[Linux-aus] Proposed Changes to OSDClub Organisation

Luke John luke.john at osmahi.com
Fri Jul 26 20:19:53 EST 2013

The Linux Australia organisation has been an absolute pleasure to deal
with for the organisation of linux.conf.au 2014.

I cannot emphasise just how awesome organising linux.conf.au is thanks
to the amazing support of the Linux Australia organisation.

Kind Regards
Luke John

Linux.conf.au 2014

On Fri, Jul 26, 2013 at 3:22 PM, Ben Dechrai <ben at dechrai.com> wrote:
> Hi Linux Australia,
> I'd like to share with you an email that I sent to the members of the Open
> Source Developers' Club earlier today. If you have any questions about this,
> please feel free to contact the OSDClub Executive at exec at osdc.com.au, or me
> directly at ben at dechrai.com. If you wish, you may also join the OSDC Talk
> mailing list [0] and contribute directly to the conversation.
> I, and the rest of the OSDClub Executive, welcome any thoughts and feedback
> you may have.
> Cheers,
> Ben Dechrai
> [0] https://securityprotected.net/lists/listinfo/talk.osdc.com.au
> Dear OSDClub Member,
> I write to you today to discuss a matter of significant importance that will
> affect the administrative aspects of the club that supports our annual
> conference, but emphasise that there is no proposal for the conference to
> change.
> The proposal, in short, is that the Linux Australia council and OSDC
> Executive should unite in some way in order to reduce duplication and
> fragmentation of effort. This would affect the organisational structures
> only - the conferences and other efforts and projects of the two
> organisations would continue without any changes, including in particular
> both the Open Source Developers' Conference and the linux.conf.au
> conference.
> Background
> As you may be aware, since before the last conference, there has been
> discussion about the shared and overlapping duties of the Linux Australia
> council and OSDC Executive. The two organisations have very similar goals
> and purposes, and it seems inefficient to continue this. I understand all
> too well, however, that there are a great number of concerns that must be
> addressed in order to ensure that the community at large can only benefit
> from any arrangement.
> I had an opportunity to meet with Joshua Hesketh, president of Linux
> Australia, earlier this year, to discuss the options, concerns and risks
> involved in any joining of forces, whatever form that might take, and he
> indicated that the Linux Australia Council would support this in principle.
> I would like to iterate the aspects of the conversation, as well as the
> conversations that have occurred between the OSDConf executive committee.
> For the purposes of clarity, OSDClub refers to the incorporated entity, the
> club, which provides administrative services to the community; OSDConf
> refers to the annual, volunteer-run conference.
> Similarity of Conferences
> There has been reasonable concern voiced that having OSDConf and LCA (Linux
> Conf Australia) under one banner may cause one or the other to become
> dwarfed or even at risk of dissolution, given the relative similarities of
> topic each conference focuses on. If such a situation were to happen, I
> would be fairly certain that OSDConf would be the conference to go, given
> LCA's larger industry recognition, sponsor support and attendance. This
> eventuality is something the OSDClub executive would not risk for a number
> of reasons.
> OSDConf has, since the first event, been a grass-roots developers'
> conference priced to make minimal profit while maintaining a low financial
> barrier to entry for delegates. To this day, I don't believe the ticket
> price has increased more than the cost of living, and is testament to the
> dedication all our previous conference organisers have had in providing a
> high-value industry conference that almost anyone can attend. LCA, while
> still being a fraction of the price of most industry conferences, is aimed
> at the more professional end of the market. I, personally, feel that losing
> a conference like OSDConf would be severely detrimental to the open source
> community in Australia.
> In the past few years, there has also been a noticeable convergence of
> purpose when comparing the two conferences. LCA has been moving slowly
> towards development related topics, and OSDConf towards more systems and
> technology specific, and while neither should abstain from either end of the
> spectrum, there is merit in steering each towards maintaining divergence and
> allowing each conference to maintain its own identity. Regardless of the
> decision around joining LA, the executive committee will be asking future
> conference organisers to focus on our dev roots. I am told that LCA 2014
> have been given a similarly strong encouragement to push for more
> systems/technology talks again.
> To further encourage separation of the conferences, and with the added
> benefit of not increasing the load on the Linux Australia Council, if
> OSDClub were to come under the umbrella of LA, it would be based on an
> understanding that a conference selection and support committee be formed to
> take ownership of future OSDConf events. This would, essentially, be the
> equivalent of our current executive committee, with no legal obligations or
