Call for Proposals

Call for Proposals

Open Source Bridge is accepting proposals for our 2017 conference, happening 20-23 June, 2017 in Portland, Oregon.

The deadline for submitting your proposal is 11:59 PM PDT (UTC-7:00) on April 9th.

Read on for the full details.

Our Goal

Open Source Bridge’s purpose is to gather a diverse citizenry and inspire one another to make the world a better place through open source technology and open culture principles.

This makes Open Source Bridge stand out from other community-driven technology conferences. Instead of focusing on a single language, platform, or area of knowledge, we work to unite people across the spectrum of open technology and culture.

We are looking for people from all backgrounds and areas of experience to submit talk proposals. Your starting point could be web development, project management, open hardware engineering, security, quality assurance, data visualization, or user experience.

If you work or play in open source, we want to hear from you. Let us know how you are building your communities, small or large. All speaking experience levels are welcome.

Some talks from past years that we really liked and felt captured the spirit of our event include:

Conference Tracks

We’ve split the tracks into the following five areas in order to create a conference that promotes cross-pollination and provide space for detailed discussion:


We don’t build open technology or open cultures in a vacuum.
Given the political, cultural, and economic crossroads we find ourselves at right now, we’re adding a new track to explore how activists are using technology, how open source communities are supporting activists, and how other open source and activist communities intersect. While we don’t have past examples of activist talks, here are three topics we’d excited to see: ‘What technology security risks should activists pay attention to?’, ‘How can activist communities use open source technology to share information more effectively?’, and ‘What usability improvements will make open source tools more useful to activists?’


How do you get a project to work? Show us how to write the script, run the business, debug the code, and raise the funding. Share your most effective projects.
From the beginner to the advanced level, we’re looking for tips, tutorials, best practices, and collaborative development sessions. Share what you know about your favorite tools, programming languages, development techniques, and business practices. Example topics from the past include “Data Science in the Open” and “Hands-on Virtualization with Ganeti.”


We know that something works, but why? Show us the science behind the practice. Explain the components of a project and how they interact.
Explore how our technology works on the lowest levels, and what that can teach us about optimal use. Tell us your analysis and profiling techniques, how implementation affects function, and what a kernel is made of. Example topics from the past include “OSWALD: Lessons from and for the Open Hardware Movement” and “Doing NoSQL with SQL.”


What makes open technology and culture communities effective? Demonstrate how you motivate people to work together well.
Working in open source means working with people. This track explores how we work in groups, both small and large, how we motivate volunteers, how we share knowledge, work through conflict and how we can increase inclusivity and diversity. Example topics from the past include “‘Why did you do that?’ You’re more automated than you think” and “Seven Habits Of Highly Obnoxious Trolls.”


We want to know how you pulled it off. Show us your most ingenious hacks, kludges, work-arounds, and duct-tape jobs. It doesn’t have to be elegant, it just has to work!
Hacks are clever, sometimes not. They break the rules. They force the available material into doing what you need or want. Some hacks are illegal, and some just make you proud and/or embarrassed that it worked. Sometimes a hack is the only way. Show the world how you make your hardware and software obey your every whim. Example topics from the past include “Control Emacs with Your Beard: the All-Singing All-Dancing Intro to Hacking the Kinect” and “Location-Based Hacks – How to Automate Your Life with SMS and GPS.”

Don’t fret too much about selecting the perfect track. If you’re not sure, drop us a note. If we think you’ve mis-categorized something, we’ll ask you about it.

Presentation formats

Presentations can fit either a short- or long-form slot. Short-form presentations will receive a 45 minute session, and long-form will have 1 hour and 45 minutes. Pick the format that best fits the scope and style of your presentation. Short-form could be a set of lightning talks, a one-or-more person presentation, a panel, or something else covering specific, concise material.


We also encourage you to tag your proposal with any relevant subject tags. This will make it easier for people interested in certain subjects to find your presentation.

Public Proposals & Feedback Wanted

All proposals are public (except for fields marked private to organizers) and we encourage everyone to read through the submitted ones, leave comments and favorite talks you would like to see at the conference. Your feedback is extremely useful to our content selection committee. If you’ve submitted a talk, publicize it and ask others to leave feedback.

Also, all proposals also have a unique identifier (like a course number) you can use to tag your blog posts or other online content with discussion and related materials. Later we’ll use this ID to connect the conference sessions with content from around the web.

Speaker Benefits

If you are selected to speak at Open Source Bridge, we will waive your attendance fee.

We do not have a formal program in place for covering the costs of travel or lodging for speakers. However, occasionally we have enabled speakers to participate by helping out with travel and/or lodging costs. We are looking for ways to formalize and expand this offering (let us know if you want to help with this effort). In the meantime, if you will need travel assistance and would be otherwise unable to present if your proposal is accepted, please let us know in the ‘private note to organizers’ field.

Speaking at Open Source Bridge is a fantastic way to participate in the conference. Start working on your proposal today and then submit it here.

Additionally, all those who submit a proposal but are not selected to speak will be able to register at the early bird registration price.

Proposal acceptances and wait-list notifications will be sent the first week of May.

Extracurricular Activities

Outside of the talk schedule, we’re looking to expand our extracurricular activities. If you’re interested in leading a group to dinner or on a field trip, or in gathering an evening Birds of a Feather session, email


If you have any questions, please drop us a line and let us know.