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Linux.conf.au coming back to Canberra!

By 24 January 2012 52

linuxconf poster

What better way for the nerds of Canberra to celebrate the Centenary than gathering at ANU for linux.conf.au!

Canberra turns 100 next year. That’s pretty old, but we’re pretty sure that she still knows how to party. All of Canberra will have their party shoes on during 2013, including the geeks. And what better way to have a geek party than to host the best Linux conference in the southern hemisphere, right here in the middle of our town?

Linux Australia announced today that linux.conf.au will be held at the Australian National University campus next year, from 28 January to 2 February, 2013.

Conference Director Michael Still said that he was delighted with the announcement, and praised the work already put in by the Canberra committee to organise the bid. “We have a lot of work to do before January 2013, but we plan to deliver a great conference, and have some fun while we’re doing it.”

linux.conf.au is one of the foremost open source conferences in the world, and is considered the most prestigious in the southern hemisphere. Every year open source geeks from across the globe gather in Australia to meet their fellow technologists, share the latest ideas and innovations, and spend a week collaborating on free, open source software projects.

Canberra last hosted the conference in 2005, to universal acclaim. Eight years on, we are delighted to see the conference return to the capital.

For those wondering what Linux is, it’s a computer operating system of great reliability maintained by the community. It runs my netbook, the RiotACT webserver, and android smartphones amongst many other things.

Legend has it the linux penguin was inspired by a penguin at the Canberra Zoo biting Linus Torvalds.

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52 Responses to Linux.conf.au coming back to Canberra!
#31
qbngeek11:36 am, 25 Jan 12

Disinformation said :

The biggest issues against linux being adopted by the average person isn’t the technical knowledge required, arrogance of the users, lack of driver support or any other reason that has been mentioned so far. The average person is willfully resistant to frustration. They don’t like it. They will give up if there is not sufficient motivation to overcome it.
This applies to every single person on the planet with every single skill that they need and don’t need. Most of the world has learned the windows way of things. Once they’ve done that, there is insufficient motivation to overcome the frustration of learning something else. For a rank beginner with no experience, the most intuitive (With the least frustration) interfaces to powerful computing capability are the most popular.

+eleventy billion

I run a linux programming box for Android development and I must say that the biggest enemy of Linux are Linux users. They seem to think that the world will one day wake up and go ‘Wow, Linux is awesome I have been so blind.’

Until Linux works out of the box and is as polished as Windows is it will never be accepted by the masses. The biggest issues I hear are driver issues and the difficulty, for a new user, of finding and installing apps. The main excuses I hear from developers are ‘It is too hard to account for so many types of hardware’.

The next big OS will be released by Google and if it is based on Linux then all the better. If not, the only hope for Linux is that the developing community pull their fingers out and make it as polished as humanly possible. When you have a development community that large and that active, it really shouldn’t be that hard.

#32
Duffbowl11:38 am, 25 Jan 12

Deref said :

LSWCHP said :

I am currently in Hell. Or to put it another way, I’m an old time Unix hacker who has suddenly been forced to do some development work under Windoze. Something inside me has been dying. This afternoon I actually wrote my own cross-thread comms library, because the OS is so lame. Unbelievable.

Poor bastard. I’ll pray to the FSM for you.

May the peace of “Bob” be upon you all, and the Blessed Anti-Virgin succour away your sins.

#33
johnboy11:44 am, 25 Jan 12

qbngeek said :

Until Linux works out of the box and is as polished as Windows is it will never be accepted by the masses. The biggest issues I hear are driver issues and the difficulty, for a new user, of finding and installing apps. The main excuses I hear from developers are ‘It is too hard to account for so many types of hardware’.

Oh please, almost any linux is easier to install than Windows. you just mostly buy wintel boxen with the thing already on it!

#34
Dilandach12:01 pm, 25 Jan 12

johnboy said :

qbngeek said :

Until Linux works out of the box and is as polished as Windows is it will never be accepted by the masses. The biggest issues I hear are driver issues and the difficulty, for a new user, of finding and installing apps. The main excuses I hear from developers are ‘It is too hard to account for so many types of hardware’.

Oh please, almost any linux is easier to install than Windows. you just mostly buy wintel boxen with the thing already on it!

