In a long email sent to the organisation's main mailing list, Hesketh said given that Linux Australia depended on the profit from the event to manage its yearly budget of around $60,000, activities this year would have to be curtailed.
However, he pointed out with this scenario in mind, the organisation had over recent years put by cash in the bank, which now totalled in excess of $300,000.
Linux Australia provides the seed money for teams in various parts of the country, or in New Zealand, to organise the event which normally returns sufficient profit for Linux Australia's other events. These include backing a number of other conferences for users of Python, Drupal and WordPress, and making grants to various other causes.
"Although a loss is forecast, we still have significant equity as an organisation (> $300k), and our future is not in jeopardy. We simply need to 'tighten the belt' for a year."
As to reasons for the loss, Hesketh cited the host city (Perth) as being one where expenses were expected to be higher due to the geographic location and costs. Hiring an events manager meant extra costs.
He said the number of attendees was below the norm and that difficulties were expected with the main venue, leading to a change of dates which meant the conference was held at a less than optimal time. While the conference is normally held in last week of January, occasionally spilling into February, the Perth event was held from January 6 to 10.
"Unfortunately due to poor tracking of the forecast financial state it was not discovered that the conference was heading towards a loss until it was too late. Commitments had been made with suppliers/vendors and non-refundable items purchased. However the Council stands by the fact that it is better to run a linux.conf.au at a loss than not to have a conference," he wrote.
Budget amendments due to this year's loss would be published soon, Hesketh said.
The conference was last held in Perth in 2003. One member of Linux Australia has queried whether this conference made a profit or loss and also what numbers it attracted, both questions Hesketh is yet to answer.