2023 Call for Presentations

The 2023 OLF Conference is returning as an in-person event, and we are looking for presentations! We have confirmed our dates this year as Friday, September 8 and Saturday, September 9. Please submit your talk proposals by the deadline of July 29 to make sure you’ll be considered. The sooner you enter a proposal, the more likely it will be accepted.
Our Call for Presentations has officially closed, but you can submit a late proposal. We can’t promise it will receive full consideration, but if we have unfilled speaking opportunities we’ll give it a look.

Note that we are primarily looking for in-person talks – if you can only present virtually, please indicate that in the “past presentations” section of the form.

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 using a case study based on your experience, such as in development or security, is also popular. Focusing on Linux and Open Source technologies, you can pick a subject of your choice in areas such as:

  • General systems administration, Linux and open source solutions
  • DevOps technologies, automation and orchestration
  • Emerging technologies (Blockchains, IoT, and others)
  • Cloud Computing, Migration to Cloud, Hybrid Cloud
  • Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, Deep Learning
  • Big Data, Hadoop, NoSQL databases
  • IPv6 networking, Software Defined Networking (SDN)
  • Performance tuning and optimization
  • Scaling distributed systems
  • Media production with Free Software
  • Web operations
  • Virtualization
  • Containers
  • Databases and Storage
  • Unveiling new Free and Open Source software

We also welcome non-technical subjects like licensing or “soft skills” such as delegation or working in teams, although these are best delivered by experienced speakers. The Career Track welcomes presentations about career management and hiring companies presenting about open positions. Subjects for the Career Track may include:

  • Career development
  • Management in technology
  • Contributing to open source as an individual or business
  • Community involvement
  • People networking

Q. Will my presentation be part of a particular track?
A. We are currently planning to limit the number of simultaneous sessions running, so we are unlikely to have specific designated tracks (except perhaps the Career Track) this year.

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 30-80 people, although popular talks can draw over a hundred.

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! If one subject doesn’t quite fit, giving us options means another might be selected. Do note that for practical reasons, one talk is probably the maximum we will end up accepting.

Q. What information do I need to submit?
A. Your proposal must have a minimum of two sections: one giving the abstract for your talk, and a biography section discussing your background and experience. The abstract will be visible to everyone when a talk is accepted, so make sure not to include anything you don’t want to be public.

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 or a hyperlink 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 scale their platform to handle more requests? Learn new techniques for career management? Build the best resume?

Q. What should I talk about in my biography 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. Note that this will also be made public on our list of speakers.

Q. What should the past presentations section contain?
A. Use this to give us some idea of your experience speaking to groups, 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! This field is also a good place to put notes to the organizers, such as an alternate e-mail address, additional contact information, or to note if your availability is limited to specific times or if you have a strong preference for a particular date.

Q. Oops, I made a mistake in my proposal! How can I fix it?
A. Just send a message to speakers@olfconference.org and we’ll take care of it for you.

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 speaking.io. You can also contact us at speakers@olfconference.org 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. It’s easy. Just fill out the form at the bottom of this page. If you don’t know the answer to the CAPTCHA, just check out our front page (only enter the city, not the state).

Fill in the details and submit! You can always contact us at speakers@olfconference.org with any questions. Remember, the deadline is July 29, so don’t delay.

If you need to get permission from your employer in order to speak, please do so well before the closing date. We will not be able to wait more than a few days for approval processes when confirming presentations.

Q. When will I hear back?
A. After submitting your proposal, you’ll receive an e-mail acknowledgment. As the closing deadline approaches, we will do a preliminary review. We’ll start notifying speakers as we see good proposals come in, and continue after the CFP closes. It’s possible that some speakers may not confirm attendance; we would then contact others to fill those slots. We hope to be in touch with everyone within a few weeks after the CFP closes.

Q. Do you provide travel expenses?
A. Our conference is run on a limited budget with an all-volunteer staff. Unfortunately, we are not able to cover this directly. However, it might be possible to find a sponsor to help out. If travel costs would prevent you from presenting, please e-mail us early in the process and we can see if help is available.

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 possibly Lightning Talks. Keep an eye out on the news page for announcements relating to this and other possible opportunities.

    Speaker Name(s) (required)

    Email (required)

    We will be using this to contact you. Please do not use a throw away account.

    Phone Number (required)

    This number is a

    If you select "cell," we will assume this number can be used to reach you by text or voice during the conference.


    Best Times to Reach You (required)

    If we need to contact you by phone, we will try to call during these times.

    Presentation Title (required)

    Presentation Abstract (required)

    This should describe what you will be talking about, plus include descriptions of anything special you will be doing to give your talk (e.g. demo, live examples, extra speakers, etc.). It will be used as the public summary of your talk.

    Biography (required)

    Please tell us a little about yourself, including what makes you knowledgeable in this area.

    Past Presentations

    If you've spoken at any other conferences, user groups, or any other gathering, please state so here. If available, please include links to copies of slides, recordings, or videos. NOTE: The Ohio LinuxFest encourages new speakers. Previous experience is NOT required for being accepted as a speaker.

    I have read and agree to the speaker agreement. (required)

    Please read the Ohio LinuxFest Speaker Agreement. If your talk is accepted, you are bound to the terms in the agreement. Please read it carefully.


    I agree to have my presentation recorded and distributed. (required)

    Video of all our main stage talks will be streamed live and made available for later viewing. If you choose "no," your presentation will not be considered for the main stage and thus has a lower chance of being selected.


    I agree to have my slides published on the Ohio LinuxFest or related website. (required)

    This is completely your choice and will not be used to determine talk selection.


    Days available to speak (required)

    CAPTCHA (required)