A year after its unsuccessful bid to host Australia’s flagship Linux conference in 2011, a team representing the regional Victorian centre of Ballarat has won the right to host Linux.conf.au in early 2012.
It’s traditional for the location of the conference in the following year to be announced at the closing ceremony of this year’s event. With Linux.conf.au drawing to a close in Brisbane today, Ballarat’s winning bid for 2012 was announced.
“Come out from the buildings, away from the lights and noise, to a different Australia,” a website set up by the Ballarat team and sent live today states. “Come where the bush meets the city and history runs hand in hand with high technology. Come with us, Under the Stars. Come to Ballarat 2012. We are proud to announce that LCA will be hosted by Ballarat in 2012!”
The Ballarat bid dates back to mid-2009, when a team was first formed to bid for the 2011 event. With that effort being unsuccessful, however, IBM business operations manager Josh Stewart put together another bid in mid-2010, with the aim of winning the 2012 festivities.
“This will build upon the bid we submitted last year that, whilst being well received, was unsuccessful,” he wrote at the time. “For this bid to go ahead however we need to ensure that we have a strong enough team of people to make this happen should we be the winning bid this time around (and I do think we have a good chance).”
The 2012 conference will represent the first time Linux.conf.au has ventured outside Australia’s capital cities — it has been held in each capital aside from Darwin — although the conference has also been held in major centres in New Zealand.
Ballarat is unusual amongst Australia’s major regional centres in that it has a strong technology industry presence — with companies like IBM, for example, operating major facilities in the city, as do a number of other technology firms. In addition, Ballarat hosts an active Linux Users’ Group — a factor which may have played in the city’s favour during the application process.
The Ballarat team wrote on its nascent site that it hoped to show another side of Australia to both locals and those — often open source luminaries — who travelled from abroad for the annual conference.
“Ballarat, located about an hour from Melbourne, is a perfect example of the contrasting nature of Australian lifestyles,” the team wrote. “Once founded on the gold mines of the diggings, Ballarat has now matured into a thriving town that has embraced 21st century innovation without forgetting its historical past. Nestled into the surrounding bushland, the University of Ballarat, as host venue for LCA2012, offers a vastly different experience to traditional universities, being large enough to host events such as LCA whilst remaining small enough to retain the ‘laid back’ feel of a regional facility.”
Not all bids to host Linux.conf.au would have been taken as seriously as Ballarat’s successful undertaking, however.
A number of New Zealand Linux enthusiasts have set up a humorous attempt to bring the flagship open source conference to the frozen southern continent of Antarctica. The team’s bid site notes that it’s a joke inspired by Brisbane’s warm climate.
But the site might sound appealing to some of the more adventurous in the Linux community — offering “amazing ice sculptures, mini-conferences focused on igloo making and local wildlife in tune with the Linux operating system’s mascot — Antarctica being one of the favourite global homes of penguins.