The LCA is being held in Wellington from January 18 to 23, with an open day rounding off things on the Saturday of conference week.
Conference co-organiser Susanne Ruthven announced on the conference mailing list that Laurence Millar, former chief information officer for New Zealand, Stephen Schmid from the office of the chief information officer Australia and Andrew Stott, director of digital engagement for the United Kingdom, would all be speaking at the miniconference titled "Open and the Public Sector".
Stott will be attending via a VoIP link.
Don Christie, president of the New Zealand Open Source Society and one of the panellists at a discussion to be held at the mini-conf, said that he was presenting a paper at the main conference on New Zealand's search for open desktop alternatives.
NZOSS has been running a trial of open desktop alternatives since August last year, after the government failed to conclude a three-year deal with Microsoft to supply software for government use.
A number of central, regional and local government agencies are working together to run trials using free software for common desktop tasks, according to Christie.
He said the panel discussion was likely to touch on this, but hoped it could also discuss the broader opportunities that usage of FOSS could enable.
"New Zealand's population is less that Philadelphia, so our government should be agile, able to respond to events quickly and able to adopt new ideas and technologies fast. It should also be able to collaborate easily. But it achieves very little of the above. And I think a FLOSS mentality can change all that so (I) will try and bring those threads into the conversation," Christie said.
"That said, this is a panel, so I do expect the audience to drive the agenda as well."
The mini-conference is being organised by Daniel Spector, who works with Catalyst, New Zealand's biggest open source company.
Spector has a technical background: his father was in the semiconductor business and he has been in and around tech most of his life, having gone to school in the Silicon Valley and attended his first IEEE meeting at the age of 14.
"I have worked in development companies and services companies, first getting involved with Linux when I ran an IT company in Oakland CA in 2000, as the SUSE office was near my regular lunchspot," Spector said.
He has a few criteria for deciding whether the mini-conf has been a siccess of not: "Having people walking away with more knowledge than they came with. Getting people to think. Having some solid attendance from inside government to learn about the incredible benefits FLOSS could bring to the country and having those same people understand how the procurement system actively discriminates against FLOSS."