LibrePlanet: Conference/2013/Sessions

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March 23rd-24th 2013 in Cambridge, MA

With some events on the evening of Friday the 22nd

About | Full Program (PDF) | Photos | Video | Speakers | Schedule | Session descriptions | Transportation and lodging | Anti-harassment policy

These sessions are subject to change as conference plans are finalized.

Saturday, March 23

Welcome: John Sullivan followed by Opening Plenary: Negotiation Theory for Geeks: Leslie Hawthorn

9:00 AM
Lecture Hall A

The best free software hackers are great at the "soft skills" related to hacking - resolving conflict, gathering support around a direction for the project, and understanding what the user *really* wants when filing a bug report. Every feature request and implementation discussion, bug report and mailing list thread is a negotiation.

There is a well established, common sense, very effective way to think of negotiations which will help you improve as a developer, and make your project better at the same time, from the Harvard Negotiation Project. In this talk, Leslie Hawthorn will provide an overview of negotiation theory and pointers to further resources. She will also explore the importance of *both* empathy and transparency in our communications as we look to make our free software project communities most successful.

While Leslie owns many a D10 and D20, there will be no role playing exercises included as part this presentation.

Saturday All Day Sessions

10:20 AM - 5:00 PM

Free Software Directory sprint (running 10:20-5:00) (A)
Led by Joshua Gay
Room 112

Tens of thousands of people visit the Free Software Directory each month to discover free software. Each entry in the Directory contains a wealth of useful information, from basic category and descriptions, to providing detailed info about version control, IRC channels, documentation, and licensing info.

Stop by the Directory sprint to help improve existing entries and to add new ones, or to find out about our latest efforts, such as importing package info from GNU/Linux distributions.

Coreboot and Replicant Install Party (running 10:20-5:00) (A)
Led by Denis Carikli
Room 101b

Bring a ThinkPad X60 or T60 laptop and experts will help you replace your proprietary BIOS with Coreboot, which is free software. If you plan to attend, please add your name to the list here.

We'll also be replacing Android with Replicant, a free software version of the OS. Go here to check the compatibility of your phone and add your name to the list.

Saturday Morning Sessions

10:20 AM

Intro to Free Software (D)
Libby Reinish and Zak Rogoff
Lecture Hall A

The FSF campaigns team will introduce the core concepts of free software and connect them to other popular social movements. Then we'll talk about the FSF's activism around software freedom issues and ways to get involved. If you're a newcomer to the free software movement, don't miss this session!

Right to Repair (E)
Alison Chaiken and Brian Hickey
Room 110

In 2012 Massachusetts voters resoundingly endorsed the principle of control over their own devices when they passed the Right to Repair ballot measure. "Right to Repair requires automakers to sell the same repair and diagnostic information and tools to independent repair shops, consumers and franchised dealerships." What are the implications of the Right to Repair movement for consumer choices about automotive software and more broadly, for the right of owners to control the software that runs on their personal electronic devices? 2012 brought news about trends like autonomous vehicle operation, usage-based insurance, and broad availability of mass-market vehicles that run Gnu Public Licensed software. As regulators and lawmakers struggle to catch up, campaigns like Right to Repair offer an opportunity for the free software movement to make common cause with philosophical allies in the automotive small-business and "shade-tree mechanic" communities. The outcome of upcoming decisions will affect stakeholders ranging from car manufacturers to transportation planners to emergency responders.

Free Software and 3D Printing (S)
Aeva Palecek
Lecture Hall D

Aeva Palecek discusses the current state of Free Software in the context of libre hardware 3D printing - exciting developments, opportunities for further involvement, and areas of concern. The talk will include a demonstration of hardware from Lulzbot - the first libre hardware company to earn the FSF's "Respects Your Freedom" certification.

