[Linux-aus] Representation

Anthony Towns aj at azure.humbug.org.au
Tue Feb 4 13:16:28 UTC 2003

On Tue, Feb 04, 2003 at 12:08:15PM +0800, Leon Brooks wrote:
> 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. 

In some ways, I think you're not giving management as much credit as
they deserve. Hugh signs himself off as a manager, eg.

In other ways, I *still* think we're better off getting Linux
professionals together whether they're more comfortable in t-shirts
or ties: if we end up alternating between networked hack sessions
with informal talks about programming languages and dinners at decent
restaurants wearing shirts with buttons and collars and shoes with laces,
that's not necessarily a bad thing. Letting pompous management types meet
the anarchist kiddies and work out how to get on the same wave-length
on a regular basis seems exactly the sort of thing LA should be promoting.

Imagine a .mpeg of Rusty dancing around a crowded l.c.a keynote shouting
"Community, community, community" in an entirely Ballmer-esque style,
if you like.

Letting students get a chance to meet prospective employers informally,
and giving people out of the techy-loop a chance to at least keep in
touch with it seems like a very useful service for LUGs to be providing.

> 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) 

I've seen a number of claims that LA's not about "regional interests"
or "Queensland interests" -- surely state government policies would thus
be out of its purview?

> 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.

I think you'll find that's actually fairly representative of the entire
Linux community. Linux at its best is about doing stuff, not talking or
proposing. If Linux Australia wants to be worthwhile, it really should
be helping people do what they want, not what they don't want.

(And I say that knowing that Pia and Jeff appear to want to help NOIE
grok Linux, and confident that they're not alone. Lobbying and business
plans have a place, but it should only be in proportion to the wishes
of the community)

> 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.

If you don't already have a significant overlap in membership (do you?),
have you tried having events co-hosted with SLPWA and PLUG? A mixer,

Personally, I don't see the bureacracy as being a problem. If you ignore
it, it just goes away: instead of going via PLUG to get to LA, they can
just talk to you and offer recommendations as the "PLUG-ProSIG"; ie,
all the professionals in PLUG, which should (IMAO) equate to all the
Linux professionals in Perth.

(That's the same problem with the ctte: rather than just taking our
concerns direct to a local ctte member, we have to take them through
some sub-ctte instead, unless we luck out and have a local member;
unfortunately that can't really be short circuited since we generally
don't know the guys on the ctte itself)

> 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.

Which is one of the reasons to ensure that "we" remain the LUGs, who
are the OSS-style of individuals, on the ground and at the front lines...

(BTW, if there are a bunch of people reading this in Brisbane who'd
like to do the get-together in a less casual style than HUMBUG meetings
usually are, bring it up on the lists; it's been a while since we last
had a dinner...)

I assume someone'll call me delusional if cross-over between Linux hackers
and Linux suits is really a no-no, but it seems like a good idea to me.

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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