[Linux-aus] Representation

Anthony Towns aj at azure.humbug.org.au
Tue Feb 4 11:27:02 UTC 2003

On Tue, Feb 04, 2003 at 07:18:29AM +0800, Leon Brooks wrote:
> Against this, LA's subCommittees can be made quite powerful. In the very few 
> situations where the LUGs collectively oppose LA itself in an issue, the main 
> Committee _should_ trump the subCommittee (but would probably be a bunch of 
> losers if at least _some_ concessions were not made), a tail-wagging-the-dog 
> thing.

Hrm? The "dog" being half a dozen individuals, and the "tail" being the
membership of all the LUGs? That sounds entirely reversed.

> The Committee is there to work for LA's interests, and while LA's interests 
> will coincide with the LUGs, IRL it ain't always gunna be so.

What are LA's interests, that they're a separate entity from the interests
of Linux users throughout Australia?

> I feel a need to examine this monomaniac focus on geographical representation.

It's the monomaniacal avoidance of it that's surprising to me.

> To my way of thinking, it would make sense to have a rep from a remote area, 
> representing the interests of isolated users and LUGs, and one from within 
> the mechanism of government somewhere, representing the interests of gummint 
> users, and a consultant, and an IT centre employee, and someone from a school 
> (perhaps private or parochial to not dupe the gummint rep too much), and 
> someone unemployed, maybe a few other special interests. Such a subCommittee 
> would represent a wider and more useful range of interests than a group made 
> of people who look east to see the water (QLD/NSW) versus west (WA) or all 
> around (TAS).

     ``The Linux Organisation of Australia was founded to cater
       specifically to the needs of the Australian Linux community.''

If you want to ensure that we've got plenty of viewpoints within a
geographical model it's easy: get government types, IT centre employees,
consultants, and school people who're interested in Linux to join their
local LUGs and start up SIGs in their local area. Which is to say: get
them to join the community. LA can't be everywhere at once: but the LUGs
can. Likewise, increasing membership in LUGs and broadening the scope of
it, is a great way of making sure LUGs continue to grow and thrive, and
that in turn is good for LA, and the rest of the free software community.

If you want a chance to focus on particular issues, like making sure
government or schools understands the role Linux can play, or helping
establish a network of Linux consultants and training specialists, or
whatever, then sure, make a subcommittee; but all of that's going to be
done a lot better if communication with the LUGs is your first and highest
priority. Having someone on-site and in the know is simply always best,
especially if you can couple that with immediate access to the experts
in the field. (And don't underrate the free software community's self
organising capacity; LA's there to make things easy and more effective,
not to take over -- a subctte may well be overkill if all people need
is a chance to communicate at a miniconf or on a list)

I'm not saying that you should all quit your positions on the ctte and
hold new elections, or that you should move to the unrepresented states
-- both of those would be wholly bad (the former for the disruption,
the latter because just moving and joining a new LUG doesn't make you
known within that LUG, which is the whole point). This isn't something
you should be deciding on over the coming weekend: it's a major revamp
of how LA should be conducting its affairs. But "major revamp" is this
committee's middle name; please don't drop this idea on the floor
because it's been advocated badly, because it's different than what
Terry or the current committee envisaged, or because it's been advocated
badly. Certainly don't drop it without consulting the LUGs in a serious
way on what form of representation would be best for them. If you're not
already planning on doing so, you should be very seriously considering
flying Pia and maybe Stewart or Andrew C to at least the major LUGs in
each state to get in touch with everyone.


Anthony Towns <aj at humbug.org.au> <http://azure.humbug.org.au/~aj/>
I don't speak for anyone save myself. GPG signed mail preferred.

  ``Dear Anthony Towns: [...] Congratulations -- 
        you are now certified as a Red Hat Certified Engineer!''
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