Planning Weekend

Sat, 2010-09-25 09:15 - Sun, 2010-09-26 20:30

The planning weekend gives the council members a chance to look back on their time in office so far and also to look forward and see what remains to be done. This planning meeting was held on Saturday 26 September, 2010 at the Google offices in Sydney.


  • Recap
  • Survey
  • Advocacy
  • Council roles and guidelines
  • Sub-committees
  • LUG sub-committees
  • Conference sub-committees
  • Diversity policy
  • Domains
  • Website
  • Regional delegate programme
  • Awards
  • Action items


What has the council achived so far this term?

  • The 2010 bid process
  • PyCon AU was held
  • Insurance (including PLI) is sorted
  • Survey was held
  • Accounting now done in Xero
  • John is famous on ITWire


The demographic data and the oldest kernel respondents remember running both indicate respondents are aged between their mid twenties and mid thirties. Not a lot of younger respondents. We do need fresh blood in the community, though, so we should engage more with students.

The most common reasons cited for not being an LA member include not knowing what LA is or why it exists. Most respondents found out about LA at Members know that LA finances, but not what else it does.

Responses indicate there is a demand for certification and professional development that is not being met.

LCA: Students can’t afford the flights & accommodation. Perhaps zookeepr can be made to manage a billeting system for people that are happy to host a geek on the couch?

A large number of respondents would be happy to have a voluntary paid membership. This would mean the council needs to organise a way of managing this.

A lot of respondents attend regional and international FOSS related conferences. Linux Australia could promote such conferences to its members.

General conclusion is that LA should promote itself and its message more. Members want advocacy, and we’ve just not been doing that. Promotion could be done at universities and through LA branded goods; eg via cafepress or similar.

A map based on Australian respondents' post codes is available at


The council has a concern that there is a lack of diversity amongst LCA attendees. Both in terms of gender and age. Is this a matter for the Media subcommittee?

Where and how do we target the young people? Universities? Most students have windows laptops and not much exposure to Linux. How do we engage them? They already use free software on Windows - why would they start using Linux?

Is university too late? Do we need to hit them earlier? How do we get high school teachers engaged?

Are LUGs targeting first year students?

Can we test some idea on the UTAS TUCS? Stickers and flyers to get students to sign up to the list? Or follow @linuxaustralia on Twitter? of join the facebook group?

Engage students local to the LCA venue by offering 5 free tickets? Tied to an assignment maybe? Engage the faculty and encourage them to attend.


If we pay people to lobby for us we’ll lose tax exempt status. So let’s not do that.

What is our message. We should write informed responses (position papers?) to policy issues. We need to ensure that we represent our members’ views. Once we know what our agreed core values are, we can produce such papers. Core values might include:

  • open source
  • open standards
  • interoperability

The council will draft a document explaining the LA core values... and then ask members to comment constructively

Council roles and guidelines

JFDI is an excellent mantra. We should define some clear roles and have specific liaisons for sub-committees. Document this, so we can all find out who’s in charge of what.


How many legacy sub-committees are there? Are they still active? The council thinks that in order to keep track of the various sub-committees, they should report back to the council on a monthly, quarterly or annual basis.

Sponsors Sub-Committee

Andrew Macmillan is on top of the LCA sponsorship. Did Susanne Ruthven express interest as well? Each LCA team would also need a liaison to work with the sponsorship sub-committee and the team needs to create the sponsorship packages. This committee would need a private mailing list and wiki to coordinate activities.

Media Sub-Committee

This committee would also need a private wiki space and mailing list. Needs to work with conference sub-committees to promote their events and with the council on promoting policy and advocacy. James Purser and Sarah Stokely expressed interest in media.

Conference Sub-committees

The council will create documentation outlining the requirements and obligations for conferences to operate as sub-committees.

What does the council provide?

  • Public Liability Insurance
  • Bank account
  • Seed funding
  • Budget review and sanity checks
  • Resources like the media and sponsorship teams
    • PR
    • Networking
  • Access points

What does a conference sub-committee need to provide the council?

  • Reasonable lead time
  • A sane budget
  • Regular reporting to coincide with council meetings
  • Medium term profitability; ie: after the pilot event we’d expect a profit.
  • A treasurer that will use our accounting system
  • Act in an ethical and financially responsible manner

A decision on which sub-committees to accept is dependent on member feedback via the linux-aus mailing list.

LUG Sub-committees

Much like the sub-committees the council would require one or two responsible people. For the major LUGs this might have ramifications for the constitution of the LUG wants to run elections.

The council will work on a LUG subcommittee policy.

Diversity policy

Linux Australia supports and wants to encourage diversity and the sub-committees should also encourage this. How do we not alienate people? The council will, with help, draft guidelines; dos and don’ts.


We were granted custody of the domain by AUDA. was bought by Leon Brooks on our behalf, it is currently parked.

LA does not want to squat domains on $projects behalf.


The current website is starting to look somewhat long in the tooth and the information architecture is not ideal. The council could hold a Drupal theme design competition.

What is the site for? What is LA? What do we do? A lot of the content can be moved over to the community wiki instead.

We don't have the capacity to offer support, eg: via forums, but it would be good to list current workshops that offer hands-on linux training.

The council will ask the LCA2011 team to tighten up some budget figures. Some council members will meet with the Ballarat LCA2012 bid team in October. To create interest, the council will encourage teams to think about LCA2013 and suggests an LCA BOF at LCA2011.

The council does not feel that running LCA bigger and better is necessarily what's needed. Running it smarter is. It should not be 6 months full time work for for 2 people.

The council will, through the sub-committees, put in place a more broad base of support for the LCA teams.

Regional delegate programme

A task for the sponsorship committee would be to reinstitute the regional delegate programme, with the support of one or more sponsors. Delegates could be asked to write an essay detailing why they should be chosen, much like a CFP process.


The council has been informed that stakeholders would like to start awarding the Rusty Wrench again. This would be done at LCA. How are candidates nominated? And how is a winner chosen?

Open Source Awards could be run by a commercial entity on behalf of LA.

Action items

The council endeavours to include a status report on action items from previous meetings in its bi-weekly teleconfs.