Register for SeaGL 2019
November 15th and 16th, 2019


Tutorial Announcement: Learn Kubernetes and Habitat for free!
November 01, 2018

Interested in Kubernetes? Curious about Habitat? You’re in luck! Thanks to IBM and Chef you can learn them for free!

Join us on November 8th, the day before SeaGL starts, for a workshop at hosted in the Chef offices in Seattle. You’ll learn the basics of Kubernetes and how to get great results with Habitat in a Kubernetes cluster. Ideally you’ll come out excited and confident to use Kubernetes and Habitat in your own projects. Thanks to IBM donating a robust public Kubernetes cluster (which will be available for a month), you’ll even be able to practice what you learn after the tutorial is done!

Space is limited and RSVPs are required. Here are the vitals:

  • When: Thursday November 8, 2018 from 10-3
  • Where: Chef Software Inc. located at 619 Western Ave, Seattle, WA 98104
  • Who: Anyone and everyone, which is to say: You!
  • How much: Absolutely free (just like SeaGL!)
  • What: IBM workshop on Kubernetes, food break, Chef/Habitat workshop
  • RSVP Link

Hope to see you there!

How To Record Your Own Conference Talk
October 15, 2018

SeaGL 2018 is approaching quickly and we’re starting to put the finishing touches on preparations.

This year, due to technical constraints, we are not recording talks. However, all speakers are—as always—encouraged to record their own and share them with the world.

A/V connection 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.

Do try to test out your laptop in your presentation room during one of the breaks or lunch times before your talk is scheduled. Two minutes before your talk is not a good time to learn that you forgot your video adapter.

🎥 Recording your talk 🎥

Regardless of your preferred platform, we have recording instructions for you.

If you’ve not recorded your own presentations before, you’ll probably want to do a test run before you get to SeaGL just to be sure you have the software you need and that you’re familiar with how to use it.

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. However, 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 (or anywhere else), please include seagl2018 as a subject tag. That will make it easier for us to locate your material and share it around.

Please also tweet out any talk content that you post. If you tag @seagl we’ll retweet it to boost the signal.

Introducing TeaGL, the SeaGL Tea Swap
October 12, 2018

This year we’re pleased to introduce TeaGL, the SeaGL Tea Swap!

If there’s any tea you particularly enjoy, bring it along to SeaGL on Saturday and bring enough for a few other people. Share your tea with the SeaGL community and try some interesting teas brought by others.

Black, green, white, herbal, whatever! All teas are welcome at TeaGL.

The sharing happens all day, so bring your tea to the expo hall in the morning on Saturday. We’ve also dedicated the Saturday afternoon break as Tea Time so all tea lovers (or simply tea curious) can get together in the expo hall, visit with our sponsors, and have a nice cuppa.

Free Lunch! Free Childcare!
October 04, 2018

Over on Twitter we mentioned that we had some exciting news to share with you soon, and we’re very happy to report that it’s time!

Thanks to the generosity of our friends at Twilio, this year SeaGL is thrilled to provide…

🎉 Free Lunch! 🎉

In past years we’ve been able to provide lunch (pizza) on the second day of the event, but in 2018, thanks to Twilio, we’ll have full, catered lunch on each day of the event!


To make sure we can provide for everyone’s food needs, we need your input. Our partner at Twilio has put together a Google Form to gather folks’ dietary needs. If you’re planning to attend SeaGL in 2018, do us a solid and…

Please fill out this form

Even if you don’t have special dietary needs, that’s still good information for us to have. And if you do have special dietary needs we definitely want to hear from you.

OK, so, that’s a pretty great announcement, but we’re not done yet because (also thanks to Twilio, wowzers!) now we get to announce…

🎉 Free Childcare! 🎉

Never before in the history of SeaGL have we been able to offer childcare to our attendees. We’re over the moon that we can do so in 2018 and we can’t wait to welcome more people to our community because of it. We’ll be offering childcare each day of the event, so you don’t have to worry about choosing one day or the other; you can attend them both!


To make sure we have enough coverage to support everyone who needs childcare to make the most of their SeaGL, we absolutely need you to fill in this form. The last thing we want is to turn people away because we weren’t able to plan enough childcare capacity, so…

Please fill out this form

🎉 Free Is Best! 🎉

With these incredibly generous benefits thanks to Twilio, we’re able to continue our dedication to providing the best Free and open source learning to the community. In 2018 SeaGL offers…

  • FREE attendance (no charge to attend, ever)
  • FREE lunch
  • FREE childcare
  • FREE software

We cannot thank Twilio enough for their help in providing these benefits to the SeaGL community. To be clear, they haven’t simply thrown money at the problem. Twilio believes in free and open source software and its communities and is contributing a great deal of time and effort in helping to organize the lunches and childcare. As a volunteer run and organized event, we value and appreciate the gift of time that Twilio is giving to the SeaGL community.

