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The Australian national Linux conference appears to be becoming a victim of its own success, with no team putting up a bid to host the event in 2014.

But the sponsor, Linux Australia, has no choice but to keep finding an organising team - the conference serves as its main source of funds. Else, it would not be able to spread its wings as it has.

One of the reasons, and probably the main reason, why there are no takers for the 2014 event is the extent to which it has grown and number of activities involved. Organising the event is no walk in the park.

LA now sponsors conferences devoted to WordPress, Drupal, and Python to name three. It has its hands in a few other pies and often extends sponsorship to other activities connected with free and open source software.

The first LCA was held in 1999 and since then there has been a conference either in Australia or New Zealand every year.

There was no conference in the calendar year 2000 but that was because the dates were changed from mid-winter to January when Australia is on its summer break.

Over the years every organiser has vied with the previous ones to put on the "best conference." And as more and more activities have been added, things have become a bit complicated and very time-consuming.

In 2011, for example, things were extra time-consuming as the floods in Brisbane meant that the organisers had to literally organise things twice over. They had to switch venues at the last minute and did a commendable job in running an excellent show.

As with any conference run by volunteers, things do not work at times. But the informal atmosphere and the social setting provide a conference that has come to be loved by people both in Australia and abroad.

Last year, LCA was organised in a regional city, Ballarat, for the first time. One could not say how it ran, having not been present, but reports indicate that things went more or less as they usually do.

LA faces a tough choice between cutting the event down to three days and excluding some of the areas that it has covered in recent years, or else keeping the same format and getting more involved itself. The idea of having so-called professional organisers is unlikely to be welcomed by those who usually attend.

The deadline for bids has been extended by three weeks, which means that by mid-September LA will have to decide what to do. LA members have not been short of suggestions since the news broke; it remains to be seen what will eventuate.

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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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