[Linux-aus] Minutes - February 5th 2003

Pia Smith pia at linux.org.au
Wed Mar 5 21:31:02 UTC 2003

http://www.linux.org.au/minutes - To be posted soon!

1500 hrs
5 February 2003

HELD: Via Teleconference
PRESENT: Pia Smith President
Stewart Smith Vice President
Anand Kumria Treasurer
Andrew Cowie Secretary
Hugh Blemings
Leon Brooks
Andrew Tridgell

The meeting was called to order at 1515 hrs. The agenda for the meeting
was approved as follows:
Previous Minutes
Advisory Board
Membership Structure
Web Site
Organizational Image
Other Business
Future Meetings

Pia Smith, as President, chaired the meeting.

The meeting date was as specified by email to the committee mailing

Prior meeting minutes
Andrew indicated minutes of the previous meeting were ready for review,
however, not all Committee members had Open Office installed. It was
suggested that PDF or some other format might be used for distributing
minutes. Both last meeting and these meeting minutes will be posted by
week's end.

As a result of the restructuring of Linux Australia, the
constitutionality of the organization's current formation was discussed.
Andrew's email regarding his belief that the organization had been
nearly defunct and had taken reasonable efforts to renew itself was
Anand indicated that the previous Committee had agreed that all
attendees at Linux Conference Australia 2003 would be accepted by the
Committee as members. This should meet the requirements of the
Constitution, but it was agreed that further checking should be done to
ensure there are no problems down the road. The minutes of this meeting
will be required.

ACTION Review legality and check with NSW Department of Fair Trading
Hugh, Anand and Andrew C

Advisory Board
Pia put the question of whether or not a formal Advisory Board would be
of value. This came up in several contexts, including one deriving from
discussion on mailing lists indicating that representation of each State
might somehow add value.
Hugh indicated that although he is in Canberra and is a member of the
Canberra Linux Users Group, he is not on the Committee representing that
geographical constituency per se.
Andrew Tridgell pointed out that the organization is growing from almost
dormacy to being much larger, and suggested that it would be wise to
learn how to deal with our new size first. It was agreed that we should
wait three months and to see then if there was a specific need.

Discussion turned to consideration of the mailing lists as currently
structured. It was evident that there is considerable cross-talk between
the various lists available to the community at large, and some
confusion as to where postings should best be directed, especially with
respect to Linux Australia as compared to the local Linux User Group
mailing lists.
Passive measures such as monthly postings reminding subscribers of each
lists' charter were thought to be useful. It was pointed out that
mailing list communities tend to grow of their own accord and that we
would not benefit from having great specificity (a large list of
subgroups) at this time.

It was agreed not to set up an Advisory Board at this time, but to fine
tune the mailing lists with the various LUGs. It was recognized that
greater recognition of vendors is definitely required, and that a
vendor's list would certainly be in order.

Membership Structure
A discussion about membership structure was held. The following
structure was suggested:
      Normal Members - individuals; no charge to join.
      Affiliate Group Members - no voting rights but enabling
representation to Linux Australia. This would be ideal for organizations
such as the regional LUGs.
      Commercial/Vendor/Merchant Members - Membership for corporate
organizations. A $500 fee was suggested.

Discussion was held about giving members of regional LUGs automatic
membership in the national LA organization. It was thought that this
would encourage participation and foster communication between the
various local communities. It was pointed out that some people /
organizations want nothing to do with local groups, but that is not a
problem as they can simply join the national organization if this is the
Leon brought up the case of Society of Linux Professionals of Western
Australia [SLPWA] of which he is a Committee member. He indicated that
it is a professional group that does have membership fees and whose
meetings are considerable more formal than the ad-hoc more social nature
of the LUGs. Leon suggested that anyone who joins SLPWA should
automatically be a member of LA.
Any changes to the membership structure will require a change to the

ACTION Determine mechanisms necessary to amend Constitution such that
membership structure changes can be enacted.
Pia, Leon, Anand and Andrew Cowie

Web Site
Pia indicated that she thought the linux.org.au website needed work,
suggesting that both the front end presentation and the back end
services could stand improvement. Further discussion will be moved
offline to the Committee mailing list.

Pia asked if there was any specific image that the Committee wanted her
to project when interacting with the media and other outside
Tridge suggested that a mission statement might be helpful in this
regard. Andrew C suggested that Pia prepare a set of “talking points”, a
single sheet with key messages that the Organization wants communicated
which would be useful for especially to help focus her presentations but
also for other members' use.

