[Linux-aus] On Perspective

Hugh Blemings hugh at blemings.org
Tue Jun 7 16:46:16 AEST 2016


I confess a degree of regret on having to write this and that the matter 
of the VPAC events have taken the turn they have.

For that matter I also dearly wish more of our membership would reflect 
on whether the email they're about to send will move the commons of 
Linux and Free/Open Source Software forward, or merely make them feel 
better in the moment.

In this I do not refer alone to the current threads on the Linux-aus 
mailing list but rather the general trend over nearly two decades for an 
undue percentage of the traffic on the linux-aus list to be 
griping/trolling and then - often left to volunteers - defending 
actions, justifying decisions and so forth.

This latter all too often _literally_ consuming hours of discussion, 
debate and checking to ensure a measured and appropriate response or 
solution to the crisis du jour.

And so to perspective...

Linux Australia and its membership do fantastic and, often, important 
work.  Much of it is unseen, most of the time things done right, fun is 
had, code is written, people learn new things, a career is started, 
perhaps even a career advanced and so forth.  All great stuff.  Also, 
for most of us, the sole motivation for being involved as volunteers.

But I'm struck that we sometimes lose perspective about the importance, 
in the grander scheme of things, of what we do.

To start, I was, frankly, a bit annoyed that our infrastructure went 
offline precipitously but upon hearing the full story, once our very 
able admin team had extinguished most of the fires, this annoyance all 
but dissipated entirely.

But the thing that really allowed me, for want of a better term, to find 
peace with the situation was the realisation that actually - it didn't 
really matter.

Nobody died, no one lost revenue, no LA events were dramatically 
impacted.  What we do is fantastic, important and useful, but it isn't 
(and probably shouldn't) be _mission critical_.

This is not to say for a moment that we shouldn't take our 
responsibilities or the work undertaken seriously, but rather that we 
should weigh the matter at hand in a broader light.

Please - reflect and decide if an email that will ultimately come down 
to the criticism of an organisation, a team or an individual is 
warranted, or could perhaps be written in a more constructive tone.

Last time I checked we were, at the end of the day, trying to accomplish 
largely the same set of fantastic, important and fun, but probably not 
mission critical things...  Perhaps then space to allow our interactions 
online and in person to better reflect these shared goals ?

Thank you for reading,

Kind Regards,
Hugh Blemings
President, Linux Australia

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