Cheering from Linux users, hacks and hobbyists as Linus Torvalds was introduced–suited up as the famous Linux icon Tux–marked the start of a sold-out 2003.

That was about the extent of industry hype as the first day of the conference got underway, with delegates getting together in various tutorials to exchange ideas on a variety of open source initiatives.

Rasmus Lerdorf–the PHP creator who claims to -hate programming”–gave what must have been an exhausting six hours of PHP tutorials in one day.

Starting off with an introduction to PHP, Lerdorf gave tips on how to solve real-world Web problems, and also outlined how PHP had evolved. In addition, Lerdorf explained how -PHP is not as easy to learn as other similar languages, but a lot less limiting”, comparing PHP to Coldfusion and ASP.

Lerdorf said that a PHP 5 beta could be expected by mid year with a possible, but not likely, general release late 2003. With more than 10 million domains using PHP, keen developers were lining up after each session with a barrage of questions about PHP, the future of PHP and their own experiences.

In contrast, active contributor to GNOME Malcolm Tredinnick, was determined to -draw back the curtains and reveal the elves going about their business as they create, and files for your later enjoyment”.

Another highlight for developers was kernal hacker and IBM employee Paul -Rusty” Russell’s session where he shared his tips on how to code in the Linux kernel. Along with many one liners along the way, -Rusty” walked programmers through code and also shared some of the politics of Linux kernel development.

Developer Gavin Sherry lead a tutorial on PostgreSQL database development. Sherry offered open source developers tips on how to set up a PostgreSQL installation, running through some of the features of the database, such as its extensibility and examples of code which was used.

On the fun side of today’s tutorials was Conrad Parker’s talk about using Sweep’s tool -Scrubby” for editing with digital audio. Parker ran through various audio editing techniques and demonstrated that using a Linux box could be easy and fun.

Stay tuned for more news from 2003 as part of ZDNet Australia’s coverage