The Ruthvens (seen below with their new baby) were unable to attend the conference until today, due to a virus which had affected both them and their four-month-old son.
This morning, both took to the stage to a round of cheers from the delegates during the usual house-cleaning session which takes place at 9am each day - a session that outlines changes to the conference schedule, any new additions to the programme and also includes a give-away to one user who is drawn by lot.
This morning's giveaway was a laptop donated by HP.
The Ruthvens said the fact that the rest of the organising committee had been able to carry on with the conference despite their absence, showed that the management structure set up to run the conference was sound and their volunteers extremely able.
They also felt that the comprehensive documentation created during the organising stages had been invaluable.
Some conference delegates have privately told iTWire that they feel the keynotes are becoming too general and compromising the technical nature of the conference.
Asked about this, Andrew Ruthven responded by saying that the fact that the keynotes had a wider focus represented the nature of the Linux community today.
Sponsorship co-ordinator Andrew McMillan added that around 30 percent of the talks at the conference were not directly Linux-related and this again pointed to the broad nature of the community.
McMillan, who was also part of the technical committee that evaluated papers for the conference, said the volume of submissions had gone up so much that around 300 talks had been submitted to the committee this year.
Given the number of activities at the conference, delegates often complain, though not in a serious vein, that they miss out on talks and other activities that they would have loved to attend.
To this, Susanne responded that she was delighted about the excess and that it was a good problem to have.
In response to a query, Andrew Ruthven said the total number of delegates was 650. The mini-conferences had now become more integrated into the main conference, he said, as there was even a keynote on the second day, making the conference itself more of a composite week-long event.
Asked about the possibility of some kind of financial assistance being extended to help those presenting at mini-conferences, both Andrew Ruthven and McMillan said this was a decision that had to be made by Linux Australia and that the question should be pursued with the new Linux Australia president, James Turnbull.
McMillan said such assistance, if any, would have to be decided when planning a budget; one could not budget for 450, decide on financial assistance for a certain number, and then suddenly cope with the number of attendees rising to 650.
The conference moves into its fourth day on the morrow. The formal sessions end on Friday; on Saturday an open day will be held to showcase free and open source software to the local populace.