That these extremely expensive tools, both in the cost of the software and the cost of the training to use them, would fall over with no recourse for all of those users who’d bought into it really convinced me of the importance of software freedom for users.

Due to the economic downturn (dotcom bust and September 11th) before I graduated with my computer science degree, there were no jobs to be had. I ended up staying on for grad school and studied Human-Computer Interaction. I used and loved Linux throughout my career in school (going so far as to doggedly use OpenOffice Calc for my physics projects that had been written for Excel), and was definitely thinking that I could apply HCI principles to open source software to further improve it. I ended up doing an internship with Red Hat’s desktop team in the summer during my graduate program and that experience really got me on the right track to become a contributor. I met people face to face rather than over IRC and mailing lists, and the Red Hat folks were wonderful mentors in helping me get involved in upstream projects. I came back to work as a full-time Red Hatter after graduation - if it was open source and needed design, I was happy to work on it, so I’ve always had tons of brilliant opportunities at Red Hat!

What FOSS thing are you currently involved with that you think is great, but that people might not be aware of?

I think the ChRIS project definitely fits this description. ChRIS is a fantastic open source project that is working towards improving healthcare and enabling medical researchers to use many of the amazing (and open source!) medical image processing tools that exist to further advance medicine. I think ChRIS as a project also really illustrates well the point that having the open source technology isn’t enough - it has to be usable, and it has to provide a reasonable user experience to really make an impact. You will learn much more about this project at my keynote. :)

What is something interesting about you that most people might not be aware of?

Tá Gaeilge beagan agam agus ba mhaith liom aon duine a labhairt liom faoi Open Source nó Linux nó UX i nGaeilge am ar bith! I’m an intermediate-level Irish learner (I write my first name in Irish) and I’d love to talk with anybody about open source or Linux or UX in Irish anytime :)

Another tidbit - I only use FOSS to create my designs, all these years. My main tools are Inkscape, Gimp, Krita, KdenLive on a Fedora Linux desktop. I haven’t used any of the Adobe tools in almost 15 years!

Is there anything else you want to share?

I’m really looking forward to SeaGL!

TeaGL is Going Online!
September 25, 2020

UPDATE - TeaGL signup deadline extended to Monday, October 19th, use the TeaGL signup to participate in our first virtual TeaGL tea celebration! - UPDATE

If you’re a SeaGL regular, or a SeaGL newbie who really loves trying new tea, this news is for you. The 3rd annual TeaGL is moving online, with a virtual tea time AND an online tea swap. The past two years, SeaGL community members have brought enough of their favorite tea (black, white, green, herbal, whatever!) to share, turning Saturday into the most relaxing (and caffeinated) day of the conference.

We’re excited to bring this SeaGL favorite to the 2020 virtual conference in the form of tea swapping. That’s right: sign up to participate, and you will both send someone your favorite tea and receive someone else’s favorite.

If you’d like to participate please sign up here by October 9th at 11:59pm. Concerned about privacy? We have an anonymi-tea mode that will ensure your TeaGL trade pal doesn’t know your name or address details.

We’re excited to continue this SeaGL tradition, and look forward to seeing what teas y’all bring to the tea-ble. Until then, pinkies up!

SeaGL Naming Contest FINALS
September 10, 2020

The inflatable seagull

Update: Meet Patch! Patch’s pronouns are they/them. Patch loves french fries, photos, and of course free software.

Have you ever wondered what our glorious inflatable seagull is named? Currently, it’s anonymous! To give our feathered friend a name, we’ve been hosting a naming contest on Twitter and Mastodon for the past month and are now down to just TWO delightful names: C’gul and Patch. This is proving to be the premier tournament of any kind this year, and this final match may be the most watched sports-ish event this Summer. Olympics, shmolympics.

We need YOUR help choosing a name! Vote now for your favorite and help christen our seagull!

Why SeaGL?
September 09, 2020

by VM (Vicky) Brasseur

There was one final question in the keynote interview that the team sent me:

As a long-time contributor to the SeaGL ecosystem (thank you!), how do you view SeaGL in relation to the many other fine FOSS conferences and events you participate in? What strengths of SeaGL keep you coming back?

This question, “Why SeaGL?”, is important enough that it deserves its own post. (Full disclosure: while I haven’t had the time to do so the past couple of years, in the past I was a member of the SeaGL organising committee.)

