The MEL8OURNE team is pleased to announce that the call for proposals for mini-confs at 2008 is now open. is Australia's annual Linux conference. Fun, informal and seriously technical, is a calendar highlight for Free and Open Source Software developers from across the world. It will be held from January 28th to February 2nd, 2008 at the University of Melbourne.

Mini-confs are self-contained 'conferences-within-a-conference' that provide a forum for attendees with special interests to communicate and collaborate. Mini-confs draw together hobbyists, educators and academics, technologists, corporate representatives, and members of the broader community to further knowledge and discussion in their specialist areas. Each mini-conference is organised by a member of its specialist community and run within the auspices of the wider conference. Past topics have covered Education, Gaming, Debian, MySQL, the Linux kernel, Security, Clustering and Virtualisation. Twelve different mini-confs were held in conjunction with the main programme 2007.

Speakers present on their areas of expertise within each topic, and community members share ideas, experiences and knowledge. Lightning talks, short informative presentations on specific topics, and poster presentations are also popular at mini-conferences.

The Education mini-conference at 2007 included presentations from educators and technologists interested in and utilising Linux and Open Source technologies in Education. Topics included technology trends in education, copyright law, collaborative learning and case studies on using Open Source technology in schools, technical colleges and universities.

Kathryn Moyle, Associate Professor at the University of Canberra said "having attended all the education mini-confs held in Australia, I have found they provide the opportunity for IT specialists and educators from schools, vocational education and in higher education to meet and share ideas, strategies, successes and failures about how to include open technologies within the education sector."

The popular LinuxChix mini-conf, run by women in the Open Source community, discussed topics as diverse as techniques for social networking, bug fixing for non-programmers, and the role of women in Information Technology and Open Source.

Mary Gardiner, convener of the International LinuxChix organisation said "The LinuxChix mini-conference was the first event of its kind in Australia; an event which highlighted both women's technical achievements in Free Software and our work to make the community more hospitable to women and increase their involvement. A mini-conference was good for our community, because we were able to use both the venue and invite their participants to attend."

Mini-confs cover a variety of topics, both new and old, ranging from the long-running Debian mini-conf to the newer Virtualisation mini-conf. For 2008, the organisers invite proposals from previous mini-conf organisers and welcome proposals on new and innovative topics. We recommend, even if you are an established mini-conference, that you lodge a proposal to ensure we can plan adequately for your requirements.

Proposals should be submitted online at

For 2008 the call for mini-conf proposals is happening prior to the call for papers. The call for papers will open on the 1st of June, and both the mini-conf and papers call for submissions will close on Friday, 20 July 2007.

Donna Benjamin
Conference Director 2008
ph/fax +61 3 9235 5454