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You are here: Home Blogs Community Mark your calendars: LibrePlanet 2019 will take place March 23-24!

Mark your calendars: LibrePlanet 2019 will take place March 23-24!

by Georgia Young Contributions Published on Sep 05, 2018 09:41 AM
The eleventh annual LibrePlanet free software conference will be held March 23-24, 2019, in the Boston area!

The call for proposals is open now, until October 26, 2018. General registration and exhibitor and sponsor registration are also open, so submit your talk and workshop ideas, and register for the conference today!

LibrePlanet is an annual conference for free software users and anyone who cares about the intersection of technology and social justice. For more than a decade, LibrePlanet has brought together thousands of diverse voices and knowledge bases, including free software developers, policy experts, activists, hackers, students, and people who have just begun to learn about free software.

LibrePlanet 2019 will feature sessions for all ages and experience levels. Newcomers can gain a deeper understanding of free software and strong connections with the community here: in 2018, Sharon Woods, general counsel for the Defense Digital Service (US Department of Defense) said, “Last year was my first LibrePlanet... I walked away a complete believer in free software.” This year is your chance to join the hundreds of people from around the world who attend LibrePlanet each year and the thousands more who participate online by watching the free software-powered livestream, joining the conversation on IRC, or viewing nearly 40 hours of archived video on the Free Software Foundation's (FSF) GNU MediaGoblin instance.

LibrePlanet 2019's theme is “Trailblazing Free Software.” In 1983, the free software movement was born with the announcement of the GNU Project. FSF founder Richard Stallman saw the dangers of proprietary code from the beginning: when code was kept secret from users, they would be controlled by the technology they used, instead of vice versa. In contrast, free software emphasized a community-oriented philosophy of sharing code freely, enabling people to understand how the programs they used worked, to build off of each other's code, to pay it forward by sharing their own code, and to create useful software that treated users fairly.

When he identified control over one's own computer as a requirement for ethical, trustworthy computing, Stallman anticipated some of the most toxic aspects of today's proprietary software-filled world, including Digital Restrictions Management (DRM), bulk surveillance, and Service as a Software Substitute (SaaSS). With a new and growing generation of free software enthusiasts, we can take this conference as an opportunity to discuss both the present and the future of the free software movement. Using the Four Freedoms as a litmus test for ethical computing, we ask, "How will free software continue to bring to life trailblazing, principled new technologies and new approaches to the world?"

Call for proposals

LibrePlanet 2019's talks and hands-on workshops can be for developers, young people, newcomers to free software, activists looking for technology that aligns with their ideals, policymakers, hackers, artists, and tinkerers -- and we really want you to propose a talk! Talks and workshops should examine or utilize free software, copyleft, and related issues, but otherwise, the sky's the limit. Here are some types of talks presented at LibrePlanets past:

  • Updates on free software projects, especially if they fulfill a High Priority Free Software need;
  • The intersection of free software and broader social issues or trends (such as sharing economies vs. gig economies);
  • How to fight the deleterious effects of proprietary software, using free software (for example, securing your digital presence against mass government or corporate surveillance);
  • An introduction to an aspect of free software, for children or newcomers of all ages (for example, free software-based computing for children, getting started with free software);
  • A hands-on workshop using free software for a specific application (e.g. self-hosting a free software webmail server, or using LaTeX), again, for beginners or advanced audiences;
  • Copyleft and other free software legal issues;
  • Free software and government; and
  • How to make art with free software (for example, photogrammetry, music composition).

Check out talk videos of LibrePlanet 2018 for more ideas!

Submissions to the call for proposals are being accepted through Friday, October 26, 2018 at 10:00 EDT (14:00 UTC).

Gratis admission for FSF members

Members and students with valid ID attend LibrePlanet gratis. FSF Associate Membership starts at just $10/month and comes with many benefits.

Travel funding available

Do you want to attend LibrePlanet, but need help with the cost of travel? The FSF is able to offer a limited amount of funding to bring conference participants to Boston from all around the world. You can apply for a scholarship through Friday, November 16 at 10:00 EST (15:00 UTC). Scholarship recipients will be notified by the end of November. If you don't need a scholarship, you can help those with financial need attend LibrePlanet 2019 by making a contribution to the conference's scholarship fund now, or when you register for LibrePlanet.)

Free Software Award nominations

Each year at LibrePlanet, the FSF presents its annual Free Software Awards. Nominations for the awards are open through Sunday, November 4th, 2018 at 19:59 EST (23:59 UTC).

Promotional opportunities

LibrePlanet is a good place to spread the word about your organization to the free software community. You can sponsor LibrePlanet or have a table in our exhibit hall (or both!). Our exhibit hall is at the center of the LibrePlanet venue, and sponsors are highly visible at the conference and in our promotional materials. LibrePlanet is a distinctive event that centers free software, in its infrastructure, program of talks and events, and audience, and we appreciate the support of organizations that embrace free software. Apply to exhibit at LibrePlanet 2019 or email us at if you are interested in being a sponsor.


LibrePlanet is propelled by the positive energy of dozens of volunteers. We simply couldn't make this community event happen without them, and we thank them accordingly, with a gratis T-shirt and admission to the conference, and our deep gratitude. Applications for most LibrePlanet volunteer opportunities will be available soon, but if you would like to help with advance outreach, including spreading the word about the conference in online communities and your networks, and by posting flyers in schools and community spaces, please email to get started!

2018 recordings

LibrePlanet 2018 was held at MIT from March 24-25, 2018. Nearly 350 attendees came together from across the world for workshops and talks centered around the theme of "Freedom Embedded." You can watch videos from last year's conference, including the opening keynote, an exploration of the potential for the free software community to last forever by maintaining its ideals while also welcoming newcomers, by Deb Nicholson, who is now director of community operations for the Software Freedom Conservancy.

LibrePlanet 2019 is just shy of 200 days away -- mark your calendars, renew your FSF Associate Membership, register, and start preparing a talk proposal. Time may pass faster than you think, and you will not want to miss out on this energizing, exciting free software event!

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