Minutes of Council Face to Face Meeting 8-9th March 2014

Sat, 2014-03-08 10:11 - Sun, 2014-03-09 14:33

Face to face Council Meeting 2014

Hobart, Tasmania

Lenna of Hobart, Cnr Runnymede Street & Salamanca Place. Battery Point 7004

8th-9th March 2014

All members of Council were present:

Joshua Hesketh - President

Hugh Blemings - Vice President

Francois Marier - Treasurer

Kathy Reid - Secretary

Josh Stewart - Ordinary Committee Member

Sae Ra Germaine - Ordinary Committee Member

Christopher Neugebauer - Ordinary Committee Member

Meeting open

Joshua Hesketh opened face to face at 1011hrs on Saturday 8th March.

Joshua welcomed all members of Council and thanked them for giving up their time for the weekend, and also thanked the members of Council for their service on Council. Joshua welcomed Christopher Neugebauer and Sae Ra Germaine as new members of Council.

Joshua outlined the format for the weekend.
Discussion on what we would like to achieve as Council Members in 2014

Council went around the room and discussed what they would like to personally achieve in 2014. Discussions were also held around succession planning, with various Council members indicating their thoughts at this stage on whether they would stand for Council in 2015. In general, at least half of Council will not be standing for re-election in 2015.

They key themes were;

To serve as the voice of wisdom and as a sounding board to other Council members and to the community as a whole

Undertake more outreach to university students

To review the current membership platform, MemberDB, with a view to replacement

Gain more impetus with the Media and Communications Subcommittee

Undertake financial modelling to gain insight into how much cash reserve is needed in the case of a full linux.conf.au failure/partial failure and related scenarios

Set up New Zealand bank accounts in a more optimal way, partially to faciliate linux.conf.au 2015

Better document roles and responsibilities of Council members to aid succession planning

Enable the Community to undertake more activities, and become an enabler for community efforts.

On a similar note, provide additional support for subcommittees and events to run under the auspices of Linux Australia through grants and related programmes

Become more involved in relevant industry associations - like EFA and OSIA, although the format this would take is unclear.

Become more involved in lobbying activities such as submissions to the TPP.

Undertake succession planning for Council 2015

Harness the Council mailing list more to make teleconferences less onerous

Member survey outcomes and response actions

Council discussed the main points highlighted from the 2013 Member Survey and how they aligned with the activities that we wanted to undertake.

Improving communication with members

This is addressed by a replacement for MemberDB that allows targeted communication.

Increasing advocacy and influence

Actions around being more involved in industry and lobbying submissions are in alignment here.

Improving services for the cohort of members identified as retired

Council discussed whether the large cohort of members identifying as retired is due to a pipeline legacy issue, and related to the poor incoming pipeline of younger and university members. Council noted that introductory Linux information, the key need for this cohort, is something that is done very well elsewhere. Council noted that it could partner with Linux User Groups to provide a referral service.

Marketing and branding

Council discussed unifying the brand under which our activities are run, and our marketing positioning, including the poor recognition of the Linux Australia brand within the Australian tech community.

DECISION: Council decided that a rebranding of Linux Australia is not in scope of activities for 2014, given the limited time and resources we have. Future Councils may wish to revisit the rebranding issue.

Documenting council roles

We all agreed that we need to do some work this year in documenting the Council roles, particularly office-bearer roles to ensure succession planning for 2015 Council.

Council reviewed the constitution in terms of trying to solve a number of concrete problems. The key issue is mailing list conduct, although there are some other small gaps in the Constitution.

Codes of Conduct are not as easily enforceable because policies and Codes of Conduct are not directly linked to the Constitution - the only mechanisms to trigger disciplinary action in the Constitution are under Section 11 - which is not linked directly to breach of policies or Codes of Conduct

There are also scope issues in that Delegates to events are not always members of Linux Australia, and the disciplinary action in Section 11 of the Constitution applies only to members of Linux Australia. Delegates are however bound by the Code of Conduct of the event which they are attending.

Council discussed whether we are able to deny entry to events - such as LCA if we need to. We can - we don’t have to sell tickets to people who we don’t want to - for instance if they have previously breached Codes of Conduct.

Council discussed rewording of 11(1)(b) of the Constitution to include values and Codes of conduct - linking values to the Constitution.

Council also discussed wording changes, such as changing Committee -> Council

Discussion of paid memberships and expiry of memberships

Council revisited the question of whether Linux Australia should charge for membership, and how frequently we should do expiry.

The point was made that we would see more maturity if we charged for memberships - if you pay money you tend to pay more interest to things.

The concept of paid membership as a donation to Linux Australia, where there would be no difference in benefits - was discussed.

The concept of open source donation fatigue was raised as a possible blocker here.

The issue of renewals and reduced membership due to renewals was raised

Council was requested to consider these issues and reflect on them overnight .

Vision, Mission and Values

The concept of LA’s relevance over time was discussed. Will we become less relevant in say 10-15 years time as PC user groups have become as people need less help with Linux? What do we do strategically to ensure the longevity of the organisation - and this probably lies in umbrellaing events. A trading name is a simple solution, but we would not want to enforce a new trading name without consulting the community.