Saturday Afternoon First Sessions

1:00 PM

When Free Software Isn't (Practically) Better (D)
Benjamin Mako Hill
Lecture Hall D

Despite the rhetoric, free software isn't always better than proprietary software and it isn't always particularly collaborative. Indeed, social science has shown that most free software projects are small and and the work of a single hacker. In this talk, I will walk through some of the academic research on FLOSS, and explain why free software "failures" are not something we need to be ashamed of or to hide and are something that we -- as a community -- can address and work toward!

Expanding the Tent (E)
Deb Nicholson, Jonathan Nadeau, Beth Lynn Eicher
Lecture Hall A

Growing a movement requires proactive efforts to reach new audiences and recruit new leaders who represent currently underrepresented groups. Hear about the need to expand the tent, and some of the ways to do it, from people who are working towards a more diverse free software movement. Deb Nicholson will talk about her work with The Ada Initiative and OpenHatch, which is focused on recruiting and retaining more women in free software, plus making it easier for new people to get involved. Jonathan Nadeau will speak to just how crucial free software is for people who depend on assistive technology. And Beth Lynn Eicher will talk about her work as Free Software Director of Computer Reach, which deploys free software to developing countries such as Ghana.

Free Software Communities and the Cloud (S)
Dave Neary
Room 110

Infrastructure as a Service, Platform as a Service, Software as a Service, the move to mobile and tablets... in the world of the cloud, the user has less and less visibility into what is happening under the covers of his computing environment.

What does it mean to be Free Software if you are not distributing any software? What is the nature of communities for cloud projects like OpenStack? In a cloudy world, can people still hope to control their computing environments? When all our applications are web applications, accessed on a mobile platform like a phone or a tablet, does the concept of Free software make any sense? Will mobile and the cloud kill Free Software?

Saturday Afternoon Second Sessions

2:20 PM

LibreOffice 4.0: the history (D)
Italo Vignoli
Room 110

The Document Foundation and LibreOffice were born on September 28, 2010, after several months of incubation, as a fork of The founders were amongst the leaders of the OOo community, and after 10 years under the Sun umbrella envisioned a future of independence, with a foundation based on democracy and meritocracy. LibreOffice has been based on OOo source code, and has attracted a large community of developers which is today the third largest for an open source desktop application. Today, LibreOffice is the free office suite of choice for most enterprise migrations, and the de facto standard for Linux distributions.

The GNOME Outreach Program for Women: Lessons in Collaboration (E)
Marina Zhurakhinskaya
Lecture Hall D

GNOME's Outreach Program for Women has recently expanded to include multiple free software organizations and has provided 72 women with an opportunity to participate in free software internships. This talk will cover the history of the program, what makes it successful, and how the same strategies can be used for engaging all new contributors.

Federated free software futures (S)
Chris Webber and Evan Prodromou
Lecture Hall A

Evan Prodromou of StatusNet/ and Christopher Allan Webber of GNU MediaGoblin sit down to discuss free software and federation on the web. Conversation will involve both short introductions to the speakers' relevant projects and discussion of the future of these technologies and the web's evolving impact on user freedom.

Saturday Afternoon Third Sessions

3:40 PM

Demystifying Blender: Quick ways to get into 3D Graphics with free software (D)
Bassam Kurdali
Lecture Hall D

Blender is well known, stunningly feature rich and production tested Free 3D animation program. It has the reputation of being hard to use, so we'll attempt here to ease the learning curve, and introduce some fun – but slightly hidden – easy to use features, that can get you making nice effects quickly while you explore the fundamentals. We'll make some, trees and plants, do some rendering, and cover some of the basics on the way, including where to go on and offline for future reference.

Free software for a healthy democracy (E)
Remy DeCausemaker and Paul Tagliamonte
Lecture Hall A

Speakers from the Sunlight Foundation and the RIT Lab for Technological Literacy will discuss the role Free Software plays in improving access, openness, and transparency of the democratic process, and share stories and favorite projects from their adventures in Civic Hacking.

