AArch64/ARM64 Servers and Open Source- The Who, What, Why, and How

  • Aaron Williams
  • Dave Neary

ARM64/AArch64 devices are some of the most widely used processors in the world, from small SoC boards like the Raspberry Pi to mobile phones and even Apple's latest M1 and M2 chips powering MacBooks. Their high performance and power efficiency means more performance per watt of energy used, making them ideal for mobile and laptops where performance, battery life, and heat dissipation are important.

These same performance advantages are becoming increasingly important in data centers as well. The aging x86 server technology uses more energy and requires more complicated cooling solutions, limiting the number of servers that can be placed in a rack. Plus, their single threaded cores, mean no noisy neighbor problems, and better high performance and predictable throughput. As a result, all major public clouds, including Azure, GCP, Oracle Cloud, AWS, Bytedance, Alibaba, and Tencent, have started adopting AArch64 servers in their data centers. In fact, the number of AArch64 servers in data centers has grown from 1% in 2019 to 6% today, and it's estimated that they will make up 50% of all servers by 2026. This is why it's crucial for open-source projects to understand these trends to take advantage of them going forward.

In this track, we will introduce DevOps engineers, developers, and architects to the latest trends and technologies in the AArch64 server world. Our sessions will cover:

  • What are AArch64 servers, and how do they perform against x86?
  • What makes them different from x86?
  • Who is using them, and what projects are using them?
  • Why use AArch64 servers, and what are the advantages?
  • How to get started using AArch64 servers
  • A comparison of performance between AArch64 and x86 servers, covering topics such as compiling natively versus emulation with QEMU.

We believe that this track will provide valuable insights for anyone interested in leveraging AArch64 servers in their work, from small-scale open-source projects to large data centers.

BSD Unix

  • Michael Dexter
  • Andrew Fresh
  • Alexander Vasarab

The BSD Unix track would showcase the BSD family of Unix operating systems, each of which is backed by a public-benefit nonprofit, rather than a for-profit company. We have the BSDs to thank for OpenSSH, mandoc, the Berkeley Packet Filter BPF, the PF packet filter, the IPFW firewall, the bhyve hypervisor, plus countless smaller utilities used throughout the free software ecosystem. The track would statistically focus on FreeBSD and OpenBSD, but would welcome other BSD operating systems such as NetBSD and distant cousin illumos.

Community: Open Source in Practice

  • Josh Simmons
  • Monica Ayhens-Madon
  • julia ferraioli
  • Stephan Micahel Kellat

Communities of people are the beating heart of free and open source software, and this track provides a home for sessions covering the many practices involved in building and supporting healthy, productive communities.

In this track, we welcome sessions on topics ranging from community management, communications infrastructure, project governance, sustainability, education, mentorship, and succession planning, contributor experience, event organizing, marketing, research, movement and coalition building, and tackling the interface between communities and corporations with integrity. No matter the topic, we encourage sessions that discuss the ‘how’ of community as much as the ‘why.’ Diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging is a lens we aim to see represented across the board, as a standard of community building.

Any one of these topics could be a track unto itself, but often lack the critical mass to stand alone at conferences and land in the squishy bucket we call “community.” The organizers of this track view this as an antipattern, while also recognizing it’s a familiar dynamic. We hope, in collaboration with our speakers, to elevate these topics and engender a culture in which these topics are elevated and celebrated.

We welcome proposals from speakers and people who are excited to give their first talk. We want seasoned professionals and volunteers, as well as fresh perspectives from new entrants. Everyone has something of value to share! We are prepared to help with proposals and presentations to make sure everyone is putting their best foot forward.

Beyond the core audience of community professionals and leaders, both paid and volunteer, we treasure cross-pollination and encourage participation from people in other disciplines.

Container Days

  • Josh Berkus
  • Chris Hoge
  • Melissa Logan

ContainerDaysPDX has returned! Join us for two days of exploration of the latest generation of web and application infrastructure. We'll cover both the basics, and the newer and more esoteric aspects of orchestrated container stacks, including:

  • Moving to containers and Kubernetes without losing your sanity
  • Desktop development for containerized applications
  • Developments in Linux: cGroupsv2, seccomp, and more
  • Containers on alternate platforms (FreeBSD, windows)
  • Container alternatives like WASM and microVMs
  • ML and data analysis in container clouds
  • Alternatives to Kubernetes
  • Security, networking, and performance for new stacks
  • Kubernetes + Openstack + OpenInfra: all the layers

... and more! ContainerDays will bring exciting technical topics to Portland and FOSSYcon. It will cover not just what's available now, but what free software developers are working on for the future.

Whether you're just getting started with the new container stacks, or have been using Docker since 2014, whether you're an application developer, ops staff, or an infrastructure hacker, we plan to have something for you.

