Developers are gearing up for a fiercely competitive hack-fest at a heavyweight Linux conference in Adelaide this month.

The hack-fest is a feature of the conference, which touts itself as one of three international grassroots Linux conferences worldwide. The conference — to which more than 450 delegates are believed to have confirmed their attendance — is being held from 14-17 January at the University of Adelaide.

Developers will compete to write the highest-quality program running on Linux which can play the cookies version of Tetrinet, a Tetris-like game. The judges will base their determination on the quality of the game-play made available by the entries and the ingenuity of the algorithms used. Developers can get a download of the client and try the game on a tetrinet server.

The winner receives an AU$40,000 “dream machine,” which includes an IBM pSeries deskside server model p615 with Dual 1.45GHz Power4+ CPUs, 4GBRAM, 2×146.8GB Ultra 3 SCSI 10,000 RPM Hard Disks, DVD ROM drive, 21″Colour Monitor. SuSE Linux Enterprise server 8.2.

The winner of the hack-fest will be announced at the conference close on Saturday January 17, 2004.

All entries in competition will have to release their code under an open source licence.

Speakers at the conference include Andrew Tridgell, the creator of Samba — an Open Source Windows compatible file and print server product for Unix systems, Jon “maddog” Hall, Executive Director of Linux International, Former Debian Project Leader Bdale Garbee, Rasmus Lerdorf, creator of the PHP programming language and NetCraft senior systems engineer Geoffrey D. Bennett.