Gathering questions for Linux Australia committee candidates

Linux Australia

In order to facilitate a more active discussion with candidates for the Linux Australia committee than we’ve had in previous years, I’m gathering questions from the community in order to pose them in one email. This helps to reduce the chaos on the mailing list, puts a concise set of questions to candidates, and results in a clear place to read answers from them.

Closer to the election date, the anonymised questions will be posted for candidates to respond to, and for the community to discuss. I will get some other Linux Australia members, who are not running for election, to participate in the selection of questions.

Please post your questions in the comments, or mail them to me if you’re not comfortable asking in public.

links for 2007-12-13

Cliques, invitations and meritocracies

So am I paranoid? Are invite-only events a necessary evil? Or should I let my curiousity overcome my principles? Hey, maybe one of those web 2.0 types could help me enable comments on my blog… — Rusty Russell, The foocamp clique?

… so I wrote down some of my musings for Rusty in an email, but then another discussion prompted similar thoughts, so I figured I’d blog about it. Of course, I did take the opportunity to suggest that Rusty try WordPress. ;-)

Pia and I went to baacamp (ha ha, “baa”, etc.) last year, being on the O’Reilly radar through my participation in OSCON and stuff like that.

Although it was sponsored by O’Reilly, it was very much a Nat thing compared to the “real” O’Reilly FOOcamps. They’re all very skewed towards Web 2.0 people and topics, but working with a different crowd who care about Freedom in different ways is great… It resets your reality distortion field, no matter how much clarity you start with!

It’s easy to forget, but is also very cliquey, even beyond the silly name. :-)

The invite-only thing is a bit weird, but if you have faith in the person doing the inviting, it’s very similar to the trust we invest in our FLOSS leaders, and the meritocracy which stems from them. For instance, Nat asks the people he invites to suggest other people, and uses that feedback very well. So, it’s like accepting or rejecting patches, and filtering good and bad contributors. :-)

There’s also the problem of trying to inflict ideas about Software Freedom onto other, sometimes incompatible, structures and interactions. I think there are a lot of dangers to that route — largely because I’m not a crazy libertarian or genuine anarchist — and because I think misapplication of those ideas leads to the kind of behaviours that are well described in Geek Social Fallacies.

Finally, foocamp inspired greatness in its bizarro mirror image arch nemesis, barcamp. I had to say arch nemesis for effect. I like the idea of conference philosophies competing with each other in some kind of comic book Dante’s Inferno thinking man’s action-comedy.

If baacamp didn’t conflict with, we’d be there in a jiffy. I’m falling in love with New Zealand and its inhabitants. We have a lot to learn from them, but also a lot to share. Some of our NZ friends are here this week, helping us turn Australia’s OOXML vote from “abstain” to “no” — hooray! :-)

Live podcast interview about GNOME, OOXML, etc.

Last week I suggested to Bruce Byfield that a podcast interview might be a good way to put a human face (okay, okay: voice) on some of the GNOME-related issues currently being debated in some quarters of the community.

Thanks to support and interest from, we now have some cool infrastructure for it, including web based question submission, live call-in questions, and podcast distribution. Rock!

This Wednesday, December 5, 2007, at 1 p.m. US EST (GMT -5) is hosting a live podcast featuring Jeff Waugh, Roy Schestowitz, and reporter Bruce Byfield. [...] Our editor in chief, Robin ‘Roblimo’ Miller, will moderate the discussion, which you can access either through a link we’ll post here on about 30 minutes before the conversation starts or directly at BlogTalkRadio.

That’s this Wednesday, so check it out and tune in!