[Linux-aus] State representation on the board

Anthony Towns aj at azure.humbug.org.au
Thu Jan 8 18:26:02 UTC 2004

On Thu, Jan 08, 2004 at 06:50:16PM +1030, David Lloyd wrote:
> > My ulterior motive in this is that at the moment we've only got nominees
> > for the four extraordinary positions from three states (NSW, Vic, WA),
> > which means that either we can't even consider ordinary members from
> > those states, or that at least one of the remaining states (SA, Qld,
> > ACT) misses out on board representation entirely.
> Maybe we should include a position for the Christmas Islands, East Timor and
> the Australian Anatarctic Territory? 

Why? We don't have any nominees from any of those, and one of them isn't
even part of Australia. Likewise, we don't have any nominees from Tasmania
or NT.

> Whilst it would be nice to have a
> person on the committee from each state and territory, 

It'd be more than merely "nice". It's very difficult to participate in a
community if you can't have face-to-face chats with the decision makers.
That's why we have things like linux.conf.au and Debian conferences and
heck, even LUGs in the first place -- for some things being able to sit
down with someone and talk is much more efficient than trying to use irc,
email or the phone. At the moment, the only people who have any chance
of doing that are the people in Perth, Melbourne, Sydney, and Canberra.
For example, it was recently announced that the location for l.c.a 2005
had been decided. That's something I've an interest in, and that I've
been involved in helping with in the past, and in the past it's usually
decided at the preceeding conference. This time around, I didn't have
any idea anything was going on, let alone any opportunity to have any
input or offer any assistance.

That doesn't mean the decision that was made was bad, but it does indicate
LA's not making use of all the resources it's got available to it, and
that's worth examining.

As another perspective, LA's had a minor controversy over publishing its
minutes over the past six months. For those of us who don't have easy
access to a board member, that means we've got no idea what LA's been
doing since about June. Obviously _something's_ happened -- Pia's been
blogging from Geneva or something for some reason that seems LA related.
Now, no disrespect to the ctte intended -- that sort of thing happens,
but while the minutes problem has probably been fixed now, I'd personally
expect similar blockages in the communication flow in future. Without
having a local board member and the informal channels that implies,
that means entire states miss out on any idea what's going on with
Linux Australia.

> it's highly unlikely to happen.

Well, that depends. Given the nominations we've had, to give as many
states a rep as possible, that'd mean we need an officer from Sydney,
Melbourne and Perth; and ordinary members from each of Adelaide, Brisbane
and Canberra. Electing, say, Anand or Jason King as an ordinary member
might be beneficial, but it'd come at the cost of an entire state's
involvement in LA.

There are (by my calculations) 22 different combinations of
state/officer combinations (like President/NSW, VP/NSW, Secretary/Vic,
Treasurer/WA). Half of them have a rep from each state, the rest cost
either one or two states representation in LA.

> Besides, I'd prefer to elect a committee of professional NSW
> people than a bunch of incompetent others...

I don't think any of the nominees are incompetent, so that doesn't sound
like a plausible alternative.

But if you did have seven Sydney-siders on the board, how do you think
you, in Adelaide, would get involved? Presumably Adelaide wasn't the
winner of the 2005 l.c.a, so you won't be doing very much related to that.
If you're lucky, there might be an LA rep at one of your LUG meetings
in the year for you to chat to, if you're not (like Brisbane wasn't),
there won't be. If you're like me, you might try emailing one of the exec
members you met at l.c.a, then eventually lose interest because you can't
really keep up with what's happening, and nothing's happening locally.

For example, here's my summary of what LA's been doing over the past year.

	* Supported linux.conf.au
	* Supported linmagau
	* Sent Pia off to foreign parts for some reason
	* Started a project for giving small amounts of money to some
	  free software projects that didn't really get anywhere
	* Considered accepting donations on behalf of some free software
	  projects but didn't get anywhere at all
	* Posted links to a bunch of news articles on the mailing list
	* Had some friendly chats with AUUG, establishing a good working

Personally I expect people who've had a chat with Leon or Pia about
Linux Australia anytime in the past few months could give a much better
summary than that. Unfortunately, if you're not in Sydney or Perth,
you don't get much chance to do that.

In summary: we've got a choice, we can either have local involvement in
Linux Australia in six Australian capital cities, or not.

Personally, I think as a first step we should increase the number of
ordinary ctte members to perhaps six or seven, so we don't have to make
choices like "drop Anand from the committee, or don't have any involvement
from one of ACT/South Australia/Queensland for a year".

It's easy to say "we don't want quotas!" and it makes sense in most cases,
but I don't think Linux Australia is one of them.


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.

               Linux.conf.au 2004 -- Because we can.
           http://conf.linux.org.au/ -- Jan 12-17, 2004
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