Linux.Conf.Au 2004 — Coming Soon!

Introducing the travelblog! Episode One: Adelaide, Excuse One: Linux.Conf.Au organising meeting.

The trip was to help pass on any tricks and tips to this year’s organising committee, and make sure that everything’s rosy and nothing’s pear-shaped. Mmm. Pears. So I arrived Friday evening. Brrr. Cold. Southern states just have a different sort of cold, one where words like “brisk” and “nippy” have a real meaning. Got picked up by Dan Shearer, and dropped off at the City Park Motel. A little later Tony Breeds-Taurima and Mark Tearle (from the Perth organisers) showed up after being entertained for the afternoon by the Adelaide folks. We chatted for a bit, and headed out to find bars.

After skipping a yuppie bar, and overcoming our dismay at walking into a pub with no beer (and far, far too much wine), we found an excellent venue that would (a) let us in (although not “upstairs”) and (b) serve us beer. For bonus points, it managed (c) live music, and (d) an attractive mix of sketch comedy and reality television presented live for our enjoyment just out the window.

[before] [after]
What the room looked like shortly after we arrived What the room looked like shortly before we left

The beer wasn’t great. There might be a reason that Adelaide’s known for its wine. Saturday woke up gray and chill, and loomed ominously above us as we headed out for breakfast. Remembering this is the city of churches, we kept our eyes open and our tithes to ourselves.

[duck] [duck] [goose]

Breakfast, and coffee ensued. We met up with the Adelaide folks, who joined us in the imbibification. Pia, president of Linux Australia which backs the conference, but not an ex-organiser of any l.c.a, arrived to join us, having had an unaccompanied trip due to unexpected somnolescence on Anand Kumria’s behalf (treasurer of Linux Australia, and one of the Sydney organisers). We took our leave of the coffee shop, and were guided to a secure area on the 6th floor of a building in an undisclosed location. We unpacked laptops, and began discussions. Rusty Russell, who organised CALU, the forefather of all l.c.a’s in Melbourne in ’99, arrived, and Anand showed up shortly after, letting discussions begin in earnest.


So, for the rest of the morning, we talked about stuff.

Eventually, we stopped talking about stuff, and headed off for lunch, in weather wet and miserable enough you’d think we were in Melbourne.

[lunch] [miserable]

The tour of the venue followed. It’s a pretty sweet location: the University of Adelaide is literally just a block down from the city mall. Accommodation, restaurants, nightlife, and everything is a within spitting distance. Of course, everything in Adelaides’s within spitting distance from the heavens, as we were continually reminded throughout the tour.


We came in from Pultney Street, across North Terrace. The first building we were meant to be shown, but unfortunately weren’t due to some screw up or other was Elder Hall, which is where the keynotes will hopefully be held. After that, we wondered down towards the university club, then back up to the Napier building, which is where most of the conference will probably be held, and we were fortunate enough to get a look at the lecture halls in here. Two of them hold around 150 people, the third holds a few more. More wet trudging ensued, as we had a quick wander down towards the river, past the Union hall (where the refecs are, if walking across a road into the mall is too much hassle), and back. Just across North Terrace, on Pultney Street, and smack-bang between the university and the mall is The Mansions, which will probably be the speaker accommodation. All very pretty and convenient.

[elderhall] [napier-1] [napier-2]

[lec 1] [lec 1]
[lec 2] [lec 2]

[walking] [refectory] [mansions]

We returned to the dry warmth of indoors and continued talking about stuff ’til five, then knocked off and went out. Drinks, dinner and shiatsu massage chairs followed. Some time later, so did sleep.


A beautiful surprise woke us on Sunday — blue sky! Naturally, we made the best of this by spending most of it indoors, eating yummy bbq lunch put on by Geoffrey and Lindy. And that was about it. A few Virgin Blue boarding calls later and the interstate visitors were sent back whence they came.

[blue sky]

Without stealing the Adelaide guys’ thunder by going into much detail about any of the “stuff”, it’s abundantly clear that the conference is going places. And going places that you’d like to visit, at that. By any measure it’s improving significantly every year — number of attendees keeps rising, interest by business and sponsors, and the amount of stuff actually happening, and Adelaide already shows every signing of extending that trend. Many of the difficulties we faced in running the conference in Brisbane (is anyone going to come? what features should we keep, and which should we change?) seem to have been solved, leading to new, grander difficulties (how should the miniconfs and the main conference be balanced? are we going to be able to cope with the number of people who’d like to go?), which is an absolutely excellent state to be in. Even with the increased size of the conference they’re planning, the Adelaide organisers seem to be much more organised than we were in Brisbane at a similar point in time, which is also a very positive indicator.

Basically, keep watching the website; there’s a whole bunch of surprises they’re yet to extract from their sleeves.

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