Linux Conference Australia 2017


Last week I attended Linux Conference Australia that was this year hosted in Hobart Tasmania. The weeklong event has the first 2 days dedicated to mini conferences before the selected presentations over the following 3 days.

I was actually there by virtue of being a speaker and mini conference organiser for the Open Radio mini conference. If this may interest you, you can read about it over here on my Radio Blog. Unfortunately this meant a clash with the sysadmin miniconf, but there will be time to catch up on that.

Day 1 for me was the Open Radio Mini conference, which had a number of presentations from fellow amateur radio operators.

Day 2 was also mini conferences, with my focus mainly being on the fantastic keynote any Pia Waugh and then following the Security and Privacy stream.

Day 3-5 were mostly trying to pick the talk that was of most interest to me to attend, and boy there were some truly fascinating sessions. Some of the highlights for me included:

  • Valerie Young’s talk on reproducible builds
  • Future Privacy with Michael Cordover
  • The Trouble with BSD by Benno Rice
  • Matthew Chapman’s talk on Battery Hacking

And there will probably be many more which I haven’t gotten to yet! But I will get to them, and you can too, because all the sessions have been recorded and can be watched on Youtube! To relive LCA, visit:


Conference Dinner, LCA 2017, Hobart

My First Time at LCA

I have talked about going to a LCA event for some time (probably since 2009 when the last one was held in Hobart) so this was my first event. Some of the things I have learnt during the event have been:

  • Don’t feel you have to attend every session, you’ll burn out. If there is a session window that really has nothing on that captures you, that’s your signal to go for a walk, sit down somewhere, go get a drink and have a moment to yourself.
  • Speaking of drinks, do make sure you have a drink bottle. I found the selection of drinks during sessions and at morning & afternoon tea lacking (unless you liked water or tea).
  • Interact with others! This can be ridiculously challenging for introverts like me, but once you do, you’re likely to meet some fantastic people.
  • Don’t get too wrapped up in taking notes. As all the sessions were recorded and are now on youtube for all time, I can always go back to the presentation.
  • Volunteer! Not only do you help the conference be great, but you get to meet people too! certainly a less scary way to meet people than walking up to a huddled group of coders!

Me being thanked for helping organise Miniconference


As many of you know, my professional life revolves around the Microsoft platform. Being at LCA meant that I was a little bit like a duck out of water.

I was truly blown away by the passion and conviction of so many of the presenters and fellow attendees about there projects that by the 4th day I started to question what I was doing in a Microsoft world with so many amazing and important Open Source projects out there. I feel this driven by the need to be part of something big. It felt a little wrong being here.

Funnily enough I have just noticed that there was a talk at LCA about Imposter Syndrome by Bianca Gibson, which seems to cover this.


Would I Go Again?

Now I have been to an LCA, I am not entirely sure it would be something I would go out of my way to attend each year. There are certainly some brilliant presentations, but without the close alignment to the FOSS community, many of the sessions were going into areas that were too technical for me.

Being my first LCA, I have no idea if this is the benchmark for all previous and future events, but it would have been nice to have streams of presentations like the mini conferences achieved to make it easier to choose sessions to go to.

I hope to go again, but maybe in another 2-3 years.