[Linux-aus] LA co-branding proposal

Tennessee Leeuwenburg tleeuwenburg at gmail.com
Sat Jan 9 21:30:55 AEDT 2016

Genius post, Anthony. I don't have the bandwidth to provide a response in
detail, but +2 to your suggestions here. Other than shaking out the
details, I think you have proposed a super-constructive way forward.

On 9 January 2016 at 00:47, Anthony Towns <aj at erisian.com.au> wrote:

> G'day world,
> I thought it might be interesting to write up my idea for an alternative
> to rebranding LA as something more like an action plan, rather than just
> a concept [0].
> I think the motivation for rebranding LA as "Open Source Australia" or
> similar, is that:
>  a) "open source" / "free software" ideals broadly are what's interesting
>     and motivating about Linux, and have always been much closer to the
>     heart of what "Linux Australia" has been about than just the Linux
>     kernel or Linux distributions per se
>  b) a bunch of people do interesting "open source" things outside of
>     Linux, such as developing open source software on and for Windows or
>     Mac, or building open source hardware that doesn't actually run Linux,
>     or promoting open data that's completely OS agnostic.  Those are all
>     things that fit well together with what "LA" has done in the past,
>     but since they don't involve "Linux" directly, it can be confusing
>     to people as to why a group called "Linux Australia" is involved
> Maybe those are the same reason? Maybe someone could phrase them better
> too. *shrug* I'm assuming the above is close enough for non-profit work.
> I'm going to add in a couple of other things that I think matter:
>  c) changing the organisation name is hard and risky -- there's a whole
>     legal process to go through, and it's not totally obvious that there's
>     a name out there which actually works better in every way than the
>     one we've got anyway. getting a name change wrong would cause a lot
>     of confusion and be a lot of additional work to fix. ("hard and risky"
>     doesn't mean we shouldn't do it anyway, of course)
>  d) having "LA" do things is generally a bad idea; having subteams
>     working on projects (like individual LCA or PyCon teams) with LA
>     just doing administrative support and oversight works much better.
> I don't think the above is controversial; but I think a clear statement
> of assumptions makes it easier to resolve disagreements, so the above's
> hopefully a clear statement of my assumptions.
> Anyway, add that up and here's what I propose:
>  1) we form a new sub-committee focussing on "promotion of open source",
>     called either "opensource.org.au" (which LA has control of already,
>     AIUI), or, purely as an interim measure, "that bunch of rabid
>     fanatics"
>  2) the new sub-committee gets some or all of the following goals
>     along with a mandate to make them happen:
>     a) setup and register a new trademark and trading name for LA
>        to use, eg "Open Source Australia" (after consulting on wtf that
>        name should actually be). Once registered, conferences under
>        the LA umbrella, such as PyCon AU can opt to say they're being
>        run by "Open Source Australia" rather than "Linux Australia"
>        if they prefer. if there's no good consensus on a single name,
>        possibly create two.
>     b) resurrect the opensource.org.au website and make use of it
>     c) experiment with membership levels, eg accepting annual donations,
>        either as nothing more than a donation, or in return for minor
>        benefits like PDF certificate or an "@opensource.org.au" forwarding
>        address. maybe accept corporate memberships?
>     d) experiment with providing endorsements like "command line user",
>        "bug reporter", "scripter", "bug fixer", "kernel hacker",
>        "hardware hacker", "published documenter" that LA members can
>        earn to acknowledge and encourage personal development and
>        contributions to open source. (maybe do the same for corporate
>        members, like "publishes source code", "complies with the GPL",
>        "uses open source", "hires hackers and doesn't claim copyright
>        on what they do in their own time"...)
>     e) run/promote small scale hackfests where people learn
>        open source related skills or contribute to open source projects
>     f) track and promote open source alternatives to proprietary
>        technology, eg "instead of google docs, try ....", documenting
>        benefits and drawbacks. the "rabid fanatics" subctte and LA
>        council should both make sure any non-free software they use
>        is covered by this list, and regularly look into whether the
>        drawbacks have shrunk to a point where shifting is reasonable;
>        other sub-cttes should be encouraged to do likewise
>     g) write up the effects of existing and proposed legislation and
>        regulation on open source use/hacking, and make suggestions on
>        improvements
