[Linux-aus] The Ada Initiative - Should Linux Australia support it?

Josh Stewart noisymime at gmail.com
Mon Feb 21 13:00:23 EST 2011


First off, I want to make clear that I do support this donation as I think
the cause is a fantastic one.

That said, I think there are some issues with the way the donation has been
As I did not recall reading anything about the donation previously, I have
checked through the linux-aus archives and could not see any emails that
were specifically around this topic. If I have missed it, the fault is mine
and much of the below won't be applicable.

On Mon, Feb 21, 2011 at 9:46 AM, Donna Benjamin <donna at cc.com.au> wrote:
> So - is it appropriate for LA to support the initiative?

Almost certainly, but, at least in this case, it does not appear as though
any member consultation (be it the grants process or otherwise) has taken
place, which unfortunately raises warning flags for anyone with an interest
in the organisation's financial governance.
Whilst it is true that this may not be a grant per se, a similar level of
scrutiny needs to be applied, particularly around what outcomes can be
expected from the donation. Being a donation, there is not the same
expectation of any Return On Investment as there would be for a grant,
however for the donation to be considered a 'good' one, there must be a
demonstrable outcome of some form. In this case, my opinion would be that a
reasonably detailed report of the Ada Initiative's activities after 6-12
months would be appropriate, but others may feel differently (This may have
been implied, however it was not made clear anywhere).
I understand that the council are well within their rights under the
organisation's constitution to make any donation they deem in line with
their goals, however I feel a process similar to the grants one needs to be
in place.

I suspect that another conversation may need to take place about the formal
procedure for LA making donations as opposed to grants.

> If yes, then given the project is calling for cash, that support would
> best be delivered in the form of a donation. What level of donation
> would be appropriate?
> Is $5,000 too much or too little?

Possibly, however this question cannot easily be answered, which is a large
part of the problem. There has not been sufficient information provided
around what this money will actually be spent on to decide what is a
reasonable amount. The Projects section of the http://adainitiative.org website
lists some things that it will likely go towards, but I feel that more
concrete information should be provided in advance.

At the end of the day, I don't think anyone is disputing that this is almost
certainly a worthwhile cause for LA to support, however the lack of advance
consultation with the community will (should) always raise eyebrows, even if
everything is 100% above board.

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