It was Russell who had the brainwave of hosting a conference of this nature in Australia, an idea born out of a visit to the US in 1997 to attend the USELINUX conference there. He also bankrolled the idea when it finally came to fruition in 1999.
A talk by David S. Miller during the first session of the USELINUX developers track was what made him decide that this was what he wanted to work on. Until that point he had been a Linux user and a small-time developer but after listening to Miller he was sold on the idea of working on the kernel.
Back in Australia, over the next two years, he fulfilled his dream of working on the kernel, obtaining a job that meant he had to work remotely from Adelaide with an office in Seattle. The idea of hosting the conference continued to germinate.
He asked around for a good venue so he would have a rough idea of the numbers which could be accommodated. "I had some savings," he said. "I went around Australia, visited every Linux user group and promoted the conference."
In those days, he had to find people in every centre to give out registration forms and collect payment - there was nothing like online payment.