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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

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:

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:


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.

Black Lives Matter
June 12, 2020

SeaGL condemns racism in all its forms, systemic, personal, and otherwise. The organizers of SeaGL recognize the ongoing harm being done to the Black community and seek to support Black members of our community directly. To that end, we have allotted honoraria for all Black speakers at SeaGL 2020. We are also looking into the possibility of scholarships or other monetary support mechanisms for Black members of the FLOSS world. We are currently strategizing how best to support and amplify our sister technical organizations who focus on non-white members of our community — we welcome your suggestions of organizations to partner with and support!

In addition, we strive to not only make our community inclusive, but also to enforce BETTER behavior from our white community members. None of us are free from blame, including the nearly all-white organizing staff, and we are redoubling our efforts to combat institutional racism in the tech industry. Our goal is for SeaGL to be an equitable conference by seeking out BIPOC voices, and supporting the Black FLOSS community in every way we can.

Furthermore, we condemn in the strongest of terms, the actions of the Seattle Police Department’s unprovoked violence against the people of Seattle, particularly versus its Black community. We wholeheartedly support the collaborative spirit of the Capitol Hill protests. Our priority has always been to underserved and underprivileged communities, and we want to ensure that for anyone attending SeaGL, or participating in SeaGL-adjacent activities, there is agreement on this point. We recognize that all actions are political, and we will continue to stand by our Code of Conduct in our continuing effort to make SeaGL as free from racism as possible.

Thank you,
SeaGL Staff

Keynote Nominations needed for 2020
May 19, 2020

We need YOU! To help us select keynoters for SeaGL 2020! Please use our form to nominate a keynote speaker. We are looking for open source community members with experiences and stories to share. We are, as always, looking for new candidates who have not keynoted before, who have a different perspective to share. Our community is vast, therefore our keynotes must represent our community.

Submissions are anonymous and you can fill in the (very short) form for as many wonderful humans as you’d like to nominate, one form per nomination. This form will be open til May 24, 2020.

So, please, share

  • your pie in the sky picks
  • your mentor from your local user group
  • someone who has advocated for open source outside of traditional tech
  • someone who has worked on bringing open source to traditionally proprietary-only models
  • someone who has challenged social norms in open source
  • someone who has lifted others up who have challenged those norms
  • your tinker friend
  • your friend known for shitposting clever tweeting
  • someone in your office who recently showed you a shortcut through your favorite tools

And anyone else you think would make a terrific guest of honor at our community-focused open source conference! You can let us know right here. SeaGL will take place virtually and all over the world, November 13 & 14 2020.

SeaGL going virtual due to COVID-19 aka Novel Coronavirus
May 05, 2020


  • SeaGL will be virtual
  • November 13-14, 2020
  • Volunteer at

We have made the exciting decision to take SeaGL entirely virtual. We are happy to follow in the footsteps of other terrific open source conferences who also want to keep our communities together during this time. The coronavirus has outlasted early predictions, so we are taking steps to ensure the longevity of SeaGL as a community in the event that we are still (or again) under shelter-in-place orders or need to avoid gatherings.

The committees are in deep discussion as to what this means, and we are throwing everything on the table to consider how to truly make this a community event for our speakers, attendees, volunteers, as well as the student walk-ins we welcome from Seattle Central College, our generous physical host. We discussed planning a hybrid event, but landed on full-virtual as that will be the easiest to plan for and predict, particularly for our speakers and keynotes who will know exactly the format they’ll be presenting in when they submit their talk. We want folks to have as much preparation and information as we possibly can offer, and that meant cementing this critical detail.

