[Linux-aus] Representation

Tony Nugent tony at linuxworks.com.au
Mon Feb 3 17:03:01 UTC 2003

First off...

  I've been subscribed to this list for a long time (at least since
  the late 90s), and it is good to see it come alive again after
  being so quiet for so long.  (I had got the impression that it was
  defunct until spam started to creep into it).  Hopefully it will
  stay a forum where worthwhile and informative discussions about
  linux in aussieland are being actively persued.

On Mon Feb 03 2003 at 15:46, Robert Thomson wrote:

> It was a dilemma at the time, as the at-the-time committee members who
> wanted to remain as LA members, but were unable to attend LCA, weren't
> members.  We decided that membership should be possible for a fee
> outside of LCA registration, and set that fee.  This was a decision
> based on the constitutional requirements.  To be a member by the time
> of the AGM, you had to have paid prior to the AGM.  We had the obvious
> benefit of being face to face with the Treasurer at the time, and
> having much of the committee together to decide at the time.  As far
> as I know, only former committee members at the time of the AGM had
> paid to be LA members outside of LCA registration.
> I hope this clears things up.

Clear things up?  No, not at all.  At least not for me.

I'm a relative lone voice in the wilderness, and totally bemused at
what has apparently been going on.  (And not going on).

I'm on the fence about the "per state representation" issue (while
noting that nobody from Qld, where I'm from, is on the new
committee), but this has opened up a whole different can of worms
that right now has me feeling rather upset and quite isolated.  And
I don't think that I'm the only one feeling like this.

I'm a long time "hard-core" linux user (since '94, or whenever it
was when the 1.2.4 kernel was released).  I'm interested in what's
going on with linux here in Australia beyond just my own local
environment, that's why I've been listening here for so long.  I've
been to the last three linux conferences as a paying participant,
but Perth was just a little too out of my way to have gone there
this time around.

A scan through my own mail archives shows that there was no
announcement about the AGM on this list, nor was there any
information posted here about who was standing, nor this crazy
prerequesite that I would have HAD to have been there in person to
participate either as a nominee for a position on its committee or
to qualify to vote for those nominated.

Going to a linux conference should NOT be any sort of requirement
for either elegability either as an office bearer or for voting

> > > While there is currently no formal method in place for
> > > non-conference-attendee membership, there is such a thing, in that I
> > > paid a membership fee to the treasurer in order to make nominations &
> > > cast an absentee vote.  A formalised method for voting (including
> > > absentee voting) would be nice, too, as I'm given the impression it
> > > was a tad ad hoc this year.


Admittedly I don't know too much about LA at all, I'm not a part of
the "in crowd".  I am not a member of LA, I didn't know that there
was such a thing until I just now checked the web site to see what's
involved with possibly doing just that.

  "Linux Australia is now incorporated as a non-profit
   association in NSW.  We have started taking memberships, and as
   part of your Linux.conf.au 2003 registration, you've automatically
   received a yearly membership."

  "Current Action Plan -- The current list of planned and
   outstanding actions are:
   Commence taking memberships -- planned".

  - has more about (proposed) memberships

  - talks about "committee" and "ordinary members" wrt its
    committee, but not very much about the role of those
    with "normal membership" (nor their rights etc), see

If/when I do apply for "normal membership" of Linux Australia (and
how many "normal" members are there?) then I would expect that a
much more democratic process will be put into place as a matter of
urgency so that gaining a position on its committee is based on more
than a simple physical show of hands by those lucky enough (and in
many cases those economically privileged enough) to have been in the
right place at the right time to have their hand counted.

As a matter of principle, things *have* to change.  As a matter
of practicality, I'm not sure what the end solution should be.
Although I note from the above web pages that the issue of
(paid) membership is apparently now firmly on the agenda.

All that having being said, I join with others who wish the new
committee well - especially in re-creating LA as a much more open
and democratic organisation that is truly representative[2] of linux
users and the various LUGS around the country.  I would expect any
nationally-based linux organisation to be actively and visibly
working for the benefit of the Australian Linux User Community, and
to promote linux in general.  In the end how that happens is bound
to be a matter for much more discussion, but it does need to happen.

 [2] not just greographic representation... while this needs to be a
 consideration, I also agree with the notion of "the best person for
 the job".

> > Either I was maliciously provided incorrect information, preventing me
> > from nominating for the board, or there is a serious irregularity in the
> > procedures, resulting in the election to the board of someone who
> > should, by all rights, be ineligible.

I'll now go back to quietly lurking...


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