Copyleft and Compliance

Participants from throughout the copyleft world — developers, strategists, enforcement organizations, scholars and critics — will be welcomed for an in-depth, high bandwidth, and expert-level discussion about the day-to-day details of using copyleft licensing, obstacles facing copyleft and the future of copyleft as a strategy to advance and defend software freedom for users and developers around the world.

Diversity Equity and Inclusion and FOSS

  • Aarti Ramkrishna
  • Anita Ihuman
  • Georg Link
  • Sri Ramkrishna

Diversity, Equity, and inclusion are receiving increased attention in the FOSS community, the broader technology industry, and beyond. Since free and open software, hardware, and standards are made by people with very different backgrounds, beliefs, disabilities, nationalities, and identities, it is important to ensure access for these different groups and enable them to participate in a healthy way. This conference track provides a space to discuss diversity, equity, and inclusion challenges and solutions. We invite submissions from practitioners who share their own stories and what strategies they have tried to improve DEI, regardless of whether they succeeded or failed. We invite submission focused on DEI in FOSS, DEI beyond FOSS, and personal DEI experiences.

We look forward to providing a safe and welcoming space for highlighting DEI efforts and experiences from various perspectives, initiatives, and programs. We invite submissions from people who face systemic bias or discrimination in the technology industry of their country. We expressly invite submissions from women (both cis and trans), trans men, non-binary people, and gender queer people to apply. We further invite submissions from allies.

FOSS in Daily Life

  • SFC Staff

How are you using FOSS in your "everyday" life? Are there places where you find it's easier or harder to get the people around you to respect and appreciate software freedom? What areas of software are we missing in our pursuit of software freedom for all?

FOSS at Play: Games, creative development, and open technology

  • Paris Buttfield-Addison
  • Stephen Jacobs

The relationship between FOSS and Game Development is a multidisciplinary maze of creative, software, community, legal, and design issues that can very easily make your head spin. This track will help demystify the world of FOSS and Game Development, blending topics around the following pillars:

  • FOSS game engines and tools
  • Legal or business implications of game development using FOSS
  • The history of FOSS in games and game development
  • Best practices in releasing your game as FOSS
  • FOSS support tools and communities for other games
  • Improving proprietary game engines with FOSS tooling
  • Open game hardware and peripherals
  • Community management and the differences between traditional FOSS communities and games communities
  • Finding, using, and releasing game assets (art, music, etc.) under free and open licenses
  • FOSS and board games

Our audience is FOSS enthusiasts, software developers, designers, and creatives who are intrigued or interested in games, but are cautious to dive too deep, due to the overwhelmingly proprietary appearance of the industry. Games are nowhere near as proprietary as you may think, and this track will help usher in new users, contributors, and creators to the fantastic collection of FOSS tools, and encourage them to release new games, tools, and creative works.

FOSS For Education

  • Martin Dougiamas, Moodle
  • Cable Green, Creative Commons
  • Patrick Masson, Apereo Foundation

Educational institutions have a long and impactful history in the development of multiple open initiatives. In addition to free and open source software, colleges and universities have played significant roles in producing and propagating a variety of other open educational resources, for example, open content, textbooks and courses, open access journals, open data, science and research.

Institutions of higher education play an essential role across several free and open source communities. As adopters, campuses occupy a unique space in--and provide a unique perspective for--the use of free and open source software at the enterprise level, often in conjunction with government and research institutions. At the same time, campus constituencies--students, staff, and faculty--provide yet another perspective as independent desktop and mobile end users.

Higher education is also fertile ground for development; educating the next generation of developers while often actively creating and managing their own projects and communities of practice.

The FOSS For Education Community Track would provide sessions dedicated to using, developing, and managing open resources within academic environments, from multi-institutional consortia to departmental projects. The track organizers would emphasize presentations and topics highlighting the common principles, practices, benefits, challenges, and models spanning the variety of open initiatives impacting teaching and learning environments and campus administration.

Issues in Open Work; Common Challenges and Best Practices in the Open Source Industry, Open Scholarship, and Government

  • Stephen Jacobs
  • Michael Nolan

We hope to cover:

  • Relevant changes in government policy surrounding open work
  • Metrics and Analytics across Open Work
  • Incentivizing organizations and employees to work in the Open
  • Best Practices in Community Management Across the fields
  • Government and Private Funders and Open Work
  • OSPOs in Academia and Governmen

Open Source AI + Data

  • Ruth Suehle
  • Brian Proffitt

Free and open source development has proven its criticality, popularity, and success as a method for bringing software to the world. As we forge into the next evolution of technology, led by data and AI, we must consider how to best apply the lessons of free and open source principles, governance, and development and vendor-neutral collaboration. The focus will no longer be on the underlying code, but about data and how we use and appropriately protect it. We’ve already seen many successes in open data, but there’s still much to do and growth to plan for. The open data ecosystem is vast, including models, tools, and of course, the data itself and how it is acquired, stored, trained, and used. Then, to come full circle, AI-powered tools are changing how software is written. What do licenses for data and models look like? Whose ethics become the ethics of the AI systems we will all eventually depend on? What are the coming security and privacy concerns? Will the systems of governance we understand in open source software change around AI projects?

