[Linux-aus] Young people and FOSS in Australia

Mary Gardiner mary at puzzling.org
Tue Feb 15 11:03:54 EST 2011

Dear all,

I'm really sorry: I didn't intend to send this email to a public list: it was
really impolitic and not intended for a wide audience in this tone.

To give people context: I sent that email to John and Alice in order to suggest
some work that I might be interested in taking part in if I was elected to
Council. That forward was intended to be to Council only (and does *not*
reflect the opinion of anyone else on Council in any way, including John or
Alice, because it was the *start* of a discussion, and no one else had

I've very much like to apologise in particular for this section:

On Tue, Feb 15, 2011, Mary Gardiner wrote:
> 3.2 LUGs
> OK, I'm biased. Not a fan. But LUGs seem to me to be lumbering dinosaurs
> now, still making Micro$oft jokes and backslapping over who contributed
> to the kernel before 1.0. Someone who is 20 this year was born in 1990.
> Purely in Linux terms, the 2.4 series started when they were 11. GNOME 2
> came out when they were 12. Ubuntu first released when they were 14.  If
> LUGs continue to be a good ol' boys/gals club, they won't compete and
> they won't care.
> Should LA be trying to build bridges with the Ignite/Geek Girl
> Dinner/Web 2.0 communities instead/as well? What would those bridges
> look like, given that they typically don't care as much about the
> FOSS/proprietary divide?

Let me clarify:

First to organisers of LUGs: I realise it might be difficult to believe after
seeing this message, but I do appreciate your work. The quoted message, which
is a couple of months old, was me projecting somewhat into the mindset of a
teenager or early twentysomething in a moment of frustration.

Some things I fail to acknowledge in the quoted message:

 (1) LUGs are run by *volunteers* who put in heaps of time

 (2) LUGs need to strike a balance between catering to the new generation and
     the faithful

I am so sorry that this message was sent publicly and started this conversation
in this manner. I think LUGs probably *do* have outreach problems when it comes
to younger people in the Australian community, but the nature of this critique
does not recognise any of the sincere effort that is expended on LUGs or the
needs that they *do* meet.

And I'd like to emphasise again that the opinions expressed were mine alone,
and not a statement of a position held by either other Council members
individually or Council collectively.


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