ACTION Review existing mission statement (if any) and comment
Andrew Tridgell

ACTION Prepare talking points

Pia indicated that it would be good for Linux Australia to promote a
project in order that LA to be seen as making a relevant contribution.
She suggested that preparing a course package to assist with teaching
the use of Linux and Open Source might be of value.
Tridge and Leon wanted to know who the target group for this package
might be. Leon indicated that the Educational projects that he is
involved in are looking at existing curriculums to see how Open Source
tools might be used as a replacements for the software presently being
used. All agreed designing a course sylabis from the ground up was an
extremely challenging task to do a creditable job of.
Tridge suggested that our role should be to support and encourage
projects, rather than taking them on ourselves with our admittedly small
resources. Anand indicated that it would not be a problem to offer
technical and infrastructure support to projects that needed it. Andrew
C noted that it is often the simple expression of support from someone
outside that galvanizes and encourages the team working on a project.
It was thought that we should keep in mind that our direct resources are
limited and the role we could best play is that of assisting with
co-ordination between projects with actual resources.

Scholorships and Prizes
Other initiatives were discussed. The idea of scholarships was raised,
but it was thought that this notion placed the wrong emphasis -
scholarships being for work yet to be done. Instead, the idea of prizes
was raised, where small amounts of money might be awarded for
achievements. This was uniformly thought to be a good idea, and it was
noted that small amounts can cause a surprisingly high level of
It was thought that corporate sponsors might be amenable to contributing
towards such prizes. It was also noted that Prize awarding is a good
occasion for a Press Release.
Everyone encouraged the point that fiscal restraint would need to be
exercised in this or any other endevour. While there is cash in the
bank, the cost of underwriting a Linux Conference Australia is
significant (Anand reported to the tune of ~$140K).

Mailing Addresses
ACTION Send surface mailing addresses to Andrew Cowie for inclusion in
reports to NSW government.

Physical Contact
The issue of geographical representation was discussed in the context of
what we as a national organization can do to foster and encourage
regional Linux User Groups and Special Interest Groups. It was thought
that a small amount of money might be allocated towards making
face-to-face contact with the more isolated communities such as AUSLUG,
DARLU (both Northern Territory), TASLUG (Tasmania) and others.
Hugh indicated that he and others may be able to incorporate visits to
regional groups when traveling on business as support of community
efforts was within his remit at IBM.

Stewart brought up the issue of formal Linux training, and asked if
there was something we could be doing to encourage and support the
training agencies here in Australia. The specific issue he was concerned
about was that some vendors had been canceling such sessions and
wondering how we could work to prevent this from happening (apparently
lack of interest was cited by the vendors in question). He noted that
there was a widespread lack of understanding about what training is
available and others noted that this may be having a negative impact on
the perception of the ease and cost of adopting Linux in the corporate
The suggestion was made that perhaps training sessions could be linked
either before or after the annual Linux Conferences. The question of
legality and scope came up.

ACTION Determine what limits on trading are imposed on LA by NSW Fair

Vendor Support
Hugh brought up the feedback that he had received to the effect that
Linux Australia does not support the vendor community very well. He
brought up several examples.
It was agreed that LA will be getting to Vendors, Professionals, and
Commercial entities with the message that LA will support them better in
the future.

ACTION Pursue involvement from professionals and vendors on various
mailing lists.

ACTION Feel out various companies to find out if discounts to LA members
might be made available, notably bookstores and “geek stuff online”
Andrew Tridgell

Anand Kumria had to leave the meeting for other business.

Membership Database
Stewart indicated that he had made considerable efforts towards
preparing a membership database for LA to use. He and Andrew will be
working on this over the next few months.

Domain Names
Leon noted that opensource.org.au and linux.com.au were available. It
was agreed to obtain the linux domain, and to simply redirect it to the
existing linux.org.au site.

ACTION Register and park domain


Andrew reviewed the action items from the previous meeting and this

Next Meetings
It was agreed that for the next few months teleconference meetings would
be held fortnightly. Next meetings are as follows:
Committee Teleconference Meeting Wednesday 19 February 2003
Committee Teleconference Meeting Wednesday 5 March 2003 TBC
Committee In-Person Meeting April-May, TBC
A formal acknowledgment was made in recognition of IBM's contribution to
the organization in providing the conference call facilities for LA's

There being no further business, the Meeting was Adjourned at 1625.



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