Linux.Conf.Au - Penguin Dinner

by Jes Hall

I didn't really anticipate finishing my evening by hearing Linus Torvalds promise to shave off another man's beard.

Traditionally, the Linux.Conf.Au dinner features an auction to support a worthy charity. This year, we listened to a presentation from Hamish McCallum, chief scientist of the Devil Facial Tumor Program, on the plight of the Tasmanian Devil. The population is under threat from a fatal disease that causes cancerous tumours of the face and mouth, and without intervention are projected to become extinct in as little as 25 years.

The prize being auctioned off was a limited edition print of Karen Garbee's award winning photograph Waterfall. Bdale Garbee, Linux CTO of HP and Karen's husband was present at the conference to deliver the photograph.

Bidding was a little slow at first, but picked up momentum when various members of the community started making pledges. In all of the chaos it was difficult to follow exactly what was going on at times. At one point an audience member pledged to donate $5000 if Bdale would shave off his beard. After telling the audience the story of how he came to grow it - starting in 1982 - he declined to do so unless the bidding and pledges reached a total of $25,000

A consortium, spoken for by the extremely handsome Matthew Garrett of power management fame, offered $7500 if Linus would himself wield the razor. When asked if he was happy with this plan, Linus replied "Why stop at the beard? I will do his whole head."

In the excitement the consortium seemed to get a little confused as to how auctions worked, and continued bidding against itself until the total reached $10,500. With the various pledges, and another $10,000 matched by Linux Australia, the total looks to have reached the $25,000 required for Bdale to go under the razor.

The conference will find out tomorrow morning at 9am Hobart time when this event is likely to take place - pictures will be forthcoming.

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