So i attended linux.conf.au (LCA) in Tassie this year, i reckon i was the only person walking around with Windows installed on my machine :) This year LCA was held at the University of Tasmania’s Sandy Bay Campus in Hobart, and you can see key media reports are here: http://www.itwire.com/component/option,com_tag/tag,linux.conf.au/tag_id,23107/

My Highlights

- some Perception change about ms evident

- Attendance by the guys at corp who are doing the hard hards in protocol documenation helped to bolster commitment – you know how much aussie tech audiences swoon at American accents..

- Great work in the community by the likes of Samba and OpenChange

- Managed to have a chat with Linus Torvalds on the way back to the Hotel (he looks much more fit than is wikipedia picture..)

- Experiencing a different community involvement and action.

- I gave out an inch of business cards, and have had many contacts back saying it was great to see us there.

My Lowlights

- Still a long way to go with being able to work cohesively, and i think with this community

- Lawrence took it on the chin to soften them up for us during the week

- History is still biting us in the ass – the amount of conversations that I had where people complained about buggy ie6 or win98...

Day -2 Monday 19th Jan Miniconfs

Lawrence Crumpton (Platform Strategy Manger) delivered the infamous “Did hell freeze over?” talking about what Microsoft is doing in the Open Source community and our strategy moving forward. As is well documented in the press ... http://www.itwire.com/content/view/22752/1090/1/0/

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Most issues that were raised were quite valid, however most were coming grips with the idea the Microsoft was in the room, and didn’t have some underhanded motive to it all which led to some suspicion and revisiting history. I can only commend Lawrence for his patience during this talk, as this was truly on the front line of the field, and helped us later during the week in further conversations.

Day -1 Tuesday 20th Jan Miniconfs

I attended the “Free as in Freedom” track. Interesting things to look at IMHO;

- http://openaustralia.org  - lots of respect for Matthew Launder – awesome job.

- Free culture presentation by Jessica Coates - http://linux.conf.au/wiki/index.php?n=Freedom.FreedomFighting-HowDoWeConvinceThePowersThatBeToRelaxTheirGrip

- A look at citizen journalism – Crikey.com.au – followed by a great presentation by Jeff Waugh - http://linux.conf.au/wiki/index.php?n=Freedom.WeAreTheTranslators – touched on how to make a case for technology, this was delivered fairly agnostically as well.

Day 0 Wednesday 21st Jan Official Start

clip_image004Keynote by Thomas Limoncelli was delivered quite well but not the right fit for this audience as it focused primarily on how to be successful as a sysadmin, but quite well received.

Standout presentation for the day from me was from Rasmus Lerdorf from yahoo, one of the creators of PHP on PHP architecture, Scalability and Security. Great content, and demos all demonstrated on linux but after some discussion with Rasmus there are windows ports of a lot of the debugging tools.

Penguin Dinner was on that night, where a photo was auctioned for almost $30K + the beard of Bdale Garbee (CTO for OSS at HP - http://apcmag.com/Content.aspx?id=3422

Day 1 Thursday 22nd Jan

Standout presentation was “Displacing Active Directory – first Samba4 deployments” by Andrew Barlett. Main points where:

- Working with Microsoft has been extraordinarily helpful

- Documentation of the protocols is a huge step in the right direction ( resulting in a round of applause for MS - wow )

- A lot of the work on understanding what’s on the wire is no longer an issue, now the samba team is looking for Active Directory specialists to help them, as they’re not.

- A fair bit of disbelief from the audience that MS was being helpful, several times it had to be reinforced that we had voluntarily published the protocols without being required by court ruling.

The most disappointing talk Interesting/Terrible talk by OpenOffice.org (Louis Suarez-Potts) – “Where the future lies: OpenOffice.org and the ODF in the world” –  A demo of the product or how odf works with it would have been nice, but apparently just playing a slideshow is demo enough... Feedback from other conference delegates was much the same in that they were very disappointed at this presentation. http://www.itwire.com/content/view/22826/1090/

Professional Networking that night was quite relaxed, and had some great conversations with many community people.

Day 2 Friday 23rd Jan

clip_image006Keynote by Simon Phipps (Sun) – interesting predictions for the future, a couple of digs at microsoft and his own company, without pushing any product. I thought the best part of the presentation was when he picked up a netbook and said “put a free OS on this that doesn’t become my hobby”. Question time during this presentation brought the wrath of the conference down on a redhat representative.

Other great presentations:

- Awesome things you’ve missed in Perl – Paul Fenwick (I’m biased on Perl :) )

- OLPC in Australia – Pia Waugh – same presentation as at OSDC in Sydney, good questions from the audience, a bit of an MS smackdown about trying to run Win XP on a XO – interesting there were some audience members suggesting they try win7....

- System Admin in a large scale web hosting environment – Terri Haber (DreamHost) – (I’m biased again) a bit disappointing as Terri concentrated more on the development troubles of their Open Source scaling Disk system.

OpenChange and KDE – Bridging to Microsoft Exchange – Brad Hards – Great session on how the OpenChange team has been using the protocol documentation to develop a mail client to talk directly to MS Exchange. Demos where of a command line version doing the MAPI connections and reading/delivering email –at this stage the MAPI connector is scheduled to release mid this year as part of Evolution on KDE. My concerns for what Brad has going is that he’s testing only on Exchange 2003, and on some small infrastructure that he’s built himself. I’ve connected with him locally and we’re working out what we can do to support him testing on the latest platforms.

Closing celebrations were sponsored by Google but still had to pay for drinks?? nevermind – I got my fair share of flashing badges to hand out in the office. I had the chance here to talk to some community leaders here and they were interested in working with us in the future.

Next year

Linux Conf down under will be held in Wellington New Zealand.

- jorke