No subject

Tue Apr 3 04:05:46 UTC 2007

KDE, Samba etc a group meeting or a conference can be a pivotal time. So
Jdub and Daniel (and the other twenty people coming after them) are
completly reasonable in thinking that this is important. A lot of the
very best work is done during intensive f2f sessions, especially things
that aren't well suited to online communications.

But. Helping achive a turning point for just one of these projects is
pretty diffuse from the point of view of Linux Australia, because the LA
constituency cares about hundreds of such projects. There's probably
between 50 and 100 people who could justify that they are important to a
project that has overseas gatherings.

It might be possible for Daniel and Jeff to have their cake and eat it
too with a bit of proposal re-engineering. If some respected developer
with communications cred was attending a GUI conference and in exchange
for LA funding commits to developing "Making Free GUIs Conform to
Government Tender Responses", with funding payment due after
*acceptance* of said document by the LA committee, now *that* would be a
pointy outcome. It would be very easy to see how that helps those LA
represents (which, I infer from various LA statements, extends to more
than their signed-up members.) And Gnome, KDE and whatnot would also get
the benefit these respected developers want to contribute in attending.

Maybe LA should make it clear in their guidelines that pointy proposals
prosper but diffuse diversions die.

Maybe Australian-based members of particular projects might be better
off asking for targetted donations to be sent to the appropriate body
(,, etc) specifying that the amount is for
person X to be sent to conference Y (or a direct donation to the
developer naturally, but this is then much less accountable.) This still
may make sense for Australians because it is good for the health of
local free software to have well-informed, happy experts in our

By "tiny bank balance" I suppose I mean something less than 1x10^6,
which is often the number below which commercial national marketing
campaigns run out of steam. A lot can be done with less, but any
national effort with less money than this in the bank needs to keenly
feel that it could all vanish very quickly with no noticeable impact.
This goes for selling tissues as much as promoting a new form of
software or whatever it is that LA really does.


Dan Shearer
dan at

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