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

James Turnbull james at lovedthanlost.net
Mon Dec 17 20:56:46 UTC 2007

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David Newall wrote:
> 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.

I would have risen to this post anyway but in light of the election
process here goes...

I don't have a broad objection to merging with AUUG but I do have
concerns (and would point out that the argument is somewhat moot until
AUUG's members decide on an exact approach and vote on it).

My chief concern is the inclusion or exclusion of proprietary Unix.  I
would strongly resist the inclusion of proprietary Unix in the mandate
of LA.  It is not unimportant to me nor should it be to anyone else who
is attempting to advocate FLOSS.

Advocacy on behalf of open source, especially Linux, is going to be made
harder if the chief advocacy group also represents members with vested
interests in proprietary software.  It seems entirely contradictory to me.

> 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.

I would agree with this - the name has good PR value and should remain.

> 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.)

I think if you polled AUUG members they would not see this as the reason
AUUG caters for proprietary Unix.  AUUG caters for proprietary Unix
because members used those operating systems in their professional lives
and livelihoods.  Hence they wanted to support and advocate for those
operating systems much like LA does for Linux.

> 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!

Linux is Unix-*like*.  I suspect some AUUG members, most of the *BSD
community, and a lot of proprietary Unix people would not agree with you
that Linux = Unix.  The disagreement can clearly be seen from some of
those flame wars.

This disagreement could potentially lead to concerns from AUUG members,
and the broader non-Linux Unix community, about what exactly LA does and
what its mandate is regarding non-Linux operating systems.  This worries
me as it has the potential to dilute our message on Linux and open
source software.

> 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.

I think the question is broader than simply the name.  I think any
proposed amalgamation would need to clearly articulate the scope of the
new organisation and in my opinion should exclude proprietary Unix
operating systems.  I'd argue that this potentially could be a
show-stopper for some AUUG members.

> 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.

All of this being said, I do think investigating any proposed
amalgamation is a very good idea but not at the expense of potentially
diluting LA's ability to be a strong advocate for both Linux and open
source software generally.


James Turnbull

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James Turnbull (james at lovedthanlost.net)
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