[Linux-aus] Should Linux Australia change its name?

David Lloyd lloy0076 at adam.com.au
Tue Apr 24 10:02:16 EST 2012

Hi There,

On 24/04/2012, at 9:05 AM, James Turnbull wrote:
> David Lloyd wrote:
>> It doesn't follow that because Linux Australia hasn't (for whatever
>> reason) been successful in building the Linux Australia band outside of
>> Linux Australia folks that we throw the name Linux Australia (or its
>> ostensible narrower purpose) out.

Yes, because it's more than a name change; names do mean a lot and it shows.

> a) What to do about Linux Australia's brand recognition or lack thereof
> b) Whether the name reflects the community
> c) Whether the name reflects the role of the organisation.
> To these questions I'd answer:
> a) Rebrand and rebuild

That's a reasonable path to take if we want to take it. I'd suggest a reasonable path to take would be to figure out why we need to rebrand and spend effort rebuilding a different brand before we go about changing names or brands. It might be true that only "insiders" know about the Linux Australia brand but I doubt outsiders have any negative associations with the brand that would warrant a wholesale name change within the next year. Whereas suddenly changing to "New Name Now" has a good chance of annoying all the people who don't believe the name needs changing. Plus, as has been pointed out, it's a huge bike shed!

> b) Probably not (survey says...)

I'd downgrade that to 'possibly'. It seems that many recognise that the organisation seems to be supporting more than "just" Linux related activities and that other organisations or organisers have had questions (not negative questions, just questions) about their being supported by an associating with "Linux" in their name. Clearly, Linux Australia is probably part of some sort of open source ecosphere -- peak body  or not -- and it seems the committee and the organisation (who haven't yet said anything _formal_ to complain about it) support other parts of the ecosphere whose link with whatever we define narrowly as "Linux" is somewhat tenuous.

Does that mean:

* We recognise the worth of these other tenuously linked activities and goals, and thus support them, despite our narrow focus -- perhaps because there isn't a peak body to support them (such as OSIA or the ACS or SAGE or whoever)
* Our actual focus and goals have changed

If it's the latter, we probably need to decide on that (and do that formally, although if the absence of goals in the constitution isn't an accidental ommission -- and it does seem odd that the constitution would have passed without any) before we decide on the name.

> c) If you see the role of the organisation as putting on LCA then yes
> otherwise it's a no.

Otherwise it's a discussion that we should have and it's not a foregone conclusion...and changing the name isn't the name of the game here.

I would suggest we adjust our aims and objectives (formally) before we change the name; or at least at the same time -- and that we adjust the e-mail's subject such that it's a discussion about the aims and objectives of the organisation.

Is the name change a red herring? I'd suggest it might be. This seems to be a deeper issue reaching far beyond what we are called - we're discussing our identity here and the name is only a very small part of that.


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