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

Russell Stuart russell-linuxaus at stuart.id.au
Mon Apr 30 11:19:55 EST 2012

At the last weekend's Humbug meeting Clinton did one of his debrief
talks, this time on what happened at the LA face to face.  He covered
many topics, but the one that generated the most discussion was the name
change debate.  I suggested the people present if would be helpful if
they should expressed their views on this thread, but I see none have.

So in lieu of that I'll summarise what happened.  Some actively
supported the idea, and no one said they disliked it.  So I'd say it a
"yes" from the members of Humbug - or at least those that were present
on the night.

Now that I'm here I'll put in my own 2c worth.

My own preference is an organisation's name tells you what it does (you
can probably guess of what I think of MBF changing their name to Bupa),
LA's name hasn't (ever?) reflected what it does, so a change wasn't a
bad thing.  However, I also thought no one outside of LA's membership
had dealings with it, so as a practical matter the name was not that
important.  It's a bit like the AFL I guess.  I don't follow the game,
but I do know who our local team is.  It is sort of unavoidable as the
local team are a very active part of the community - sponsoring school
coaches, sports ground equipment with their name emblazoned on it and of
course is on every TV, radio and newspaper on a weekly basis.  This is
probably a consequence of the AFL peak body doing their job well in
ensuring the local team has the knowledge and organisational skills
needed to get their name out there and well known  - but the odd thing
is I don't have a clue what the AFL peak body is called.

However, Chris's posts here have disabused me of the notion of the name
being completely unknown outside of membership.  In retrospect lots of
outsiders are exposed to it - banks, insurance companies, government
departments, conference sponsors and venues.  And then there are the
important ones - the local clubs, conferences and organisations LA is
trying to encourage and grow.  If would be a shame if say the "Open
Solaris Club" shied away from LA because of it's name.

As for the name itself, I get the impression LA has broad aspirations
for itself and wants a name to reflect it.  But do remember a large
powerful organisation with many political goals can appear threatening
to smaller local ones - the very local ones it wants to wants to help.
Or to put it another way - the flip side of making a strong
philosophical statement using a name is some will feel uncomfortable
with the secondary connotations the name brings to mind.

In reality despite it's occasional broad aspirations, LA has done one
thing consistently over the years, and it has done it well.  It has
acted as facilitator to clubs and conferences.  It does not dictate what
any grass roots organisation does, but assuming it is in line with the
open source philosophy and it is prudentially run it will provide loans
and banking, insurance, help with sponsorship and advice.  That sounds
like a Foundation to me, and so a name like "The Open Source Foundation
of Australia" or "The Open Technology Foundation of Australia" seems
appropriate.  You would end up with titles like "PyCon 2012, an
initiative of the Open Technology Foundation of Australia" or "Ada Camp,
supported by the Open Technology Foundation of Australia".  It sort of
rolls off the tongue, and more importantly if I were a sponsor it would
be an entirely appropriate organisation to write a cheque to.

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