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[Linux-aus] Adelaide F2F Notes - Sunday (DRAFT)

Linux Australia Committee Minutes and Meeting Notes
Adelaide, 2005/06/19


    Jonathan Oxer, President (Chair)
    Pia Smith, Vice-President
    Anthony Towns, Secretary
    Mark Tearle, Treasurer
    Geoffrey Bennett
    Andrew Cowie
    Stewart Smith

The meeting resumed at 10:24am on Sunday the 19th, and concluded at 1:55pm. Some formal business was conducted during the day. Minutes follow separately.


The committee discussed the grants scheme, and what if any changes of
approach might be warranted. Some concern was noted in regards to budget
flexibility from the previous days discussions. By and large, the
committee felt that "baby steps" was the right approach and letting the
grants process promote itself as the existing grants were noticed by the
community. The committee discussed the criteria which determined whether
grants were "appropriate", and noted that most grants could be framed
with a "community" focus -- helping ComputerBank get Linux computers
into the community, helping provide a Linux presence within the
Education community at an expo, helping DarLUG get free software out to
 the local community, and assisting with the running of future Linux
conferences -- the sole exception being the initial grant for hardware
for the Gnome. It was noted that that had both been very early in the
grant scheme's history, and was a very small grant. It was also noted
that that grant had received very positive press. Development grants
were considered difficult to handle, but worthwhile if they could be
handled well. The committee did not come to a firm process for
considering such grants, instead determining that it would continue
considering such grants on a case-by-case basis.


The committee discussed whether a better model for using some of Linux
Australia's funds to provide incentives and promotion for free software
development might be to fund prizes, that might eg be awarded annually
to Australian developers for work they've done over the past twelve
months. The committee noted there were similar projects along these
lines from both AUUG (the Australian Open Source Awards, which provide
non-monetary prizes in a number of categories) and OSI (the Open Source
Awards, which consisted of a small number of prizes each quarter for the
first three quarters of 2004).

The committee's opinion was that this was an interested idea to try to
implement, and expressed an interest in looking into the idea further
once it had a better handle on what its annual income and expenses were.

Software Freedom Day

Pia Waugh spoke on the plans for Software Freedom Day events planned
around the country, and the prospect of getting balloons and t-shirts
made up for the volunteers participating. It was estimated that this
might come to around $2000 and the committee expressed some concern that
this was a lot of money for not much tangible benefit. The committee
considered whether as an alternative, it might be worth providing money
for more than just t-shirts and balloons and making a bigger splash and
advocacy effort, by such things as appearances on morning television,
advertisiments in major newspapers, encouraging volunteers to speak on
local radio, hosting talks or parties in the evening, involving
politicians, and similar activities. The committees general view was
that that level of activity was more likely to justify a larger expense.

Media Training

The issue of whether and when to run another round of media training was
raised. This was considered somewhat premature to decide without a clear
idea of LA's cashflow, but it was considered that if one was to be run
soon, doing so before Software Freedom Day would make sense, possibly
towards the end of August or in the first week of September.

Salary Survey

The issue of a salary survey was raised in light of the discussion on
the mailing lists. Concerns were noted regarding the difficulty in
obtaining accurate results that aren't misleading, and regarding the use
of a survey to members. As well as use in salary negotiations, it was
noted that salary information is useful for estimating the size of the
open source industry in Australia, which can be useful when trying to
convince government that harm to the open source industry is something
worth avoiding. It was noted that a simple survey could probably be
performed using the memberdb code that handled the last LA election, but
that this would probably not be of sufficient quality to be useful. It
was also noted that ACS do regular salary surveys, and that expanding
those to better cover the open source industry in Australia might be

eResearch Reference Group

The committee briefly discussed the invitation to provide a
representative to the eResearch Reference Group, which will provide
input into government policy on virtual environments that facilitate
research. Jon Oxer will act as Linux Australia's representative.

Anthony Towns <secretary@linux.org.au>
Secretary, Linux Australia Inc