[Linux-aus] 2005/04/22 Committee Meeting Minutes (DRAFT)

Anthony Towns secretary at linux.org.au
Wed May 4 21:33:03 UTC 2005

Minutes for Linux Australia Committee Meeting
2005/04/22 18:00 +1000
Held at linux.conf.au 2005, Canberra, Australia

    Jonathan Oxer (President)
    Anthony Towns (Secretary)
    Mark Tearle (Treasurer)
    Stewart Smith
    Geoffrey Bennett

Absent with apologies:
    Pia Waugh (Vice-President)
    Andrew Cowie

    Tony Breeds
    Mike Beattie
    Matthew Palmer
    Bruce Badger
    Rusty Russell

The meeting was opened by Jonathan Oxer, the meeting chair, at 18:09.

1. Approving of minutes for formal meeting 2005/03/29

     Motion: That the minutes [0] of the Committee Meeting held by
     teleconference on the 29th March 2005 accurately reflect the
     proceedings of that meeting.


The motion was proposed by Anthony Towns and seconded by Jonathan Oxer.
The motion was passed unanimously, with five votes in favour.

2. Ghosts of Conferences Past

     Motion: That bookings for the Ghosts trip to Dunedin for the weekend
     of the 21st and 22nd of May be made for Steven Hanley, Tony Breeds,
     Martin Pool, Jeremy Kerr, Michael Davies, Jonathan Oxer, Anthony
     Towns and Mark Tearle, and the expenditure of up to $5000 be
     authorised for payment for flights.

The motion was proposed by Stewart Smith and seconded by Jonathan Oxer.
The motion was passed unanimously, with five votes in favour.

3. Intellectual Property Issues

Rusty Russell, acting in his role as Linux Australia's IP Policy
Adviser, Intellectual Property Issues was invited to update the
committee on the status of IP issues relevant to Linux Australia.

Mr Russell indicated the most concerning issue, which should become live
either this year or next, is the implementation of the
anti-circumvention measures resulting from the recent Free Trade
Agreement with the United States, particularly with its impact on the
ability to construct open source DVD players. Given forthcoming
government control of the Senate, Mr Russell indicated that the
government might be more amenable to making use of the promised
flexibility in the Agreement, and a non-partisan approach to resolving
our concerns might be possible. Mr Russell does not estimate our chances
as being particularly good, but considers it a chance that must be
taken. Mr Russell pointed out that attempts by Singapore and Japan to
link anti-circumvention provisions with actual copyright violation were
resisted by the United States. However, the government have indicated
that region-free DVD players will remain legal -- though it's not clear
how that can be achieved, or if free software DVD players will also be
able to be covered, or how far the government will be able to
differentiate Australian law from that of the US.

Mr Russell then briefly discussed the availability of mainstream
hardware without a bundled Microsoft operating system. Mr Russell
pointed out that the continuing ubiquity of such bundling may indicate
some anti-competitive behaviour that may warrant Linux Australia's
attention, and polite letters to manufacturers, the ACCC, or
parliamentary representatives. Mr Russell further pointed out that the
United States, Europe, and Japan have had anti-trust investations 
against Microsoft, and that Australia was lagging behind in this 
important area.

Mr Russell indicated that there had been no activity on the fair use
front, beyond some brief media attention resulting from some comments by
the Attorney-General Phil Ruddock in February. Mr Russell also indicated
it wasn't clear that Linux Australia has a direct interest in this area.

4. Support for Community Code

Matthew Palmer was invited to address the committee on the Community
Code project.

Mr Palmer indicated that a significant number of people at linux.conf.au
had indicated an interest in participating on the mentoring side of the
project. Mr Palmer further indicated that there was a strong sentiment
from the people with whom he had spoken in favour of the project.

On the financial side, there was a brief discussion of insurance issues
facing the project. The overall conclusion was that obtaining coverage
was still progressing in a straightforward manner, though it had not yet
concluded. Apart from insurance, Mr Palmer indicated the Community Code
project expected to incur zero costs, or at worst quite low costs; with
most resources required, such as meeting locations, being made available

5. Support for OpenSkills

Bruce Badger was invited to speak in regards to the OpenSkills project,
in particular whether some cooperation between Linux Australia and
OpenSkills was appropriate or desirable in regarding to credit card
processing for OpenSkills membership fees.