> office bearer responsibilities. The basis on which people join this new
> committee would be a future discussion.
> Finally, we would encourage the timing of OSDConf to move to a time less
> conflicting with LCA; creating more temporal space between conferences will
> reduce the conflict some people find in choosing which conference to attend.
> Serendipitously, the NZ-based OSDConf this year is running at the end of
> October.
> OSDClub's Money
> OSDClub had a bank balance of approximately AU$25,000 before the start of
> the organisation of OSDC2013, and an anticipated concern is that the money,
> which is intended for OSDClub related activities, would be added to the LA
> pool.
> OSDClub offers financial support through a grants and funding programme
> which, to date, has supported the Melbourne PHP Users Group, Melbourne Perl
> Mongers, Blue Hackers, BarCampMelbourne and a few others. The astute amongst
> you will notice that many of these are run by, or have been run by people
> closely associated with OSDClub. The simple reason for this is mind-share;
> most people don't think about OSDClub when seeking financial support of
> community events.
> Linux Australia also has a similar programme, and while they also contend
> with the issue that there are lots of people who don't know there are funds
> available, the issue is markedly emphasised for OSDClub.
> It's my suggestion, therefore, that our funds would actually benefit the
> community more effectively if they were added to the pool used by Linux
> Australia, whose programme is more prominent and known about.
> Special Interest Groups (SIGs)
> In addition to providing a funding programme, OSDClub also offers itself as
> an umbrella organisation to a number of groups. The Melbourne Perl Mongers
> and Melbourne PHP Users Group both disbanded their incorporated organisation
> status as came under OSDClub's banner for much the same reasons as OSDClub
> now proposes to reform under LA.
> If this proposal goes ahead, the OSDClub Executive will work with LA and the
> respective conveners of these SIGs to ensure suitable support and protection
> is still provided to them.
> The Process of Reforming under Linux Australia
> For the purposes of administrative and financial simplicity, we are
> proposing that OSDClub simply disbands its legal status as an entity. In
> such a scenario, Consumer Affairs Victoria requires that any remaining funds
> after disbanding be gifted to another organisation with similar values and
> goals. It would be a trivial matter for us to transfer the funds to Linux
> Australia.
> The downside with this is that there is no contractual obligation on either
> side for any agreement. It would be remiss of me to ignore this fact,
> notwithstanding that I personally hold that there is more than enough
> goodwill in the community for this not to be an issue.
> Joshua Hesketh's indication of Linux Australia Council's support in
> principle included their concern of additional overheads in terms of time
> required and responsibilities assumed if OSDClub reformed under their
> banner. The major addition in work for them would be any involvement in
> managing the conference selection or supporting the conference organisers,
> and I would suggest that, in addition to the aforementioned provisions for
> OSDClub's SIGs, forming a separate OSDConf selection and support committee
> be a condition on us disbanding and allocating our remaining funds to LA.
> There are finer details to be ironed out, such as infrastructure.
> Next Steps
> For now, I would like to open a discussion between the members. For the
> purposes of OSDClub Membership, any person on the announce mailing list is
> deemed to be a member, so in order to facilitate discussions, I have created
> a member mailing list and subscribed you to it. That is the list to which
> this email has been sent, and you are able to post to (simply by replying to
> this email). Non members may not post, and all join requests are moderated,
> so we do not anticipate any spam getting in.
> So now it's over to you. We are here to ensure OSDClub and OSDConf continue
> to serve your needs and the needs of your communities, and are looking for
> any feedback, concerns, suggestions or other constructive information.
> Ooh - New Mailing List!
> Please note that we don't have any usage guidelines for the members mailing
> list, and while we have put in place mechanisms to stop spam, we can't stop
> you posting to the list about other topics. I guess this is something we can
> monitor over time and refine. If you become overwhelmed with the emails to
> this list, please email exec at osdc.com.au to see if there's anything we can
> do in terms of policy to refine the list's usage.
> You may also edit your subscription options to receive digest emails or
> unsubscribe below.
> For the purposes of OSDClub Membership, any person on the announce mailing
> list is still deemed to be a member. Removing yourself from the members list
> will not affect your ability to vote in any SGMs or AGMs.
> Thanks, in advance, for your input in to this process.
> Regards,
> Ben Dechrai
> President, Open Source Developers' Club Inc
> _______________________________________________
> linux-aus mailing list
> linux-aus at lists.linux.org.au
> http://lists.linux.org.au/listinfo/linux-aus

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