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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.

SeaGL 2019 Features
November 11, 2019

SeaGL is a great annual free software conference in Seattle. The 2019 schedule is ready for perusal. Like most community run conferences, SeaGL offers many extra features aside from excellent keynotes, conference talks and tutorials.

SeaGL sign pointing to the keynotes

Now in it’s seventh year, SeaGL even added two new features last year: TeaGL and daycare.

TeaGL is the SeaGL Tea Swap, offered during the Saturday afternoon break. Participants are encouraged to bring some favorite teas to share and discuss with others. Hot water is available to try teas on the spot.

Last year a sponsor wanted to provide daycare at the conference, so SeaGL added a new feature. The sponsor paid a commercial daycare service to come in both days. Daycare is one of the few SeaGL activities that required non-anonymous registration to attend SeaGL.

SeaGL volunteers work to respect the privacy of attendees ( email to volunteer ). Registration and conference participation are as anonymous as practical. Attendees don’t need to divulge personal data or use proprietary software to register. Attendees can even register the day of at SeaGL. The registration table is at the main entrance into the exhibition hall. You can pre-register if you’d like. It helps with attendee estimation.

The exhibition hall has tables for conference sponsors and for community groups. It is also where activities like snack breaks and TeaGL take place.

Some features such as daycare, snack breaks, and complementary lunch depend on organizational sponsorship. There is no registration fee, but SeaGL accepts individual sponsorship. If you or your company are interested in sponsoring SeaGL, please contact the sponsorship committee,

SeaGL has a strong hallway track where attendees chat with presenters and each other. Conversations take place before and after talks, in the exhibition hall and during social activities such as lunch and TeaGL. The conversations often take place in the hallways of the college, hence the nickname.

Speaking of the college, SeaGL continues to benefit from Seattle Central College’s (SCC) generous hosting. The college provides an auditorium for the keynotes, classrooms for the talks and a room for the exhibition hall. SCC also has gender free bathrooms.

Pine Street crosswalk is LGBTQ rainbow

The college is across the street from Seattle’s Jimi Hendrix statue. More importantly for the plain text geeks among us, SCC is on Pine St in the pine mail program’s home town. The street name has not been changed to Alpine to reflect full free version of the program. Pine Street is easy to spot, just outside the college there’s a rainbow crosswalk at Pine and Broadway.

SeaGL wraps up with a conference reception Saturday night. The reception has snacks and drinks. SeaGL makes sure there are vegetarian food options and non-alcoholic drink options. The reception also has awards and a prize drawing. Will you be the one to win the plush seagull this year?

The reception might also have activities such lightning talks, game shows, or even lightning talk karaoke. The SeaGL planning committee has worked the last couple years to have more chat time at the reception, extending the hallway track. Show up to find out what’s on the schedule this year.

penguin sculpture at a Seattle mall

Interested in sponsoring SeaGL, please contact the sponsorship committee,

If you would like to help promote SeaGL, please contact Flyers will be available at Ada’s Technical Books and Cafe.

SeaGL 2019 Final Details!
November 08, 2019

SeaGL 2019 approaches!! We are so excited for the conference NEXT weekend, Friday and Saturday, 15 & 16 November 2019! As you know this is our SEVENTH year. Within please find finalized details for the conference next weekend :)

Location First, the ordinary details. The conference is Friday Nov 15 and Saturday Nov 16, 2019, at the Seattle Central College.

The address is: 1701 Broadway Seattle, WA 98122

The location is at the corner of Pine and Broadway, in the heart of Capitol Hill! Here’s a link to the map. We’ll have signage guiding you in the southern plaza of the entryway. The talk rooms are all on the 3rd floor of the building, there are several stairwells and elevators to get to this floor, and we are printing maps to take and to refer to in key locations throughout our section of the Seattle Central College.

Please find here the schedule.

Keynotes Our keynotes, whom we are so so very honored to welcome to SeaGL, are the following: Abigail Cabunoc-Mayes Benjamin Mako Hill Lisha Sterling Sage Sharp

Childcare Childcare this year is being sponsored by Indeed! Please pop by their booth in the Expo Hall, and find the childcare room in 3199. If you’ll be bringing kiddos, please give us a heads up to expect them at

Food Coffee and tea is sponsored both days by CNCF! Thank you CNCF for keeping us caffeinated! We will be buying pizza and salad and will be accepting donations if you care to do so, but ALL are welcome to eat. We were unable to rustle up a food sponsor this year, but if you know a lovely open source adoring company who might want to help us with this for this year or in the future, please email us at!