>     h) write up and promote example contracts for hiring open source
>        people?
>     i) ...?
>  3) the LA *council* should not do any of the above however! instead
>     they should just monitor the "rabid fanatics" subctte like they
>     would any other -- making sure they don't do anything that harms the
>     organisation, don't spend crazy amounts of money, aren't being totally
>     dysfunctional, etc. Providing financial support should be similar
>     to a LUG or LCA, etc -- ability to get reimbursements and dealing
>     with tax, definitely; but no huge commitment of funds. Likewise for
>     sysadmin support.
>  4) if folks who might otherwise want to contribute content to the LA
>     website think "promoting open source" matches what they're trying
>     to do, they should totally be part of the subctte if they want
>     to. *maybe* that means the "media" subctte ends up getting subsumed;
>     or becomes more of a "SIG", eg a mailing list/irc channel/wiki where
>     people doing media work for LCA, PyCon, opensource.org.au, etc share
>     advice/tips/leads and retweet each other. (or maybe something else
>     entirely)
>  5) *if* any of the goals work out, that's great! they should be
>     continued next year. if not, no big deal. depending on how things go,
>     maybe the subctte should be split -- perhaps you could have separate
>     subcttes for "running and promoting open source related hackfests" and
>     "promoting membership and involvement in LA", eg.  all of that should
>     be pretty straightforward under LA's existing subctte policy, I think.
>  6) *maybe*, *eventually*, if a bunch of the goals work out, the
>     opensource.org.au site becomes much more interesting than the
>     linux.org.au site, and the "Open Source Australia" (or whatever)
>     name becomes better known than "Linux Australia", in which case the
>     council might officially rename the organisation and turn linux.org.au
>     into just a redirect
>  7) *maybe* if the approach above works out, and people are
>     interested in practice, and not just rhetorically, we could create a
>     "Linux 4 life" subctte (aka "that other bunch of rabid fanatics"?),
>     with goals along the lines of "encouraging *Linux* use and hacking",
>     and give them control of the linux.org.au website, with the mandate to
>     fill it up with interesting content related to use/development/... of
>     Linux (kernel, distributions, ...) in Australia; again with the same
>     constraints on the subctte described above in (3)
> I think there's three big benefits of taking this sort of approach:
>  - it allows progress despite disagreement about whether the name change
>    is a good idea, and provides more evidence either way. if it turns
>    out it was a good idea all along, great, see step (5); if it turns
>    out it wasn't, it's easy to just disband a subctte and stop renewing
>    a name registration. and in the meantime none of LA's existing events
>    has to care about it if they don't want to.
>  - it provides a good example of how to do cool stuff in LA outside of
>    being on the council, other than running a conference; conversely it
>    gives the council a good example on how to promote forward progress,
>    while at the same time not committing to doing extra work themselves.
>    [1]
>  - it mostly puts the focus on the fun/cool/rewarding bits (ie, promoting
>    open source, helping people learn, switching away from non-free stuff,
>    ...) rather than the administrative bits (let's get a new name,
>    reorganise subcttes, update the constitution, import all our data
>    into different software that hopefully sucks less, etc)
> Cheers,
> aj
> [0] Historical references:
>      -
> http://lists.linux.org.au/pipermail/linux-aus/2013-January/020319.html
>      -
> http://lists.linux.org.au/pipermail/linux-aus/2013-January/020330.html
>     AFAIK the idea of just setting up a separate trading name never went
>     any further from that point; corrections appreciated.
> [1] I guess I'm distinguishing the council and the subctte's roles
>     as something like this: LA's purpose as an organisation is to
>     "assist groups/individuals who make up the free software and open
>     source communities in Australia" [2], so the LA council should be
>     focussed on making it easy for groups to do cool things (like run
>     conferences). Meanwhile, the "rabit fanatics" is one such group,
>     and the stuff they do should mostly be "cool things" -- promoting
>     open source, running hackfests, telling people how great it is that
>     they learnt how to rebase or bisect in git, eg. I think that's a
>     useful split to maintain if it ends up with an "Open Source Australia
>     Council" and an "promoting open source subctte".
> [2] https://linux.org.au/values
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Tennessee Leeuwenburg
"Don't believe everything you think"
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