[Linux-aus] [Announce] Should Linux Australia change its name to Open Source Australia?
lloy0076 at adam.com.au
Sat Dec 23 19:38:24 AEDT 2017
In my opinion:
* There are clear reasons for changing the name of Linux Australia Inc to something other than that;
* Naming organisations is “a difficult matter” – and far more difficult than simply naming cats;
* Figuring out what the name should be – as has been alluded to – is about as easy as herding cats, though.
So long as the new name fitted within the Australian legal framework (e.g. you’d not be allowed to call yourself Open Source Bank Australia unless you were a bona fide financial institution, nor would you change your name to Google Australia because that name is already taken) it really does not matter what the name is providing:
* You keep the current culture;
* If you cause brand confusion, you destroy the other competing brands.
I would hazard a guess that if Linux Australia wanted to cause brand confusion with another organisation, so long as that organisation wasn’t well-funded or well-organised, it would probably win. In the short term, provided the new name brought more benefits to the organisation that was once named Linux Australia, it would be a stronger organisation in the short term.
Whether the organisation that was called Linux Australia remains stronger really is up to its members and whether its current culture changes to such an extent where it collapses and loses support.
* Names matter;
* You’ll win the branding war unless you get walloped by lawyers or the name is deemed legally unusable.
As far as I can tell, the organisation is probably strong enough to change its name to anything that is legally usable so long as it doesn’t get walloped by lawyers.
But to manage any name change – because names do matter – probably needs a well thought plan because I’m fairly sure a name change isn’t just about submitting a motion to the AGM or an SGM – that part is the easy part (although I do agree it is important and necessary).
Should one assume that the Council already does have a plan of action for the case where the name is changed? It’s a safe bet 😊
From: linux-aus [mailto:linux-aus-bounces at lists.linux.org.au] On Behalf Of Mike Imelfort via linux-aus
Sent: Friday, 22 December 2017 11:32 PM
To: Russell Stuart <russell-linuxaus at stuart.id.au>
Cc: linux-aus at lists.linux.org.au
Subject: Re: [Linux-aus] [Announce] Should Linux Australia change its name to Open Source Australia?
So. I'm new here, but actually one of the main reasons I am so new is almost wholly because of the name. When you're outside the community the name Linux Australia gives you little to no idea about what is happening on the inside. Had I known what LA actually does I probably would have joined up sooner.
So I like the idea of changing the name. But I worry about the issues raised above. Reading through the thread I'm not sure swapping one flavour of brand confusion with another is useful.
Another point is that the term open source really points at software, but it seems like even software is not a core business anymore. LA supports many different areas of IP sharing and collaboration including open hardware, CC documentation, inclusive policies on conference panels and attendance etc. Which is great. Just not technically "open source" and definitely not just Linux.
So I would vote no to this change because it seems like much work without much meaningful change. Without advocating for name shopping but because I wasn't around last time, would "Libre Australia" work. At least you get to keep on using the LA acronym and Libre seems like more of the core business here than Linux, or source code.
On 23 Dec. 2017 1:49 pm, "Russell Stuart via linux-aus" <linux-aus at lists.linux.org.au <mailto:linux-aus at lists.linux.org.au> > wrote:
On Fri, 2017-12-22 at 08:31 +1100, Michael . via linux-aus wrote:
> I, personally, think this may be a good idea but I wonder about the
> practicalities of it. For instance if the name gets changed to Open
> Source Australia will you promote other OSs such as the BSDs as much
> as you promote Linux or will your main focus be Linux (and associated
If anyone is wondering why several LA councils have tried to change the
name, this comment pretty much typifies it.
I don't know how Linux Australia got its name, but it seems like it
inherited it from the conference it was founded to run: Linux Australia
Conference. I don't know way the conference called itself that,
because as anyone whose been there knows Linux isn't the only, or even
its prime focus. I suspect it was because back then open source was a
small pool and Linux was a very big fish, so was a good marketing for a
conference to have Linux in its name.
While Linux has grown somewhat since them, but the open source pool has
grown dramatically so Linux isn't the big fish it once was. And so to
has Linux Australia grown - among the conferences it help run this year
were Python, Drupal, and Wordpress. We are also providing services
(bank accounts, money, a legal entity) to educators seeking to run STEM
courses based on open source. If someone comes to Linux Australia with
an idea that is based around source or designs that are open and shared
with a community every is welcome to join, and doesn't look like it
will make a loss, Linux Australia will likely fund it and wear the
financial risk. If it looks like it might make a loss then LA might
still fund it via a grant request.
>From my perspective, Linux Australia reason for existence is to
encourage the understanding, adoption and contributing to open source.
It modus operandi is to do that by running conferences, and it seems to
be a pretty successful strategy as now 1000's of people attend
conferences Linux Australia helps run every year.
As a practical matter, I have not seen LA promote anything other than
it's own conferences - certainly not Linux. Given that, maybe you can
understand the reaction of people who have been on the LA council for a
while and know what LA really when they see the question "will you
promote other OSs such as the BSDs as much as you promote Linux?". For
me at least it was "I wonder how many opportunities we have lost to
promote open source in Australia because people believe we are focused
on Linux". It's not hard to go from there to believing having Linux in
our name is a bit of an albatross around our neck.
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