Goodbye AUUG, hello phoenix

Greg Lehey has proposed the dissolution of AUUG. As an interested spectator of AUUG over a number of years, an active participant in the Australian Open Source and Free Software community, and a member of Linux Australia, I’m in agreement with his proposal.

I know that some AUUG members have been sensitive about Linux Australia in the past. I do not want my membership of Linux Australia to imply that I am organisationally opposed to AUUG or its goals.

In fact, I’ve been waiting for the right moment to raise a few controversial proposals for Linux Australia! It turns out that these ideas might just be a fitting response to the dissolution of AUUG.

  • Rename Linux Australia: “Linux” does not even remotely represent the depth of the organisation’s membership or their interests. Linux Australia strives to be representative of the Open Source and Free Software community here, and while in many cases it manages to do so very well, the name is hideously exclusive.

    Linux Australia already owns opensource.org.au — let’s say what we mean by changing the name of the organisation to better reflect our aims. It could be “Open Source Australia”, or “Open Source Community Australia” (OSCA!) to denote our partnership with Open Source Industry Australia.

    As a response to the dissolution of AUUG, this change would better represent some of their membership “refugees”, who love Open Source and Free Software, but don’t necessarily use the Linux kernel to do their loving. 😉

  • Rename linux.conf.au: One of the Seven team’s tenets is, “linux.conf.au is about the magic of freedom, technology and community”. None of our tenets refer to Linux, the kernel.

    Our conference is loved by dedicated attendees and speakers around the world for its eclectic mix of people and projects. In 2001, our goal was to create “the OLS of the southern hemisphere” — I think we achieved and eclipsed that goal, particularly now that OLS is basically just a Linux kernel conference. 😉

    Again, let’s say what we mean by changing the name to better reflect our aims.

    That said, I do not believe “Open Source” sufficiently describes the awesomeness of linux.conf.au — it’s appropriate for the organising body, but the tone of the conference leans very strongly towards “Software Freedom” and the intersection of technology and “Free Culture”.

    A fresh name ought to reflect that, without distancing the growing number of professionals attending the event. I’m sure we have a very clever person in our midst who will come up with a rocking new name for linux.conf.au.

    We can do this for linux.conf.au 2007. We have the technology.

The potential dissolution of AUUG is an opportunity to further unify and strengthen the voice of Open Source and Free Software in Australia — an opportunity that stands in stark contrast to the UNIX wars of previous decades.

I encourage current AUUG members to pursue this opportunity for the benefit of the entire Open Source and Free Software community, and I hope the leadership and membership of Linux Australia can rise to the occasion in response.

Let’s rock some boats, and get Open Source and Free Software high on Australia’s technology agenda in the process.

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