Winners (well, most of them) for the Sun Regional Delegate Programme announced

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(Sorry this took so long. We’ve actually had the list of winners for a while, but there were procedural stuff which held up an earlier
release)

Linux.conf.au 2005 is pleased to announce the winners of the 2005 Sun
Regional Delegate Program (RDP). As always, linux.conf.au would like
to that Sun for their kind support for this programme, without which it
would not be possible for the following 9 people to attend linux.conf.au.

Read http://lca2005.linux.org.au/rdp.php for details about the RDP.

Also another lucky person who submitted to the Regional Delegates Program
will be announced as the National winner at the conference opening and be
presented with a fantastic prize by Sun. This is above and beyond their seat
at linux.conf.au 2005.

The winners are:

ACT

The ACT winner is Burn Alting, who has been working with Unix and open
source since 1978, including contributions to many open source projects and
initiatives over the years, Burn is an active member of the Canberra Linux
community.

NT

Our winner from the Northern Territory is Anthony Hornby, who is the
secretary of DARLUG. Not only does Anthony use FOSS at work, but he is
also actively promoting open access publishing and the creative commons
amongst his librarian colleagues. Anthony is currently working on an
honours degree project to implement a database to help enable indigenous
Australians to preserve some of their culture electronically for future
generations. This project when complete will be released under an OSS
licence.

NSW

The winner from New South Wales is Darryl Lynch. Darryl is a member of
OSIA (Open Source Industry Australia http://www.osia.net.au/) living in
regional NSW. He has been working with his local community on ways to
adopt open source in the local community, and seeks to make more
contacts at the conference to assist with this.

Queensland

The Queensland winner is Ben Martin. He is the author of the libferris
virtual file system project, which has recently had desktop search
capabilities added as detailed in the February 2005 Linux Journal. The
file system talks at linux.conf.au are especially of interest to Ben.

SA

The South Australian winner Kylie Willison is passionate about teaching
computing and have been teaching for six years. She is a volunteer using
Linux in the workplace, training people to use Linux, giving away open
source software and advocating Linux for other local community
organisations. The better equipped she is to teach, maintain systems and
run networks the better profile Linux will gain in the community.

Tasmania

Ben Powell is the Tasmanian winner. As TasLUG’s Southern coordinator, he
has worked to improve TasLUG’s profile as a focal point for learning and
advocacy for the FOSS community. After working in technology roles where
he advocated FOSS solutions (for example Tasmania’s eGovernment unit and
consulting), he began studying IP law to give back to FOSS in areas
where he believes his skills to best contribute to the Linux community
as a whole.

Victoria

Gordon Heydon, the Victorian winner is a contributor to Drupal and
Debian, and other projects. He has been active within the Linux
community for the last 9 years, both in the assisting of other people
with open source and helping businesses adopt open source.

WA

The Western Australian winner, Trent Lloyd, is an excellent opportunity
to encourage a younger member of the community. Over the last year or
two he has been making small contributions to GNOME related projects
(mostly evolution), as well as working on a multi cast DNS library. As he
is a student living away from home, having Sun provide an opportunity
for him to attend the conference is a significant boon.

New Zealand

For the first time this year we’re offering a RDP slot to a New
Zealander. This year’s winner is Vik Olliver, who has introduced Linux
and open source to a variety of companies in New Zealand. Attending
linux.conf.au 2005 will improve his ability to guide these companies and
others, in turn spreading open source among more clients and enlarging
the base of potential developers.

Sun were also keen to involve people from New Zealand as linux.conf.au will
be held in Dunedin, New Zealand next year.

Less than three weeks to go to linux.conf.au. See you all there.

Steve and the linux.conf.au 2005 Crew.

[tags:]

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Most novel traffic jam cause goes to… Canberra!

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I was driving to work today down Canberra’s most major arterial road, the Tuggeranong Parkway. From about five kilometres away I could see a big blue hot air balloon really close to the road. I initially did a double take to be honest, but it wasn’t that out of place given that Canberra in March and April is the hot air balloon capital of the universe, and that the lake the balloonists like doing their thing over is only a few hundred meters away from the road.

As I got closer, it became clear that the balloon was only off the road by about five meters, which isn’t all that far when you consider that most of the cars going past it were doing about 110 kilometres an hour. The occupants of the balloon were frantically trying to pack up the balloon, which probably had something to do with the traffic, and something to do with the trees that the balloon was tangled in.

On my side of the road, there was a traffic jam for about 200 meters when I was there. It was funny — about ten meters after the balloon traffic cleared again. Apparently about ten minutes later when a work mate tried to drive through the traffic jam spread for more like the five kilometres I originally covered from my first sighting.

[tags: traffic canberra]

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Repurposing technology

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It’s not often that I simply quote someone else, but this is simply too funny…

A few years ago, I bought what I thought was a tea strainer from a Chinese restaurant supply store. Yesterday, I saw a similar tea strainer being used to filter cigarette butts and other solids in a urinal in a Chinese restaurant.