I’ve spoken at and attended FOSS events of all sorts and feel qualified to say that SeaGL is special. Of all the events out there, SeaGL is the only one I’ve found with a singular focus on bringing FOSS to more people, and bringing more people to FOSS. While other events do a good job of this, SeaGL may be the most welcoming conference I know.

There are a lot of free and open source software (FOSS) events in the world. Some of them are dedicated to supporting and bringing together specific communities, like Fedora Flock or GUADEC. Others, like All Things Open or FOSDEM are more general and are there to support and provide training on many FOSS projects. Then there are the corporate events like Open Source Summit that bring together business interests and help them learn how to integrate FOSS into their companies more successfully.

SeaGL is now and always has been free-as-in-beer to attend. If you can get to the event—which is easier than ever—you can learn from and speak with some of the brightest minds in the FOSS world and it won’t cost you a cent. This is by design. Having the money to attend a conference prevents many from participating in FOSS and diminishes the entire movement. SeaGL has removed the financial burden and is able to welcome everyone to learn about free and open technologies and communities. It’s able to do this thanks to the generous support of its sponsors.

In normal times, SeaGL takes place over two days at Seattle Central College. SeaGL schedules the event so at least one of the days occurs during classes, then flings open the doors and welcomes curious students who otherwise wouldn’t have the opportunity to learn about FOSS, let alone attend a tech conference. To ensure even more people are able to attend, SeaGL has provided childcare so attendees don’t have to choose between taking care of their family or getting the FOSS training that can help them in their careers.

Of all the events I’ve seen, SeaGL is the most dedicated to supporting and bringing new conference speakers to the FOSS world. Most events aim to bring in and promote big name speakers to help attract attendees. SeaGL prefers to recruit and mentor new speakers, believing that everyone has something of value to share in FOSS. The program committee operates according to a code of practice and is prepared to provide any and all assistance to help bring new voices to the free software movement. Half of the keynote slots are reserved for people who have never stood on a keynote stage before, spotlighting the unsung heroes of FOSS.

People of all genders, races, colours, and religions (operating system and otherwise) are safe at SeaGL. Want to present a talk about a free software tool you built on Windows? You’re welcome here! How you coordinated a Pride Week event using FOSS? Splendid! We want to hear it! A case study on how optimising your free software project for accessibility increased usage across all vectors? Facinating! Tell us more!

However much the media declares that “FOSS has won,” SeaGL recognises that until everyone is able to enjoy the Four Freedoms, the free software movement will still have a lot of work to do. It does its part by being a welcoming and inclusive event. The one thing that is not welcome at SeaGL is hatred. SeaGL believes in and enforces its Code of Conduct to ensure that all speakers and attendees will not be harassed or made to feel unwelcome or unsafe.

Underlying it all is SeaGL’s fundamental belief that Free Software is for Everyone. Many conferences will do some of these things, but I’ve seen no other conference that does them all, let alone as well. SeaGL isn’t doing this for itself. It’s not trying to be the biggest or most buzz-worthy event. It’s doing the wood chopping and water carrying needed to help build and support the next generation of FOSS advocates, and that’s a pretty powerful thing.

Meet our Keynoters: VM (Vicky) Brasseur
September 08, 2020

SeaGL 2020 is less than two months away. We are thrilled to be able to start revealing our lineup of awesome keynote presenters and to give you the opportunity to get to know all about their amazing achievements through a series of interviews. Our first keynoter is VM (Vicky) Brasseur.

VM (Vicky) Brasseur is an award-winning free/open source advocate and corporate strategist, international keynote speaker, and writer. She’s the author of Forge Your Future with Open Source, the only book detailing how to contribute to free/open source (FOSS) projects. Aside from articles in various publications, she also writes about FOSS, business, and their intersection on her blog.

You’ve literally written the book on Open Source! What did you learn in this process, and can we look forward to more books from you on the horizon? What lessons do you hope people walk away with after reading it?

Writing a book is no small feat and I won’t diminish that, but the content itself comprises generations of knowledge and best practices. A lot of the credit for the book should go to those who came before me and developed those practices through trial, error, and a lot of work. The community did the hard work. All I did was write it down.

I’ve learned that the process of writing the book takes a lot longer than you’d expect. Scope creep: it’s not just for software. You need to keep your work focused. Also similar to software, it’s important to have someone else review your work. The book is so much better because of the feedback from the technical reviewers. I’m so grateful to them for all of their insights, and especially to my friend and editor Brian MacDonald for helping to keep me on task and on topic.

