[Linux-aus] [Announce] Should Linux Australia change its name to Open Source Australia?

Jonathan Woithe jwoithe at just42.net
Wed Dec 20 17:29:04 AEDT 2017

Hi all

On Tue, Dec 19, 2017 at 07:58:05PM +1100, Linux Australia President wrote:
> We think it's time to change the name of the organisation to
> better reflect our widened mission, values, activities, partnerships and
> influence.
> :
> Should Linux Australia change its name to Open Source Australia (Yes/No)

I'm in two minds about this.  I can understand the rationale for doing so
and can see how the inclusion of "Linux" in the name could, in some
situations, create confusion in the minds of external parties.  This is
particularly relevant in connection with events which - while related to
Linux - are not directly connected to Linux.

However, having said that, the "Linux Australia" brand is well recognised
within certain communities within Australia, partly due to the time it's
been around for.  It would be a disappointing to see this lost to the
community or coopted by some other party for their own negative purposes.

An earlier suggestion about retaining "Linux Australia" as a sub-component
of a new overarching organisation would address this point.  However, I
imagine this will add administrative overheads which council would need to
deal with and may not align well with corporations law in NSW (IANAL),
under which the entire entity would be incorporated if I understand things

I have reservations about the name being put forward: Open Source Australia. 
One of the motivations behind the name change is to better reflect the
organisations broader range of activities.  At least to me, "Open Source"
still excludes a significant technology area which Linux Australia is active
in: the open hardware movement.  From my perspective, the proposed name
therefore does fulfil the purpose of the rename.

The "OSA" acronym is obviously remarkably similar to OSIA.  Of course any
three letter acronym (and many four letter acronyms) are already used by
multiple organisations.  However, the fact that Linux Australia and OSIA
interact with the Open Source community might give rise to more confusion
than normal.  Conversely, confusion between "Open Source Australia" and
"Optical Solutions Australia" (https://www.opticalsolutions.com.au/, for
example) is unlikely to be of much consequence.

For these reasons, my personal opinion is that if a name change were to be
considered, I would rather see something a little broader: "Open
Technologies Australia" for example (although this is close to "Open
Technologies Foundation" from 2011, possibly now dormant).  Of course, a
broader term risks losing connection with the organisation's past which many
do not wish to lose.  It just goes to show how hard it is to choose a name
and why there are so many divergent views on the matter.

At this stage the resolution being put to the AGM includes the specific
"Open Source Australia" name, so there's little to be gained by arguing over
name options at this point.  People can vote at the AGM on the resolution:
if they don't want a rename or don't like the name as proposed then they
vote against the resolution.  If the resolution is voted down there will be
no change of name.  However, if the result is close or it is determined that
there is general agreement that the name should be changed (with many "no"
votes being specifically against the proposed name), subsequent discussions
about the name will undoubtedly occur.

> We're communicating this now to provide the community with time to
> discuss this proposed change before the AGM, where the resolution will
> be tabled in the AGM agenda.

Thank to to Kathy and council for raising this issue in advance so everyone
has adequate time to reflect on the resolution prior to the AGM and
determine a reasoned response.


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