[Linux-aus] LA co-branding proposal

Ian ilox11 at gmail.com
Sun Jan 10 01:27:21 AEDT 2016

Great post Anthony, something at last that I can accept. A pathway through
the morass of "bikeshedding" and misdirection that was going on.

I fully support your suggestions.

Let us be clear, Kathy deserves a big + for putting her words together to
get the discussion rolling.
Your post tops the recent discussions and gives all of us a way to put our
shoulder behind the direction we might want this to follow.

I love the committee name suggestion of "rabid fanatics. Sweet. Plenty of
them around, enough to fill several committees ;)

Personally I don't want the Home Brand of Linux Australia to be considered
for change, there isn't anything - at this time - approaching the Brand
recognition already out there.

If something better comes along, after developing the concept in the
appropriate sub-committee, at that time we can revisit the proposal.
Whatever replaces the LA Brand has to be Bigger Brighter Better than LA or
else there isn't any point in making the replacement. The paperwork and
time-wasting to change the organisation's name is horrid so I would never
contemplate making a change of name just because it might be newer and more
trendy. It really has to be something out of the box to replace what is
already there.

Co-branding isn't likely to bring about confusion to a large degree, mostly
the exercise allows the Brand to be redefined, expanded. I like your
suggestions to develop "Open Source Australia" (or whatever) and see where
that takes us. That suits me just fine.

email has been sent from a virus-free computer protected by Avast.

On 9 January 2016 at 00:17, 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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> linux-aus at lists.linux.org.au
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-- Ian
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