Home Business IT Open Source All wrapped up in Python's embrace

Organising a conference is hard work. That's one reason why there are as yet no formal bids to host the Australian national Linux conference in 2014.

And the one group said to be putting together a bid, a group from Perth, is looking for a professional body to take over the organising.

But despite the time it takes, and the lack of any financial reward, organising conferences does tend to grow on some people. One of those is Christopher Neugebauer (aobve), a young FOSS developer from Tasmania, who last month was lead organiser for the third Australian Python conference.

Neugebauer is a regular at the annual LCA; he is on the papers committee for the upcoming LCA in January. But even if he has no official role, he is always there, willing to help in any way possible.

His recent experience with the Python event has, if anything, made him more enthusiastic - he is planning to do a repeat next year, probably in August.

Neugebauer sees three main benefits for the local community, in this case the Python community, from such a conference.

"It gives Australian Python developers a chance to meet each other, and share their own experiences using Python," he told iTWire.

Secondly, "we get an opportunity to invite experts in from overseas to present at the conference – this helps link the Australian Python community to the global Python community.

And thirdly, "through the post-conference development sprints, we give developers a chance to work on important Open Source Python projects in a face-to-face setting (which is a rather rare opportunity)."

Asked whether a conference should have a broad range of subjects or be confined to just one, Neugebauer said that if the community can sustain a stand-alone conference, then it was a good idea.

"In the case of Python, it's allowed our community to gather in the one place, and present on much more in-depth and detailed Python topics," he said. "Previously, our community was scattered amongst various conferences (OSDC (the annual open source developers conference) and LCA to name but two), and we weren't presenting (in) nearly as much detail.

"That said, there are still Python talks happening at both OSDC and LCA, but they're far more generalist, which is how it should be."

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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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