[Linux-aus] And now for something completely different

Bret Busby bret at busby.net
Tue Feb 4 17:09:01 UTC 2003

On 4 Feb 2003, Pia Smith wrote:

> Date: 04 Feb 2003 18:36:10 +1100
> From: Pia Smith <greebo at pacific.net.au>
> To: Bret Busby <bret at busby.net>
> Cc: Linux Australia List <linux-aus at lists.linux.org.au>
> Subject: Re: [Linux-aus] And now for something completely different
> Hi Bret, and everyone,
> On Tue, 2003-02-04 at 17:18, Bret Busby wrote:
> > On Tue, 4 Feb 2003, David Lloyd wrote:
> > However.... there is once again the issue, as raised regarding the 
> > issuing of LA membership at this conference; should it be only available 
> > for those who are able to travel to a conference, or, who are otherwise 
> > available to travel interstate at will?
> > 
> > This, I think is the issue; making the certification available in each 
> > state, so that the cost of the certification is not increased by travel 
> > costs and inconvenience.
> > 
> > Thus, I suggest that the Linux certification should be made available in 
> > at least each state capital.
> <snip>
> When we go to the trouble of organising member discounts for
> certification, rest assured that the offer will be extended to all
> members :)
> It would however be fun to have a certification event at the next
> conference, locals, members and attendees could attend, good publicity
> for the certifications (and therefore raising the profile of Linux
> certification in Australia, something that would benefit us all).
> There is a full year before the next conference Bret, please give us a
> little time to prove ourselves before you start assuming we are a group
> interested only in conference attendees :) I personally would like to
> organise a national certification day at some point during the year,
> when all around the country we get heaps of people certified at reduced
> prices to them. This completely depends on what we can organise but this
> issue has already been thought of, and will be discussed.

Regarding what I said in this instance, regarding the training and 
certification, I did not refer to an attitude of being interested in 
only conference attendees; that has already been mentioned in a different 

To what I was referring, was that the suggested provision of training 
outside NSW, would be apparently be limited to occurring in conjunction 
with the conferences, and my response above, should be considered in 
that context.

> Also with relation to:
> > I suggest to Pia, as the organisation president, and, to the other 
> > members of the committee, whatever we may think of their degree of 
> > representation, and whatever they may think of the interests of the 
> > different regions in Australia, that this would be a good topic to
> raise 
> > at the upcoming committee meeting, apart from any resultant discussion
> > on this list.
> This is certainly on the agenda for our first meeting.
> I do want to suggest to people that regional representation of the LUGs,
> while important can be tricky to implement. What if there are several
> mini Linux communities in one state (as is the case usually) and the
> regional rep from that state is not someone that all the LUGs/SIGs want
> to have represent them? And what about people who aren't involved in the
> LUGs but are involved in the Linux Community elsewhere? Do they get no
> chance on the committee? How big can a committee get before it becomes
> unproductive? These are some reasons an Advisory Board may be more
> useful and productive, as we are not restricting ourselves to one rep
> from one state. The Advisory Board could have their own mailing list,
> hold their own meetings, each be responsible for conveying info to their
> LUG/SIG and thus we have some consolidation of the many groups. Any
> person on behalf of a LUG/SIG etc could put their hand up and get on the
> Advisory Board to make sure their community has a voice. 

I see a number of problems with the "Advisory Board concept", one of 
which is that there would not be regional-based voting power on the 
comittee itself. That would mean that such an "Advisory Board" would be 
a "toothless tiger", that can do whatever it wants, and say whatever it 
wants, with no real say in the running of things.

The concept of regional representation can be belittled all that people 
want, but I have already given a suggestion as to how all Linux 
organisationsin each state, can have a say.

Insofar as I am aware, each state has Linux organisations. If people are 
interested, they can join those organisations. Those organisations could 
be affiliated to a state-based organisation, as I have suggested. Each 
state-based organisation could have a delegate to the Linux Australia 

It is a relatively simple structure, and it could be effective, if 
people want it to be effective. If people don't want such an 
organisation to be effective, then, that can happen with any 
organisation, no matter how it is constructed.

The tying in of the AGM's and the elections, to the conferences, is 
dangerous, to the perception of the organisation, if not to the 
operation of the organisation,for reasons already mentioned in previous 
discussions, not the least, that it makes involvement in the 
organisation, wealth-based, depending on whether people can afford to 
attend conferences.

Allusion has been made to operational difficulties, borne of distance 
between committee members, and the logistics in meeting face-to-face.

But, hang on a minute.

Aren't we supposed to be Linux users? Doesn't Linus have sooper-dooper 
communication facilities, like email, IRC, video-conferencing features, 
etc (via webcams)?

There are no real problems with logistics, with having people in 
different parts of the country, unless people want to create such 
problems of their own making.

If I, with email, can have conversations with people overseas, with my 
limited Linux skills, then I expect alot better of the committee, 
especially with the WA committee member's skills. That is not a 
criticism of that person. He has skills, that could be put to use, to 
achieve an absence of logistic problems in meetings.

I have, in the course of my being president/chairman and other 
office-bearer of various organisations, been involved in meetings held 
by "ring-arounds", in accordnace with the various constitutions. The 
Internet allows for much greater interaction.

In terms of the concept of "not all the LUGS/SIGS want" the state 
repesentative, well, that is a feature of democaracy. I do not 
particularly want the committee representative from WA, to represent 
this state, and he certainly appears to represent other than what I 
want, but, he is the only person from WA, who is a committee member.

People can try to do something, or, they can find any reason under the 
sun, to not try it. It is that simple.

> I'd like to hope that there is enough faith in the community that the
> current LA committee really does have the best interests of the
> community in mind, I know that I do, and I have a lot of faith in our
> committee. If you are truly in doubt, please give us a chance to prove
> ourselves, and through constructive and positive feedback you can help
> us do a good job.

Perhaps, if the committee is sincere, it could consider a regional 
representation model, and try to implement it, with new membership and 
elections in about six months (should be sufficient to implement it, so 
it is done in plenty of time before the next AGM.

Oh, and, perhaps, the committee could contact each conference attendee, 
and check their understanding of what happened regarding the conference 
and their membership, and, clarify the organisation's membership in 

I suggest that the status of the organisation, the membership of 
the organisation, and, the membership of the comittee, and, the 
eligibility for organisation and committee membership, should all be 
reviewed with a matter of urgency, for the sake of the community faith 
in the organisation.

And, online discussion, without the acrimony that has opccurred in the 
past, with as many of the Linux community as possible in Australia, 
involved, would be a good start.

Bret Busby
West Australia

"So once you do know what the question actually is,
 you'll know what the answer means."
- Deep Thought,
  Chapter 28 of 
  "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy:
  A Trilogy In Four Parts",
  written by Douglas Adams, 
  published by Pan Books, 1992 

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