What is the SouthEast LinuxFest (SELF)?

The SouthEast LinuxFest is a community event for anyone who wants to learn more about Linux and Open Source Software. It is part educational conference and part social gathering. Like Linux itself, it is shared with attendees of all skill levels to communicate tips and ideas, and to benefit all who use Linux and Open Source Software.  SELF is the place to learn, to make new friends, to network with new business partners, and most importantly, to have fun!

How did SELF get started?

The SouthEast LinuxFest was started in 2009 by members of the Upstate Carolina Linux Users Group.  Having attended other awesome events like the Ohio Linuxfest (OLF) and Southern California Linux Expo (SCaLE), there was a desire to have such an event close to home so people in the southeast wouldn’t need a plane flight every year to attend such an event.   Just like with OLF and SCaLE, the organizers wanted a community ran conference about Linux and Open Source that emphasized being fun, educational, community building, community oriented, and inexpensive.

Why Charlotte?

There are a few important things when deciding where SELF is located.   The cost of obtaining the venue must be reasonable to keep costs down for our sponsors and our attendees.  There must be convenient interstate travel, preferably from a major north-south and east-west interstate.  Lastly, there must be convenient air travel, meaning an air hub or at least highly competitive major regional airport.  Within those requirements, the I-85 corridor makes the most sense.   Just as I-5 is the spine of the Pacific Coast and I-95 is the spine of the Atlantic Coast, I-85 is the spine of the Deep South.    SELF will be somewhere in or very near the I-85 corridor for the foreseeable future.   Charlotte seems to be the best compromise location within the I-85 corridor.  There are plenty of venues so pricing is competitive.  It isn’t overly expensive to stay at or get there.  There are family friendly attractions to go to such as Carowinds, the US National Whitewater Center, and NASCAR Hall of Fame since SELF occurs while school is out in the summer and many people take their entire family along.  It is an easy day drive from Atlanta, Knoxville, Asheville, Greensboro, Raleigh, Durham, Columbia (SC), Charleston, and Greenville-Spartanburg.   Charlotte-Douglas International Airport is a major air hub and top 25 airport worldwide in passenger volume.   Particularly for those using US Air, it can be VERY cheap to fly to SELF.   JFK to CLT is typically less than $150 round trip on US Air if booked early enough, for example.

Will the event ever be elsewhere?

Possibly, but probably not too often.    SELF is open to being elsewhere once in a while so that people throughout the southeast can have a chance to easily attend an event.   Alternative locations which make the most sense are Birmingham, Atlanta, Greenville-Spartanburg, and Raleigh.   While other locations such as Myrtle Beach, Columbia, Knoxville, Greensboro, and Asheville aren’t out of the question, a very attractive package would be necessary to offset making travel more difficult for SELF’s organizers, attendees, and sponsors.

Family Friendly?

SELF is roughly a PG-13 event.  Talks and general decorum is polite and we’re a hospitable bunch (it’s the South ya’ll!).   However, it wouldn’t be unexpected to hear the odd profane utterance from time to time.   Basically, SELF is safer in terms of adult content and language than primetime television.  If you have kid(s) or friend(s) you are considering taking to SELF but would not let them watch a primetime TV show, they are probably too young for the event.  We will not bar them from entry, but it is presumed you’re okay with a PG-13 environment if you attend.   There are some notable exceptions to this:

  • Craft Beer Bottle Share: The Craft Beer Bottle Share is an adult only event and only those with a valid government issued ID that are 21 or older will be allowed to attend.
  • Geeks with Guns: The Geeks with Guns event is generally more adult oriented, but we leave it to parents to decide if it is appropriate age to bring their kids to the range.  Our recommendation is that Geeks with Guns should not be your first time shooting for non-adults.  We recommend novices who are not adults get private instruction first so they can fully appreciate the safe use and operation of firearms before participating in Geeks with Guns at SELF.
  • Private conversations: Private conversations that occur outside the expo hall and tracks as well as “after hours” discussion in those areas after talks have ended at SELF are not subject to these guidelines.  If you don’t like the content of a conversation, vote with your feet and remove yourself from the conversation.  If someone refuses to respect that wish, please contact SELF staff immediately.


If we can answer questions or provide accommodations (for example: restrooms, disability equipment, allergies, etc) — that would help you feel comfortable attending SELF, please let us know by contacting us.

Contact SELF’s Organizers Before or After the Event

Please use our contact us form.

Reaching SELF’s Organizers During the Event

We care about the safety of everyone.  If at any point you need to speak to SELF staff, please go to registration.  They will be able to quickly reach conference organizers.  Overnight, SELF hires an off-duty law enforcement officer for security.  This off-duty officer should be at or within eyesight of registration at all times throughout the night.  And 24/7 for all days of the event you can ask the hotel staff in the lobby to contact SELF staff and they can do so.  Additionally, the hotel is used by flight crews servicing Charlotte-Douglas International and thus typically has a law enforcement presence in the lobby at night.

Code Of Conduct

SELF expects everyone to conduct themselves professionally and respectfully.  If you need assistance relating to conduct of another person at the event, please contact SELF organizers.

Special thanks to Red Hat, as our Code of Conduct is almost a verbatim copy of theirs, as well as the dozens of people in the community who helped us spitball around and produce much of the copy and policy on this page.


At the request of some of our attendees, here is a donate button.  If you would prefer to snail mail ye olde check, please contact us.  Donations are used on the most fundamental costs first (program guide, bags, speaker dinner, hospitality suite, volunteer freebies and expenses, etc).  If there is any money remaining it then pays for long term equipment acquisition for the event.

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