For the first time the Australian state of Tasmania will play host to one of the world's largest and foremost software conferences, linux.conf.au, when developers from around the world converge on Hobart to meet, learn and work together to advance their projects.
The Sandy Bay campus of the University of Tasmania, will be host to linux.conf.au in Hobart, Tasmania from January 19 to 24, 2009.
As the world prepares for the challenges of climate change and a world wide economic downturn, how do conferences like this remain relevant? Free and open source Software is being heralded as a way for companies to become more efficient and to expand their ICT resources, without incurring extra costs.
More than 200 of the world's top free and open source software developers will attend the conference, in addition to some 400 IT professionals and enthusiasts.
Paul "Rusty" Russell attends the conference every year and is a significant contributor of code to the Linux kernel, a popular open source project.
When asked what makes the conference so productive, Rusty said "Inspiration".
"Projects get started, enhanced, and change direction. It's an enthusiasm-soaked incubator for development and developers, so there's no better way to step up to the next level than dive into linux.conf.au," he said.
An initiative of Linux Australia, the conference itself is organised each year by a different team of volunteers. Ben Powell was nominated conference director for 2009.
"The conference provides a unique opportunity for Tasmanians to discuss their ideas on an international stage, and for business to support IT innovation," Powell said.
Tasmania is well known in Australia as a great holiday destination, but less known as a leading ICT hub. The national science agency, CSIRO, has an ICT research and development centre in Hobart and is running a number of innovative projects.
With a pristine environment, and proximity to Antarctica, Tasmania is also an important centre for critical climate change research. Software development is playing a key role in the quest for knowledge as scientists test different scenarios and models to help industry and government prepare for any change.
As for Rusty, he will certainly be back in 2009 delivering a tutorial on virtualisation development, focusing on the lguest hypervisor project.
"I always learn something unexpected," he said. "It's always exhilarating, challenging, exhausting and fun."
Organisers say tickets for linux.conf.au 2008 in Melbourne in January sold out before Christmas 2007, six weeks ahead of the conference opening, and encourage those wishing to secure a ticket for the 2009 conference to get in fast.
linux.conf.au (http://linux.conf.au/) is Australia's annual technical conference about Free Software. Fun, informal and seriously technical, linux.conf.au draws together Free and Open Source Software developers from across the world. It will be held from the 19th to the 24th of January 2nd, 2009 at The University of Tasmania, in Hobart.
About Linux Australia
Linux Australia (http://www.linux.org.au/) is the peak body for Linux User Groups (LUGs) around Australia, and as such represents approximately 5000 Australian Linux users and developers. Linux Australia facilitates the organisation of this international Free Software conference in a different Australasian city each year.