compulsory accreditation (was Re: [Linux-aus] Interview with Mark Lloyd from ACS ...)

Janet Hawtin lucychili at
Fri Sep 29 12:46:01 UTC 2006

Brenda Aynsley wrote:
> Janet Hawtin wrote:
> [snip]
>> It is yet another process which undermines Australian's rights to 
>> participate as valued individuals in their communities and yet again 
>> controls access in the interests of off shore proprietary interests. 
>> Its a recurring theme and a sad one.
> ah so you're saying registration of IT practitioners is not a good thing 
> no matter who is the registering authority because it means some sort of 
> peer review of capabilities which therefore undermines the contribution 
> that people can make?
> I think accreditation is a good thing because it is peer reviewed or 
> judged against some agreed standard/s.  I guess what we need to do is 
> ensure that the agreed standard/s is an appropriate basket of knowledge, 
> skills, experience and practice.

Peer review is a defining characteristic of FOSS.
As are open standards, processes and dialogue.
Compulsory brokering agents aren't because they reduce
that kind of frank dialogue it generates a single point of failure.

> I am sure we will once the proposals are documented.

I guess I was hoping for a process which was inclusive in development of 
proposals. At the meeting yesterday the impression was that we were at the 
public input phase of the process and next would be the report?

>> Why they are not a part of a FOSS inclusive discussion on empowering 
>> NGO's and why they only recommend centrally brokered opportunities.
> is FOSS the only way to empower NGOs?  What about the techsoup option 
> that CISA will be offering later this year?

Yes techsoup from CISA was mentioned. I cant remember whether that involved 
funds directly but I do remember that it will be providing all the donated 
Macromedia, MS, Symantec etc proprietary software they can carry as a part of 
that partnership. Sounds very shiny.

Its not about FOSS being the only way but it should certainly include options 
which do not do as Bret suggested and provide an addiction to a product which 
can not be supported sustainably by the NGO and its community.

>> Purpose and function are playing a second role to a predefined 
>> structure which benefits a few at the expense of wider community 
>> benefits.
> i am not sure I understand this comment per se?

The model of central broker is taken as a given.
This is because it fits comfortably with the practices and
goals of the proponents of the proposals and not because that model has 
something of particular value to offer the NGO's it is
used because there are other examples such as the ICTHub which was handed a
sum of UK government money to set up a website which is essentially
a portal for proprietary software.

The information on these sites includes sterling information such as
a description of RTF as a cumbersome open source format, MS Access as a product 
with open source characteristics, and an article by one of the organisations 
titled 'Do what we say not what we do' where they committed to an expensive 
donated proprietary product and got in a muddle long term.

I think it is great to be thinking about the NGO sector but the proposals fit a 
standard model being proposed by brokering industries regardless of impact 
because it is what is in their own best interests.

Australians need to be able to participate at all levels.
Participation in the NGO sector is likely to be something which
needs to encourage people to have a go, to connect, to try and compare with 
others. Barriers to entry are not a good fit for this sector, and to my mind
are not the best tool for assessing quality work in other sectors either.


More information about the linux-aus mailing list