[Linux-aus] An update on Linux Australia's activities

Hugh Blemings president at linux.org.au
Mon Sep 26 14:15:30 AEST 2016

Hi Everyone,

Although many of you may read the Council minutes that are posted on the 
Linux Australia website [0], we'd also like to take the opportunity to 
keep you up to date on Council's actions, and the broader activities of 
Linux Australia.

-= First majority female Linux Australia Council =-
The new Council was elected at LCA Geelong in February, and for the 
first time in Linux Australia's 15 year history, the Council is majority 
female. Congratulations to Katie McLaughlin (OCM), Cherie Ellis (OCM), 
Craige McWhirter (OCM), Tony Breeds (Treasurer), Sae Ra Germaine 
(Secretary), Kathy Reid (Vice President) and Hugh Blemings (President).

As always you can contact the Council at council at linux.org.au - such 
correspondence is of course treated in confidence.

-= Linux Australia events =-
The year got off to a great start with the excellent linux.conf.au 2016 
Geelong - LCA By the Bay, and things are well underway for an equally 
memorable event in Hobart in January 2017. Miniconfs have just been 
announced, and our ever-amazing Papers Committee had a difficult job 
indeed choosing from the high calibre of submissions to the Call for 
Papers. Registrations to linux.conf.au will be open soon [1].

Bids for LCA2019 recently closed, and we’re delighted with the responses 
we received [2]. We’ll now work with the relevant folk to refine their 
bids, and the winner of LCA2019 will be announced in due course.

May saw another successful WordCamp event run on the Sunshine Coast in 
Queensland [3]. Well done to Luke Carbis, Ricky Blacker and the whole 
crew for an excellent event.

This weekend just gone saw an equally amazing WordCamp Sydney, held at 
UTS [4]. Big thanks to Wil Brown and the team for all their efforts here.

Pycon-AU returned to Melbourne this year, held at the Melbourne 
Convention and Exhibition Centre August 12th-16th. Some great work by 
Richard Jones and his team [5], thank you.

This year, Linux Australia is once again auspicing GovHack Australia 
events, with the hackathon itself held over July 29th-July 31st. Big 
thanks to Richard Tubb, Alysha Thomas, Jan Bryson and the GovHack Global 
Operations Team for what is now recognised as one of the largest 
national hackathons in the world. The National Red Carpet Awards will be 
held in Adelaide in October - a huge congratulations to all teams who’ve 
made it through to the National Awards [6].

DrupalSouth this year heads to the Gold Coast October 27th-28th, led 
ably by Vladimir Roudakov and Janna Malikova [7]. Tickets are now available!

If you're thinking about running an open-* event in your area, please do 
get in touch with us.

-= Council Face to Face =-
Council Face to Face was held in May, and we discussed a number of 
priorities for 2016 including making progress on Membership 
expiry/renewal and a new membership platform, improvements to the Code 
of Conduct and related processes and policies, among many other issues.

We noted that Linux Australia's activities, particularly with events, 
have grown significantly in recent years, and many of our volunteers are 
now stretched. We explored ways to reduce this, such as onboarding 
additional volunteers, and identifying ways to outsource pieces of work 
where it makes sense to do so.

One of the immediate pieces that came out of F2F was the need for 
Council to track yearly and regular activities, which have now been 
articulated to allow for better planning [8]. There are a number of 
pieces from F2F which are still works in progress such as a Process 
Manual, Risk Register and strengthening of our Code of Conduct.

An extra special thanks to Joshua Hesketh, past President, for attending 
Face to Face to share his expertise and wisdom.

-= Advocacy and government submissions =-
In April Linux Australia made a submission to the Australian Government 
in relation to the Senate Committee on the Trans Pacific Partnership 
noting our significant concerns about the proposal.  Our submission is 
#128 in the Parliamentary Joint Committee page [9] A direct link to the 
PDF is at [10].

In June a submission was made to the Australian Government Productivity 
Commission’s enquiry into Intellectual Property Arrangements - in which 
we sought to ensure the interests of Free and Open Source Software and 
Technologies were considered by the Commission.  A PDF of the submission 
is here [11].

We are grateful for the tireless efforts of Josh Stewart on the 
preparation of these two submissions and to Kim Weatherall for her 
assistance with research and discussion of same.

-= Grants and projects =-
LA undertook charity matching at linux.conf.au 2016 Geelong, providing 
nearly $5k to charity Give Where You Live, which undertakes works of 
social good in and around Geelong, making a total of nearly $10k 
donated. LA also made a donation to Electronic Frontiers Association as 
part of an event partnership arrangement at linux.conf.au 2016 Geelong.

We're currently in contact with the Software Freedom Conservancy, and 
intend to make a large donation to them shortly to support their 
important work.

If you would like to seek a grant or project funding in line with LA's 
values, more information is available [12].

-= Membership renewal =-
As part of moving towards a more robust Membership platform, we're 
currently undertaking a Membership Renewal activity. Huge thanks to 
everyone who responded to our recent mail out - your responses help to 
keep our membership information up to date.

We're still sorting through responses but our active membership looks to 
be around 1,000 members.

You can adjust your membership information at any time [13].

-= Treasury and Finance Subcommittee =-
Council has recently voted to form a Treasury and Finance Subcommittee 
to support the Treasurer and to ensure we help build a pipeline of 
Members with the aptitude to take on this role in the future [14].

-= Next steps =-
Over the coming months, Council will be busy with a number of pieces, 

* Wrapping up financials for the 2015-2016 financial year,
    which ends on September 30, and budgeting for the
    year 2016-2017

* Inspecting bids for LCA2019

* Progressing on work started on our Process Manual and
    Code of Conduct including the establishment of a subcommittee
    to assist with the latter.

* Our Admin Team will be undertaking enhancements to the LA
    infrastructure, and our Membership Team will be continuing
    to strengthen our membership platform and website.

As always, if you'd like to be involved in some capacity with LA's 
activities, we'd be delighted to hear from you.

Elections for the Council are not far away, if you have the time, energy 
and passion to contribute, please consider throwing your hat into the 
ring when the time comes :)

In closing my thanks to the Council for their efforts and in particular 
to Kathy Reid for doing the heavy lifting in preparing much of this summary.

Kind Regards,
Hugh Blemings
President, Linux Australia

[0] https://linux.org.au/news
[1] https://linux.conf.au
[2] http://lists.linux.org.au/pipermail/announce/2016-July/000226.html
[3] https://2016.sunshinecoast.wordcamp.org/
[4] https://2016.sydney.wordcamp.org/
[5] https://2016.pycon-au.org/
[6] https://www.govhack.org
[7] https://goldcoast2016.drupal.org.au/
[12] https://linux.org.au/our-projects
[13] https://linux.org.au/membership

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