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Announcing LibrePlanet 2018 keynote speakers

by Free Software Foundation Contributions Published on Jan 16, 2018 01:55 PM
CAMBRIDGE, Massachusetts, USA -- Tuesday, January 16, 2018 -- The Free Software Foundation (FSF) today announced the keynote speakers for LibrePlanet, the annual free software conference, taking place at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) on Saturday, March 24 and Sunday, March 25, 2018.

The keynote speakers for the tenth annual LibrePlanet conference will be anthropologist and author Gabriella Coleman, free software policy expert and community advocate Deb Nicholson, Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) senior staff technologist Seth Schoen, and FSF founder and president Richard Stallman. Register for this year's conference here!

LibrePlanet is an annual conference for people who care about their digital freedoms, bringing together software developers, policy experts, activists, and computer users to learn skills, share accomplishments, and tackle challenges facing the free software movement. The theme of this year's conference is Freedom. Embedded. In a society reliant on embedded systems -- in cars, digital watches, traffic lights, and even within our bodies -- how do we defend computer user freedom, protect ourselves against corporate and government surveillance, and move toward a freer world? LibrePlanet 2018 will explore these topics in sessions for all ages and experience levels.

Gabriella (Biella) Coleman is best known in the free software community for her book Coding Freedom: The Ethics and Aesthetics of Hacking. Trained as an anthropologist, Coleman holds the Wolfe Chair in Scientific and Technological Literacy at McGill University. Her scholarship explores the intersection of the cultures of hacking and politics, with a focus on the sociopolitical implications of the free software movement and the digital protest ensemble Anonymous, the latter in her book Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy: The Many Faces of Anonymous.

Deb Nicholson is a free software policy expert and a passionate community advocate, notably contributing to GNU MediaGoblin and OpenHatch. She is the Community Outreach Director for the Open Invention Network, the world's largest patent non-aggression community, which serves the kernel Linux, GNU, Android, and other key free software projects. A perennial speaker at LibrePlanet, this is Nicholson's first keynote at the conference.

"They are all too modest to say it, but these speakers will blow your mind," said FSF executive director John Sullivan. "Don't miss this opportunity to hear about how technology controls our core freedoms, how people are working together in communities to build software that truly empowers, and how you can both benefit from and contribute to these efforts."

Seth David Schoen has worked at the EFF for over a decade, creating the Staff Technologist position and helping other technologists understand the civil liberties implications of their work, helping EFF staff better understand technology related to EFF's legal work, and helping the public understand what the products they use really do. Schoen last spoke at LibrePlanet in 2015, when he introduced Let's Encrypt, the automated, free software-based certificate authority.

FSF president Richard Stallman will present the Free Software Awards, and discuss pressing threats and important opportunities for software freedom. Dr. Richard Stallman launched the free software movement in 1983 and started the development of the GNU operating system (see in 1984. GNU is free software: everyone has the freedom to copy it and redistribute it, with or without changes. The GNU/Linux system, basically the GNU operating system with Linux added, is used on tens of millions of computers today. Stallman has received the ACM Grace Hopper Award, a MacArthur Foundation fellowship, the Electronic Frontier Foundation's Pioneer Award, and the the Takeda Award for Social/Economic Betterment, as well as several doctorates honoris causa, and has been inducted into the Internet Hall of Fame.

About LibrePlanet

LibrePlanet is the annual conference of the Free Software Foundation. Begun as a modest gathering of FSF members, the conference now is a large, vibrant gathering of free software enthusiasts, welcoming anyone interested in software freedom and digital rights. Registration is now open, and admission is gratis for FSF members and students.

For the fifth year in a row, LibrePlanet will be held at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on March 24th and 25th, 2017. Co-presented by the Free Software Foundation and MIT's Student Information Processing Board (SIPB), the rest of the LibrePlanet program will be announced soon. The opening keynote at LibrePlanet 2017 was given by Kade Crockford, Director of the Technology for Liberty Program at the ACLU of Massachusetts, and the closing keynote was given by Sumana Harihareswara, founder of Changeset Consulting.

About the Free Software Foundation

The Free Software Foundation, founded in 1985, is dedicated to promoting computer users' right to use, study, copy, modify, and redistribute computer programs. The FSF promotes the development and use of free (as in freedom) software — particularly the GNU operating system and its GNU/Linux variants — and free documentation for free software. The FSF also helps to spread awareness of the ethical and political issues of freedom in the use of software, and its Web sites, located at and, are an important source of information about GNU/Linux. Donations to support the FSF's work can be made at Its headquarters are in Boston, MA, USA.

More information about the FSF, as well as important information for journalists and publishers, is at

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