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

Anand Kumria akumria at
Wed Jan 7 00:49:08 UTC 2004

On Mon, Jan 05, 2004 at 11:32:28AM +1030, Greg 'groggy' Lehey wrote:
> On Monday,  5 January 2004 at  7:41:35 +1100, Michael Still wrote:
> > On Mon, 5 Jan 2004, Michael Davies wrote:
> > 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.

A consititution won't really help when they are in the Bahamas. Or if
they negociate a contra-deal for sponsorship or similiar. 

> >> 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.

Is it surprising you should say that, I'm yet to meet anyone confused
by there being both AUUG and LA.

> 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?

I'm not aware what AUUG's membership numbers are but most people are
aware that, since Perth, we've ~400 members. I'm not sure what things
you want to do that aren't achievable with that many members.

To answer your second question on installfests.  LA hasn't ever held 
an installfest. We co-ordinated one in 2001 and attempted to co-ordinate 
one in 2002. The 2001 co-ordinated Installfest was very successful and 
the 2002 one only moderately so.

I can't speak for other LUGs but since I'm involved with SLUG the
feeling I got was that a lot of people felt that the 'great big installfest' 
wasn't as neccessary.

They wanted more focused install/configuration assistance. That is just
a sign that most of us don't have real hardware issues nowadays, Things
Just Work.

> So, what does the LA membership think?  There's a lot of effort and
> expense involved in running a user organization.  

I'm not sure what AUUGs expenses are but monetary costs are not really
a substantial issue for LA. The primary limiting factor for LA is
volunteers time. 

> 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.

* Different organisational 'feel'. 

You note that AUUG is more formal than LA; for professionals like myself
the informality of LA is preferable. 

* Attitudes to Free Software / Open Source

AUUG has embraced 'Open Source' as a term very readily. That isn't a
critiscism, no doubt it is helpful when speaking to businesses. But I 
find LA has more of a 'Free Software' feel to it. Which seems to help
when dealing with LUGs.

* Emacs versus Vi

enough said :-)

> 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?  

I don't think the case has been made well enough that there are
substantial synergies to merging. 

> 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.

Interesting you bring that up. My first direct exposure to AUUG was when
SLUG felt it need to incorporate in order to pay for public liability; one 
proposal at the time was to become a part of AUUG-NSW (i think, this was 
back in the '90s).

A lot of people objected to having to pay the membership fee and the
insurance costs were, I believe, bourne personally by the committee at
the time. 

The idea of Linux Australia arose around that time; LA has always offered 
to cover public liability for LUGs (with no strings) which was one of the 
things that attracted us to it (discussion about insurance cover for

For the record, Linux Australia's membership fee is very low (typically
$0) and I doubt many people would consider that fee a substanial barrier
to joining. 


 `` We are shaped by our thoughts, we become what we think.
 When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never
 leaves. '' -- Buddha, The Dhammapada

More information about the linux-aus mailing list