[Linux-aus] Candidacy Support Statement - President or Ordinary Council Member

Paul Wayper paulway at mabula.net
Sun Dec 4 11:14:12 AEDT 2016

On 03/12/16 00:21, Russell Coker wrote:
> On Friday, 2 December 2016 7:46:18 AM AEDT Anthony Towns wrote:
>> On Sat, Nov 26, 2016 at 02:45:10PM +1100, Kathy Reid wrote:
>>> Response #1: Transition from MemberDB to CiviCRM at a cost of approx
>>> $23k AUD, with ongoing opex of around $2.5k AUD annually and have a
>>> custom voting module developed to facilitate Elections (cost not yet
>>> estimated).
>> That seems kind of gold-plated, especially if the $23k doesn't include
>> the custom development that will actually let it do the one thing memberdb
>> actually does... Why so much?
>> Is the admin team not happy to maintain an instance of civicrm directly?
> It is a lot of money and Linux sysadmin is something that many volunteers can 
> do.  But there aren't many people with CiviCRM skills and such projects can be 
> complex.

Of course, if AJ is volunteering to do the conversion, maybe we could save
that money!

It'd be good if he could also volunteer to maintain the CiviCRM instance,
rewrite MemberDB for the 21st century, or whatever alternative is deemed
suitable, that'd be good too.

Personally, I don't see the problem with spending the money if we don't have
someone volunteering to do that conversion work.  Linux Australia has a
healthy balance sheet, the ongoing expenditure is small, and

>> I'm not sure if this actually makes sense to me -- trying to get new
>> members only makes sense if being a member is actually valuable to people;
>> and if being an LA member is valuable, then word of mouth is probably
>> the best way of getting people involved anyway.

What do you mean by "value" here?  To me the benefits of LA membership are:

* involvement in the advocacy and community that LA provides
* voting at the AGM
* warm feeling that I'm contributing

I proposed some more tangible benefits a while back, like:

* members getting a 'username at members.linux.org.au' address with SSMTP/IMAPS
* LA running an OpenID server for members

but all those require work on the part of Linux Australia (not to mention
expenditure for equipment and more bureaucracy) and I realised that if I
couldn't volunteer to do it myself I shouldn't really be advocating for
someone else to do it.  And it was pointed out to me that members already have
email addresses, many have their own servers, and don't need or don't care
about these things.

So I'm intrigued what you see the 'value' of a membership to be.  Why do you
think that we _shouldn't_ bother with getting new members?

> We need subcommittees for things such as Linux advocacy.  I will consider 
> volunteering for such a subcommittee.

I'm all for advocacy, and I would endorse Russell and AJ for such a subcommittee.

>> Personally, I think of LA as an organisation run by/for open source
>> developers/admins/power users -- so, by and large, it doesn't make
>> sense to me to out source things like running a website or developing a
>> voting module or whatever: that's our wheelhouse, those are the skills
>> our members have at their fingertips. Sure not everyone knows how to do
>> SQL queries or create a drupal module or whatever, but that just means
>> learning new skills and asking for some help when you need it. And isn't
>> that approach *exactly* the collaborative spirit of free software in
>> the first place?

The problem is: how exactly does that happen?  I don't know who's on the Linux
Australia systems admin team - I'm not even sure it's shown on the website.  I
don't know how anyone becomes part of that team - I assume the interested
people just get in touch with them somehow via IRC or email.  If you want to
volunteer for this, AJ, I'm sure they'd be happy to have another person to help.

But you and I know that "the skills our members have at their fingertips"
doesn't translate into "stuff actually gets done".  In Strine this is
encapsulated in the word 'Aorta' - as in 'Aorta fix that'.

So I'm really wary of us ordinary members saying "the admins should totally do
X" or "Linux Australia should implement Y" or "why are we spending money on
doing Z when we can do it ourselves?"

I think it's totally fair for Linux Australia to resolve to do something, and
discuss it with the members (as they're doing now).  And if Linux Australia
decides, after all that discussion, that the best way of implementing what
they want to achieve is by doing things a particular way and possibly paying
money to have it done, then that's OK.

In all of this I also am trying to avoid saying "LA should do something" when
I'm not (at the moment) in a position to volunteer my time for that
commitment.  But hopefully this is something they could take on board.

Hope this helps,


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