It has been the convention that the conference has two days of mini-conferences - one-day events on different specialised topics - followed by three days of longer talks and presentations.
The organisers are normally overloaded with proposals, and many people find themselves unable to gain a slot on the schedule. Last year, the organisers received around 180 proposals and accommodated 70 in the three days of the main conference.
But this year is somewhat different. There is only one day devoted to mini-conferences and there are eight such events scheduled. The organisers had planned a Humanitarian FOSS mini-conference but it had to be cancelled due to a lack of talks proposals.
After lunch on day five, January 20, the programme consists for the most part of a selection of the best talks from the previous three days.
LCA 2012 chief organiser Josh Stewart said the format was not due to a shortage of proposals for talks.
"No, not at all," he said in response to a query. "If anything we had the opposite, and unenviable, problem of having to choose between multiple great talks. We have, naturally, had some speaker withdrawals due to changes of circumstance etc and this has allowed us to include a number of the talks that we originally could not.
"It had always been our intention to run a number of best-of talk slots as these allow a greater number of delegates to see those speakers who have been voted as the most outstanding by those who saw them initially. We, on the organising committee, have seen firsthand how well these can work at other conferences and so were keen to part these a part of linux.conf.au 2012."
Stewart said the number of attendees would be around the same as in Hobart (2009) or Brisbane (2011). Both those years saw a drop in numbers, Hobart due to the global financial crisis and Brisbane due to the floods and the uncertainty over the holding of the conference.
"Registrations had been somewhat slower in 2011 than estimated, but have come on in a rush since the beginning of 2012," said Stewart.
"We are on target to match the delegate numbers of previous conferences in Brisbane and Hobart, so we are more than satisfied that our efforts dispel the concerns of Ballarat being too remote have worked well."