Right to Repair

There is significant overlap between the software freedom and right to repair movements. As we see more and more intersection in activism, legislation, and open technology, we hope to foster a more symbiotic relationship between the spaces. If you have expertise in software freedom and would like to apply that to right to repair issues, or vice versa, please submit your talk!

FOSS Research for All: Science of Community

  • Kaylea Champion, Community Data Science Collective and the University of Washington
  • Molly de Blanc, Community Data Science Collective and Northwestern University
  • Benjamin Mako Hill, Community Data Science Collective and the University of Washington
  • Aaron Shaw, Community Data Science Collective and Northwestern University

Although there are literally hundreds of scholarly papers published about FOSS communities each year, much of this work never makes it out of academic journals and conferences and back to the FOSS communities being studied. At the same time, FOSS communities have a range of insights that researchers studying FOSS would benefit enormously from.
The goal of this track is to build bridges between FOSS communities and the research conducted with and about FOSS communities. We hope to provide opportunities for community members to hear about exciting results from researchers, opportunities for researchers to learn from the FOSS community members, and spaces for the FOSS community to think together about how to improve FOSS projects by leveraging research insights and research.
This track will include opportunities for:

  1. researchers to talk with practitioners (about their research)
  2. practitioners to talk with researchers (about their needs)
  3. researchers to talk with other researchers (for learning and collaboration)
If this is appealing to you, please consider proposing, perhaps in one of the following formats:
  • Short Talks. Do you have a recent project to share in some depth? A topic that needs time to unpack? Take 20 minutes to present your thoughts.
  • Lightning Talks. Want to make a focused point, pitch, or problem report to a great audience? Bring your 5-minute talk to our lightning round.
  • Panelist. We will be facilitating dialogue between researchers and community members. Would you be willing to share your thoughts as a panelist? Let us know your expertise and a few notes on your perspective so that we can develop a diverse and engaging panel.
If you have an idea that doesn't fit into these formats, let's chat! You can reach out to Kaylea ( or submit your idea as a proposal via the form.
Submissions are non-archival, so we welcome ongoing, completed, and already published work. Non-archival means that presentation of work at FOSSY does not constitute a publication. It's just a way to get your work out there! Work that synthesizes or draws across a body of published papers is particularly welcome.
What kind of research are you looking to have presented?
We are interested in any topic related to FOSS research! This might include research from computing (including software engineering, computer security, social computing, HCI), the social sciences (including management, philosophy, law, economics, sociology, communication, and more), information sciences, and much more.
For example: how to identify undermaintained packages and what to do about it; community growth and how to find success in small communities; effective rule making and enforcement in online communities.
If it involves FOSS, we'd welcome it! We are eager to help you put your results into the hands of practitioners who can use your findings to inform their own community's practices and policies on social, governance, and technical topics.


  • Kees Cook

A track dedicated to FOSS security ideas and how reproducibility and audibility are important for software freedom. With increasing focus on the Software Supply Chain, focusing on the openness of free software will lead to better industry assurances that free software is the correct path.

SFC Member Projects

  • SFC Staff

As a fiscal sponsor for a multitude of important and vital free software projects, Software Freedom Conservancy takes pride in providing alternatives to proprietary software, funding FOSS infrastructure and making sure important FOSS projects have a legal home. Join us to learn about what our projects are up to and how you can get involved.

Sustainable Open Source Business

  • Matt Yonkovit
  • Avi Press

We want to help maintainers, open source devs, and those looking to build a business around open source software build a sustainable community-focused business. We want to talk openly about concepts like funding, bootstrapping a business, ensuring you are doing it in a way that won't hurt the ecosystem, and how to grow and scale a business. We want to giving budding entrepreneurs the proper knowledge and tools to setup a business that will help their projects grow.


  • Stephen Paul Weber 'singpolyma'
  • root

XMPP is an extensible, foundational, and libre building block for any sort of federated communication infrastructure. Talks ranging from those new to the idea, setting up chat or social servers for small groups and families and other use cases, to those familiar with the issues such as SPAM and abuse prevention in a federated space, to technical deep dive talks about open source projects in the space and their innovations, would all be something worth covering in this track. We would strive to both appeal to the core XMPP audience and bring them to FOSSY, but also to introduce the projects and ideas to the rest of the FOSS community.

Wild card

  • SFC Staff

For any talks that don't fit cleanly into the rest of the tracks. Don't be shy about putting it here if you don't know where it should go, we can always rearrange later!

Worker-Owner Co-ops that write and use FOSS

  • Valerie Young
  • Clayton Craft

This community track will include speakers from worker-owned co-operatives that write or use FOSS. Topics will include which FOSS projects they use, their relationship with the organizations that produce the FOSS they use, their relationship with customers (if they produce FOSS), their co-op's history and structure, and more!