[Linux-aus] AUUG to close? Will there be a rush of new members to Linux Australia?

David Newall david at davidnewall.com
Mon Dec 17 18:51:52 UTC 2007

Bret Busby wrote:
> Anyway, it sounds to me, from the AUUG web site, like AUUG is simply 
> another version of Linux Australia, which also happens to include, but 
> is clearly not limited to, proprietary UNIX.

(I love it when they say that the parent looks just like the child.)

Bret is absolutely correct.  In my view, there is no substantive 
difference between AUUG and Linux Australia.  Some AUUG members 
passionately feel that inclusion of proprietary UNIX in it's charter is 
an essential feature.  Some Linux Australia members just as passionately 
feel that closed-source software has no place in it's charter.  That is 
the difference, and it's entirely unimportant.

> Perhaps, Linux Australia could redefine and rename itself, to be Open 
> Source Software Australia, or saome similar name, as Linux Australia 
> already includes Openb Source Software, of which Linux is only a 
> component, both in terms of Open Source Software, and, in terms of what 
> is covered by Linux Australia.

I would resist that.  Linux Australia has brand cachet.  (So does 
AUUG.)  You say, "Linux Australia", and people know who you mean.  
There's no need to change the name.  The word "Linux" in the name no 
more restricts Linux Australia than did the word "UNIX" restrict AUUG.

Unix is widely used as an alias for any UNIX-like operating system, and 
that includes Linux.  Linux is a flavour of unix.  It's probably the 
most popular flavour of unix, but more important, it's the most 
high-profile flavour of unix (and of open-source software.)  Many people 
recognise the name, "Linux", but have no idea what "UNIX" is.

When AUUG started, there was no "Open Source".  UNIX was proprietary, 
but it could be licensed with source, and it was rapidly emerging as an 
operating system for any computer.  That was hugely important: You could 
write software on a VAX, and run it on a Burroughs.  This "openness" 
that pervaded UNIX was the essential quality that AUUG was founded in 
order to promote.  This "openness" also pervades the internet, and the 
many free applications, developed by a public community, and distributed 
in source; for that reason, these, too, are embraced in AUUG's charter.

When AUUG was started, I don't think anybody considered the the 
proprietary nature of UNIX.  UNIX was proprietary, and it was so good, 
and so important, that that wasn't a concern.  AUUG still caters to 
proprietary UNIX because UNIX embodies the spirit of "openness."  
Exclude no-one.  (Such a small point, that I'd agree to the contrary 
rather than argue.)

A result of UNIX being available in source was that a number of 
different "dialects" were created, with the most popular being 4.xBSD 
and System V.x.  Whilst being the same in broad terms, there were minor 
differences between them.  Communities grew around each, and regularly 
conducted flame-wars between each other with an almost religious 
fervor.  Linux continues that great tradition with the various 
distributions.  Truly, Linux *is* unix.  Hazzah!

> So, maybe it is time for both AUUG and Linux Australia, to examine what 
> they are about, and redefine themsleves, or, merge, or something, as 
> Linux Australia is clearly not limited to Linux, and, AUUG is clearly 
> not limited to UNIX, but, by definition, attempts to duplicate much of 
> what is covered by Linux Australia.

(Again, there's that horse before the cart.)

Again, Bret is absolutely correct.  It's worth noting that AUUG's 
constitution says:

    "For the furtherance of [AUUG's] aims and to achieve its purposes,
    the AUUG may [...] amalgamate with other associations formed
    elsewhere with similar aims."

It's almost as if they knew Linux Australia would come along when they 
created AUUG, isn't it?

Some sympathy has been expressed by AUUG's members, to the idea of 
amalgamating with Linux Australia.  I think it's a very good idea.  It 
would retro-actively add decades of admirable history to Linux Australia.

The big question, of course, would be the name.  I think "Linux 
Australia" would continue to be a splendid name, although it would be a 
shame to lose "AUUG".  "Linux Australia AUUG" and "AUUG Linux 
Australia", both sound good to my ear.

> Perhaps, this is something that could be considered by the candidates 
> for the new Linux Australia committee, and, perhaps, they could explain 
> their opinions and intentions relating to this, as part of their 
> "electioneering.

Bret is tiresomely right, once more.  This is *the* big issue in 
Australia's open-source political landscape.  AUUG has such a tremendous 
history that it would be a shame to let it slip away.  AUUG's history, 
in terms of what it's done, is exactly the same as Linux Australia's, 
only it goes for 30 years!  Linux Australia and AUUG should merge.  The 
name is unimportant; the history is not.

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