Elections 2

By kattekrab, 28 August, 2010

Voting is open to elect the new committee of Linux Users of Victoria.

Members may vote online at http://members.luv.asn.au/

This is the 2nd post in my Elections series.

[The first, was about my voting intention in the recent federal election. A week after the election we still don't have a government. The Australian Labor Party continues to govern in caretaker mode despite losing the majority it won at the last election. The hung parliament now consists of 4 independents and one representative from the Greens.

Seems my vote 'counted' more than it has before, as Melbourne is now officially a marginal seat, and the outcome was decided on preferences. It is no longer one of the safest seats in the country.  Does this mean we might finally get some attention? A bit like Denison, Melbourne has suffered from a lack of attention. Whilst we do have more than our fair share of hospitals, we also have a tv / telecommunications blackspot in North and West Melbourne, but not being 'Rural' it was pretty hard to get anyone to notice. Maybe that will change. ]

Anyway enough of #ausvotes - it's now time for some #luv election drama.

The Candidates

Office Bearers
 President: No candidate
 Vice President: Daniel Jitnah
 Treasurer: Wen Lin
 Secretary: Jiri Baum
Ordinary Committee members:
 Donald Douwsma
 Daniel Jitnah
 Kathy Reid
 Ben Sturmfels
 Hamish Taylor

I did not accept re-nomination for President. Unfortunately, neither did the other nominees, Ben Sturmfels and Ben Dechrau. This means we can nominate someone from the floor at the AGM, or the committee can elect a chair to be President from amongst themselves. Constitutionally, I'm not sure which is required, but perhaps someone can advise on the night.

The Annual General Meeting takes place at 7pm on Tuesday 7th September, at the Evan Burge Lecture Theatre at Trinity College, University of Melbourne, Royal Parade, Parkville. For full details, including a map, see http://luv.asn.au/2010/09/07

President's Report v0.1

For the record, I first became involved with Linux Users Victoria in 2005 when I heard they were bidding for linux.conf.au to come to Melbourne. I volunteered to help, but in the end, the winner was Sydney. I'd vaguely heard of LUV before that, but never been to a meeting. At LCA2006 in Dunedin I spoke to a few people and 'took over' organising a bid to win LCA for Melbourne. There was no resistance. The rest is history. We went on to win LCA for Melbourne, and in 2008 staged one of the most successful conferences in the event's history. Later that year, I was nominated for the Presidency of LUV, and elected unopposed and was re-elected last year. I'm sorry and disheartened I have failed to enthuse anyone enough to take my place in 2010.

Beginners Workshops

But I am deeply satisfied by our efforts to bring about the LUV beginners workshops. They are not perfect, and there is more that could be done to make them better.  Nevertheless, it's a fun place to go on the third Saturday of the month to help out, to learn something, to share what you know or just hang out with others interested in open source software. Many come seeking more structured activity - so setting up a computer lab, with hands on tutorials could be something to look at for the future. Scheduled introductory talks aimed at beginners,  have been well attended.

Library of LUV

Major Keary has continued doing book reviews, and these are now regularly posted to http://luv.asn.au. We have turned this bonanza into a distributed Library of LUV by encouraging people to return the books that have been gifted to us by publishers for review.  This may need to be streamlined in future as the 'auction' is now getting quite long. Major Keary has indicated he won't be able to continue reviewing books, and the publishers have indicated they'll be providing more e-books and less hard copies in the future. Volunteers interested in receiving free e-books for review should contact the committee.

Mailing Lists

I had hoped to see our mailing lists migrated from drstrange to our new server, tainted. However this still has not happened. The hardware is aging, and this needs to be given priority by the new committee. We also intended to migrate from Sympa to Mailman, because those now willing to invest time moderating and managing the lists were more familiar with mailman. This becomes an issue for the new committee to decide.

My failure to improve the culture of the mailing lists is personally disappointing. I do acknowledge there were more who felt no need for change, than there were those who did. In this case, my resistance was futile.

What's wrong with the lists? The quality of the lists for technical assistance and opinion is highly valued, or so I'm told. However it is the culture of superiority, and belittling those who write imperfectly, or do not follow the 'rules' and established list etiquette that I find offensive. In some cases the topics themselves have left me wondering why I'm involved in a community that tolerates and sometimes even encourages that kind of discourse. Recent threads in luv-talk reinforced my decision not to continue as president.

I do not wish to participate in the LUV mailing lists. I turn elsewhere for help with linux and other free software I use.

Software Freedom Day

Linux Users of Victoria has participated in Software Freedom Day from it's very beginning. In 2004, former president Andrew Chalmers co-ordinated CD burning and orchestrated a walk through Melbourne's streets handing out Free Software on Software Freedom Day. The walk continued into 2008.  We've been involved with events at ComputerBank, the East Melbourne Unitarian Church, twice at Melbourne's Town Hall, the Docklands community hub, and last year at the Melbourne PC club rooms at Chadstone Shopping Centre.

This year, in just a couple of weeks time on Saturday 18th September we'll be celebrating Software Freedom Day at the State Library, in the heart of Melbourne's CBD. This looks like being our biggest, most successful event to date. We have a great program of talks, workshops and short sessions lined up, as well as our Market hall bazaar of community groups sharing their schtick with each other and the public.

We need volunteers to help out on the day. http://www.sfd.org.au/melbourne/

Contact sfd_melb at identi.ca or twitter, or leave a comment here :)

So long, farewell.

I hope to redirect some of the energy I've invested in LUV over the past 5 years or so towards Drupal Melbourne and ComputerBank, and be able to join the LinuxChix at pre-luv meetups without having to worry if the projector is working or the speakers have turned up. You'll still find me on the LUV beginners list, but I'll be unsubscribing from LUV-talk and LUV-main after the AGM.

Linux Users of Victoria needs to address the fact that open source has won. It needs to find a way to meet the needs of it's long time members who've been with Linux since the beginning, but also help new users who are not also developers or sysadmins. We need to find a way to help them contribute to the community too.  Our meetings are well attended, our mailing lists are busy - our identi.ca group is small, and we have a few followers on twitter. New ways to grow our membership, and facilitate communication amongst our members is something else for the new committee to consider.

I hope I leave LUV a little better than I found it, and wish the new committee all the best as it continues to serve the association into the future.