[Linux-aus] My View: tis a touch long!

Janet Hawtin lucychili at internode.on.net
Thu Jan 17 11:53:09 UTC 2008

Greetings Mark

Just my own thoughts and questions:

Mark Phillips wrote:
> On Wed, 2008-01-16 at 17:10 +1030, brenda aynsley wrote:
> <snip>
>> in what way are you considering "keeping the two consistent" and which 
>> message are you wanting to keep on target?
>> Whilst there is significant commonality between the two groups 
>> unquestionably, there is also a significant difference between the 
>> missions of the two groups.  If it were not so, then there would be a 
>> merging of the two groups over time.
>> I think its important to maintain that separation into the future which 
>> is not to say that awareness and cross fertilisation of ideas and 
>> messages should not occur.
> <snip>
> The only differences I see between LA (Slug et al) and OSIA et al are
> the target audiences and the requirements by law regarding what each
> body can and cannot do. As far as I can see they are the left and right
> arms of Open Source. 

and software freedom?
Linux Australia has been inclusive of free software and not only open source.

I dont know if OSIA also is inclusive of free software conceptually but the name 
could be used to represent a narrower spectrum of code and community.
Perhaps I am being cautious but sometimes it pays to ask about inclusivity.

> I believe the two differences between the organisational groups are:

They each have a board and a committee elected to be responsible for their 
actions and voice. Linux Australia also is able to have people contribute 
projects and subcommittees for press, education or specific grants projects.

I think it would be great to see more help with the putting together of media 
materials, but I would be wary of having any single person defining the voice of 
Linux Australia. I am not a financial member of OSIA so it is not my beeswax how 
they speak and organise.

In the LA committee we have generally thrashed out press releases as a group, 
including interested people from the press list.

> 1) Lobbying, External Face:
> LA, as a non profit, is not allowed to lobby local Governments. I am
> hoping that the law will be changed with the change in Government. This
> does not mean that LA is a lame duck but that the method of engagement
> is different.  LA provides the focus to allow individuals to create and
> provide a community/group to focus on key issues relating to Open
> Source. E.g. Rusties fun in Europe, the FTA, and the current OOXML
> debate. LA also provides the central point for Community based
> activities such as the user groups and LCA.  

My understanding is that Linux Australia is a community group which
facilitates opportunities for its members. This does not mean that it cannot 
communicate ideas important to linux and floss users to government or other groups.

The USA has a specific clause asking for not for profit tax exempt groups not to 
lobby. 501c? Free Culture was talking about the implications of the choice 
between being tax exempt and being able to lobby. Interesting choices.
I do not think that LA is a charity or that it has that kind of restriction on 
its actions?

> OSIA is allowed to lobby and to that extent it is appropriate for OSIA
> to directly support or criticise government decisions. It is OSIA that
> should be engaging industry and government to both make aware the
> potential of Open Source for alternatives and viable business models.

An industry association has a different kind of voice.
It can lobby with specific interests in mind.

Perhaps the interests of business could be described as including market share, 
accessible tender processes, useful Australian Standards, ability to find 
graduates with floss skills, copyright and patent law and their impact on 

A linux community has interests around collaboration with other groups, make 
culture, involvement with recycling, education, couches and collaboration.
Press releases tend to be celebrations of good work or comments regarding
specific issues from a community perspective. Community perspective includes the 
users' rights with their computers as consumers and makers.
Access to participation in culture eg through government websites which
are inclusive or copyright law which enables people to remix and
create collaboratively. I guess I feel the community voice has different things 
to say and include. OSIA might comment on BSD. Linux Australia would be unlikely 
to except as a nod to a peer project/community.

> There are also an number of external groups in which an Open Source
> presence is needed. For example The IEEE Computer Society has been
> recently resurrected. 


> One of the first things I managed to get approved
> was that we would open the meetings to anybody who wanted to attend. 


> The
> side effects of this has been that not only have SLUG and OSIA members
> attended but there is now an awareness that Open Source has viable
> business models within the local chapter of this organisation. 

 > I still
> trying to work out that whether having the two major talks at the only
> meetings we have held, being Open Source based, is positive for the long
> term.

