Skip to content, sitemap or skip to search.

Personal tools
Join now
You are here: Home Blogs Community Everything you need to know about LibrePlanet 2020, now fully online!

Everything you need to know about LibrePlanet 2020, now fully online!

by Zoe Kooyman Contributions Published on Mar 12, 2020 04:01 PM

It's been a bumpy road, but in just three days, LibrePlanet 2020 will continue -- now online-only for the first time, and via a fully free streaming setup. We are excited to hear from our fantastic speakers and connect with the global free software community. Read on to see how you can participate!

All in-person events canceled and discouraged

As a reminder, we have canceled all in-person events associated with LibrePlanet 2020. This includes the "extracurricular" events like the FSF office open house, as well as the women and nonbinary dinner.

In the interest of everyone's health, even if you are in Boston, we ask that you don't visit the FSF office unless you make specific advance arrangements with us (such as for streaming your talk). We normally pride ourselves on welcoming visitors year-round, so this is hard for us too, but we appreciate your understanding. If you have any further questions, please don't hesitate to write to

How to watch online

Our tech team will be working tirelessly during the entire conference to make the online experience of the event as smooth as possible. Bookmark the page as your starting point.

The schedule for the online conference will be sticking as closely to the original schedule as possible, with some variation due to speaker availability and technical requirements -- only this time, instead of speaking from Boston, talks will be delivered from all over the "libre" planet! Thankfully, barring any last-minute complications, we still anticipate our three exciting keynote speeches, with presentations by Internet Archive founder Brewster Kahle, Public Lab co-founder Shannon Dosemagen, and a panel of young hackers talking about their interpretations of the conference's "Free the Future" theme. You also won't want to miss the announcement of this year's Free Software Award winners on Saturday evening.

Please note that the United States has just transitioned into Daylight Saving Time (DST), which may have put us an hour further away from your region. All times listed in the schedule are given in terms of the UTC−04:00 timezone.

Audience participation

As in past years, remote participation will be facilitated via the timeless IRC communication platform, but our plans are expanding this year, as we expect increased virtual participation from both viewers and speakers. IRC will enable you to mingle with other LibrePlanet participants, and will allow even more attendees to participate in each session's Q&A section, since an FSF staff member or volunteer will be present for every session to collect questions from the chat, and relay them to our speakers (assuming the speaker provides time for questions). FSF staff and volunteers will also be present to ensure that the online conference adheres to the Safe Space Policy.

As people have already become familiar with them and to prevent any confusion, we are keeping the planned channel names, which were named for the rooms in the venue we had intended to use. After all, everyone can appreciate "freedom!"

You can participate in the LibrePlanet IRC chat by joining one of the following channels, all on the Freenode network.

  • General: #libreplanet
  • Back Bay Grand Ballroom: #libreplanet_room_grand
  • Patriot Room: #libreplanet_room_patriot
  • Freedom Room: #libreplanet_room_freedom

Lightning talks

One good thing about moving the conference to cyberspace is the increased opportunity it gives us for lightning talks! We'll be able to accept prerecorded lightning talks this year, giving you an opportunity to give the world a (brief!) introduction to your favorite free software project, or your free software-related ideas and obsessions.

Lightning talks can be submitted following the instructions we posted. In order to ensure that our schedule stays on track, you must keep your talk below five minutes in length. To keep LibrePlanet memorable and engaging, we also ask that any prerecorded talks be videos that were recorded for the purpose of LibrePlanet streaming, and not be videos of talks you have given at other conferences or events.

Social media

Are you on GNU social, Mastodon, Diaspora, or another microblogging platform? Please post I'm watching #LibrePlanet online! at, and share your experience.

We will be posting continual updates throughout both days of the conference. Follow the Free Software Foundation on these microblog services:

  • GNU social at
  • Mastodon at
  • on Diaspora

You can also find us on Twitter at -- to read about why we use Twitter, but only with caveats, see

Support the FSF by buying LibrePlanet T-shirts and other gear

We're going to have to forego the famous GNU Press merchandise table this year, but you'll still be able to order as many shirts, scarves, books, and sundry items as you like from the FSF's online shop. From there, you can get your souvenir shirt commemorating the first ever fully online LibrePlanet. If you have pre-purchased a LibrePlanet 2020 T-shirt, expect to hear from us soon. Your purchases are key to funding LibrePlanet and the rest of the FSF's work.

In previous years, you've also been able to buy raffle tickets at the GNU Press table to win great freedom-respecting prizes. While we won't be able to hold a raffle online, we will be announcing prize giveaways next week. Stay tuned!

Requesting a registration fee refund

If you're not an FSF associate member, it's likely that you paid for a conference registration. Before requesting a refund, we ask that you keep in mind that the FSF is a nonprofit with a social mission, and canceling an event the size of LibrePlanet places a large financial and administrative burden on us. Please consider using the price of your admission as a donation to the FSF to show your support.

At the same time, we understand that the conference you paid to attend is no longer happening in the same way. If you would like to request a refund, please email your request to

We look forward to seeing you online at this year's LibrePlanet!

Document Actions

The FSF is a charity with a worldwide mission to advance software freedom — learn about our history and work. is powered by:


Send your feedback on our translations and new translations of pages to