When you attend SeaGL this year, find a Twilio team member and thank them for their dedicate to free and open source software and its communities.

But before you do that…

Please fill out this form

(no, really, we need this information)

The 2018 SeaGL Schedule is now Available!
September 21, 2018

We’re pleased to announce the SeaGL 2018 schedule!

Two days!

Four amazing keynotes!

Fifty six spectacular talks!

Click on the Schedule link in the header to see what we have in store for you in 2018, or just click here.

We’re really excited by this schedule and can’t wait for you to join us in November to learn from these brilliant presenters.

SeaGL Talk Proposal Response Emails
September 07, 2018

Many months ago I had a request to share our CFP accept/decline/waitlist emails. Since a lot of conferences have to send these out, I figured I’d share them publicly here rather than share them with a single person.

As with all SeaGL materials, these are licensed CC BY-SA, so feel free to use and remix them however you and your event needs.

SeaGL Talk Proposal Acceptance Email

SUBJECT: [seagl20XX] Proposal accepted!


Dear {name},

Your proposal, {eventtitle}, is accepted for {conference}!

We would like to announce the schedule soon, so please confirm your talk no later than EOD Pacific Time on DATE. You can confirm your talk at {proposalslink} or by responding to this email.

Your submission can be found at: {proposalslink}

We encourage you to share the news of your talk acceptance far and wide! If you tweet about it, please tag @seagl so we can retweet it for you.

We are hoping to record this year’s talks. Please let us know if you would NOT like your talk recorded.

We’re looking forward to seeing you in MONTH!

Best wishes,

{conference} Team


SeaGL Talk Proposal Decline Email

SUBJECT: [seagl20XX] Proposal declined


Dear {name},

Your proposal, {eventtitle}, was unfortunately not accepted for SeaGL this year.

We know you put a lot of time and effort into your proposal and we want to thank you for making our selection process so challenging.

If you would like feedback on your proposal, please email and we will share what we can, as soon as we get a chance. (If everyone asks for feedback, it might take a little while.)

There are many potential reasons why we declined your proposal that have nothing to do with the quality of the topic itself. For instance, it may not have been a good fit for the SeaGL audience, or it was declined because we’re only accepting one talk per speaker.

It’s still a good idea that deserves more exposure. If you would like to share your story, we encourage you to submit your proposal to our friends at as an article idea:

We hope you will plan to attend SeaGL in MONTH. There will be lots of great people like you there to meet and share ideas with.

Thanks again for taking the time to submit a talk proposal. We really appreciate it!

Best wishes,

{conference} Team


SeaGL Talk Proposal Waitlist Email

SUBJECT: [seagl20XX] Proposal Waitlisted


Dear NAME,

Your proposal(s) was highly rated by our reviewers but faced a lot of excellent competition. We would like to include it in the program but ran out of space for it:


We’ve sent out the first round of acceptance emails and anticipate some speakers will not be able to make it, leaving open holes in the schedule where we can fit your talk. This may take a little while as the schedule settles out.

If you would like to remove your proposal from the waitlist rather than wait for a schedule opening, we totally understand. Just reply to this email and we’ll handle that for you.

We hope you will still plan to attend SeaGL in MONTH. There will be lots of great people like you there to meet and share ideas with.

Thanks again for taking the time to submit a talk proposal – we really appreciate it!

Best wishes,

Seattle GNU/Linux Conference 20XX Team

CFP Acceptances by the Numbers
September 03, 2018

All talk proposal notifications went out this morning. While we’re still waiting for speakers to confirm they can do the selected talks, we thought it would be interesting to share some more numbers now that the schedule is taking shape.


Our selections are based almost entirely upon raw score data. To put it simply: the highest-rated talks were accepted, with the caveat that we only accepted one talk from any proposer.

Normally we’d look at the raw scores and then massage things a bit to get a better balance of topics and speakers, but that was not necessary. The proposals we received this year were so good and so diverse that no program-massaging was necessary at all. The straight numbers were pretty much all we needed.

And speaking of numbers…

55 talks accepted

We received 163 proposals and accepted 55 of them. That’s a 33.7% acceptance rate.

