Talk Proposal guidelines for a FOSS Conference

Short Version

Talks have to be informative and based on the work done by the speaker or the expertise of the speaker in the given talk. The talks should be about:

  1. Introducing a FOSS project or a new version of a popular project
  2. Tutorial about using a FOSS project
  3. Contributing to FOSS
  4. Technology architecture
  5. Engineering practice - productivity, debugging
  6. Technology / FOSS licenses, policy
  7. Story of a FOSS project - from inception to growth

This can be considered as a reference for talks at FOSS meetups too.

Speaker requirements:

  1. FOSS contributor - A FOSS contributor is not just one who codes; they can report issues, enhance documentation, or support the community through guidance. Enthusiasm in using and aiding the FOSS ecosystem defines contribution. (OR)
  2. Expert in the topic

Long Version

1. Conference Theme:

  • Our conference theme is “Free and Open Source (FOSS) for All”.
  • The purpose of this conference is to explore the benefits and challenges of FOSS development and to discuss ways to make FOSS accessible to everyone.
  • Examples of topics that fit within the theme include FOSS in education, FOSS for social good, Free and Open hardware, Open data, Open Illustration, FOSS licensing, and FOSS in government.

2. Target Audience:

  • Our target audience includes developers, software engineers, open source (FOSS) enthusiasts, educators, and students.
  • We aim to create an inclusive conference that welcomes individuals from all backgrounds and experience levels.
  • Our goal is to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in FOSS development.

3. Session Types:

  • We will offer:
    a. Talks with demos: Brief, fast-paced presentations that include a live demo or code walkthrough to showcase a particular technology or project.
    b. Panel discussions: Small group discussions led by a facilitator on a specific topic, often with a focus on sharing experiences and best practices.
    c. Poster sessions: An opportunity for speakers to present their work or research in the form of a poster, and to engage in one-on-one conversations with other attendees.
  • Talks with demos will be 20 minutes in length, panel discussions will be 30-45 minutes, and poster sessions will be 10-20 minutes.
  • Presenters will have the option to include live coding or demonstrations, but it is not required.

4. Submission Guidelines:

  • Proposals must be submitted by a specific deadline and in a specific format.
  • Proposals must include a title and a description in bullet points (up to 300 words).
  • Proposals will be evaluated based on relevance to the conference theme, originality, speaker expertise, and types of audience (professionals or students).
  • Speakers are encouraged to use inclusive language ( and provide content warnings when appropriate.

5. Review Process:

  • Proposals will be reviewed by a diverse committee of FOSS experts and enthusiasts.
  • Selected presenters will be notified by a specific date and given feedback on their proposals if requested.
  • Speakers will be required to adhere the code-of-conduct it throughout the conference.

6. Support for Speakers:

  • While we are not able to provide financial support to speakers, we will offer other forms of assistance to help ensure a successful presentation.
  • Presenters will have access to equipment and technology support and will be provided with templates for slide decks and other resources.
  • Speakers will be encouraged to network with other attendees and connect with other presenters before, during, and after the conference.

7. Our thoughts on web3 / blockchain:

We believe it’s important to approach the hype around blockchain and cryptocurrencies with caution. While blockchain technology may have niche use cases, we caution against the fervor with which it is being marketed as a solution to wide-ranging societal problems. We recommend that institutions objectively evaluate tried and tested technology choices before considering blockchain-based solutions. It’s worth noting that we don’t accept proposals from speakers who are engaged in blockchain development or promotion, unless they offer something new and interesting. Read more here.

By creating comprehensive guidelines for our conference, we hope to attract a diverse and knowledgeable group of speakers who will help us achieve our goal of promoting FOSS in India.

If you have any suggestions, please comment.

Important Links:

  1. FOSS Conference Standards
  2. Tasklist for Conference Organizers [Quick Guideline]
  3. Telegram group for queries
  4. Conference Organizer Handbook

Find our previous talks on our youtube channel for reference - FOSS United - YouTube

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