This year’s line up has swung away from the community-focused content of linux.conf.au 2017 Hobart, back to technically-heavier talks. Personally I think this was the right move – without robust technical depth, linux.conf.au risks losing its traditional audience of kernel and Linux hackers.
The conference theme of
a little bit of history repeating
plays out in the programme in a couple of ways. First, the conference welcomes back Karen Sandler as a keynote. Karen last keynoted linux.conf.au 2012 in Ballarat, in one of the best presentations I’ve ever seen about bodily autonomy, and the impact that software freedoms have not just on technology, but on our personal health. Her talk at linux.conf.au 2017 Hobart on ‘Surviving the next 30 years of free software‘ was also thought-provoking – as our community ages, how do we prepare for the death of our community members – and importantly – how to we curate their code legacy? I can’t wait to hear what Karen speaks out in Sydney.
History repeating also plays out in the Miniconfs that we’re seeing this year. The Open Education Miniconf is back after a several-year hiatus, while the stalwart Sysadmin Miniconf is back. Open Hardware is as popular as ever, and has already sold out.
What I love above this year’s Miniconfs is the reach-out and cross-pollination with other disciplines. The Bioinformatics Miniconf is back, after debuting at linux.conf.au 2016 (disclosure: I was 2IC of LCA2016). The Art and Tech Miniconf, led by the amazing Kris Howard, is going to be my top pick, because of the cross over with elements such as data visualisation, and even a Knitting Printer.
The next generation
- History can’t repeat unless we have the next generation to repeat it – and David Tulloh’s war-story from volunteering to teach kids to code will provide insights to those running MakerSpaces and HackerSpaces, coding camps and so on about how to engage students in learning code.
- I’m really looking forward to Hugh Bleming’s talk on staying employed and employable – on the nature of the gig economy and what it means for technology workers. Personally I’d upgrade this to a keynote 😉
Accessibility and inclusiveness
- Nicolas Steenhout‘s tutorial on practical accessibility testing will be high on my list – his excellent presentation on Security and Accessibility at linux.conf.au 2016 Geelong was an eye-opener, and I’m coming back for more.
Open source community
- As an open source community manager for Mycroft.AI, I’m also interested in Lindsay Holmwood’s talk on how Conway’s Law applies to open source communities.
- When I tweeted a suggested talk title last year, I never imagined Kathy Giori would pick it up and make a talk out of it – but as the VP of Arduino.org, I’m very glad she did!
Open source making the world a better place
- OpenMRS is an open health records system, and I’m looking forward to hearing Cinta Del Rio talk more about how it’s saving lives.