So! We are so excited to pilot a great virtual event that is community-driven, and we are so excited to have you along for the ride! We’re all new to this, but we really feel like SeaGL is the perfect conference for this adaptation - we’re already free, and the conference is now in its eighth year. Our legacy and our community are what we are. Keep your ears open and watch the twitter at @SeaGL for more info as we get closer to the date, which remains November 13-14, 2020. If you have anything you’d like to share, you can tweet at us up there or message us on IRC at #seagl on freenode, and

Also, we are looking for volunteers! Most immediately, we are looking for folks for the Program committee - you’ll be joining a fairly well-oiled machine, given discrete tasks, and get a view of how we run the program. We’re also looking for a dedicated social media human, as getting the word out will be more important than ever, and some dedication on this role will make a wonderful difference. We’ll also need room moderators for talks, and we want to hear your dreams for making an amazing virtual event. Please email us at to get started, whether for moderation, program, or general volunteer.

So watch this space as always, and until then, please take care of each other, check in, safely, with your neighbors, drink lots of water, and check if your favorite restaurant will do a curbside pickup!

SeaGL update as pertaining to COVID-19 aka Novel Coronavirus
March 20, 2020

Hi everyone, we’d like to give an estimation of what comes for SeaGL during the global pandemic. We are keeping a close eye on it and it may come to pass that we’ll have to postpone or cancel SeaGL 2020, as so many conferences, like our sister conference Linux Fest Northwest, have had to do.

We will give several months’ notice in the event we have to cancel.

However, we’re not ready to make that call yet. We will have more details soon, and we’re also working on a potential virtual solution in the event that it’s not safe to congregate (as it is unsafe to do so now, 20 March). In short, we’re working on an alternate plan, potentially multiple alternate plans. We’ll have more plans as the situation unfolds.

Until then, please take care of each other, check in, safely, with your neighbors, drink lots of water, and check if your favorite restaurant will do a curbside pickup!

Videos, videos, and more videos: 2019 Edition
March 17, 2020

Following up our previous announcement that the videos from our 2019 Keynote Presentations are available, we are pleased to share the videos for all remaining recorded talks.

Please be aware that unfortunately, due to an unknown issue, some of our recordings did not turn out. If we happen to find or receive a video file for any of the missing talks, we will be sure to update this post. We will also use this as a learning opportunity as we strive to improve heading into SeaGL 2020.

In no particular order:

Keynotes from 2019!
March 06, 2020

Hello and welcome to 2020! First, a bit of housekeeping. We have confirmed dates for this fall (OUR EIGHTH YEAR!!!) and those dates are November 13 & 14 2020. SeaGL (the Seattle GNU/Linux conference) is Seattle’s grassroots free/libre/open source software, hardware, and culture summit. Founded in 2013, SeaGL now features over 50 talks, four keynotes, and the Cascadia Community Builder Award each year. Join speakers and participants from around the world for Seattle’s FREE, as in freedom and coffee, GNU/Linux conference.

If you would like to help with this entirely volunteer-run, no-profit conference, please email us at and we’ll get talking soon about the details for the coming year’s conference.

Please find within our long-awaited videos of 2019’s fabulous keynotes, who were in no order, Abigail Cabunoc Mayes, Benjamin Mako Hill, Sage Sharp, and finally, Lisha Sterling!

Abigail’s keynote described a view into stewarding open source communities with a lens on learning and open leadership and open organizational design. Open By Design

Benjamin’s keynote describes a shift from open source tools to private organizations profiting from the community and technical work done over decades. How Markets Co-opted Free Software’s most Valuable Weapon (Note: Video is from a different event, but contains similar content with a higher production value)

Sage describes how to counter imposter syndrome on a cultural and systematic level, and the importance of including the very community members who need this support most. Countering Imposter Syndrome Culture

Lisha describes some of her work with Geeks Without Bounds and the limiting factor of corporate expression of power, pitted against activism, unions, and social justice. The Cost Of Freedom

Stay tuned this week for the next blog post on all recorded talks!

Podcast Preview: Free as in Freedom
November 13, 2019

At SeaGL this year (starting in TWO DAYS!!) we are so excited to welcome Bradley Kuhn and Karen Sandler from the Software Freedom Conservancy! They’ll be recording a live audio podcast and taking a few questions from the audience. In advance of their podcast recording, they’ve answered a few questions for us to get us all EXCITED for the live recording of Free as in Freedom, which you can attend Saturday at 3:45pm in room 3183!

