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Two years ago, the first PyCon Australia, a conference devoted to the Python programming language, was held in Sydney because the local developer community saw the need for a targeted conference.

Since then, it has gone from strength to strength. Held under the auspices of Linux Australia, PyCon 2012 is taking place on August 18 and 19 in Hobart, the capital of Tasmania.

At its helm this time are two young men, Christopher Neugebauer and Joshua Hesketh, both of whom have more than earned their stripes in free and open source software circles in the country.

Says Neugebauer, a 23-year-old software developer, "My first attempt at organising a Python developer day led me to propose an (ultimately rejected) Python miniconf for linux.conf.au 2009 in Hobart."

The annual Australian national Linux conference, organised on behalf of Linux Australia, is better known as linux.conf.au. It is hosted in a different city each year.

Since 2010, Neugebauer has organised and conducted the Open Programming Miniconf at linux.conf.au. He says, " it has provided a focal point for developers using many languages (including Python) at LCA".

Christopher Neugebauer

Neugebauer (left) works on Android development with Secret Lab, a development studio in Hobart. He says that while his day job does not involve writing a lot of Python code, he has been using the language in his work, studies, and for fun since 2004.

Linux Australia, the umbrella organisation for Linux user groups in the country, had for a long time confined itself to organising just the one conference. Held annually in January, it has come to be known as one of the better Linux conferences worldwide and attracts a goodly crowd every year.

A few years ago, Linux Australia decided to broaden its umbrella. Since then, it has provided the backing for conferences devoted to Drupal, WordPress and Python. Additionally this year it sponsored the AdaCamp, a camp for women organised by The Ada Initiative which aims to try and increase the number of women participating in technology.

Though the annual Linux conference has been hosted by a different city in Australia every year, with the occasional foray across the Tasman, in the case of PyCon, a city hosts the conference two years running. Hobart will, thus, host the event in 2013 as well.

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Sam Varghese

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A professional journalist with decades of experience, Sam for nine years used DOS and then Windows, which led him to start experimenting with GNU/Linux in 1998. Since then he has written widely about the use of both free and open source software, and the people behind the code. His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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