Licensing & compliance: a collective effort (S)
Joshua Gay, Bradley Kuhn, Donald Robertson III
Room 110

Saturday Afternoon Plenary: How mobile computing became an unprecedented threat to user freedom: Richard Stallman followed by the Free Software Awards Ceremony

5:00 PM
Lecture Hall A

FSF president Richard Stallman will address one of today's hot topics in free software issues: mobile computing. The plenary will end with the free software awards.

The Free Software Foundation Award for the Advancement of Free Software is presented annually by Richard Stallman to an individual who has made a great contribution to the progress and development of free software, through activities that accord with the spirit of free software. The Award for Projects of Social Benefit is presented to the project or team responsible for applying free software, or the ideas of the free software movement, in a project that intentionally and significantly benefits society in other aspects of life.

Saturday Social Events

6:00 PM

There will be unofficial social events that accompany the LibrePlanet Conference. See Social Events to view the planned events and feel free to add your own.

Sunday, March 24

Sunday All Day Sessions

9:00 AM - 5:00 PM

MediaGoblin Hackathon (A) (running 9:00 - 5:00)
Chris Webber and the MediaGoblin team
Room 112

Meet MediaGoblin contributors and get started working on GNU MediaGoblin, the decentralized free software web software for publishing images, video, audio, and more. Contributions of all kinds are welcome, ranging from coding, graphic design, documentation, translations, and even installing and testing the software. We'll be here all day, drop by and help us change the future of media on the web!

Alternate track: Upstream University Training
Loic Dachary
Room 109
This is a day-long training for people interested in getting started contributing to development of free software project. Space is limited; register in advance!.

Sunday Morning First Sessions

9:00 AM

IPython: tools for the entire lifecycle of research computing (D)
Fernando Perez
Lecture Hall D

The IPython project ( provides a rich architecture for interactive computing with. Its architecture is designed in a language-agnostic way to facilitate interactive computing in any language, allowing users to mix Python with R, Octave, Julia, Ruby, Perl, Bash and more.

In this talk, I will show how IPython supports all stages in the lifecycle of a scientific idea: individual exploration, collaborative development, large-scale production using parallel resources, publication and education. In particular, the IPython Notebook provides an environment for "literate computing" with a tight integration of narrative and computation. These Notebooks are stored an open document format that provides an "executable paper": notebooks can be version controlled, exported to HTML or PDF for publication, and used for teaching.

Copyright and Internet Architecture: Where Have We Come Since SOPA/PIPA?
Wendy Seltzer (E)
Lecture Hall A

Freedom in your browser: LibreJS and IceCat (S)
Loic Duros
Room 110

In this talk, GNU IceCat and LibreJS maintainer Loic Duros will briefly present how these two activist projects are fighting for your freedom, how they make the web a little more free one site or extension at a time, and how they need your help and dedication to succeed in 2013.

Sunday Morning Second Sessions

10:20 AM

Creative Commons and Wikimedia: Designing Systems to Support Free Knowledge (D)
Kat Walsh
Room 110

Seeking impact with Free Culture projects (E)
ginger coons
Lecture Hall A

This talk uses Libre Graphics magazine -- an art, design and culture publication produced with Free/Libre software and methods-- as a case study for the discussion of organization, centralization and credibility in Free Culture projects. Covering problems of control, institutional relations and dealing with haters, the presentation will offer an insight into walking the line between collective and company.

Debian and GNU (S)
Stefano Zacchiroli
Lecture Hall D

We have a lot of GNU in Debian (hence our GNU/Linux, GNU/kFreeBSD, and GNU/Hurd names and choices), but how are the two projects otherwise related? In this session we will discuss Debian objectives and peculiarities, and how they related to GNU. We will also cover recent collaboration efforts between the two projects and how we can improve upon them to the betterment of Free Software.


