Tagged With linux.conf.au

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The bad news? Linux.conf.au 2014 conference in Perth has ended up running at a $40,000 loss. The good news? Because the Linux Australia committee planned carefully, that doesn't mean the end of LCA events. The lesson for everyone? Keep an emergency fund and track your spending carefully.

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Planning on starting 2014 by getting your geek on at Linux.conf.au in Perth? The schedule for mini-conferences has just been released, and as usual we're tempted by the sysadmin and developer streams.

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One of the more tedious arguments used by people who favour compulsory Internet filtering and other forms of censorship is "People who have nothing to hide have nothing to fear from these systems". In his LCA keynote today, security researcher Jacob Appelbaum highlighted a simple point that's worth making when people say that: if you have nothing to hide, why are you wearing clothes and why are there curtains on your house?

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Linux and open source technology should be a good news story for everyone. However, the way these topics are presented in the media often leaves enthusiasts unhappy. There is a widespread belief that open source alternatives are neglected in favour of commercial products; that coverage often distorts the facts and exaggerates conflict rather than offering insight; and that the right-wing bias of much Australian media dooms the open source community to being dismissed as a kook minority led by some cult figure from Scandinavia whose name no-one can pronounce. The reality is more complex, as reality usually is.

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Here's a weird thing about Linux.conf.au: roughly one in five attendees is also a speaker. That means the speakers dinner (which also incorporates volunteers) is a bigger event than you might anticipate. This time around, we pretty much filled the function centre at Sovereign Hill, where we drank a lot of beer, ate a lot of food and soaked up a little colonial history.

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Attending Linux.conf.au is a great way to enhance my knowledge and scare me into presenting, but it's an exhausting five days. It's mentally exhausting because of all the new information to be acquired, and it's physically exhausting because it's the height of summer in Ballarat and the temperature is 32 degrees or more.

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Free public Wi-Fi is still a relative rarity in Australia's major cities, so how is it possible to make it viable in a town with less than 400 people? Newstead offers some interesting lessons about Wi-Fi, the National Broadband Network (NBN), open source and how to manage community projects.

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I'm no stranger to the annual open source shenanigans of Linux.conf.au. Indeed, the 2012 event in Ballarat marks the seventh time I've attended this conference, but it feels strange this year for two particular reasons. It's the first time I've ever chosen to use the on-campus accommodation and I'm actually doing a presentation this year, which means that I'm both reverting to a student lifestyle and panicking like crazy.

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"Father of the Internet" Vint Cerf reckonsreckons that cloud computing is great, but that it needs standards for systems to communicate. Sendmail pioneer Eric Allman argues that too many people fail to realise that cloud computing involves a return to computing approaches from decades ago.