Once again, it depends on the distro. There are those that are built around UIs and package management. There are others that certainly don’t have any hand holding.

#35
qbngeek12:10 pm, 25 Jan 12

johnboy said :

qbngeek said :

Until Linux works out of the box and is as polished as Windows is it will never be accepted by the masses. The biggest issues I hear are driver issues and the difficulty, for a new user, of finding and installing apps. The main excuses I hear from developers are ‘It is too hard to account for so many types of hardware’.

Oh please, almost any linux is easier to install than Windows. you just mostly buy wintel boxen with the thing already on it!

Come on, I recently installed Windoze 7 on a family members PC and all I did was whack the DVD in, hit next, select Australia, hit next a few more times adn bugger off while it did its thing for about an hour. Office was the same and Windows AntiVirus took about 2 seconds then they were ready to go.

Even Ubuntu isn’t that easy.

I personally love Linux, but I use W7 on my laptop because I can make everything work without a hassle and it will run all my apps and games with no issues or modifications. When there is an Android OS for PC, I will more than likely switch to that since Google already runs 80% of my life.

#36
Erg012:23 pm, 25 Jan 12

I’ve thought about giving Linux a try from time to time, but never really found a justification for the amount of time and effort it would take for me to effectively re-learn 17 years of accumulated knowledge on bending Windows to my will (more like 25 if you count DOS knowledge, which still comes in handy from time to time). This is partly due to simple inertia, and partly because I can’t really see how I, personally, will benefit from making the switch.

This is a genuine question: For the average Windows user, what is the actual benefit of switching a laptop/home PC to Linux?

#37
Erg012:26 pm, 25 Jan 12

Incidentally, this thread on Whirlpool shows a pretty good cross-section of Linux users, from the condescending jerks to the fanatical evangelists to the realists. And it’s only 73 pages long!

http://forums.whirlpool.net.au/forum-replies.cfm?t=1803524

#38
Lazy I12:36 pm, 25 Jan 12

Deref said :

:-) A most excellent thing. Perhaps our wholly-owned subsidiaries of Microsoft, aka our governments, will come along and learn something.

Judging by the generic anti-Microsoft trolling nature of your comment I gather you’re a clug regular.

Anyone in industry would know that there is a hell of a lot of Linux in Government in Canberra, and that it’s doing a lot of the heavy lifting behind the scenes.

#39
Keijidosha1:00 pm, 25 Jan 12

Lazy I said :

Anyone in industry would know that there is a hell of a lot of Linux in Government in Canberra, and that it’s doing a lot of the heavy lifting behind the scenes.

+1, Linux forms the backbone of many departments, although the shift towards Sharepoint is alarming.

#40
fnaah1:32 pm, 25 Jan 12

“For the average Windows user, what is the actual benefit of switching a laptop/home PC to Linux?”

Never* having to worry about viruses or malware?

* – practically never, that is.

#41
Dilandach2:10 pm, 25 Jan 12

Keijidosha said :

Lazy I said :

Anyone in industry would know that there is a hell of a lot of Linux in Government in Canberra, and that it’s doing a lot of the heavy lifting behind the scenes.

+1, Linux forms the backbone of many departments, although the shift towards Sharepoint is alarming.

Even then, that sharepoint server could be virtualised. ESX…. linux.

From an application and end user stand point, Windows.

From an infrastructure standpoint… virtualisation, SAN/NAS, databases, internal / external hosting and firewalls. Linux is the more widely used.

#42
imagesplat2:39 pm, 25 Jan 12

Erg0 said :

This is a genuine question: For the average Windows user, what is the actual benefit of switching a laptop/home PC to Linux?

That depends on what stuff someone needs their PC to do :-)

Bits of this article “Linux is Not Windows” should offer some help at explaining some of the differences between the operating systems: http://linux.oneandoneis2.org/LNW.htm

#43
Erg03:05 pm, 25 Jan 12

imagesplat said :

Bits of this article “Linux is Not Windows” should offer some help at explaining some of the differences between the operating systems: http://linux.oneandoneis2.org/LNW.htm

Thanks for the link, which more or less confirms my semi-informed opinion that Linux isn’t suitable for my purposes. I also like the tone of the article – it seems that most of the “mainstream” Linux coverage frames it as being aimed at supplanting Windows as the dominant desktop OS, which it seems is not the intent of the Linux community at all.

