January has been a tough month for all Queenslanders, but with the worst of the flooding behind it Brisbane will host the 2011 Australian national Linux conference, Linux.conf.au.
Due to the flood crisis, the location of the conference had to be changed at late notice and is being held at the Kelvin Grove campus at the Queensland University of Technology.
This year marks the tenth anniversary of the Linux.conf.au (LCA) event which began in Sydney in January, 2001. Prior to that there was the Conference of Australian Linux Users, or “CALU”, in Melbourne in 1999.
Conference organiser Dr Shaun Nykvist said when the first slide was put up announcing the conference is going ahead there was an ovation from the audience.
“It was the best I’ve heard at a conference like this,” Nykvist said. “The slide read ‘against all odds, Linux.conf.au is here’ over an image of flooded Brisbane.”
Nykvist said from delegate reports the organisers are getting everything is positive.
“So far things are flowing smoothly and you wouldn’t even know we thought about cancelling it only 10 days ago,” he said.
“The weather is hot, sunny and fine and everyone has a cooler bag. Queensland has turned on the perfect summer’s day for everyone.”
“We’ve had more registrations than cancellations in past 24 hours and none of keynotes have dropped out.”
During this morning’s keynote, a Loongson MIPS-based mini computer was given away to someone in the audience.
There is also a rumour that Linus Torvalds himself, a frequent LCA visitor, will also come to Brisbane this week, but nothing has been confirmed by the organisers.
The first two days of LCA is usually devoted to specialist “miniconfs” of varying topics. This year miniconf topics include business, cloud computing, mobile, government, graphics and even rocketry.
On Tuesday, Google vice president and chief Internet evangelist Vint Cerf will deliver the keynote address before the main conference programme starts on Wednesday.
Other keynote speakers are Asia Pacific Network Information Centre (APNIC) chief scientist Geoff Huston, Sendmail co-founder Eric Allman and broadcaster Mark Pesce.
In keeping with its international appeal, the main conference programme will feature presentations by Linux and open source developers, including the ext4 file system by Theodore Ts'o, X.org and the Linux display by Keith Packard and virtualisation by Xen developer Simon Horman.
The conference is not all business-related, with a few fun sessions on building a Linux powered coffee roaster, growing food and space exploration with open source software.
Wireless communications will also feature at this year’s LCA with presentations by Paul Gardner-Stephen on the Serval Project for mesh telephony and the Dili Village Telco “Mesh Potato” project by David Rowe.
Every year LCA has an Open Day to close the event, where members of the public are invited to attend for free.
Again, due to the floods, the original venue for the Open Day will not be available and Kelvin Grove will be the location instead.