There are two things I’d like people to take away from the book, one each for different audiences. For contributors—potential or otherwise—I want you to recognise that you can contribute, you do belong in FOSS, that FOSS needs you whatever your skillset, and that you can and should take the time to ensure that your efforts help you as much as they help FOSS. The book helps with these things so you have a better chance of being successful with your contributions and overall FOSS experience.

Secondly, for maintainers—who can learn a lot from the book, too—I want you to rediscover the newbie mindset. Many maintainers have been doing FOSS for a long time and have lost the perspective of someone new to our world. Reading the book can help to regain some of that so you can identify ways to make your project more welcoming and easier to use and contribute to, opening the door to better sustainability for your project and the entire ecosystem.

As for whether there are other books on the horizon… I have some ideas that I’m tossing around but if I say something publicly people will hold me to it and I’m ready for that sort of commitment quite yet.

From something you said in a recent blog post, it seems like one of your interests is extending the idea of open projects beyond coding and into other areas. How have you seen this progressing over time? What do you think the future of this idea is?

There are signs that the ethos of open is spreading to other areas. You have open seeds for instance, a movement for collecting and sharing crop seeds that are unencumbered by patents; and open access, where libraries and research institutions are ensuring access to research. I could probably fill a book with case studies of how openness is being embraced across the world (but I won’t 😉).

We need to remember is that needing to open up things like research, seeds, and source code is a relatively new concept. Access to research used to be free and open…if you were a rich, white man. Previously it was common practice to set aside a portion of a harvest as seeds for the next year, and to trade seeds with other farmers. At the dawn of software source code, as most of us probably know, used to be shared freely between computer operators and even manufacturers. It’s only recently that all of these things have become more difficult to share.

While I’m not going to put on my rose-coloured glasses and stamp my little princess foot to demand a return to those halcyon days of (mythical) sharing perfection, I do think that we should reevaluate the default use and distribution models common today. Upon reflection, we may find that many of them are based more on fear or greed than anything else, and that there may be a better way to approach them.

Unfortunately I’m not optimistic that this will happen any time soon. There are some inspiring examples—like libraries throwing off the shackles of ridiculously expensive journal access or TOR publishing going DRM-free for their books—but overall we’re seeing more resources locked behind paywalls and restrictive EULAs, not less. The reopening of our resources will take a lot of attention and diligence, and if it happens at all it will be piecemeal. One farmer choosing open seeds. One university choosing open access. One publisher choosing DRM-free. Each one is a baby step, but those are still steps and move us all toward a more open and sustainable future.

How and when did you get involved in FOSS? What attracted you?

Like many of us who went to university in the 1990s, I spent a great deal of time in the computer lab. While I mostly played on various MUDs/MUSHes/MUCKs/BBSs (as one did in those days), I also toodled around Usenet, Archie, and Gopher. It was on Gopher where my friends and I discovered Project Gutenberg. Documents and books? Just out there for free? Because…sharing is good and helps everyone? While the lab attendant was busy scolding me for blocking the dot matrix printer by printing out Alice in Wonderland, I was busy falling down my own rabbit hole of free culture. This naturally led to discovering Free Software by way of Usenet and the rest is history.

At the time I was a science major, so the idea of freely sharing and distributing research felt natural. What hadn’t occurred to me before that moment was that this sharing, if applied to other areas, could benefit even more people than ever before. Scientists stood on the shoulders of those who came before them, so why shouldn’t others? The power of sharing work to enable and lift up others became a fundamental part of my belief system from there on out. Unfortunately I think we in FOSS often lose sight of that part of the mission: using software to empower and lift up people who otherwise might not have the opportunity.

What FOSS thing are you currently involved with that you think is great, but that people might not be aware of?

It’s not ready to launch quite yet, but I’ve been working on a catalog of governance documents from all over the FOSS world. This sounds like a sleep-inducing project for most people reading this, I realise, but it has the potential to make it a lot easier to establish governance in a FOSS project or even to research various governance models and elements. Trust me, the umpteenth time you need to find examples of privacy or voting or trademark policies as you launch or scale up a FOSS project (as I have), you’ll wish that this resource already existed. I used to make the most progress on the catalog during long plane flights, but since the pandemic started and travel stopped I’ve had to fit it in between my other tasks. It’s getting really close to launch, but as we all know that last 20% of any project somehow ends up taking 80% of the time.

What is something interesting about you that most people might not be aware of?