#44
Deref3:17 pm, 25 Jan 12

Erg0 said :

I’ve thought about giving Linux a try from time to time, but never really found a justification for the amount of time and effort it would take for me to effectively re-learn 17 years of accumulated knowledge on bending Windows to my will (more like 25 if you count DOS knowledge, which still comes in handy from time to time). This is partly due to simple inertia, and partly because I can’t really see how I, personally, will benefit from making the switch.

This is a genuine question: For the average Windows user, what is the actual benefit of switching a laptop/home PC to Linux?

If you’re a dedicated gamer, or if you use deep scripted code in MS Office, probably more pain than gain.

Other than that, though, lots, including:

* Freedom, as in speech. You’re free to tinker, to change, to add, to subtract, to share. Also freedom as in beer – if you don’t want or need to pay for support, it won’t cost you anything;

* Reliability. Linux is much more stable than Windows. As a direct result of its architecture, it’s also much more secure against malware;

* It plays nicely wind Windows. You can run Linux from a CD or a USB stick, you can install it next to Windows as a dual-boot system or you can run it from inside Windows in several ways, so you don’t have to make a choice until you’re ready to – or never, if you need to use both;

* Choice. There are lots of different distros and there are lots of different user interfaces – you can “shop around” and try them out until you find one you like. (Some people say this is a disadvantage, that the wide range of choice makes it harder);

* Ease of use. Many people believe that Linux is easier to use than Windows, though “ease of use” is often “what I’m familiar with” – there’s a learning curve, to be sure, though it’s not that steep if you use a distro like Mint, which most Windows users feel comfortable with from scratch;

* If you found DOS commands useful, you’ll feel right at home in a Linux terminal window, though you need never go there unless you want to;

* Vast amounts of free (as in speech and as in beer) software. Unless your needs are very specific, there’s a Linux app that’ll do what you need (given that you’ve read the Linux is not Windows link, above), and many (though not all) Windows programs can run directly from within Linux, using Wine.

There are others, but the best thing is that you can suck it and see without sacrificing Windows.

We rightly fear distro wars, but I’ll just say that I generally start people off with Mint (apart from anything else, it’s got all the video and audio stuff out of the box – you don’t have to install it yourself). But there’s no “right” distro – they’re all good.

#45
Lazy I4:10 pm, 25 Jan 12

Love this comment from the clug mailing list in regards to this thread:

“Main think is that the RiotACT, and SlushDirt, exist because they appeal to the lowest common denominator. That appeal is not accidental.”

Src: https://lists.samba.org/archive/linux/2012-January/030960.html

*grabs popcorn*

#46
Waiting For Godot4:47 pm, 25 Jan 12

Linux is crap. Their Ubuntu OS is complicated and strictly for hard core nerds. I uninstalled it after more than a week of frustration in trying to get it to work properly.

Their open-source alternatives to paid programs are sadly deficient and an absolute joke when compared with Nero, Photoshop, and the other popular, highly regarded software. None of my programs (which installed quickly and easily with Windows and worked perfectly) would either install or work. There is a complicated scripting exercise you have to go thru before any programs work, or so I was told. Not even my Logitech webcam worked properly. Ubuntu’s controls for it didn’t even have a zoom function.

I would say Microsoft has nothing to fear from this cheap and nasty imitation. You get what you pay for. In this case you pay nothing and that’s exactly what you get.

#47
PoQ5:29 pm, 25 Jan 12

I recently installed Linux (xubuntu/xfce) on a new laptop. I have also installed windows from scratch.

They are as easy as each other to install.

Its getting the user programs to work.

To get the mobile broadband to work on the Linux box, I had to manually edit the connection strings. Fortunately, the broadband device worked on the windows box so I could Google what these parameters were.

To get the printer to work, I had to download a driver from the printer’s manufacturer’s website. The LPR driver didn’t work; the PPD driver crashed the system. The CUPS driver worked, after I downloaded and installed the CUPS application (oddly, not part of the distro). Unfortunately, this took me a week to work out. I had to download CUPS separately; I then had to add permissions to the users (me), then grant permissions to myself in the CUPS system.

