Merging Linux Australia and AUUG: [Linux-aus] Nomination

Greg 'groggy' Lehey grog at
Mon Jan 5 09:04:02 UTC 2004

On Monday,  5 January 2004 at  7:41:35 +1100, Michael Still wrote:
> On Mon, 5 Jan 2004, Michael Davies wrote:
>> <quote who="Anthony Towns">
>>> On Sun, Jan 04, 2004 at 07:52:51AM +1100, Michael Still wrote:
>>>> I believe there is a lot of capacity for greater cooperation between
>>>> AUUG  and Linux Australia. I think that being on both committees is an
>>>>  advantage, and wouldn't stop me from doing the right thing for Linux
>>>> Australia, or AUUG individually.
>>> Hrm, I notice Andrew Cowie's also on the AUUG board. Is this a coup
>>> attempt?

Why a coup?  And would this mean Linux Australia launching the coup,
or AUUG?

>> Indeed.  Greater cooperation is a good thing, but at the end of the day,
>> AUUG and LA are both trying to be the leading OSS representative group in
>> Australia, so there is an opportunity for conflict of interest.
> Agreed. I would agrue however that all people are open to a conflict of
> interest -- for instance the president of a group of people like LA could
> quite easily manipulate things for their own financial benefit.

This is what we have constitutions for.

>> I'd suggest some overlap between the execs is good since we're all
>> friends, but if there is to remain two groups, both respective boards
>> should also contain people that are independant too.
> Last I heard, AUUG and LA had discussed whether to merge, and
> decided that they needed to know more about the two groups
> memberships before persuing that question further. While the groups
> are both individually viable, and not working against each other,
> the reasons to merge are also lesser.

Correct, but there are still a number of reasons to merge:

1.  There's a lot of work involved in running an organization, as you
    know (and apparently can handle :-).  By merging the
    organizations, we could reduce that level of work.

2.  Having two mainly overlapping organizations confuses lots of
    people, including many people on this list.  It makes it more
    difficult for either of us to make our mark.

From my personal point of view, (1) is the bigger issue.  People on
both boards drop action items because they don't have time.  The
membership of each group is not large enough to do all the things we
want.  When did either AUUG or LA last hold an installfest?  Why?

As you say, we've discussed the possibility of a merger in the past,
and we came to the conclusion that we didn't know enough about each
organization to know whether it would make sense or not.  Ultimately,
it should be up to a vote of the members (the AUUG constitution
contains clauses about the possibility of mergers, in fact).  What I
see at the moment is:

* AUUG is an organization of predominantly professional people
  involved with all flavours of UNIX, very much including Linux.

* LA is an organization of professional people and hobbyists, involved
  with Linux and related free software, but excluding proprietary

* Some LA people see AUUG as the Evil One, out to swallow up LA.

I haven't seen any particular concern on the part of the AUUG
membership about a merger, though we haven't done any asking.  At the
last AUUG AGM, I stated that we had had discussions, and that we
needed to find out more about what our membership thinks.  I didn't
get any feedback.

So, what does the LA membership think?  There's a lot of effort and
expense involved in running a user organization.  What speaks against
merging?  Potential answers that I can see are:

* LA is strongly opposed to proprietary software.  AUUG covers both
  free and proprietary software.

That's a hypothetical standpoint, not a statement of opinion.  It's
also about the only potential objection I can see, really.  To those
people who see a "coup" on the part of AUUG, what would you say to the
possibility of AUUG voluntarily being swallowed up by LA?  Ultimately,
it's not who launches a "coup", or which organization takes over the
other: we're all here for the benefit of our members, who are the same
to a large degree.  They'd certainly be happier to have less to pay
every year.

>> (Monopolies are bad, diversity is good etc etc etc)
> Yes, but having two OSS groups working against each other is
> bad. This is also the case for say LA and LUGs.

I think we're cooperating a lot better.  Is that enough?

Ordinary member, Linux Australia
President, AUUG
Finger grog at for PGP public key.
See complete headers for address and phone numbers.
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