I’m slightly worried about this. Either this restaurant has repurposed a tea strainer as a urinal filter or I have repurposed a urinal filter as a tea strainer.

I’m now slightly worried about what I might have repurposed myself…

[tags: urinal]

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Planet

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I have to agree with Jamie on planet (an aggregator for the uninitiated), although I would use less strong language. I gave up when it kept insisting on UTC as a timezone format, and respected the time stamps of people who couldn’t be trusted. Perhaps it could use the time it noticed a new post?

[tags: planet rss aggregator]

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The rationale behind charging for admission and turning people away from linux.conf.au 2005

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There have been a couple of comments made on my previous posts about linux.conf.au 2005 about how Free Software events shouldn’t turn people away. I thought that I’d take the time to explain the rationale behind the current situation. It should be noted that the current status is the consensus of the linux.conf.au 2005 organising team, of which I am just one part.

Let’s break the basic objections I’ve heard down into their individual elements and address each in turn:

Why are we charging for admission to linux.conf.au?

Modern conferences are generally large, complicated, expensive beasts. It is possible to run a conference for free, but what you get is a very different beast from what people expect from a linux.conf.au. The current style of conference has been the same as every linux.conf.au I’ve been to (my first was Sydney), and I suspect that changing the mix too much would change the people who attended the event, which is something we explicitly didn’t want to do.

Why are they expensive to run? They have invited speakers and other speakers we pay for the transport for (we don’t fund all speakers, just those who couldn’t make it to the event otherwise), there is a regional delegates program (although Sun kindly sponsors it), there is a conference dinner and a networking session for professional attendees. Speakers partners get complimentary attendance at the partner’s programme for having donated their partner’s time.

There are venue hire costs (a five digit number), sundry costs such as signage, transport for equipment, some equipment rental. There is the cost of merchandising such as a conference bag, and t-shirt. There are some other really cool merchandising things this year which I can’t mention yet, but totally rock. If I was a delegate I’d feel pretty happy with what’s in the conference bag this year. Those merchandising items are an opportunity for people to start conversations about open source in their workplaces, homes, and elsewhere, so are a valuable part of the conference mix.

There’s lots of other elements of the conference I have forgotten so far, but you get the idea.

Remember in all this that the organisers haven’t been paid. Heck, organising the conference has cost us money personally (many Thursday nights, dinners at meetings, time of other forms, a lot of fuel for some of us, some of us have even paid to attend the conference ourselves). I guess we’re hoping that by donating our time, we’ll end up with a cool conference. I think that anyone who thinks that they’re doing this because they’ll have a higher profile in the community, or be hired by a multinational, or something like that is somewhat confused to be honest. We’re running the conference for the love of it.

One final monetary aspect needs mentioning. Linux.conf.au is the major funding source for Linux Australia at this time. Without this funding, LA wouldn’t be able to have their meetings, do the lobby work they do, or fund open source projects in the community. The linux.conf.au committee is a subcommittee of LA, and this needs to be remembered.

Why limit the number of attendees?

Linux.conf.au has always been a smaller conference compared with some others. This gives the conference a more intimate feel, and keeps the conference from turning into a monster that eats organisers for breakfast. Then again, the main reason the current conference is the size it has become is that the venue’s largest room can only hold 500 people, and because of fire regulations we have to assume that all attendees are in the room for conference keynotes. In fact, organisers have volunteered to not attend keynotes if the space is needed for delegates, thus letting us sneak another few people in.

Then why not change to a bigger venue?

Because it’s two weeks out from the conference. If we had sold out weeks ago, then we would have moved, but it wasn’t clear that we were going to sell out back then… It’s simply too late now to book a bigger venue. Even if we could, we wouldn’t have enough t-shirts, bags, catering et cetera organised for a larger number of people, and the production deadline for those items was weeks ago.

Ok, so why not video cast to another room in the venue for overflow?

If you had paid $600 to go to a conference, not including travel and accommodation costs, plus time off work and being away from your loved ones, would you be happy being lumped into an overflow room? I wouldn’t be, and imagine neither would a lot of other people. I honestly think that’s not really an acceptable solution to the problem.

Why not let people drop in for random lectures without paying?

Again, if I’d paid to attend and someone else was dropping in I’d be upset. Why should I be subsidising them? That might be an uncharitable view of things, but if someone genuinely couldn’t afford to go to the conference, and deserved to come, then they should have entered the regional delegate program. Perhaps they would have won.

Where to from here?

As with the last few linux.conf.au’s there will be speex audio of the talks made available after the event along with the slide decks used. There is also some work going on to deal with video, but it hasn’t been officially announced yet (more on that later). If you’re genuinely only interested in one talk, then you can listen to it online later.

[tags: conference opensource]

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