One of my bachelor’s degrees is in Latin, but that’s mostly because my uni didn’t offer a degree in Ancient Greek. I have four years of university-level training in Latin but five and a half in Ancient Greek. Had that job offer in tech not landed in my lap in the late 90s, I’d have headed to grad school for Classics instead, eventually becoming a papyrologist.

Of those two languages, Latin is the one that still gets the most direct workout, mostly from people asking me to translate phrases from English so they can put them on a patch, seal, or tattoo to look more impressive. The Greek training, however, is used every single day of my life. The teachings of that professor rewrote how my brain works and I’ve never looked at the world the same again. Thank you, Carl. I think about you all the time. You’re wonderful and have changed my life for the better.

Not sure about a topic? We can help!
August 26, 2020

With the Call For Proposals extended, we thought we’d take a moment to brainstorm a few topics that we’d love to see proposed for the event, but so far haven’t seen a large response in the CFP.

Hardware

If you look in the section “About” SeaGL, you’ll see right there that free / libre / open hardware is mentioned as one of the things we’re seeking to raise awareness and knowledge about. This can range from RISC-V and OpenPOWER to the Raspberry Pi, which has open components and is used by many open source projects. Open hardware talks always do well at SeaGL and offer a change of pace from what is otherwise a conference largely focused on software, so we’d love to see them!

Privacy and social good

With 2020 bringing a lot of change to our lives, and SeaGL’s commitment to social good and causes like Black Lives Matter, many SeaGL attendees are curious about where privacy fits into open technology.

Whether you know something about open data sets, the intersection of privacy and protesting, or how we can stay safe when we enable contact tracing for COVID-19 on our devices, these are topics that have touched all of our lives this year. We’re looking forward to to hearing your expertise.

Software foundations

Are you involved with a software foundation? Or have you had a recent experience with them that you’d like to share? Whether you are working on a project within a foundation, or have first hand experience with the inner workings of one, a lot of projects have started moving to this model and there’s a lot of curiosity around the benefits and trade-offs of having your project supported and promoted by one.

Performance Art

Heck yeah, that’s right, we want art at this year’s SeaGL! If it can fit into 30m, let’s see it :) Beat poetry about voter rights? Mathematically generated art? A video game you can stream in less than ~20m? If what you have in mind is reasonably Safe-For-Work, let’s talk! If you have any questions about this, please reach out and we’d LOVE to help, at cfp-help@seagl.org.

  • “Reasonably safe for work” for SeaGL includes talking about LGBTQ topics, labor rights, and as always, computer/device hacking! We take a pretty critically broad view of what is safe, because what keeps marginalized members of our community safe is what keeps us all safe.

Have too many ideas?

We have good news, you can submit multiple proposals! But if you’re an experienced speaker, we also encourage you to reach out to others in your network who may have expertise with one of your ideas. We love seeing a mix of new and experienced speakers at SeaGL, and encouragement from a seasoned speaker like yourself can go a long way to support the next generation.

Still not sure?

Feel free to refer back to our initial CFP for a long list of talk topic suggestions. We will also be continuing to offer CFP Office Hours every Wednesday at noon PDT in #seagl on irc.freenode.net. You can also email cfp-help@seagl.org at any time for help/guidance with your proposal. We are here to help.

Call For Proposals Extended to September 9, 2020
August 20, 2020

First, we would like to thank everyone who has taken time to submit a talk as part of our Call For Proposals.

With that said, we realize that these are not normal times. Many people have been (rightfully) distracted dealing with an international pandemic and fighting against racism. If you are like us, you might have a hard time believing that August has almost come to an end, and we have reached our previously announced CFP deadline of August 19. Hopefully, you have already submitted your proposals, but if not, there is no need to worry.

We are extending our Call For Proposals until Wednesday, September 9 11:59pm PDT

Our hope is that this will allow everyone ample time to submit their talk proposals (or to submit additional proposals). We will also be continuing to offer CFP Office Hours every Wednesday at noon PDT in #seagl on irc.freenode.net. You can also email cfp-help@seagl.org at any time for help/guidance with your proposal. We are here to help.

Call For Speaker Proposals: SeaGL 2020
July 14, 2020

UPDATE - The CFP deadline was extended to Wednesday, September 9th. See CFP extension for complete info. Speaker notifications will go out by the end of September, with the schedule published shortly after. - UPDATE

We are more than excited to invite you to speak at SeaGL 2020! The Seattle GNU/Linux Conference (SeaGL) is a grassroots technical conference dedicated to spreading awareness and knowledge about the GNU/Linux community and free / libre / open source software and hardware. This year it will be held remotely for the first time, as we all cope with the global pandemic.

