Up to 50 New Zealand open-sourcers flew to Melbourne last week for the ninth linux.conf.au conference, at the University of Melbourne.
Just over 700 people are taking part in what Linux Australia president Jonathan Oxer calls a "part traveling roadshow, part technical talkfest, and part social highlight of the Open Source calendar".
Of the 700-odd attendees there are 550 from Australia, 60 from the US, 50 from New Zealand, 11 from Japan and a smattering of people from countries such as Finland, Canada, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, China, Singapore and the UK who have made the trip down under.
Paul "Rusty" Russell, the conference's founding father, believes it is the vibe of linuxconf which sets it apart from other tech conferences.
"It is a very different conference — its highly technical, and very casual at the same time. It's a very congenial atmosphere and there is a high speaker to attendee ratio — among the attendees there is a one in eight chance that they are a speaker.
The conference kicked off last Monday with two days of mini-conferences on topics as varied as community wireless, education, embedded, Fedora, multimedia, Debian, security, virtualisation, distro, gaming, LinuxChix and MySQL to name a few.
Russell picked Andrew Tridgell's talk on Clustered Samba, Dave Miller's Linux on Sun Logical Domains and Bruce Schneier's Reconceptualising Security keynote speech among his 'must-see' list. Russell said that unlike other tech conferences, the keynotes at linuxconf aren't there to spruik a product or push a brand.