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Linux Australia, the umbrella organisation for Linux user groups in the country, provides support for the Python conference which takes place under its aegis.

"We've been working on it intermittently since April 2011 (when we started putting the bid together), but the majority of the hard work has been in the last few months - handling registrations, dealing with higher than expected attendance," Neugebauer said.

As for the budget, he is not in a position to confirm how much the conference ended up costing, or the income. But it is generally the case that no conference of this kind runs at a loss.

While some conferences have issues with less people than expected showing up, Neugebauer did not encounter this problem - 240 people registered, and 230 showed up.

"It was definitely worth it – we brought together Python developers from all around Australia, as well as New Zealand, Japan, India and the United States, and they all shared valuable knowledge and experience in all aspects of the Python ecosystem," he said.

Many conference regulars see the face-to-face interaction that these events offer as being the biggest reason for holding them. Neugebauer agrees.

"Absolutely. This is why our conference consists both of talks (for the first two days), and sprints (for the next two days)," he said.

"Our development sprints allow developers, who are normally geographically dispersed, to work together at the same location, and it helps a project get new developer talent on board – having someone experienced walk a new developer through an unfamiliar codebase can be invaluable.

"As for the conference days, it gives people a chance to talk to the developers of software they use in their day-to-day work, ask them difficult questions, and learn about things they otherwise wouldn't have looked into.

"And for many developers, some of whom may be the only Python developers in their workplace, it gives them a chance to interact with other Python developers, and to meet people with shared interests in their work. All in all, these things completely justify the effort of running a conference."

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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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