11:30 AM

Sunday Afternoon First Sessions

1:00 PM

The Trisquel project, pushing together to the next level (D)
Ruben Rodriguez
Lecture Hall D

The Trisquel GNU/Linux distribution was born nine years ago as a local college project but soon started to grow into a more general purpose operating system. Since 2008 it has been providing a libre Ubuntu based derivative, and has just published its latest major upgrade. Many challenges lay in the way of making a fully featured and fully free operating system, and still we added the goals of making it easy to use, attractive and accessible, so we need as many hands as possible. Join us for a new chapter of the project!

Global communities building free Health IT platforms (E)
Michael Downey and Hamish Fraser
Lecture Hall A

OpenMRS is a free software platform to manage electronic medical records, originally designed in 2004 for use in the developing world but now used in a variety health care and research environments. The collaborative needs of physicians in Kenya, Haiti, South Africa, and the US all pointed toward a default model of openness if only to “get work done” in the face of the urgent need of better healthcare in these countries. The modular architecture that evolved has led to an active ecosystem of developers and system implementers who are creating specific tools for different health care needs. As a result, the OpenMRS platform is assisting clinicians and researchers in a wide variety of contexts. In this talk, you’ll hear how people are using OpenMRS to manage health information in everything from small clinics to national health care systems.

Replicant: addressing Android freedom issues (S)
Denis Carikli
Room 110

The talk will go through the freedom issues in android, their possible solutions, and then in the second part of I will present the Replicant project in more detail.

Lightning talks
Room 101b
Lightning talks are short presentations given by conference attendees on free software topics they're passionate about. Go here to sign up to give a talk or to suggest a topic.

Sunday Afternoon Second Sessions


Defective by Design (D)
Room 110

Embracing Secure Boot and Rejecting Restricted Boot (E)
Matthew Garrett
Lecture Hall D

Microsoft have successfully imposed Secure Boot on broad sections of the PC market, and Restricted Boot continues to be prevalent on mobile devices. How can we ensure that users remain in control of their hardware in order to ensure they remain in control of their software?

Passwords suck, but centralized proprietary services are not the answer (S)
Francois Marier
Lecture Hall A

Passwords are a big problem online and a lot of websites have turned to centralized services to handle logins for them. It's a disturbing trend from a privacy/surveillance point of view, but from a software freedom point of view, it's also turning these proprietary services into core dependencies.

That's why Mozilla is building Persona, a new federated and cross-browser system which makes identity a standard part of the browser. It's simple, privacy-sensitive and entirely free software.

Sunday Afternoon Third Sessions

3:40 PM

Freedom to Organize Online: The CiviCRM Story (So Far) (E)
Donald Lobo and Tim Otten
Lecture Hall A

CiviCRM is a Free Software community that brings together developers, activists, and public servants around the world to provide web-based tools for civic discourse. The session will describe the CiviCRM journey from conception till today -- the highs and the lows; what worked and didn't; the past, the present, and the future. We will touch on the technical, social, and financial aspects of building a Free Software community. And of course -- we'll give a quick tour of the software and show off some leading sites using CiviCRM today.

Servers: The Libre Frontier (S)
Ward Vandewege, Nico Cesar, Martin Dluhos
Lecture Hall D

Beyond Illustration: an Introduction to Inkscape and its Ecosystem (D)
Emily Dirsh, Red Hat
Room 110

Inkscape is a well known free vector illustration program, but its capabilities go well beyond just illustration. Inkscape has a robust ecosystem of extensions, complimentary tooling, and compatible free design tools. Learn how to create amazing presentations, layout documents, create rapid prototypes, and more with Inkscape, and little help from its friends.

Closing Plenary: Idealism for Community Building: Karen Sandler

Lecture Hall A
5:00 PM

It was plastered all over the news: the GNOME project was dead. There were forks. So why, in a tough economy, did GNOME got more donations from individuals in 2012 than in any previous year? Why were its outreach efforts to bring in newcomers more successful? In sum, big ideas on how to make the world a better place through software.