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

Silvia Pfeiffer silvia at silvia-pfeiffer.de
Tue Feb 22 08:39:35 EST 2011

Hi Josh,

You are generally right of course and I have said so before: I agree
that they should have taken a different approach.

However, it is not this council that has set the precedent - donations
have never required this kind of scrutiny. Donations are not new to
this organisation, so hanging it on the fact that this is new isn't
quite right. There has just never been a policy about donations, only
one for grants. This is why I am suggesting to put such a
process/policy in place for donations that this and future councils
can follow.


On Tue, Feb 22, 2011 at 6:35 AM, Josh Stewart <noisymime at gmail.com> wrote:
> 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
> is:
> 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.
> -Josh

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