[Linux-aus] Young people and FOSS in Australia

Steve Dalton steve at refactor.com.au
Tue Feb 15 11:28:36 EST 2011

Hi Mary and everyone.

Don't apologise, I think this is all good stuff and it probably should
be said. Sadly, I think I agree with you on the LUGs. I am active in
mine, but I do think they are not seeing the bigger picture.

On the careers stuff - I would encourage everyone to get involved with
you local schools. My 5yo son just started prep, but the school is a
P-12 college and there was something in the newsletter from the
Careers adviser asking for people to step forward - to be interviewed
by the kids about different career paths. I volunteered and am talking
to them about Software in a few weeks - there will obviously be a
FLOSS slant to it :)

Another thing I recently got involved with is the Gold Coast City
Council STEM (Science Technology Engineering Maths) programme and have
joined their steering committee. They are looking at fostering
interest in Science in schools but also bridging across to Industry as
there is a real lack of jobs in this area on the Coast (it's all
construction and tourism which are very boom-bust industries). A lot
of the focus has previously been on the big iron stuff (eg. Wow! IBM
have an R&D lab here) but I am hoping to balance things out a little
(also trying to get a hackerspace going here - but that's another
story again!)

Anyway - I'm rambling a bit - I guess I'm just trying to say there are
lots of other things we can do independently of our LUGs. Sometimes
it's just easier to do things on your own rather than try and drag
your whole LUG with you.


On Tue, Feb 15, 2011 at 10:03 AM, Mary Gardiner <mary at puzzling.org> wrote:
> 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
> contributed!).
> 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.
> -Mary
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> linux-aus at lists.linux.org.au
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