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Skift Take

- Tell us how a Linux Conference differs from a regular conference

Few days ago Melbourne hosted the biggest Linux conference of Australia. This event has completely captured for a number of reasons.

– I am a member of the Italian Linux Society
– I’ve erased from my PC every form of proprietary software, choosing Kubuntu
– I’ve participated to a “Linux Day” in Italy and I think they are great events
– I love Australia since I studied there for two years and got life changing experiences
Linus Torvalds participated to the event and this is a small event itself.

Therefore, for all of the above I decided to contact the guys DownUnder for a chat on the conf. I asked them if they could share with us a bit about the event and inspire us for the future.

I am happy to say that once again I wasn’t disappointed by the community. In the person of Donna I was able to find the usual great spirit of sharing great content and empowering the listener. No matter how busy they were with managing the event.

My thanks to the great kindness of my mates in Australia and for you a great interview with heaps of great info. is a mix of tradition and innovation. Each year, a different team of volunteers works tirelessly to put on the conference, and each team does it differently. One of the features of LCA is the social events, they are almost as important as the talks themselves. Developers who usually work together online over the year seem to enjoy socialising and letting off steam. For some of them, this is a once-a-year opportunity to meet face to face.

The AV and Networking aspects of the conference are huge projects within project. provides wireless network coverage to speakers and attendees, and the AV team attempts to record all the sessions so hat others who can’t attend the conference can still share in the knowledge exchange that makes so special.

– What should be the primary scope of every conference about Linux?

I can’t speak for every conference about Linux. Linux itself is so many things to so many people, and the conferences that choose to focus on linux should reflect that diversity.
– How do you integrate the open approach to such an open event?

There are lots of ways to get involved in creating For instance, any group of people in Australia or New Zealand (perhaps further afield!) could band together and prepare a bid to host the conference in their town or city. The conf is large enough now that it has pretty demanding requirements, but it also generates a fair amount of economic activity, so local councils and convention boards can be called on to assist.

The papers review committee is usually made up of a core group of people who have done it before, along with some new faces invited by the organising team. Whilst the process is not public, it’s very collaborative.

Video of almost all the conference sessions is available here

– How do you promote a Linux conf?

Mostly online, mostly word of mouth. A few press releases. We ask the speakers to blog about their talks, we have a couple of media partnerships, but we do very little advertising. The conference practically promotes itself based on its reputation amongst Free software developers. This year the conference sold out 5 weeks before it opened.
– What’s the role of sponsors and how do you ensure that the community will control the event?

The community does control the event. Most of the sponsors know this, appreciate this, and wouldn’t want it any other way. Our Emperor sponsors in particular view supporting as a way to support the community rather than a marketing exercise. This is very much a community driven event for developers. That said, would not exist in its current form without the support we receive from sponsors. They help make so much more possible – and that greatly adds to the fun.