LCA By The Bay – Linuxconf.au 2016 – Conference Report

Posted by Dan Hawke on 22 February 2016

This year's conference branded "LCA By the Bay" was hosted at the Deakin University Waterfront Campus, and attracted 600 delegates from students with an interest in Linux, to professionals from global organisations such as IBM, Google, Wikimedia Foundation, and Red Hat.

The conference ran from 1-5 February this year, with a huge amount of content presented and tutorials taught - usually five sessions being run simultaneously.  Fortunately, the formal presentation sessions were recorded so missed content can be watched at anyones leisure, including the four keynote speakers:

Chair of Internet Australia, George Fong

OpenMaterials and EverywhereTech Founder, Catarina Mota

Community Manager, GitHub, Jono Bacon

Intel Fellow and cultural anthropologist, Genevieve Bell

One of the best outcomes I find from attending the conference is an insight into the variety of directions that open source software, and technology in general, might be heading.  It's also a great opportunity to learn how other organisations are implementing new practises, like blue/green deployments. Ruben Rubio of Manageacloud.com presented one such talk, which is also available online.

Over the last few years, there has been a growing focus on the number of security talks at the conference, and this year all of these were very well attended, often to capacity of the theatre.  There is growing interest in security analysis tools such as Metasploit that allow a company to try to detect vulnerabilities in web and application services prior to a malicious attacker finding them.  Also, what do you do when you discover you have been compromised?  Do you still have logs from six months ago?  Can you track down what data was affected?  There are tools available to mitigate these risks, when configured and managed properly with appropriate retention times.

The conference also encouraged people to ask the difficult questions, like how much of your IT time is utilised on failures, instead of creating new value within the organisation? Are you spending too much time on break-fix, instead of accomplishing your goals?  And how could you reorganise your teams to improve these? Some of these questions provide important baseline values prior to undertaking any DevOps journey.

On the Tuesday, I was also a speaker at the Open Knowledge mini-conference, where I discussed Freedom of Information, and the open source software Alavateli - which facilitates and manages FOI requests. My talk is recorded here.

Overall, LCA2016 provided something for everyone - I'm sure all delegates left having met someone new, learned something, and are looking forward to LCA2017 in Hobart, Tasmania.  Conferences provide networking and conversation opportunities that are often not available, and to be exposed to new views and technology that your company may not be aware of, and LCA2016 was very successful at facilitating that.

Read more about LCA - I hope to see more of you at LCA2017.


Photo: Bollard at the Geelong Waterfront, taken by Damir Kotorić.

Dan Hawke has been a technical consultant at OSS for a little over a year, working mainly on Red Hat Enterprise Linux projects after a history in Higher Education IT services at both The University of Auckland and The University of Canterbury.