Our speakers play an essential role in the success of the conference. We welcome speakers of all backgrounds who have things they would like to share. Because we’re a community-focused event based in Seattle, we are a great venue for US Pacific Northwest related stuff, but in this unusual year it will be extra-easy for you to present from almost anywhere in the world.

We especially encourage first-time and inexperienced speakers: this is a friendly place to give that first talk. We are currently doing weekly proposal review/feedback sessions as well as email proposal review and feedback. Please bring us your talk ideas and proposals and we’ll help you polish them before you submit them to the CFP. See the Office Hours section of our Speaker’s Guide below for details.

CFP Dates

  • CFP Closes: August 19, 2020 - Midnight PDT
  • Speaker Notifications: September 11, 2020
  • Schedule Published: September 25, 2020
  • SeaGL!: November 13th and 14th, 2020

You can submit your talk proposal here, but we recommend taking a look at our Speaker’s Guide below first for important information.

Code of Conduct

All speakers and attendees of SeaGL must agree and adhere to the SeaGL 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 with SeaGL.

All members of the SeaGL Program Committee have agreed to operate according to the SeaGL Code of Practice.

Speaker’s Guide

Here’s some more detailed information about submitting your talk proposal to SeaGL 2020.

Talk Format and Timing

Talks will be presented remotely. Speakers may give their session live, or pre-record their session for the room moderator to play while they are in the chat session with the attendees.

Talk length is 20 minutes, with another 10 minutes allowed for questions, for 30m total.

We do not have longer time slots available at SeaGL 2020 because the online medium will make it more critical to present yourself concisely. Please do not propose talks that cannot be presented well within the allotted time. If you have a topic that absolutely needs more time, consider breaking your proposal into two talks: an introductory talk and a more “advanced” talk.

Audience Profile

SeaGL attendees are a diverse lot: in gender, race, and age, but also in technical background and open source involvement. The conference is a friendly one, with people eager to hear personal stories both of open source success and informative failure. The attendees have a high interest in open source community, particularly in ideas for promoting diversity, inclusiveness, and cooperation.

Talk Topics

We encourage almost any topic related to open source that you have a personal engagement with. We have created a list of topic tags you might choose to tag your proposal with — these might give you some ideas.

  • Security: Security Practices (Personal and Industry) and Security Career
  • Hardware: Free and Open hardware projects
  • Leaving the Walled Garden: Owning Your Own Data
  • Tools: Command line, databases, web tools, accessibility, open graphics tooling, and more
  • Tech Culture: FLOSS for EveryOne: how can FLOSS be of help to those outside our immediate community?
  • Community: Community building, labor rights, & advocacy
  • Virtual meetings & “meatspace”
  • DevOps: Open source DevOps, containers, continuous integration/continuous deployment, & monitoring
  • Licensing & Legal
  • Career Development in FLOSS software and hardware
  • Performance Art! Seriously :)
  • Misc: Have a great talk that doesn’t fit these categories? Submit it!

How To Submit

Important Note: Our conference software doesn’t currently support concealed reviews (talk authors are hidden from reviewers), but we do the best we can to review everything concealed anyway. For that reason, you must not include your name in your submitted abstract. The reviewers may reject proposals whose abstracts include author names.

When you are ready, submit your talk proposal to our conference management software here. The web form will ask you for your name, the title of your talk, and an abstract of less than 500 words that does not contain your name. The web form will also ask you to indicate whether this is your first time speaking, and whether you identify as a member of a group historically underrepresented at technical conferences. Once you have prepared and submitted this information, you may be asked for a bit more information to help identify the intended audience of your talk.

Talk Ideas

Not sure what to propose? Here are some ideas you might use for inspiration.

  • How to get involved in free and open source software
  • DevOps, system administration, infrastructure, CI/CD
  • Career tips and strategies
  • Web development tools and techniques
  • Free and open source licensing and policy issues for users and/or developers
  • Hardware, Embedded Linux, Internet of Things
  • Cloud and distributed services
  • Building free and open source communities
  • Using free software at home, work, or school
  • Free and open source relating to online security and privacy
  • Writing testable open code; testing in general
  • Effective documentation patterns and strategies
  • Free and open software on non-GNU/Linux platforms (Windows, MacOS, etc) These are just ideas: we would love to hear about anything that you think would be interesting to new or seasoned Free/Libre/Open source fans!

