Pro-Linux bias at

Reading through some of the comments from last year’s Linux Australia Survey, a couple struck me as interesting. One’s on Java: seems to have a bias against Java. Since Java is an open source language and has a massive open source infrastructure, this has not made a lot of sense to me. It seems that Python, Perl, PHP, Ruby are somehow superior from an open source perspective even though they are a couple of orders of magnitude less popular than Java in the real world. This bias has not changed since openjdk and I’m guessing is in the DNA of the selectors and committee members. Hence *LUG* has lost a lot of appeal to me and my team. It would be good if there was an inclusive open source conference out there…

and the other’s more general:

I appreciate LCA’s advocacy of open source, but I feel that a decoupling needs to be made in the mindshare between the terms “open source” and “Linux”. Unfortunately, for people involved in open source operating systems that aren’t Linux, we may feel slightly disenfranchised by what appears to be a hijacking of the term “open source” (as in “the only open source OS is linux” perception).

My impression is that bias is mostly just self-selection; people don’t think Java talks will get accepted, so don’t submit Java talks. I guess it’s possible that there’s a natural disconnect too: likes to have deep technical talks on topics, and maybe there’s not much overlap between with what’s already there and what people with deep technical knowledge of Java stuff find interesting, so they just go to other conferences.

That said, it seems like it’d be pretty easy to propose either a mini-conference for Java, or BSD, or non-traditional platforms in general (covering free software development for say BSD, JVM, MacOS and Windows) and see what happens. Especially given Greg Lehey’s on the Ballarat organising team from what I’ve been told, interesting BSD related content seems like it’d have a good chance of success at getting in…


  1. As far as I can tell, I’ve seen one Java submission in the list of rejected papers, which I’ve had as a miniconf organiser for two years running. I extended an offer to that submission to present at the Open Programming Miniconf. We had another Java-related talk show up in our separate call for papers.

    It seems fairly clear to me that the lack of JVM talks at LCA is due to a lack of submissions, but we’re doing work to make sure that talks for developers from all open source ecosystems (including OpenJVM) are welcomed there. We just need more submissions!

  2. donna says:

    There seem to be a lot of misconceptions about – and some of them are perpetuated by the non-existent cabal.

    I had a number of people tell me they weren’t going to submit to the call for papers because of posts discouraging them from doing so…


    Also – “I don’t use linux”

    Dunno how we change the script in people’s heads – perhaps talking about it, and blogging about it, and perhaps getting next year’s call for papers to explicitly reach out to different groups… perhaps going back to old model and inviting speakers from under represented open source projects like Java, like BSD… rather than expecting them to submit to our rigorous CFP?

  3. donna says:

    Another thing I’d add…. is rather than linux biassed, I suspect LCA might be GPL biassed… Also – open web people are marginalised and unwelcome by those who suggest it’s a kernel conference.

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