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

Stewart Smith stewart at flamingspork.com
Mon Apr 30 14:15:29 EST 2012

On Sat, 28 Apr 2012 17:13:32 +1000, Donna Benjamin <donna at cc.com.au> 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.

This is good to hear, for events that aren't Linux-centric, it doesn't
seem to be a problem. It has been the reality for many years that LA is
in fact "Free Software Australia" (or somethin) - and this has mostly
come about due to the awesome work of many council members in being
inclusive rather than exclusive.

> 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. 

The good news is that such concerns have been unwarranted. The fact is
that LA is the most effective national body on free software. AUUG died
and OSIA is only focussed on industry and sometimes makes "I'm not dead"
noises from a rickety cart in a Monty Python film. (no disrespect to
OSIA here, but I think everyone can agree it has waves of enthusiasm
rather than a sustained streak).

> 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)

I've tried many times to describe the relationship between and the
differences between LCA and OSDC.

The best I've come up with is:
LCA: developers of
OSDC: developers using

and both of those are "for the most part". I find OSDC an awesome
conference to go to and talk to people, but I attend more sessions at
LCA - and that's distinctly me - I know many people for whom it is the
other way around.

> 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 usual pattern for OSIA is as soon as I wonder if it still exists or
is relevant, a bunch of people have renewed enthusiasm to make things
happen again... so I'm kind of sad I don't question their reason for
being more :)

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

I've certainly heard a lot more from EFA - and I think their goals are
sufficiently different that it's good for them to exist
independently - while LA may dabble in similar areas, it's certainly not
the core focus.

As always, any name change must reflect the strengths of the org and
what it wants to be. The Linux Australia name has served us really quite
well over these interesting years.

> 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.

In my opinion, this is a big win for the community. There are a decent
number of us now who understand how much work goes into an organisation
such as LUV or SLUG simply existing, let alone doing anything
constructive as an orginasiation.

> 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.

and while this makes me sad, perhaps it is a good introduction to the
radical notion of freedom... capturing them is not a bad thing.

> 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.

This is a concern... although would a name change help this? How much do
we care?

Stewart Smith

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