I am probably reading this wrongly?
Youre saying that it was not positive to talk open source software?
If youve got a list of folks ask them what they want to hear about?
Ask them what they know about?
Perhaps you want to have this kind of conversation with the budding IEEE crew 
about how they see their fit and function?

> 2) Community Focus, Inward Face:
> LA is the community side of Open Source. It provides the mechanisms,
> support and infrastructure for all relevant local communities. It
> provides support so that these communities can not only exist but to
> grow. LA focuses on all non-business aspects of Open Source.

Community is not only an inward facing function.
Community sector, charities, not for profit sector, informal groups,
arts projects and events are an interesting and diverse and extensive
local chunk of Australia's social and economic fabric.

Folks from ITShare the computer recycling group met with folks from the Adelaide 
bike mashup folks. Lots in common around make culture, recycling, social benefit
and fun. Outward looking need not only be about government contracts it can be 
about other kinds of make culture. the breadth of interests brewing in the 
mel8ourne chat list give a hint of how we are all connected to other 
communities. Paul Schulz has organised Software Freedom Days with
a Jazz Band and Dancers and also including Air Stream wireless group
because the make culture connections are there. People share an interest in 
participation, DIY, local culture and participation.

> OSIA is the business side of Open Source. OSIA provides examples that
> the Open Source business models work and have long term potential. It is
> the liaison agent between Open Source businesses and their prospective
> clients. OSIA is the group I see as providing the infrastructure to
> allow groups of our smallish members to combine talents and bid for
> large scale contracts. 

Contractual collaboration would be an interesting project.

> The issue of separation
> This is not to say that the aims of either body are the same. If we take
> the OOXML issue as a point in contention I see LA providing the support
> to allow individuals or groups of individuals to point out the
> deficiencies in Microsoft's proposal to the various standard and
> governing bodies. LA provides the authority/respect to the
> people/communities involved in these discussions. LA provides the
> credibility. While it benefit users/consumers within Australia.

Consumer, public benefit, community access to their own data yes.
Social and cultural values for floss and for open standards in the wider 
community, libraries, education, culture.

> OSIA, on the other hand provides a business view to this same debate.
> Why the standard does or does not make viable business sense, What are
> the effects of this proposal on business within Australia, not
> necessarily Open Source based businesses. Is is possible for a third
> party to easily implement the proposed standard how is it controlled in
> future. Does the standard provide a currently unfulfilled benefit to all
> communities and participants. Will it benefit Australian businesses,

Economic and business sector impacts of standards.

> Anything directly effecting business is where I see OSIA focusing while
> LA focuses on community. This does mean though that LA has the more
> important role.
> The issue of separation is thus a problem. Not only is it difficult to
> determine exactly what is direct lobbying and what is just support to a
> community but a significant number of the active participants in both
> camps are active participants in both camps. This makes it difficult to
> separate any potential issues.

Why is it a problem that people active in either/both communities have 
perspectives? The census was supported by both groups. Collaboration is not a 
problem. The groups are not so large or so active that a community event by OSIA 
would make the wheels fall off elsewhere and lugs have presented talks about 
suites of software to run a business. The difference is more that OSIA includes 
corporate entities and its interests are scoped by that kind of purpose.

LA is people and the voices and interests and overlaps with other communities 
technical and cultural are diverse. This is a good thing yes?

> A problem that arises from this how do you separate and how do you
> engage is difficult. More significantly is how does either organisation
> get its message across in that neither organisation has marketing clout
> or dollars. 

For an organisation looking to increase profile and market share for a group of 
similar businesses the kind of voice is likely to have a consistent focus around
economic and political opportunities for doing better business.

Linux Australia folk are just as likely to sell coffee for a fundraiser.
Make a podcast show, make brooches out of old keyboard keys and sell them.
Work on banners for SFD. Do volunteer training. Do paid training.
Learn non irish dancing. Climb walls and map the streets with quirky bicycles.
The kind of adaptability and inclusive approach required in LA is different to 
the more corporate and persistent corporate message which OSIA might like to

For my miles the more inclusive the processes for doing things like grants
the more healthy the community we have. It is noisy sometimes on the lists.
Sometimes it would be nice if contention didnt cost people their momentum
but the fact that people do engage and get feedback and ideas from others
is the heart of what LA is imho.