What can folks expect from this episode of your podcast?

Karen and I have been doing our podcast, Free as in Freedom, semi-regularly since 2010 – nearly ten years! This will be our very first live episode. We hope to interact with the crowd and get questions from everyone.

We encourage folks who haven’t heard our show before to listen to a few episodes by visiting and get a sense of our podcast. We’ll be accepting written questions ahead of the show (find me and Karen for index cards to give us questions!), as well as questions from the audience during the show.

We do the podcast because there are very few podcasts that do in-depth discussion of policy issues around software freedom. This is the primary area we work in, so we try to make a show that can get deep into issues and consider the complex topics that face Free Software today.

What do smaller conferences (like SeaGL!) offer for FLOSS communities?

We’ve made a commitment to send a large part of Conservancy’s staff (the two of us, plus Deb Nicholson) to SeaGL because even though it’s small conference, SeaGL and events like it are exactly the types of events we need more of to promote software freedom.

These events are run by the community for individuals, not by big corporate interests. That means that there is no corporate agenda: the goal is to help attendees learn more about software freedom and become a part of the community using that software. We really appreciate the efforts of all the organizers to make this conference a success.

That said, what’s your favorite mid to large size open source conference and why?

FOSDEM is the obvious answer, because it is by far the largest run FOSS conference in history. With more than 4,000 attendees each year, FOSDEM is the main event each year, and it’s amazingly run by all volunteers! So, FOSDEM is what a community conference can become as it grows. While we wouldn’t expect SeaGL and other events to grow to this amazing size – FOSDEM is really unique – but we’re really glad for any event run by volunteers rather than companies and trade associations.

What’s a FLOSS project under the Software Freedom Conservancy that deserves more attention?

Some of our most essential work is Conservancy’s GPL enforcement work – whereby we work with many projects including Linux, BusyBox, Samba, Inkscape and others – to assure compliance with the GPL family of licenses. Particularly with regard to small Linux-based devices, we see an overwhelming need for a watchdog organization that assures the software freedom guaranteed under copyleft licenses like GPL. Conservancy is one of the very few organizations that focuses on the rights of users who receive these devices. We fundamentally believe that the next generation of inventive activities with FOSS will come from people using the source code of their devices to do new and interesting things with those devices. By assuring GPL compliance, we put the tools in the hands of the next generation of hacktivists who want to build community-oriented software.

Thanks Karen and Bradley!! See you Saturday at 3:45pm in room 3183!

All Keynotes for SeaGL 2019
November 12, 2019

SeaGL 2019 is in four days! So let’s give a quick wrapup on those keynotes!

On the first day of SeaGL 2019, Friday 15 November 2019, we have two AMAZING keynotes! Come on in to the Theater starting at 9am for the Friday conference kickoff. We’ll get started with announcements and welcome at 9:15, then begin with our first keynote, Lisha Sterling, going at 9:30am.

Lisha’s keynote is titled The Cost Of Freedom and she’ll be sharing lessons of proprietary versus non-proprietary software, power structures, and grassroots organizing. Lisha’s pronouns are she/her.

Next up we have Abigail Cabunoc Mayes at 10am! Abby comes to us from Mozilla and shepherding hundreds of open source projects, and she’ll be talking about the principles of open leadership and intentional openness in the design of future projects. Her talk is called Open by Design: Learning to Lead Openly. Abby’s pronouns are she/her.

Saturday we’ll be off to a strong start with Benjamin Mako Hill, a.k.a. just “Mako”, with How markets coopted free software’s most powerful weapon, a discussion of commons-based peer production projects and the impact of the private sector monetizing these, and what it means for those of us committed to working in commons. Mako’s pronouns are he/him.

Finally, on Saturday we are honored to present Sage Sharp. Sage has had an amazing career in countless facets of open source, and is here to share their talk, Countering Impostor Syndrome Culture, discussing how we can support one another and change our culture that creates and perpetuates impostor syndrome. Sage’s pronouns are they/them.