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

Craige McWhirter craige at mcwhirter.com.au
Mon Dec 12 06:41:02 UTC 2005

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

> 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 .

Committing to two year terms would make even the most hardworking and
dedicated activist think twice. It's a serious long term commitment in
time and effort. One year terms allow for people step down gracefully if
they burn out or if they're good and want another term, they will get

If they're good and don't get re-elected? Well that's the community's
loss but also the community's decision. The community will have to work
through bad decisions as well as good and will hopefully learn from it.

On the flip side, what if you get a dud key position holder one year?
This will eventually happen and the community will suffer for longer
under two year terms.

This feels a little like a bit of conservatism. You're quite rightly
happy with the current committee and you'd like to see them stick around
longer and bear more long term fruits for Linux Australia. I agree that
the current committee is pretty good but a hard fact of reality that
they won't be with us, in a committee sense, for ever. Life happens and
people will come and go as life and priorities ebb and flow.

What is more important than entombing a particular good crop of
committee members into their roles for longer is to build a lasting
community spirit, ethos (which I think we're already well on the way to
building) and expectations which will be handed on to following
committee members.

One key part of this can be done is by retaining "institutional" memory.
The Free Software community is already good at this in a technical
world, using How-To's and other now time-honoured methods. What we need
to do is ensure we pass on less tangible knowledge to our

By recording our knowledge of what it takes to run a successful LCA, how
to deal with press, business, run forums for communities or corporates,
foster LUGs, advocate Free Software etc, in a way that can be passed on
to future committee / community members we can go a long way towards
ensuring that the current period of a well run LA is continued well
after those responsible for making it so have moved onto other things.

"Iraq continues to work on developing nuclear weapons--uranium has been
soughtfrom Africa that has no civil nuclear application in Iraq; . . ."
--John Howard (Ministerial Statement, before the war in Iraq, 4 February

The Truth: ". . . an intelligence claim about Iraq's effort to acquire
uranium from Africa provedto be erroneous." 
--Foreign Minister Alexander Downer (Sydney Morning Herald, after the
war in Iraq, 18 June 2003)

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