[Linux-aus] LA member services / multi-tiered membership
jon at ivt.com.au
Mon May 21 00:49:10 UTC 2007
For the first part of this year it may seem that LA has been a bit on
the quiet side: the Seven team pulled off a fantastic linux.conf.au in
Sydney in January, but you could be forgiven for thinking not much has
There has actually been action on a number of different fronts. Some of
it has been very public such as Paul Schulz and friends running an LA
stand at ConnectingUp07, and Sridhar Dhanalapan and friends running a
stand at CeBIT (more about these events soon!) but a lot of other action
has been behind-the-scenes.
One of the issues that was discussed leading up to LCA2007 was how Linux
Australia could provide additional services to members. Directly related
to this were comments from various LA members saying they'd like to have
some way of supporting the organisation financially, particularly if
there was an option such as paying a fee to get extra benefits. And at
the 2007 AGM which took place at LCA one of the questions raised was
about membership status, and whether it's necessary for members to
"re-join" each year since technically the constitution says that
membership is annual in exchange for payment of fees, and the fee
requirement has been waived by the Committee but that leaves the annual
renewal requirement ambiguous. A question was raised about whether
people who had joined more than 12 months prior were in fact still
So I'd like to resolve *all* those issues in one go by introducing a
revamped membership structure with a paid membership option and
clarified membership terms.
But no matter what other options are introduced, I personally feel it's
critical that we maintain a free membership option. After all, Linux
Australia as an organisation claims to represent the free / open source
software community in Australia. We would be hypocritical to continue to
claim that while putting membership barriers in place, financial or
otherwise. The whole ethos of the organisation (and FOSS itself, of
course) is based on being open and inclusive. I couldn't stand up and
claim with a straight face that Linux Australia represents the FOSS
community if barriers were put in place that turned it into something of
an exclusive group.
That's a long-winded way of saying "don't panic". A multi-tier
membership structure is not intended to cut people out or turn people
into first vs second class citizens. It's just about providing more
services to members while also making the organisation more robust by
diversifying revenue streams.
I've put a basic concept of how the membership options could look up on
the LA wiki:
At this stage it's just a proposal, of course, and nothing has been
finalised. I'm sure there will be questions so feel free to ask /
discuss, but what I'd like feedback on in particular is:
* What additional membership benefits could LA provide that would be
useful to you?
* What do you think would be a reasonable annual fee in exchange for
* Should LA start pursuing companies as "Affiliate Members" (as they are
listed in the proposal) or should we only allow individual memberships?
You'll notice the wiki page also links to another page with proposed
constitutional amendments. I'll follow up on that shortly: it's kinda
related, but gets into other areas as well.
Ph +61 3 9723 9399
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