[Linux-aus] Open Source Australia: Let's just make a mailing list? (Was: Organizing an Australian Open Source Roadshow?)

David Lloyd lloy0076 at adam.com.au
Thu Jan 29 20:58:02 UTC 2004


> Amos' comments (about Israeli press voice) are very much what I think
> OSA would be about, and indeed, what OSV has done.  I think every OSV
> press release has at least made it online, and some have made it around
> the world (e.g.  slashdot).

I know but OSIA is about much more than press releases as is OSV.

> I don't mind what the structure is, Corporate Open Source could be a
> SIG of LA, that's fine.  But I, as a senior IT manager with a voice
> into the corporate sector, want to be able to point senior managers to
> an organisation that will incorporate their queries in a manner similar
> to other industry groups/networks.

That's part of the role of the peak organisation that OSBN-SA, OSV, SLPWA
and other business attendees discussed on the Thursday of LCA 2004. We saw
the role of the organisation as speaking to management in management terms.
The truth is that a business needs to remain profitable to pay its staff
regardless of whether that is a staff of one or thousands. It's been my
experience--and it should really be highly obvious to us all--that
businesses are prepared to pay reasonable and sometime unreasonable rates in
order to remain competitive and profitable.

Now, whilst we can all see good technical arguments for using open source in
particular generic cases -- for example a web server serving static web
pages -- I doubt that managers and businesses really care about the good
technical arguments at the end of the day. Their question is: "Will this
technology benefit my business and make my business more profitable than my
competitors?" - and going on a "Open source is good because you can see the
source" isn't the right answer here at all. The right answer in this case
might be: "Well, given your current infrastructure and staff expertise our
advice is to slowly implement a free unix web server--we advise Linux with
Apache 2.0--in a planned, defined manner. Here's a detailed spreadsheet
showing the cost benefit to your company once the solution has been running
for a year and here are some case studies that show the benefits this type
of change has made to other businesses. We can put you into contact with
many companies who would be willing to provide initial training and support
through our OSIA directory."

The answer a technical person may give is: "The free unix solution using
Apache 2.0 has a greater uptime, is more stable and is more secure.
Therefore it's better than the current solution which is less stable, needs
to be rebooted every week and is vulnerable to the various viruses/worms
going about." It's a correct answer, but you very well might get a response
that goes:"But my customer service manager hasn't heard one complaint from
our clients about our web-site. They say it's very good, reliable and fast

In a significantly verbose way, and you probably already agree with me, we
have to match the right message to the right groups. I can see the day when
the technical user groups don't agree with the business user groups. An
example I've already used would be something like this:

 1. If you asked this question: do you prefer mutt or a similar
    command line mail client or Evolution, a resource hungry but
    graphical point and click client?

You'd get widely different answers depending on which group you asked. I
suspect a group of Linux techno-geeks would say "mutt" whereas the
(fictional) institute of professional managers might say "evolution".

> I think all we need to do is create another mailing list and another
> subdomain, make sure all the OSS-based business get on the list and call
> Con president of OSA :-)

Something like that, although we're thinking that we may need an "Industry"
in the name otherwise the name be a little too ambiguous.

> If more structure is needed, let it come as it is required.  Already
> many of those involved are AUUG/LA people, so we can draw on those
> organisations and synergise with them.

Precisely, and we will, and there will be great rejoicing.


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