[Linux-aus] Should we change? (Was: Re: Should we change? Yes. To change is to grow.)

Jon "maddog" Hall maddog at li.org
Mon Apr 30 21:31:04 EST 2012

[I started writing this, and it grew a bit as I tried to combine issues
of long names, short names and marketing.  As such it might seem a bit
of a "flame" in parts.  Please do not take it that way.]


> Then again, the Free Software Foundation name seems to work.

In some ways it does, and in other ways it does not.  In the old days
the use of the word "Free" typically brings the concept of "gratis" to
mind, which people then spend a lot of time explaining that it is "Free
as in Freedom".  On the other hand the fact that you are having that
conversation in the first place is just what rms wanted.

The term "Open Source" was created simply because a lot of vendors (and
those people who felt vendor participation was necessary) did not want
the concept of "gratis" associated with Free Software as a primary

> Libre - personally love it but may require a lot of effort to market
> the meaning.

You always have to "market".  Even the greatest name does not eliminate
the need to market.  Several people have pointed out that outside of
your members most people do not know what "Linux Australia" is.
Whatever name you choose you always have to push it.

I will point out, for instance, that your *really nice* T-shirt that you
sell on your web site does not have the words "Linux Australia" on it.
When people walk down the street with the T-shirt on, all the general
public sees is a kind of cute penguin...but no association with the name
"Linux Australia".  A lost chance at marketing.  Putting Linux Australia
on the back or your (tiny) URL on the sleeve is good marketing.

We started this thread with the difficulty that Chris had in explaining
why Linux Australia was collecting money for Pycon.  Why should Chris
have to explain anything?  Where is the text in the sponsorship
agreement that spells out clearly and carefully that Linux Australia is
acting as an agent for Pycon?  No one expects that the agent for David
Beckham is going to be called "Beckham"...the agency is spelled out in
the contract...in the web pages.  And where the "profits" go is between
the agent and the player (i.e. LA and Pycon), but you could spell that
out too.

A name (unless it is two paragraphs long) is never going to completely
describe what you are or what you do.  You have to work at that.  You
have to market that.  The name is only a "tiny URL" to what you really

FOSSFA - Free and Open Source Software Foundation of Australia - Web
   ^                           ^                                  ^
Acronym                  Real Name                        Really Explain


FOSSFA - Free and Open Source Software Foundation of Australasia

if you want to be more inclusive


FOSSFO - Free and Open Source Software Foundation of Oceania

if you want to be more inclusive than that.

"FOSSFA" and its assorted names were only used as an example.  Using the
same acronym might cause confusion.

Warmest regards,


More information about the linux-aus mailing list