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

David Lloyd lloy0076 at adam.com.au
Sat Apr 28 23:46:42 EST 2012


On 28/04/2012, at 4:43 PM, Donna Benjamin wrote:
> 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.  

That is fair enough; they don't need to.

> 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. 

And that is a reasonable concern.

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

It was formed because Linux Australia was not the right organisation at the time or even now to perform a "Chamber of Commerce" role for businesses specialising in developing or supporting open source.

> 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.

That may be a branding problem that Linux Australia has; it may not be. I'm not sure that it's terribly relevant.

> 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.

There seems to be a number of options to take:

1. Change the organisation's name to reflect the organisation's values

This is eminently possible although like all constitutional changes it requires a significant hurdle to overcome. However, there are ways to ensure that the hurdle can be overcome...

2. Make another organisation with the goal that eventually, if it chooses to, the current Linux Australia becomes a part of

Maybe a sub-committee or some type of affiliate. The devil is in the details.

3. Don't change

This forces Drupal Down Under, PyCon, insert some other thing here to deal with the status quo or fix it without Linux Australia's help; I deliberately say "Linux Australia" here because if we have the status quo it would obviously still be called "Linux Australia".

4. Merge with some other existing entity somehow


* ComputerBank (Victoria(
* ITShare SA

Doesn't matter who. The point is to remove the apparent Linux only moniker.

5. Wind the organisation down

That's also a possibility. Like a name change it would involve an SGM and then we'd all get to fight about who gets the funds!


From what I can tell:

1. A name change might actually work if we can bike-shed the right name

"Not Linux Australia Incorporated" is my only somewhat useful suggestion at the moment. I think the Attorney General's Dept. in NSW might object then again they might not

2. Making another organisation could happen

But then as Pia Waugh has pointed out this does seem to be a duplication of resources and realistically the same people would probably 'staff' it.

3. Don't change.

This is obviously the easiest but Chris and Donna are making good points. Should we basically say, "Look, if you don't like the Linux Australia Inc. running it then run it yourselves and avoid that problem totally?" is up for grabs. I think a "Don't Change" is essentially saying that to be honest; it ignores what they are saying and doesn't fix their current problem at all.

Their current problem, though, could be that they need to be like children and move out of home. But that just adds a heap of pain on their shoulders when -- but for the name -- Not Linux Australia Inc could take some of that pain.

3. Merging

But with WHO?


There is another thing I should say. Is Linux Australia really just a "Hey, we'll run your open source thing under our banner to provide [insurance | traction | bums on seats | something]"? In which case, Linux Australia Inc could make a company (a FOR PROFIT COMPANY) called "Open Source Events Ltd" and actually make sufficient profit (of say $1 per year) to not get into trouble with the tax office? I'd suggest a profit of $1 / year at least so that it doesn't look like a stupid tax dodge.

That's ANOTHER solution by the way and possibly worth investigating. It's another version of make yet another organisation but it is possible a company that, say, runs a HahaThisConferenceWillGoBankruptBecauseEveryoneSlippedOnABanan conference, won't actually kill Linux Australia (or Not Linux Australia)...


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