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

Matt Brown matt at mattb.net.nz
Sun Dec 4 10:44:02 UTC 2005

On Sat, 2005-12-03 at 11:01 +1100, James Purser wrote:

> Secondly I would like to bring up New Zealand. Matt Brown from
> Wellington LUG raised an interesting point in this message on the
> linux-aus mailing list. Should we be looking at maybe taking on the role
> of Linux Australasia, becoming a body that represents LUGs and the FOSS
> community both here and in New Zealand? This is of course predicated on
> whether the New Zealand FOSS community would want to be part of such an
> organisation. Personally I think this idea is not such a bad thing.
> Having a look around the community in New Zealand there is some really
> cool stuff happening and they are facing many of the same issues that we
> do in Australia.

Thanks for bringing this up James, I agree with your comment in another
post that it is good to discuss these things as soon as possible. 

I think the issue of national identity is probably the key to this whole
discussion. It is important for the NZ community and LUGs to retain
their own identity and not be subsumed into Australian identity.

When Craig, John and I started the Linux NZ discussion, it came in part
from a fair degree of envy from what we were seeing Linux AU acheiving.
If you read our initial invitation it was quite clear that we were
looking for support to "duplicate" Linux AU into NZ. We didn't get
there, and after taking a month or two to think about it, I believe that
trying to duplicate Linux AU into NZ was the wrong approach to take.

As beneficial as it would be in terms of creating a distinct identity
there are far too many other things that it just doesn't make any sense
to duplicate at all. LCA, the podcasts and Advocacy preparation are the
three key things that pop immediately to my mind and I'm sure there are
others too. 

I think the biggest thing we learnt from our LinuxNZ endeavours is that
we don't (currently?) have huge numbers of people available to do things
in NZ, and we are always going to suffer from problems of scale to some
extent. In many ways the more duplication we can avoid the better. That
allows us to free what people we do have to focus on the things that are
NZ specific.

This is the key reason that I'm pushing to see if there is support for
Linux Australasia. It's not that we want LinuxAU to adopt or subsume NZ
LUGs, the idea is that LinuxAU would grow to include NZ and become a
bigger, better and more inclusive organisation as a result. I guess the
flipside for Australians is that the resulting organisation would be
less nationalistic.... More on that in a minute. ISON probably fits in
here too, I only just become aware them yesterday so I'm still reading
their site. However my impression is that while it is definitely an
organisation we should be linked with, its aims and goals are orthogonal
to what I'm trying to achieve by proposing Linux Australasia.

The impression I'm getting from talking to Pia, and lurking on this list
is that LA is working very hard to empower the members to be the workers
rather than the committee. With the committee providing the
organisational oversight, legal structure, vision and authority needed
to keep everything hanging together. I think it's a great strategy, and
would fit in perfectly with the bigger, broader Linux Australasia that
I'm proposing. ISON probably fits in here too, I only just become awar

Give NZ members the opportunity to work on the press, publicity and
advocacy sub-committees too and you're pretty much there in terms of
achieving Linux Australasia! The sub-committees as a whole can work on
their specific areas (avoiding unnecessary duplication) and then the
NZ/AU components of each sub-committee can do the necessary (hopefully
minor) localisation work if and when required. 

Following from this, if there is a need for a more nationalistic
component then it's simply a matter of creating a sub-committee to do
the work required to "promote national identity"... perhaps we need to
have FOSS competitions across the ditch so we can beat each other in
something other than sport... :)

Plenty to think about and as many have pointed out the key place to
resolve all this is probably going to be at LCA'06 in Dunedin. I think
as James has pointed out though, it is going to be very beneficial for
us all if we can do much of the talking beforehand and at least get an
idea of where everyone is at, even if we are poles apart in terms of
what we think. 


Matt Brown
matt at mattb.net.nz
Mob +64 275 611 544 www.mattb.net.nz

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