I haven’t worked out how to burn a CD/DVD on the Linux box. The applications from the “Ubuntu Software Centre” point to “/dev/dvd” and can’t be remapped to “/media/” which is how they’re automatically mounted.

The backup program included with the distro, “Nepomuk”, returns the error message “…backup service not running. Backups can not be run without it”. Download KBackup, takes three hours to back up 10 Gb. Windows can backup 100Gb in under two hours.

So the issue is, that mostly Linux apps may or may not work, but even the ones that come in the distribution aren’t complete, and you have to download extra bits, and then some more, to get them to work. Linux is the software IKEA would sell: “some assembly required”. None of these issues ever came up on the windows box: the printer driver install process; the modem set up; the DVD ripping/burning process.

I’m ineluctably reminded of the Erasmus Smums quote: “…I don’t know what percentage of our time on any computer based project is spent getting the equipment to work right, but if I had a gardener who spent as much of the time fixing her shovel as we spend fooling with our computers, I’d buy her a good shovel. At least you can buy a good shovel”. My experience is that Linux is much much worse in this regard; and when you get them to work, they’re no better than the Windows applications.

So how do we get tickets?

#48
LSWCHP6:53 pm, 25 Jan 12

Lazy I said :

Love this comment from the clug mailing list in regards to this thread:

“Main think is that the RiotACT, and SlushDirt, exist because they appeal to the lowest common denominator. That appeal is not accidental.”

Src: https://lists.samba.org/archive/linux/2012-January/030960.html

*grabs popcorn*

My, they sound like a friendly and welcoming bunch of folks, don’t they?

#49
johnboy6:58 pm, 25 Jan 12

To the “i tried linux for a week” crowd, you obviously couldn’t get the paradigm shift.

working with home brew linux is no more for everyone than home brew beer.

But if you want to understand computers, there’s very little better and that knowledge goes a long way with other systems.

plus once you nail down a linux box to a task it’s pretty much bomb proof

#50
poetix8:35 pm, 25 Jan 12

LSWCHP said :

Lazy I said :

Love this comment from the clug mailing list in regards to this thread:

“Main think is that the RiotACT, and SlushDirt, exist because they appeal to the lowest common denominator. That appeal is not accidental.”

Src: https://lists.samba.org/archive/linux/2012-January/030960.html

*grabs popcorn*

My, they sound like a friendly and welcoming bunch of folks, don’t they?

I do note with thanks that the person who I described as patronising has, in fact, realised that his cold led him to possibly being patronising. But I must say that this has been a wonderful week for me on RiotACT. One person described me as a ‘bitch’ because I criticised a mothers’ group, in what was meant to be an amusing way, and now, at second hand, I have become the lowest common denominator because I criticised someone who offered to ‘hold my hand’ after basically calling me a dumb cunt because I admitted that I didn’t understand something and found the whole technology project difficult. Interesting how these points of view converge.

If I called someone an idiot because they didn’t understand the difference between Petrarchan and Shakespearean sonnets, I doubt that some snide little group of acolytes would defend me at second hand on another site.

Thanks for pointing out this discussion Lazy I. I hope your popcorn is still warm. I’m afraid this link confirms everything I was thinking about someone who is an outsider trying to understand something in a sphere where they are neither welcome nor competent.

I’ll just slink off now (as previously promised) and buy some Microsoft. At least I’ll be paying for the patronising git who helps me then. As you said, LSWCHP, these Linux people sound so very welcoming.

#51
poetix8:56 pm, 25 Jan 12

Please no-one say ‘harden up’ or I’ll be forced to take drastic action. Like sulking. (More.)

#52
peterh7:45 am, 26 Jan 12

err, sorry, but bouncing ball installs are beyond the average person? all of the distros I have installed have worked ok for me, including Mac OSX – it is based on Free BSD, Mach64 Kernel, after all.

Looking forward to next year’s event, as it means that the world will focus on Canberra, we will get to hear and see some great advances in community technology, and maybe the open source policy the government has will have some meaning at last.

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