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

Anthony Towns aj at erisian.com.au
Tue Feb 22 01:33:24 EST 2011

On Mon, Feb 21, 2011 at 22:02, Silvia Pfeiffer <silvia at silvia-pfeiffer.de>

> However, I don't think we need to make it such a big issue that the council
> made a decision for the community without consulting everyone beforehand.
> After all, we have elected this council to do work for us and we need to
> give them some leeway with decisions. We wouldn't expect the Australian
> government to discuss every expenditure that they have (not even the
> substantial ones) on a public mailing list where every citizen gets to give
> their input.

Actually, for the substantial ones, we would -- except that rather than a
public mailing list, it'd be in the house of representatives, which is
recorded in hansard and televised on the ABC... The process for government
is the legislature makes the policies, which then get executed by various
bureaucracies and cabinet; and sure we don't get great insight into the
details of those, but we do get lots of verbiage from the legislative part
(and we expect to hold them ultimately responsible for the bureaucracies'
and cabinet decisions too).

Personally, i'd expect a similar thing from LA and its committees -- if LA's
giving thousands to LCA, the mirror group, or a US-based non-profit, I don't
expect to see details of what the money's getting spent on (spinning disks
or SSDs or bandwidth or RAM for the mirror server? whatever makes it work,
thanks...), but I do expect to see what LA's expecting to achieve.

Things like wikileaks, FOI requests, opposition parties and local
representatives also act as additional checks and balances on our various

Personally, I think Jon had it right:


> Maybe in future where there are donations under discussion, an email should
> go out with an announcement that the council is planning to make this
> donation, with a sentence explaining why the council thinks this donation is
> a good idea,

Or, alternatively, when the council has a good idea, on any topic, they
could discuss it in public when that's possible from the outset, before
they've already made up their minds...

> Note that this would be a new policy and process that previous councils did
> not have to follow and this council can take on as a lesson learnt from this
> incident for itself and for future councils.

I would have thought this was more a matter of "just good sense" than
something in need of a policy. It's not without precedent, eg:


Referring back to (eg)


might be worthwhile too.

That's not to say that it wouldn't be a new thing if the council actually
managed to follow through on the ideal of keeping everyone informed of
what's going on while it's happening; but it'd also be a new thing if they
didn't think it was worth trying...

This issue has only happened because this council is actually trying to take
> some initiative and find some good ways of doing stuff that will ultimately
> serve the community, so let's not kill their well-meant initiative in the
> first month of their activity through being overly critical.

Apart from Mary and Kelly, everyone else on the council's been there a year


Anthony Towns <aj at erisian.com.au>
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