The majority of declined talks were due to us accepting only one talk per speaker. A lot of folks proposed several talks, so they received several decline emails.

We’re very grateful that people proposed multiple talks. It allowed us a lot of flexibility in creating a well-balanced and interesting program. Next year, though, we’d like to consolidate to a single decline email if possible. It’s more humane than, for instance, one acceptance email and six decline emails (as one of our proposers received).

Break down by track

Bar chart of accepted talks, broken down by track

Sysadmin/Ops/DevOps was far and away the most popular track among the accepted talks, but Programming and InfoSec weren’t too far behind.

Bringing up the rear is Data/AI/ML with only a single accepted talk. Considering the current popularity of AI and Machine Learning, we were really surprised we didn’t receive more good proposals on this topic.

Regardless, the SeaGL schedule is going to have something for everyone. We’re very pleased with the diversity of topics represented.

27% 20-minute talks

Last year we introduced the 20-minute talk option and we had 14 talks of that length on the schedule.

This year we have 15 20-minute talks on the schedule (so far), which is nice and consistent.

13% first-time presenters

Pie chart of first time presenter stats showing 13% of accepted SeaGL 2018 presenters are new to tech conference speaking

SeaGL believes in building the Free Software and open source community of the future and part of that is supporting new conference speakers.

We’re pleased that 13% of our acceptances this year were from people who have not presented at a conference before.

We would like to improve this number in future years, but when 6.4% of the total number of proposals were from people who self-identify as first time speakers, we think that 13% is still pretty darn good.

Welcome to presenting! We’re happy to have you at SeaGL.

44% under-represented presenters

Pie chart of diversity stats showing 44% of accepted SeaGL 2018 presenters self-identify as a member of a group that's under-represented in technology.

A full 44% of the accepted talks come from people who self-identify as a member of an under-represented group in technology.

We’re particularly proud of this number, we have to confess. We work very hard to make SeaGL a safe space for all people. With numbers like this, it looks like the word is getting out. We’re very honored that people trust us to continue having a welcoming environment.

It’s only through embracing, increasing, and fostering diversity in technology that we’ll be able to improve and spread the ethos of Free Software. Thank you, SeaGL attendees and staff, for helping with this and keep up the great work.

Schedule caveat

These numbers are just for the initial acceptances. Due to speaker schedules and obligations, some of them may not be able to present at SeaGL in November. Therefore the final schedule may not reflect these exact numbers as we sub in someone from the waitlist.

Nominate a Community Superhero!
August 22, 2018

Nominations are open for the 2018 Cascadia Community Builder Award

The Cascadia Community Builder Award is designed to recognize work in software projects, non-profit organizations, outreach and education, hackerspace, user groups or any activity that promotes the adoption and appreciation of free software to new and larger groups of people. The awards committee is especially interested in individuals who have successfully reached out to traditionally under-represented groups, even if that isn’t their primary goal.

To nominate someone, please send us an email email us at with the nominee’s name in the subject line.

  • Name and email address of the nominee (if you have it)
  • A sentence or two about why you think they deserve this award
  • Projects or organizations they serve through (links are very helpful!)

Please only nominate people who are doing their free software work in the Cascadia region and who are currently living. Thanks in advance for helping us honor a great community builder!

The award will be presented in November at SeaGL. Want to be part of the action? We’re actively seeking volunteers! Just email and introduce yourself!

Talk Proposal Selection Criteria
August 02, 2018

We like to be free and open around here at SeaGL, and that includes transparency around a lot of our processes. This post is the instructions we provided to our review committee on how they should rate the 160+ talk proposals we received. We hope that these instructions will not only help people craft better proposals in the future, but also help other events who may be looking for guidance on how to review their own proposals.

Audience profile

The audience runs the gamut from experienced FOSS technologists to the uninitiated/students, leaning quite heavily to the latter rather than the former.

Therefore talks about how to scale your unicorn are less applicable than more introductory topics.

Which isn’t to say there’s no space for unicorn scaling type talks, just that they will be in the minority for the program.

This is also a much less corporate conference/audience than, say, SCALE/OSCON/ATO/etc. Our event is free to attend, so it attracts those who are interested in or passionate about technology more than those who are getting their company to pay for them to attend for training purposes. This also means that most of the audience will be very local to the Seattle region.


