[Linux-aus] LA: my plans for 2008

Jonathan Oxer jon at ivt.com.au
Mon Jan 14 01:24:04 UTC 2008

Hi LA,

A huge, heart-felt thankyou to everyone who has worked with me during
the 3 years I've been President of LA: to those who have served on the
LA Committee; to the organisation / mailing list members who have made
it such an interesting and rewarding job; to the LCA organising teams;
to all the volunteers including the LA admin team and everyone who has
represented the organisation at an event; and to all the sub-Committee

Although I appreciate the nominations, I will not be accepting any
positions on the LA Committee for 2008.

However, I *will* continue to be involved in the organisation. In fact
I'll probably end up doing more in 2008 than I have in 2007. Part of the
reason for stepping down from the Committee is that one of my stated
intentions for 2007 was to make changes to the structure of the
organisation necessary to shift the focus from Committee-as-executive to
Committee-as-oversight, and make it easier for regular LA members to
perform organisation activities in an official capacity. You may have
noticed there are 4 motions on the 2008 AGM agenda
(http://wiki.linux.org.au/Ctte/AGM2008) specifically related to amending
the constitution to facilitate this, with the wording of the motions
online at:


My intention had been to have these changes occur sometime during the
year, but for various reasons they were delayed until the AGM. The
objective of these changes is to:

1. Clarify that the role of the Committee is to provide oversight, and
that execution of specific tasks does not require Committee membership.

2. Clarify the concept of "membership" of LA, with the potential for a
multi-tiered membership structure with additional benefits to members.

3. To apply some minor bugfixes to the constitution in terms of legacy

I believe that ultimately the Committee should not be required to
actually execute any projects directly: there is still too much
internalised by the Committee that could just as well be managed by a
non-Committee member, with the Committee merely providing oversight. A
perfect example is the Grant Scheme: it has been managed directly by the
Committee since its inception, but there is absolutely no reason the
Committee should need to be directly involved other than in an oversight

This doesn't mean I think the Committee members are incapable of doing
these things. On the contrary, they are among the most capable and
motivated members of the FOSS community and I fully expect that
Committee members will always be heavily involved in specific projects
and LA initiatives. They're just the kind of people to get in and do
things, otherwise they wouldn't have ended up on the Committee.

My point is that we need to break the assumption that you *need* to be
on the Committee to do these sorts of things, and if Committee members
are involved in specific projects it's because they have a passion for
that particular project, not because they're on the Committee and the
task just happened to be allocated to them. And we need to provide a
clear path for non-Committee members to get in and help. After all, the
phrase we've bandied about for a long time is "facilitate the
enthusiasms of the Linux community", so we need to smooth out the bumps
and make straight the paths for members who have ideas and inspiration
and enthusiasm.

Assuming the membership approves these constitutional changes, my plan
for 2008 is to step down from the Committee and to use myself as a
guinea-pig to test the process of conducting official LA business
without being a Committee member. I'll also probably volunteer to help
out a bit with LUV, maybe standing for the LUV Committee if the
opportunity arises - which would have the added benefit that I can gain
the perspective of dealing with LA from an outsider's point of view.

The area I specifically want to work on during 2008 as a non-Committee
member is membership benefits. I've spoken about this in the past so I
won't go into it in detail right now, but I believe there are quite a
number of things that LA could be doing to provide additional benefits
to members including making better use of the "opensource.org.au"
domain. I've already done some of the technical groundwork to allow LA
to offer "blah at opensource.org.au" mail accounts and
"blah.opensource.org.au" subdomains to members, and I intend to resume
that in early 2008.

So, looking back over the last 3 years it's been a great time for me
personally and I've learned many things. During that time we've seen
huge changes in the IT industry that have seen Linux go from curiosity
to powerhouse, and LA has ridden that surge in popularity to grow from
800-ish members to the current tally of 1385 with more joining almost
every day.

I took up the role with very little idea what was actually involved and
although there have been a few extremely stressful situations that
members may not even be aware of (James Purser said to me recently that
the LA President needs to have "a flameproof skin and the patience of
Buddha"!) it's been overall a fantastic experience that I'm very
grateful for.

The #1 lesson that I'd like to pass on to the next President is that
regular communication is absolutely vital - I'd say more important than
any other thing you do. At Pia's suggestion I was fairly good about this
during my first 2 terms with reasonably regular reports sent to the
linux-aus list. In 2007 it totally fell over and members could be
forgiven for thinking we'd fallen asleep at the wheel. In reality a huge
amount happened in 2007 but I simply did not communicate it regularly
enough to allow people to get a sense of where things were going and
what was happening elsewhere in the organisation. That was totally my
fault and I accept responsibility for it.

So, in summary: I won't be joining the Committee again in 2008, but I
won't be going far. In fact you'll probably see more of me in 2008 than
you did in 2007 - whether that's a good thing though I can't say!

Finally I'd like to specifically thank those who have served on the
Committee with me over the last three years:

Pia Waugh
Anthony Towns
Mark Tearle
Stewart Smith
Andrew Cowie
Geoffrey Bennett
Terry Dawson
James Purser
Janet Hawtin
Leon Brooks
Steve Walsh

You guys n gals are champions.

Cheers   :-)
Jonathan Oxer
Ph +61 4 3851 6600
-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: not available
Type: application/pgp-signature
Size: 189 bytes
Desc: This is a digitally signed message part
Url : http://lists.linux.org.au/pipermail/linux-aus/attachments/20080114/e67f782d/attachment-0001.pgp 

More information about the linux-aus mailing list