Free and Open Software Conference and Expo - Columbus, Ohio - October 24-26, 2014

Call for Presentations

February 21, 2014vance

The 2014 Ohio LinuxFest is looking for presentations on Friday and Saturday, October 24 and 25 at the Greater Columbus Convention Center. Please submit your talk proposals by the deadline of July 24 (hopefully sooner!) to make sure you'll be considered.

Q. What sort of audience can I expect?

A. This event attracts people interested in Free and Open Source Software running on Linux, BSD, and other platforms. Attendance is more skewed toward programming and system administration professionals, although casual users are a significant minority. You'll probably be speaking to 50-100 people, although popular talks can draw a few hundred.

Q. What subjects are you looking for?

A. Most presentations have a practical benefit to the audience, showing them how to use or set up a particular tool. Covering best practices, such as in development or security, is also popular. Past subjects have included IPv6 networking, media production with Free Software, virtualization, and accessibility. You can also talk about non-technical subjects like licensing or "soft skills" like delegation or working in teams, although these are best delivered by experienced speakers. Purely academic presentations are less suitable; for example, a comparison of performance between filesystems would be of interest when talking about btrfs, ext4, and XFS, but not for research filesystems that aren't in use outside the lab.

Q. What is the format for presentations?

A. You'll have a public address system and projector available for slideshows and demonstrations. Most talks have one presenter, but tag-team presentations and panel discussions are also welcome. Time slots are 50 minutes long, including time for questions and answers, so plan your talk length accordingly.

Q. May I submit more than one presentation?

A. Sure! Do note that for practical reasons, one is probably the maximum we will end up accepting.

Q. What information do I need to submit?

A. Your proposal should have a minimum of two sections: one giving the abstract for your talk, and one discussing your background and experience. You can include a third section giving additional details you don't want to appear in the abstract.

Q. What should my abstract contain?

A. Try to concisely (under 150 words) describe the subject of your talk. Don't assume that we know what a particular application does; in addition to the name, provide a few words describing it. Talk about what the audience will get out of the presentation. Will they be able to configure a firewall? Will they know the difference between process schedulers? Will they be able to simulate electrical circuits?

Q. What should I talk about in my background section?

A. Let us know why you are the person who should be delivering this presentation. Describe the amount and level of engagement you've had with the subject. Also list prior speaking experience, even if it hasn't been on a technical subject. If there is video or audio of your prior performance, give us a link to it! If you have an alternate e-mail address you'd like us to use to contact you, include it here. A phone number would be great also.

Q. Oops, I made a mistake in my proposal! How can I fix it?

A. Visit your user page on the site; talks you've submitted will be listed there. Follow the link and you should be able to edit your proposal.

Q. How much prior speaking experience do I need?

A. More is always a good thing, but we're also interested in having first-time speakers who are passionate about a particular technology. Don't count yourself out just because you've never presented at a technical conference; if you have something to share, we want to hear even if you're new at it!

Q. Where can I get more help on writing a good proposal?

A. Here's a good article (see the video) on getting your talk accepted. Another good resource for developing your talk is You can also contact us at with any questions.

Q. What is this Speaker Agreement thing?

A. It is the formal document setting out your and our rules and responsibilities. Go and read it now. Seriously. You will need to accept it in order to submit your proposal.

Q. I'm ready to go! How do I get started?

A. First, create an account if you don't have one already. Log in and follow the link for proposal submission. Fill in the details and submit! You can always contact us at with any questions. Remember, the deadline is July 24, 2014, so don't delay.

Q. When will I hear back?

A. We will do a preliminary review as the closing deadline approaches. After the closing date, we'll assemble the talks into tracks and notify speakers within about 7-10 days. It's possible that some speakers may not confirm attendance; we would then contact others to fill those slots. Overall, we intend to have the final line-up ready to announce no later than a month after the CFP closes.

Q. This doesn't sound quite right for me. Are there any other options?

A. We will be having other activities over the weekend including Birds of a Feather sessions and the Diverse Inclusive Open Source workshop. Keep an eye out on the web site for announcements relating to these opportunities.