Resources and Help

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. VM Brasseur’s Public Speaking repository has collected a lot of resources to help you level up your conference presenting.

Please Note: We always end up being unable to invite a bunch of really great talks. It’s not you, it’s us: we have a limited number of speaking slots and need to draft and balance the conference program. If we turn you down this year, we encourage you to try again in the future (here and elsewhere).

Don’t let fear of rejection stop you from proposing. Please run your talk idea by us — we need you!

Office Hours: Proposal Help and Mentoring

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 regular office hours online. We’ll do everything we can to help you be successful with your proposal and presentation, from brainstorming to quick reviews to detailed walkthroughs.

Office hours will be held every Wednesday at 12pm Pacific between July 13 and August 19.

Office hours are held in the #seagl IRC channel on Freenode IRC. Don’t worry if you’re not familiar with IRC. You can join IRC via this webchat interface: choose a nickname, and you’re good to go! If you’d like assistance outside of the office hours, please email us at cfp-help@seagl.org.

Final Note

It is easy but wrong to believe that you need to be some kind of professional presenter to give a good talk. SeaGL is a friendly audience who wants to hear your story! Heck, we won’t even have a conference without people like you to talk to us — that’s literally what this event is. Fancy slides and skilled oratory are nice, but all you really need to do is to tell people something interesting and/or fun. Don’t be shy. (If you are shy, check in at our Office Hours for advice on how to tell some friendly strangers a story with less stress — a good way to turn strangers into friends.)

We want your talk proposal! Sorry to sound all demanding and like that, but we couldn’t be more excited and pleased to work with you. Submit early, submit often!.

Finally, please find the plaintext link to our submission software here: https://osem.seagl.org/conferences/seagl2020

Program Committee Code of Practice
July 13, 2020

The Program Committee is the group responsibile for choosing and scheduling all of the great talks you enjoy at SeaGL. This year the committee steering the Program consists of:

  • Nathan Handler
  • Rachel Kelly
  • Alison Yu
  • Megan Guiney
  • Bart Massey
  • Lyz Joseph

Code of Practice

This is what we believe in and how we operate as we go about our business of building the best possible program and schedule for SeaGL.

As members of the SeaGL program committee and proposal reviewers, aside from the SeaGL Code of Conduct, we also agree to operate according to these values and statements:

Values

We believe in the importance and power of free and open source software.

We believe in putting the needs of our audience and our community before our needs or those of our employers.

We believe in boosting the voices of others above our own.

We believe in mentoring and helping to create the speakers, leaders, and contributors of the future.

We believe in supporting diversity in thoughts and experiences in the talks and speakers we select for SeaGL.

We believe in creating and protecting a SeaGL environment that welcomes all people in safety and comfort.

But what does that mean? Like, practically?

How are these values reflected in how we operate as program committee members and reviewers? There could be many different ways, obviously, but here are some examples of what we will do our best to do:

  • Promote the CFP to all our communities
  • Seek out unreached/underrepresented/underserved communities and advocate for them and their talks
  • As time allows, assist people with their proposals, making it easy for them to propose and what they propose a higher quality
  • Do our best to do all initial reviews without knowing who submitted them, within the constraints of the system
  • Only vote on talks we feel qualified to review
  • Abstain from voting on talks where we made substantial contributions to the the proposal (but we can advocate during the review call)
  • As much as possible, don’t allow our personal or professional biases (or those of our employer) to influence our talk reviews
  • After proposals are accepted, and as time allows, assist people with their talks to help ensure that what they deliver is valuable to the audience

We’re all pleased to have the opportunity to serve the SeaGL community and share this Code of Practice with you. It’s our hope that we can serve as a model for other free and open source events, who can publish their own Codes of Practice.

To help with that, don’t forget that everything published here on the SeaGL website is licensed CC BY-SA. We encourage you to copy, modify, and redistribute this Code of Practice however you and your event need.


SeaGL is dedicated to a harassment-free conference experience for everyone.

Our code of conduct can be found here

Please let us know if you have any feedback about SeaGL. You're welcome to submit anonymously.

Interested in helping make SeaGL happen? Email participate@seagl.org! We'd love to have anyone help out, and are especially interested in folks who can help with finance and fundraising, on-site logistics, promotion and outreach, and OSEM.

All website code is licensed GPL v3.0. Unless otherwise specified, all website content is licensed CC BY-SA.