Archive for linux.conf.au 2009

Linux Australia acknowledges some quiet achievers – the Community Recognition Awards

I guess it’s fitting that quiet achievers be quietly rewarded, but I suspect Linux Australia’s Community Recognition Awards flew completely under the radar at LCA. The awards went to:

  • Janet Hawtin: For designing the Linux Australia and Open Source Industry Australia logos and commitment to community development.
  • Alison Russell: For acting as speaker liaison for the conference over many years & compiling the LCA-HowTo for future bid teams.
  • Hugh Blemings: For helping build and maintain the Linux Australia and IBM relationship in support of linux.conf.au over the past 10 years.

Congratulations, winners. 🙂 In case you’re wondering, these awards were given out in lieu of the Rusty Wrench awards this year. Really good to see that LA stepped up and acknowleged the very vital role that behind the scenes volunteers play.

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Linux.conf.au 2009 roundup

Linux.conf.au is done and dusted for another year, and its been revealed that we’ll be heading to gorgeous NZ in 2010 – yay! I didn’t have even a spare second to blog from the conference (running a miniconf and giving two papers will kind of do that to you!) but I did write a couple of news stories for ZDNet.

  • LCA ’09: Wikipedia’s new mobile platform – a writeup of Angela Beesley’s keynote. The news hook was the new mobile platform, but I was much more interested in the fact that WikiMedia has set a goal to remove tech roadblocks and get more editors involved in Wikipedia this year, but they hadn’t identified the need to get rid of some of the social barriers which might put people off.After her keynote, Angela told me she’d raise that as a suggestion – I hope she does. Wikipedia is such an incredible resource, it would be a shame if things like the ‘deletion wars’ and other actions by a minority of the community continue to dissuade people from participating. 
  • Sysadmins after the cloud – my writeup of Tom Limoncelli’s keynote. As I noted on Twitter, he used his employer (Google) as an example of taking an abundance approach to tech support via it’s famous Tech Stop, but unfortunately they recently laid off a bunch of contractors, including making cuts to Tech Stop headcount. So tech support’s not as abundant at Google as it used to be. (Tom responded here, but unfortunately we didn’t get to discuss it further than clarifying that it was contractors rather than inhouse Tech Stoppers who’d been laid off).

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Australia denies visas over concerns about open source? WTF? UPDATED

I’ve just been alerted via a Linux.conf.au mailing list to a ridiculous situation  – apparently the Australian government has overzealously been patrolling its borders against the scourge of… open source technology.

According to Finnish MySQL developer Kaj Arnö, this policy will prevent several MySQL people from attending LCA this year:

“Several Sun Microsystems Inc employees, especially related to the Database Group, have been denied short stay business visas to Australia, over the last few months, as they have been seen to be competing with local Australian businesses unfairly.

I regret to share that this will adversely affect MySQL presence at linux.conf.au in Hobart, Tasmania 19-24.1.2009.”

You can read the full post here – and note that he says he’s observed or experienced open source people having trouble getting Schengen (European Union) and US visas in the past as well.

How crazy. On so many levels. One -this sounds remarkably like the government discriminating against people due to their choice of technology. Do they really have big business in their ear that much? And it ignores the fact that open source technology and business generates an estimated $500 million for Australian businesses each year – you could argue this policy is restraint of trade, rather than protective of it. And it’s just offensive that our government is actively preventing people from gathering together for the purpose of freely sharing information.

I’m not sure what we can do to help fix this – LCA starts in 6 days.

Update: 9.48am, 14 January 2009

Kaj Arnö has updated his original blog post to admit that the link between the visa being denied and open source was conjecture on his part:

“The rejection letter merely says “SHORT TERM BUSINESS ETA APPLICATION WAS NOT APPROVED NO AUTHORITY TO TRAVEL TO AUSTRALIA HELD BY PASSENGER”. However, the person who now got rejected has been frequently in Australia and, to the best of my knowledge, lacks any record which would imply a visa rejection (such as, but not limited to, unpaid traffic fines).”

Read his updated post and the long discussion in comments for further info. Thanks Jacinta for alerting me to the update.

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Check out the cool talks coming up at the "Free as in Freedom" miniconf

If you’re attending Linux.conf.au in Hobart later this month, I strongly recommend you look at the lineup of talks which Brianna Laugher has organised for the Free as in Freedom miniconf on Tuesday, 20 January.

I’ll be speaking on journalism in the age of citizen journalism at 1.45pm (“It’s all fun and games until someone wants to sue you”). I’m also really looking forward to the other talks, especially Matthew Landauer from OpenAustralia.org, who was recently voted best speaker at the Open Source Developers Conference in Sydney. Matthew won’t be speaking at the main LCA conference – so this will be your only chance to see him speak  – so make sure you come along to Free as in Freedom. 🙂

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On Geek Parenting – call for panelists

I’m co-convening the Linux Chix miniconf at Linux.conf.au (LCA) in Hobart in January. I’ll be able to post the lineup of speakers for the day soon, but in the meantime an overview of the day can be found here. But one of the cool things we’re planning is a panel session on Geek Parenting, which will be open to all LCA attendees.

We are now looking for some experienced geek parents as well as an expert or two (educator, counsellor or other professional who is experienced in matters parental) who would like to share some ideas, tips and discussion on the challenges that being a parent can present.

Read on for details including how to nominate yourself for a spot on the panel.

» Continue reading “On Geek Parenting – call for panelists”

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