Osia might be viewed as a product.
Linux Australia might be viewed as a process.

> There has been formed a new business cluster, Embedded Systems
> Australia. The supporters of this cluster are not Open Source companies.
> It is a bit difficult to tell for sure as I am not sure about some of
> the companies involved but none of the companies leap to my mind as
> being Open Source based companies.


> My company with the support of OSIA are lobbying this group to provide
> an on-line teaching mechanism that will provide an introduction to
> Embedded systems. What I'm hoping is that approval and thus recognition
> will be given to the winning students at LCA each year. The final
> contest occurs in early January and thus announcing the winners at LCA
> fits in well.

Sounds great.

> So we have the business side of Open Source providing an opportunity for
> the community side of Open Source to obtain mutual recognition. So while
> the organisations need to be separate their ideals are not. they just
> approach the same problem from different angles 


> This is the reason why I also believe that if AUUG folds then LA should
> lobby for the Awards currently given out by AUUG, especially the John
> Lions award. Why?

Personally I am happy to wait for AUUG to decide on its own behalf what it would 
like to do including continue as a community we can partner with.

> The stories given by both organisation is essentially the same just with
> different perspectives. Also people subscribe to different lists.
> Newsletter articles can be broken down into three areas, LA specific
> stories, OSIA specific stories and common articles. 

A planet meshing open code blogs might be interesting
you would want to scope the planet initially as a spot where you would like
specific kinds of posts if youre looking to have something to suit potential 
customers. Wikipedia has a core statement about what it is and what kind of NPOV 
it includes. If you want a specific purpose feed then it would be good to
make it one of those kinds of things. Some planets are broader.
The LA planet is pretty wide ranging.
It might be nice for there to be a more formal space which
people only post tech wrangling to. OSIA might be a natural home for that.
That does not mean that the Linux Australia planet should not have interesting 
technical content it just means that the LA planet is more diverse.

By far the common
> articles will exceed the organisation specific articles. If we provide
> oversight on both lists for articles then for the same bang for buck we
> will reach more people with the common articles by posting these
> articles on both lists.   

Currently people who are interested in both communities are subscribed to both 
communities. As you pointed out the conversations often hit similar topics but 
the perspectives vary. The lug lists also have different responses to the same 
topic. A single voice in lieu of those conversations would be a contraction of 
voice and scope?

Do you see the OSIA list as a Press list and outward facing or do you see it as 
a community list for discussion.

The press lists for LA and OSIA might be similar or different thats probably 
something each group would have to look at in terms of whether either group is
able to share the the press list subscription to another group. Or whether it 
has not included that possibility in the subscription page.
It could be fine but they are different contexts.

> These are my own personal views and as such may not bear any resemblance
> to your reality nor are they to be considered as views expressed by or
> for LA, OSIA or any of the various open source community groups and
> business groups mentioned.

This week =)
I think the idea of getting a system going for publishing good stories
is great. Make it a functional and not an editorial shift for Linux Australia
and it is an interesting idea.

I think there are some good opportunities in the suggestions.
A more corporate code oriented planet would probably attract some interest.
Perhaps the LA community planet could stand to be more floss oriented at times 
but it is a community planet and it includes a fair range of material.
It is probably a social space as much as a technical space at least at this stage.

AUUG is a third party and responsible for its own choices via its own community 
and committee.

I do not see a problem with overlap. Collaboration is good.
Normalising is less nice.
The process of collaboration of a network of diverse ideas is
what keeps the Linux Australia community vibrant and active.

If anything I am hoping to be more able to contribute grant ideas and event 
ideas as a community member and to give our subcommittee process a try.
For me I think it is the part where active people make their efforts open and 
participative that helps new folk get the hang of what might be possible for 
them to contribute.

I can burn a CD and make a product.
I can do it in a way which shows others how to do it as a part of that community 
and make a process which grows the group.
One is a good *now* outcome.
The other is a good capacity building outcome.

A lot of the things we do in these communities are about figuring out
when we want the product and when we want the process.

Hope you can see what I am trying to say
Bravo for your enthusiasm.


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