TeaGL On Saturday afternoon during the afternoon break, for the tea aficionados, please bring your favorite tea to swap and prepare! We’ll have kettles with REAL hot water and milks/sugar, dairy and otherwise. We may have more on this later :)

Code of Conduct SeaGL is dedicated to providing a harassment-free conference experience for everyone, during all days of the conference, including at the evening party after the last talk on Saturday. You can reach us at if you are being harassed, notice someone else is being harassed, or have any other concerns.

Please refresh yourself on our Code of Conduct.

Party The party will take place at Sole Repair Shop, a restaurant and bar near the venue. Our two emcees Lucy and Rachel are preparing a night of entertainment for all! There will be some food and one drink ticket per attendee. Kids are welcome! The address is: 1001 E Pike St Seattle WA 98122

Social Media Please use the #SeaGL2019 hashtag when tweeting about the conference, any of the talks, or the party! We post and retweet on Twitter and we’ll be on IRC all weekend too, so please join us there if that’s your flavor, at the #seagl channel. We do not maintain a slack chat and will not be checking the facebook page over the weekend.

So get at us on IRC at in #seagl or on twitter @SeaGL or using #SeaGL2019! Can’t wait to see you in ONE WEEK!

2019 Talk Selection Process
November 04, 2019

We’re so excited for SeaGL 2019 in LESS THAN TWO WEEKS! Our speakers have accepted, our keynotes are gearing up to deliver some phenomenal insights, and we’re getting the rest of the details worked out in the coming weeks. Today we’d like to share the process we used to manage the Call For Proposals at SeaGL. This document is as much for your edification as it is a record for ourselves for future years!

First, we decided on the CFP announcement. Last year’s was very good, so a few needed alterations were made but it was more or less published as is. That was published 25 June 2019. The CFP was open from 25 June to 14 August. The initial plan was to open til 11 August, but in leaving it a couple more days and scaring up a few more submissions, we had a significantly better return.

The next six weeks were a big rush of tweeting and emailing personal contacts to request a proposal to our CFP. Getting the word out to many area meetups in Seattle and Portland as well as at open source conferences like Libre Planet and ScaLe was also critical in getting new voices. We also held office hours every Wednesday at 12pm Pacific, where we advised folks on their talk proposals. Further, we reached out to local meetup groups in Seattle and Portland.

During this time, we began the process for keynote searching. Within our community, several individuals were nominated, and we reached out one by one until we had a WONDERFUL lineup! Next year, the plan is to begin this keynoting process well before the CFP, rather than during!

Also during that time, the program chair gathered a group of individuals to review, some with experience at SeaGL and some new. This year we had seven members of the review team and coordinated to read and rate all talks. In previous years, this has been on a 3 point scale, summarized as “No, No Opinion, Yes”. This year, we stretched that to 4 points, with not-voting being one the lowest one could “vote”. We will return to the 3 point scale next year, as it was difficult to tell what one had voted on, and how many reviewers had yet to vote on all talks.

After we all did the first pass, we wanted to aggregate first-time speaker and underrepresented speaker information with some SQL in the Open Source Event Management software. Next year, this will be done first. This information is critical for assembling the schedule and speakers. However, after collecting this datadump, we found that these talks had already been highly rated in the first pass!

Total, we had 121 talk submissions. This was lower than previous years by about a third. We’ve heard from sister conferences that their submission numbers have also been low, so we chalk up our numbers to similar effects, as well less outreach than in previous years. 18 of these submissions were by underrepresented speakers (14%), and 13 were by first time speakers (10%). So nearly one quarter of submissions were by underrepresented & first time speakers, which is lower than previous years. We have more work to do in the future on outreach! We’re incredibly proud of our community, and it is extremely important to us to represent this community accurately, including first-time speakers and underrepresented community members.

At this point, we created the list of accepts, waitlists, and declines. Through OSEM (aforementioned Open Source Event Management software), we were able to send the accepts/declines out programmatically, and then handful of speakers with waitlisted talks were emailed manually. As happens, most everyone accepted, a few had to decline, and we bumped a couple folks up on the wait list.

After solidifying and confirming the lineup, the schedule started to come together. Some of the thoughts on this were to keep tracks/similar talks in the same room, and to make sure there was no time slot with only one “type” of talk. It was also important to make sure that there were non-code talks in every time slot.

We then needed to solidify the room numbers we would be using, so that those could be affixed to the online and printed schedule. The printers have a tighter deadline than the conference itself, so getting that worked out in advance was critical. As a result, we’ll have printed personal conference schedules for everyone!

Thanks for reading this bit of conference and CFP geekery!

October 07, 2019

Today we announce the schedule for SeaGL 2019! November 15 and November 16 will be an amazing couple of days of talks, and we can’t WAIT to see you there!

