The annual Linux "geek-fest" is booming, with submissions for this year's conference three times the number required.
"As you can imagine, the selection process is very difficult," said linux.conf.au 2005's Rusty Russell, one of six selectors forced to knock back two-thirds of submissions due to time constraints.
"You generally like to promote local talent and choose people that are known and have credibility," he said. "But sometimes you need to throw in a wild card or two as well."
One of the 44 successful speakers who could fall into the "wild card" category is 13-year-old Elizabeth Garbee, daughter of HP Linux CTO Bdale Garbee.
Russell said the board was impressed by the youngster's paper, about the Tuxracer game and the steps involved in creating new courses.
"I think having presentations like this reflects the increasing diversity of Linux developers and users," Russell said. "It is not just 18-to-25-year-old pasty-faced white males anymore, and I think that's great."
However, Russell added that including papers such as Garbee's didn't indicate a wholesale shift of the conference's direction.
He said the conference would remain true to its roots and continue having a strong technical focus, but that a larger number of presentations provided scope for diversity.
"Technical developers provide services for users, so having some slightly broader topics is not such a bad thing," he said.
Russell will be one of the invited speakers at the conference, in addition to Andrew Tridgell, Andrew Morton, Robert Love and others.
Linux.conf.au runs from 20 to 23 April at the ANU in Canberra.