[Linux-aus] Linux Australia member services
jon at oxer.com.au
Fri Sep 29 12:21:02 UTC 2006
On Fri, 2006-09-29 at 11:33 +1000, Benno wrote:
> I would *like* to be able to give LA money for services. I think a
> services fee is a good idea! I like the OP's idea of
> <name>.opensource.org.au and <name>@opensource.org.au, I'd like to
> pay for that, even if, *especially if* it meant a profit for LA.
I see two very important aspects to this discussion:
1. Services to members. LA exists as a community organisation to do
things for its members. Without that, there's no purpose and therefore
no reason to exist. At present our primary service to members is
linux.conf.au, which even in the absence of anything else is a fantastic
reason to exist. If LA did nothing else but run a couple of mailing
lists and make sure LCA happens each year we'd still be a long way ahead
and our community would be the better for it, but over the last few
years LA has also been able to help out in a variety of other ways such
as the Grant Scheme, the mirror project, insurance for LUGs and events,
trade show exposure of FOSS, and a bunch of other things.
So my point is that the org is here to help you and we shouldn't limit
ourselves to just doing what we've already done. If there are extra
things that LA can do which would provide distinct benefit to members
then I'd love to know about it.
But the thing is that *all* of these initiatives rely on the goodwill
and selfless commitment of volunteers and many of them also incur real
costs to provide, which brings me to:
2. Income diversity. Benno, I appreciate your sentiment that you'd be
even more inclined to pay for services if it meant additional income for
LA. One of the big problems the committee has wrestled with over the
last couple of years is the lack of diversity in the organisation's
income. Pretty much everything comes from surplus generated by LCA, and
although there is now a healthy asset buffer it's still not good to have
all our eggs in one basket. LA is diversifying in terms of the projects
we spend money on and in the types of services we provide to the
community, and we need to also diversify our income to make sure we can
continue that process without putting huge strain on LCA as the sole
underwriter of all our other activities.
OK, that was the long version. The short version is that adding some
paid services to LA's growing list of projects would kill two birds with
one stone: benefit to the FOSS community *and* diversification of income
to keep it all sustainable.
I like it!
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