Please note, the room numbers have not been finalized, but when we get closer to the date of the conference, we’ll have those ready for you. So for now, they’re “Room 1,” “Room 2,” etc. We look forward to having these finalized within a couple weeks at most.

SeaGL 2019 Schedule

2019 Keynote Announcement: Benjamin Mako Hill
September 30, 2019

Benjamin Mako Hill is our fourth and final keynote presenter for SeaGL 2019!

Benjamin Mako Hill is a social scientist, technologist, and activist. In all three roles, he works to understand why some attempts at peer production—like Wikipedia and Linux—build large volunteer communities while the vast majority never attract even a second contributor. He is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Washington and a founding member of the Community Data Science Collective. He is also a Faculty Associate at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University. He has also been a leader, developer, and contributor to the free and open source software community for more than a decade as part of the Debian and Ubuntu projects.

SeaGL 2019 List of Talks and Speakers!
September 24, 2019

To tide us all over until the official Schedule is published, here is the list of confirmed speakers and their talks. We’re still waiting to confirm a handful of talks and we’ll update this as this small amount of changes comes in.

Talks for SeaGL 2019

  • Bri Hatch - A QUIC History of HTTP
  • Toby Betts - Playing in the Sandbox
  • Jeff Silverman - How to Use Linux Tools to Troubleshoot Small Networks
  • Nell Shamrell - Devops: A History
  • JJ Ashgar - Kubernetes Training by IBM
  • Nadine Whitfield - Left Shift Security (LS^2)
  • Robert Joslyn - Building Custom Linux Systems with Yocto
  • Nishant Sharma - Taking control of our Networks, Data & Privacy
  • Gareth J. Greenaway - The Death Star Postmortem
  • Alice Monsen - Digital Art Characters Step-by-step with Krita
  • der.hans - Debian Software Management
  • Joe Roets - Releasing Open Source Code in a Large Enterprise
  • Brett Sheffield - Privacy, Decentralisation, and Scaling with IPv6 Multicast
  • Amulya Bandikatla - Microservices: A Cautionary Tale
  • Lance Albertson - Introduction to test-kitchen and InSpec
  • Bradley M. Kuhn - Open Source Won, but Software Freedom Hasn’t Yet: A Guide & Commiseration Session for FOSS activists
  • Deb Goodkin - 25+ Years of FreeBSD and Why You Should Get Involved!
  • Matt McGraw - Getting Started with Nextcloud
  • Brian Raiter - My Own Private Binary
  • Mike Hamrick - Consistent Technical Documents using EMACS and Org-Mode
  • Aeva Black - DIY Decentralization
  • Hailee Kenney - Empowering New Programmers through Introductory Arduino Workshops
  • AJ Jordan - Chaos in the System
  • Brian Mock - Building your own Keyboard with Free Software
  • Ryan McKern - Bash 101: platforms, user-space, and built-ins
  • Eva Monsen - Text Recognition in Images
  • Aaron Wolf - Codes of Conduct and Restorative & Transformative Justice
  • Oscar Baechler - Digital Painting in Krita
  • Flynn Liu - Lesser-Known Features of GNU Makefile
  • Michael Smith - Classic Tools for the Modern Age: Introducing Wash, the cloud native shell
  • Deb Nicholson - Make it Official: In Praise of Official Programs for Diversity & Inclusion
  • Johannes Ernst - Project Springtime: a DIY backyard hydroponics system developed open-source-style
  • Mairi Dulaney - Controlling your model trains with your computer and free software
  • Dawn Parzych - The Fallacy of “Move Fast and Break Things”
  • Garrett Honeycutt - Security Compliance Testing with InSpec
  • Adam Monsen - Containerized sourcery 🧙 with Docker and Snap
  • Gaba - The Tor Project: The State of the Onion
  • John SJ Anderson - Once more with style
  • Vagrant Cascadian - There and Back Again, Reproducibly!
  • Rachel Kelly - Adventures in De-Googling
  • Jerome Comeau - “Technical”ly Incorrect
  • Mark Polyakov - 2019: A Lisp Odyssey
  • Kate Pond - “This is fine” (the meme)
  • Audrey Eschright - Organizing your way to a long and healthy career
  • Dwayne Thomas - More than dabbling in a Security Engineer career
  • Philip James - The Elephant and the Serpent: Using Mastodon with Python
  • Emmanuel Morales - Free Press, Free Society
  • Wm Salt Hale - Bicycles as a Metaphor for FLOSS
  • Keith Packard - Snek: A Python-Inspired Language for Tiny Embedded Computers
  • Athan Spathas - Glass Beatstation: An open source mobile and modular musical interface for Linux machines and musicians that don’t know how to use Linux