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Re: [Linux-aus] Can Linux Australia survive?

On Fri, 2005-07-01 at 09:58 +1000, Jonathan Oxer wrote:
> I think it's an unfortunate confirmation of the problem that Stewart's
> post didn't get much (any?) response.

I was talking to some people the other night at the LUV ProgSig dinner,
and mentioning such things, they did tend to agree. I do wonder, is
silence agreement? It'd be great to get feedback on these things - heck,
even a 'i agree' would be very welcome post.

> Right now Linux Australia is at a difficult size - you could almost
> think of it as being at the "teenager" stage of development. It has
> grown well beyond a small organisation that exists solely to facilitate
> a conference, but it's not yet big enough or well resourced enough to
> support a paid executive to handle day to day chores. It's involved in
> far more things than almost anyone outside the committee would be aware
> of, but doesn't have staff to delegate chores to.

> So it's doing lots of things, but the responsibility for making those
> things happen falls on the (voluntary) committee.

And a good point to make is that it *SHOULDN'T*! There is enough
administrative stuff going on to keep the committee busy without any
extra load of having to make extra things happen.

It's pretty much a request for people to not vote people to the
committee who are good at getting things done - vote people in who are
good at seeing that the organisation continues and are good at being
able to get done the things needed to get done so others can get things

(hrmm... lost you all yet?)

in other words, that make a lot more sense, be like Rusty and do stuff
when not on the committee, focus your energy where it is best focused.

> That's dangerous. As Stewart said in his post, Michael Davies made the
> astute comment that LA currently survives by burning people out and
> replacing them with fresh blood. The committee is refreshed annually
> with an influx of new suckers to jump on the treadmill, but as activity
> in the organisation increases the burnout rate will no doubt increase
> proportionally.

If, instead of burnout, we achieve a constant run of 1/2 burnout (i.e.
comfortable) for everyone (instead of a small non-burnt-out group) we
will be better off.

> that exists to provide a legal structure for LCA. In that case it would

> Personally I think that option totally sucks and would be a fundamental
> failing of the organisation, and I think I can safely speak for the rest
> of the committee in saying they feel the same way.

Yep - I think we can do more than just pass stuff on from LCA to LCA.
But we also have to remember that this is one of the core functions of
LA. If we have to cut back to just this to ensure the continuation of
LCA (assuming it continues it's current coolness), then it's something I
think we should do.

However, to do a lot more cool stuff, more ppl need to contribute.

> Or the other extreme is to hire an executive, perhaps in the form of a
> CEO or a secretariat to undertake all the jobs it's hard to find
> volunteers for. That would easily chew up an extra $100k / year, which
> would require making the organisation work hard just to make enough
> money to stay alive. We'd have to chase direct corporate sponsorship,
> push LCA to make more money, diversify income streams, the whole box and
> dice.
> Personally I think that's all a bit much right now too.

But I think we should have it on the cards for the future.

I think we urgently need to work out a way to lighten the huge load that
is currently placed on the treasurer. This probably means hiring
someone/somegroup/whatever to do a bunch of the more everyday things.
This could also extend to a bunch of the LCA things as well.

I honestly think that this is something we need to find the money for. I
also think it is something that is *totally* justifiable.

> Over the last two weeks I've been thinking about it a lot and I'm
> formulating some ideas, but I'll leave that for another post. In the
> meantime if you've got things to say about LA and the way it's run,
> *now* is the time to start making yourself heard.

Even if it is just a 'i agree' or 'i think you guys are doing well' - i
reckon it would be very helpful to know that we're communicating the
problem effectively to the linux-aus community.

Stewart Smith (stewart@linux.org.au)
Committee Member, Linux Australia

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