[Linux-aus] Should we change? Yes. To change is to grow.

Donna Benjamin donna at cc.com.au
Sat Apr 28 17:13:32 EST 2012


I wonder if some of you realise how exclusive and conservative you're

Chris' explanation of the pycon experience mirrors some of my experience
running drupal downunder. We had sponsors who wouldn't dream of
supporting LCA. However I didn't have any of them question paying their
money to Linux Australia.  

I think the list discussion focus on sponsorship was a bit of a red
herring though.  As someone who has dealt with sponsors a fair bit now,
the actual process of receiving and paying an invoice is a fairly
pragmatic one, and the entity issuing that invoice, and receiving the
cash, has not been a problem in my experience.  Our suppliers like to be
paid in a timely fashion. It's great to be able to pull up balance
sheets and P&L statements at the touch of a button (xero rocks)

But - there were definitely questions amongst the drupal community
leadership about why the linux community gets to keep all "our" profits.
Because there was a very strong perception that the linux community did
not welcome the more web focussed open source drupal community. 

Here's a grab bag list of other data points to think about:

OSDC conf was originally started because they felt excluded by LCA.
(OSDC folks - correct me please)

OSIA was founded by some who felt linux australia was a little too
aggressively anti-business and formed an incorporated entity to cater to
the concerns of businesses providing open source services and solutions.

The Australian Digital Alliance also carries on some of the advocacy we
care about, as does Electronic Frontiers Australia.

SLUG's experience of reforming as a sub-ctte is awesome!  And jamez
story highlights the strength and maturity of Linux Australia as an
organisation, and the kind of support its frameworks are now able to
deliver to smaller foss groups.

I did not follow suit with LUV when I was President as I felt it might
jeopardise our excellent relationship with the Victorian State
Government when it came to securing funding for events such as Software
Freedom Day & Barcamps.  My successors did not value the approach we
took to SFD, so perhaps this is no longer a concern. 

The majority of Inkscape users are Windows users.  

People in the creative commons, wikimedia, anti-censorship communities
may also not feel a need to participate in Linux Australia.

As to whether Linux Australia itself, as an organisation, is or isn't
well known and regarded? We ran a survey 2 years ago, the results of
which suggested that LA was only recognised by existing members, and
only some of whom could identify what it does.  Non members were
generally unaware of Linux Australia, or whether it had anything to do
with linux.conf.au.

The conference however, is well known and well regarded. But most of the
people who attend that event, probably don't care about the organisation
itself in the slightest, much like I imagine attendees of Drupal
Downunder see no reason to participate in Linux Australia.

I'd prefer to see active efforts made to unify and embrace the disparate
communities with which we share so much than continue to passively
exclude them.

"And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more
painful than the risk it took to blossom. "  ~Anais Nin

Donna Benjamin - Executive Director
Creative Contingencies - http://cc.com.au
ph +61 3 9326 9985 - mob +61 418 310 414

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