Mr Badger gave a brief introduction to the project, indicating that it
intended to be a global reputation system, establishing identity,
handling work history, and allowing searches, and to otherwise help
individual consultants compete in the marketplace. Mr Badger indicated
that OpenSkills was particularly appropriate to members of the Linux and
open source communities, but was not an exclusively involved with those
communities. Mr Badger indicated the current involvement in OpenSkills
was approximately 50 individuals in Australia, and hundreds globally;
and that OpenSkills was aiming to incorporate in Australia (as a
federally registered company limited by guarantee) and undertake other
restructuring in order to grow substantially.

Mr Badger indicated that his involvement was not to establish a
relationship between OpenSkills and Linux Australia immediately, but
rather to see if a relationship was possible, appropriate or desirable;
indicating in particular that "Pia [Waugh] was enthusiastic in my
general direction."

Some discussion ensued about the technicalities of credit card
processing and merchant accounts, with Mark Tearle offering some advice
on how OpenSkills might obtain a more appropriate merchant account
arrangement than they had currently been able to. Mr Badger indicated
that he would take this advice back to his colleagues in OpenSkills.

The sentiment of the committee was that in general organisations should
aim to "stand on their own two feet", and that, particularly for a 
formalised organisation such as OpenSkills, handling membership fees was 
probably better handled by the organisation itself, rather than through 
Linux Australia. This was not intended to preclude a more general 
relationship with OpenSkills, merely that acting as a merchant services 
provider seems to be unnecessary.

At this point, Mr Beattie, Mr Russell, Mr Palmer, and Mr Badger left the

6. Business cards

     Motion: That the payment of $309.20 for business cards for the LA
     executive be authorised and executed.

The motion was proposed by Stewart Smith and seconded by Mark Tearle. It
was passed unanimously, with five votes in favour.

(7) Executive budget

     Motion: That a working budget for the executive be
     established. Each member of the executive (that being the President,
     Vice-President, Secretary and Treasurer) may authorise, with the
     assent of a second member of the executive, expenditures for
     purposes appropriate to the mission of Linux Australia, up to a set
     amount over the course of a quarter. The budget for President and
     Vice-President shall be $1000 each, and the budget for the Secretary
     and Treasurer shall be $500 each. Summaries of expenditures shall be
     presented to the committee as soon as is feasible, and shall be
     reviewed for appropriateness at the next committee meeting. The
     committee may vote to reset the available budget for any executive
     member at any meeting.

Anthony Towns spoke in favour of the motion, indicating that while the
committee had made the decision to allow the committee executive to act
without continuous review by the committee as a whole (with the
accompanying delays in arranging meetings), the lack of formality was
making it difficult to know which decisions required motions, and which
should be done without copious consultation. Mr Towns indicated that the
requirement of assent of another executive member is enforced by the bank.

Tony Breeds questioned how inappropriate expenditures would be handled,
and what level of recourse would be available for reclaiming misspent
funds. The sentiment of the committee was that limiting inappropriate 
expenditures to the aforementioned dollar figures, requiring review by
a second committee member before approval should be suitably effective
measures before the fact that this should not be a problem, and that if
it proves to be a concern in practice, the opportunity to review the
expenditures in detail after the fact, and reclaim the expenses from the 
committee member concerned should be acceptable.

Mr Towns proposed the motion, which was seconded by Stewart Smith. It
was passed unanimously, with five votes in favour.

8. UPS for Digital

The acquisition of a UPS for Linux Australia's server, digital, was
discussed. As it remains unclear that the purchase of a UPS is
warranted, the matter was shelved until further information becomes

9. Change of registered office

At the previous meeting, consideration of the change of registered 
business address for Linux Australia was deferred pending a visit to the 
law firm proposed to act as that address. Unfortunately that visit had 
not yet been made, so the motion was again deferred.

The meeting was closed by the chair at 18:55.

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


More information about the linux-aus mailing list