[Linux-aus] Representation

Leon Brooks leon at cyberknights.com.au
Tue Feb 4 12:03:01 UTC 2003

On Tuesday 04 February 2003 11:30 am, Anthony Towns wrote:
> 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.

IMESHO, would probably work well enough for education, but not for 
professionals. You would either formalise the LUGs into oblivion, or put off 
a big slab of your businesses.

Fair enough, even IBM's technical people turned up to LCA2003 in tee shirts, 
but their management would be somewhat dismayed if they had to join and be 
seen as affiliating with PLUG, much as I adore our local crew. If we altered 
PLUG to suit the suits, it would become boring and non-productive for a fair 
slab of the current membership. It's not that I want to create something of a 
Digital Divide, it's simply a situation which is in place now, that Linux 
organisations need to address.

The professional organisations also need Australia-wide representation, to 
deal with Australia-wide corporations (as do the LUGs for dealing with Feds 
as well as State gummints) after a `single sign-on' situation. Because LA is 
not (at the moment) a LUG holding meetings or tied to a state - there is no 
problem with too much informality or not enough expensive suits - it seems to 
be the ideal router for all levels of involvement.

Lobbying is something that sometimes works together, and is sometimes more 
appropriate if seen to be coming from a professional body (e.g. WA IndTech 
presentations from SLPWA are being taken more seriously because of this).

I can't speak for all LUGs, but PLUG members generally seem to be more 
interested in fixing their own or the next dude's stuff, getting hardware and 
software things done (James Henstridge seems to have written significant 
amounts of GNOME while attending LCA2003 meetings), and not at all interested 
in lobbying or putting together business proposals. Horses for courses.

SLPWA could in theory operate as a professional SIG of PLUG, but that would 
then involve business-disinterested people in the parent organisation making 
decisions for them, and PLUG being asked to endorse or work on stuff that 80% 
of their members don't care about. Business-oriented concerns from SLPWA 
would then be muted in their passage through PLUG to LA, as well.

When there are enough people around, I'd expect to see similar organisations 
start as PLUG SIGs (education, science, games, amateur radio, mining, remote, 
who knows?), plus satellite groups in Bunbury, Albany, Kalgoorlie, Geraldton, 
(maybe later Karratha, Hedland, Broome, Derby, Kununurra, Esperance, Three 
Springs, Margaret River, Katanning, Brookton, Northam, Newman etc) and the 
larger SIGs starting to fork to better use their energies.

Another risk is that if we *don't* form an effective professional network, 
someone else will, and then the network will likely be driven primarily by 
government or large-corporate interests, rather than by the OSS-style horde 
of individuals who are actually on the ground and at the front lines dealing 
with the issues that need addressing.

Cheers; Leon

http://cyberknights.com.au/     Modern tools; traditional dedication
http://plug.linux.org.au/       Member, Perth Linux User Group
http://slpwa.asn.au/            Committee Member, Linux Professionals WA
http://linux.org.au/            Committee Member, Linux Australia
http://linux.org.au/~leonb/lca2003/  THE Oz Linux Technical Conf:
                                excellent event, photos here!

More information about the linux-aus mailing list