[Linux-aus] With elections coming up soon I thought I'd post a few ideas

Pia Waugh greebo at pipka.org
Sat Dec 3 09:56:02 UTC 2005

Hi James,

<quote who="James Purser">

> First off I would like to revisit the idea of extending the terms of the
> office holders(President, Vice President, Treasurer and Secretary) on
> the committee. One year is really not enough for someone to get elected,
> get used to the position and the responsibilities and then get stuck
> into long term projects. In my opinion two year terms would be best .
> This allows for a period of adjustment to the role, catching up with
> issues and so on and then it gives ample time to get stuck into building
> the organisation and exploring new avenues and projects. Also having one
> year terms for the ordinary members gives those who would like to
> contribute more to the organisation a chance to see what working on the
> committee will be like without having to commit to the full two years.

I can agree with that in principle, the only problem is that what if you get
the wrong president or treasurer? If they were good and re-ran then they'd
get in anyway, so perhaps an expectation of two years commitment as part of
the job description but maintaining the elections yearly?

<snip NZ bit>
I think this isn't only a question of what we want, would the NZ LUGs be
happy to be under an Australian banner? I'm chatting to Matt about this too
atm, and I personally think that it makes more sense for there to be a Linux
NZ (or FOSS NZ, or whatever!) and for us to work closely with them on
regional issues. I know that as a SLUG person (Sydney LUG) I probably
wouldn't be comfortable coming under the banner of an overseas national FOSS
org, so why would their LUGs feel that way? Our national FTA, ICT industry
and other issues are closely tied in with what the government and Aussie
industry is doing, and we can't expect LA to be seen to be adequately
representative of NZ LUGs in the same way, even if there was an NZ
sub-committee or something. Linux NZ would be able to be stronger in its
local lobbying than trying to lobby as Linux Australia.

Just my 2c :) I would certainly be happy to help the NZ group in whatever
incarnation it ends up taking in what it does.

> Lastly I would like to touch on the sub-committee system and the percieved
> openness of operations. Pia reminded us about the Sub Committees a little
> while ago, and I think there is really a great deal of potential here but
> we need to get the word out more about the opportunities offered. As to
> the openness, I know the committee is a volunteer org and time is a rare
> commodity, however I might suggest something like a monthly Presidents
> report or similar, just to keep people up to date with what is going on.

I completely agree. Jon, get your skates on! :) At any rate, we'll probably
have to post the yearly reports for the AGM within the month (in time for
review before the AGM which will be at LCA), so that will get everyone up to
date. If there is an expectation from the community for regular reporting,
then it should happen. I personally believe that regular reports keep
everyone on board and behind the org, so lets try to have regular reporting
as part of the "job" description for the elections :)

This is the beauty of yearly elections. Tweaking the roles so they reflect
the needs of the community :)

As a brief update as VP, here is some cool stuff that is happening, and some
stuff we actually need to make decisions on for those interested.

** Jon and I wrote down a draft of LA and LA ctte responsibilities on
http://wiki.linux.org.au/Ctte/CtteResponsibilities. Let us know what you
think! We also created a sub-ctte policy and wrote down a bunch of sub-cttes
we already have. If you have a passion, then join an existing sub-ctte or
send us a proposal for your sub-ctte idea :)

** James Purser has offered to head up the Press sub-committee, ROCK! So now
at http://wiki.linux.org.au/Press we have been working on how that will
work. Email us if you want to join the press ctte and then create an
account, jump on and help out :) If you join the press sub-ctte you'll find
there is a release schedule and some projects to start playing with.

** I am looking to start an advocacy sub-ctte, so please email me if you are
interested i helping out or putting your 2c in. The main project for this
group will be a series of education campaigns targetting politicians,
educators, and industry. It will require letter writers, telephone callers,
face to face meeting people, art-work people, and anyone with any political
or campaigning knowledge. We have a year before the chapter of the FTA that
screws with the Open Source community is put into legislation, lets help
them understand the issues, and hopefully it can be written into our laws in
the most lenient way possible.

** The grant proposals have been going well, according to an email from
  Geoffrey (who is the Grants Tsar :) the year to date is:
        5/Apr/2005 DarLUG $1800
        3/Jul/2005 ACM programming competition training camp $3000
        11/Jul/2005 Twisted Sprint $790
        12/Jul/2005 Teen Challenge $1500
        15/Aug/2005 Tinderboxing GNOME $1300
        30/Aug/2005 SLUG Video $320
        29/Sep/2005 Computerbank Victoria Linux Computer Training $1800
        14/Nov/2005 LUG Roundup Competitions $400
for all tasks and what went through and didn't and get some more grants in

** Linux Australia were invited to be part of a research project looking at
open content. We were asked to give a cash and in-kind donation to the
research project which includes people like Brian Fitzgerald, Ian Oi and
Graham Greenleaf (all of whom are doing good work in open content and even
open source). We were asked to give $5k a year for three years (which is a
two months grant scheme money if we want to look at it that way), and about
the same in kind of peoples time. People who can be advisors in the research
grant like Rusty, myself and anyone else interested. The UNSW Cyberlaw
centre are driving this, and we need to get back to them asap. I personally
feel this is a great opportunity for us to get open source on the table and
open content models we know and love in the limelight. Anyway, they got
significant funding from ARC for the project, and OSIA are also involved. If
anyone has serious issues with this please bring them up as we need to sign
and get this paperwork on the way :) The outcomes will be ways that industry
and education can use open content, why they should, and generally
(hopefully) more acceptance in industry and education in opening their "IP"
for the good of society. 

** Linux Australia put in a response to the Attorney Generals Office call
for input to a total Government "IP" guidelines document. I'm very glad to
say that the AG, AGIMO and DCITA were all very open to what Rusty and I had
to say about "IP". We had the argument that all Government data should be
evaluated as to its best use for the public good, and thus opening a bunch
for free and easy access would be very useful. We will publish our response
as soon as is appropriate, but the fact that Australian Government are
talking to Linux Australia about "IP" is a great step forward for us, for
Australia and for freedom. Hooray!

** Elections are coming up. Nominations will be opened within 2 or 3 weeks
so think about where you want to see LA go in the future, and either prepare
your personal pitch, or prepare to nominate someone you think can do the
right thing. People can of course nominate themselves, but need to be
seconded by others to qualify. The full election explanation will be posted
very soon. I would suggest you keep a few criteria in mind when thinking of
        - are they enthusiastic about FOSS in Australia?
        - are they community-minded?
        - will they help support and promote the Australian FOSS community?
        - do they rock?  If all these are yes, then rock on :)

** Rock on Australia. We should be proud of our community. There are very few
countries that have such solidarity across its community, and such a strong
voice. We are kicking ass and will continue to do so.

I personally think that Linux Australia could participate more formally in
the IOSN (www.iosn.net), which would be a way for us to work closer with
other orgs in our region for the support and advancement of FOSS and FOSS
principles. But that's another story :)


Linux Australia                                         http://linux.org.au/
                      Jeff: Whatchootalkin'boutwillis?
                            Pia: What's Willis?

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