  • Please remember the Code of Practice
  • Our CFP system can’t do blind reviews, but try to do as blind as possible (the abstract/content is more important than the presenter, on first pass at least)
  • Only vote on talks which you feel qualified to judge
    • Leave stars blank else
    • Exception: something which sounds so cool or so crappy that you feel compelled to vote
  • Don’t vote on withdrawn or rejected talks
    • OSEM keeps these in the list, sorry
    • Sorting list by ‘State=new’ can help limit these review misfires
  • Keep the audience needs front and centre
    • “Yeah, I would like to see this” is NOT important
    • “Yeah, the audience would get value out of this.” is VERY important
    • Therefore, if an abstract has no clear audience takeaways, please vote it down
  • No advertisements or sales pitches allowed
    • Please vote down anything that looks like it’ll be a pitch
  • GNU/Linux/Free Software not required
    • Yes, it’s the Seattle GNU/Linux conference
    • No, we’re not bigots against non-Free (as in speech) technologies
    • That said, proposals predominantly about proprietary technologies should be voted down
  • Proposals including questionable language/messaging should be voted down
    • Language/platform/community shaming
    • Colloquialisms based in or statements implying or outright stating racism, sexism, anti-LGBTQ-ism
    • Mean-spirited or rude language
    • Etc.
  • Non-software tech is welcome
    • For instance, in 2016 we had a very well received talk about WW1 technologies
  • And, naturally, please don’t vote on your own talks


  • The workflow
    • View the Events on the conference site
      • OSEM calls proposals “Events”
    • View each event
      • You’ll probably either have to open each in a new tab/window or do a lot of click-vote-go_back action
      • Apologies for the cumbersome UI/UX here
    • Vote & optionally comment
    • Repeat until done
  • Meaning we’ll use for the stars:
    • none: Did not vote
    • ⭐️: No way, nuh uh, hell no, nope
    • ⭐️⭐️: Meh, maybe, could work
    • ⭐️⭐️⭐️: Yup, I’d like our audience to see this
  • Whether you vote on a proposal or not, feel free to add a comment
    • Proposers can NOT see these comments (but be nice anyway)
    • Admins CAN see these comments
    • Reviewers can see these comments if they click through

CFP By The Numbers
July 31, 2018

The 2018 SeaGL Call For Proposals (aka CFP) has closed and our team of reviewers is hard at work reading all of the excellent proposals we received. How did the CFP go this year? Here are some numbers for you…


The number of proposals we received. This broke our 2017 record of 153 proposals!


The percentage of proposals that are for the shorter 20 minute time slot. In 2017, 23% of the proposals were for this length of talk, so this holds steady in popularity.


The number of proposals that are from who self-identify as first-time speakers. This is the first year we’ve tracked this statistic, and we’re hoping to increase this number in future years. One of SeaGL’s missions is to help more people get involved with Free Software and open source, so helping new people share their FOSS stories is very important to us.


The number of talks in the track with the most proposals, Systems, sysadmin, ops, DevOps. The breakdown of all of the proposals by track/topic:

  • Systems, sysadmin, ops, DevOps: 32
  • People: 30
  • Programming: 29
  • Something different: 21
  • Security, Information Security: 19
  • Education: 9
  • Hardware, IoT: 8
  • Data, AI, ML: 6
  • Design, UX, UI, Accessibility: 5
  • Documentation: 4
  • Legal, Licensing: 2

The final schedule of the conference is very unlikely to reflect these numbers. Our aim is to provide value to the SeaGL audience. As the audience is diverse, so much be the schedule. We’ll aim to balance things as much as possible so there’s something good in there for everyone.

And speaking of diversity…


The percentage of proposals that were submitted by people who self-identify as a member of a group under-represented in technology.

This is the first year we’ve tracked this statistic as well, and as with the first-time speaker stat, we also hope to increase this percentage in future years. We want our speaker line-up to look like the people who love Free Software and open source (read: every colour, gender, ability), but that’s only possible if our proposals come from a rich diversity of individuals. Maybe in 2019 we can reach 40%? Or even higher? That would be excellent.

What’s next?

Like I mentioned earlier, our reviewers are diving into their task right now. They should be done reviewing near the end of the month, then we’ll have a call to discuss the proposals. After that, it’s up to the program committee chair (me) to build the schedule.

We promised to let all proposers know the status of their proposals no later than September 3rd. So far we’re on track to do that. We won’t have information sooner than that, in any case, so please hang tight.

In the meantime, we plan to share the proposal review criteria and instructions that we gave our reviewers. Stay tuned for that blog post in the next week.


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