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

Josh Stewart noisymime at gmail.com
Tue Feb 22 06:35:56 EST 2011

I really do hate to sound like someone making noise where it isn't needed,
but given that financial control and operations is my day job, there's a
little voice screaming out in the back of my head that this style of
decision making is a very slippery slope to go down.

On Tue, Feb 22, 2011 at 1:54 AM, Silvia Pfeiffer
<silvia at silvia-pfeiffer.de>wrote:
> Note that you are comparing apples and oranges: these are all grants
> where people have asked the council/LA for money, while the Ada
> Initiative was about a donation, which LA offered voluntarily.
If anything donations such as this should have more scrutiny, not less, than
a grant. It is not a question of whether the right thing has been done (I
have absolute confidence in the current council and their decisions), it
a) Whether they are* seen *to be doing the right thing. This is a donation
to an organisation closely associated with a current council member. I
understand the decision was made before they were involved and that, to
those involved, it all would've seemed fine at the time, however it remains
that this is not a good image when looked at after the fact from an
outsider's perspective
b) Whether they are setting a precedent for future councils. The precedent
should be to have too much oversight initially for a new process (Eg
donations) and wind it back later on if not needed, rather than the other
way around.

 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.

True (although many OpenGov people are certainly pushing for something a lot
closer to this), however I could see the media having a field day if a
similar payment was made by the government to someone who then became, say,
an MP or Senator. Again, it is not a matter of just doing the right thing,
is has to be obvious to everyone that this is what has happened.

This is all just my opinion only of course. I understand that this is a
volunteer council and I am extremely grateful for all the hard work they put
in, so the last thing I want to do is criticise. I just think that to avoid
problems in the future, a policy should be put in place that governs these
sorts of scenarios.

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. Let's instead
> have a discussion about it as though the decision has not been made and see
> where that takes us.

Very well said. In case it is not immediately obvious, I think this is a
fantastic (and entirely appropriate) thing for Linux Australia to be
supporting financially.

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