“Open source” is a cool word but “Linux” is not. A large part of the name change issue was first getting consensus on changing the name, and then actually finding the name we wanted to change it to.

Council discussed whether our values are relevant. General feeling that our values are more relevant than ever given the environmental changes occurring - such as less use of open source, more surveillance and the ubiquitous use of personal information, and the rise of Mobile First technology. Comment was made around whether ‘privacy’ should be added to the values given the rise of concerns around surveillance and data collection.

MOTION that Council re-affirms the organisation’s values for 2014 by Kathy Reid

SECONDED by Joshua Hesketh

CARRIED unanimously

Committee structures, governance, oversight and policies

Council discussed whether we should just move a motion to put the Code of Conduct in place for mailing lists, as it provides a clear path forward for mailing list conduct. It was felt that further discussion was required.

Council discussed at length whether the Mailing List Policy should have a clause stating that off list communications should remain private. The corollary of whether off site events should be considered part of the conference was raised. Council distinguished between Mailing Lists being a channel that Linux Australia manages, but that it is not actually a Linux Australia event. For example non-members can be on the mailing list. General consensus that we need a framework that works regardless of whether the mailing list contributor is a member or a non member.

DECISION: If a person is sending a mail privately, it is sent between two people, then a member can make a complaint about another member, and may result in mediation.

Council considered whether there should be community Moderators for the mailing lists, and whether the Moderators would have to be members of Council. General agreement that they would be trusted members of the community. General point raised that people are leaving the linux-aus list because of the signal to noise ratio - and that there is actually very little useful information on the list.

ACTION: Chris to have a look at a draft of the Code of Conduct so that it has applicability to the mailing lists. The mailing list Code of Conduct needs to give us some discretion for disciplinary action.

Council discussed whether a generic Code of Conduct should be implemented versus just a Mailing List Code of Conduct.

Discussion around whether we have a generic code of conduct versus a mailing list code of conduct.

Discussion of having a policy mailing list where we could debate policy issues specifically, allowing them to be moved away from the main linux-aus list.

MOTION by Joshua Hesketh that

a new mailing list be created called policies@linux.org.au

to which policy discussions may be referred.

SECONDED by Christopher Neugebauer

CARRIED unanimously

MOTION by Joshua Hesketh that

we work on a Code of Conference document on Sunday 9th that could serve as a code of conduct for the mailing list

SECONDED by Josh Stewart

CARRIED unanimously

DrupalSouth request to form Subcommittee

Council reviewed the request from DONNA BENJAMIN to form a Subcommittee of Linux Australia for the purpose of running DrupalSouth 2015 in Melbourne with constitution as follows;

Donna Benjamin - Conference Director

Peter Lieverdink - Conference Treasurer

Chris Skene - Content Lead

MOTION by Kathy Reid that this Subcommittee be formed as requested under the existing Subcommittee policy until such time as the new policy takes effect, from which time the Subcommittee will adopt the new Subcommittee policy.

SECONDED by Joshua Hesketh

CARRIED unanimously

Photography at conferences

Photography and privacy is a tough one.

General common sense should prevail - if requested to remove a photo, politely oblige. Discussion around having a signal - such as a badge - or a lanyard colour so that it can be removed. On one hand, photography provides collateral. On the other, people have a right to privacy. Signals such as lanyards or stickers may ostracise people. Distinction between photos *of* people versus photos that have people *in* them, where the focus is on someone else. A short and sweet statement “please remove images if asked to do so” - gives the organiser ultimate discretion.

MOTION by Joshua Hesketh that model Code of conduct will be updated to include a sensible statement on photography that gives conference directors and council members discretion over photography to be approved by Council

SECONDED by Sae Ra Germaine

CARRIED with one abstention


Draft Subcommittee policy was worked through.

DECISION to apply policy to Python and Drupal conference

NEXT ACTIONS are to go out to the policy mailing list and ghosts to seek feedback

MOTION by Kathy Reid that a Risk Register is to be adopted to better identify, mitigate and manage the risks borne by the organisation, the details of which will be fleshed out at a later date.

SECONDED by Sae Ra Germaine

CARRIED unanimously

ACTION: Kathy to work on the Risk Register and report back to Council when a draft is ready

Council discussed censorship of language in the Code of Conduct and whether it was a form of censorship.

DECISION: The wording around language and profanity in the Code of Conduct will remain unchanged.

MOTION by Josh Stewart that

Conferences are expected to use the Linux Australia Code of Conduct, or a similarly value-consistent Code of Conduct where this has been approved by the LA Council

SECONDED by Josh Hesketh

CARRIED unanimously


Council recognised the need for additional documentation at a Council level, particularly around roles to aid succession planning and this will be an ongoing activity throughout the year.

Budget cycle

Discussion on whether we should adjust the budget cycle. The issue is that the Council is appointed in January, but the budget is determined in October. Theoretically the last year’s Council could spend significant amounts of budget prior to the incoming Council.

MOTION by Joshua Hesketh that Linux Australia continue to budget on the existing financial year from October to September, even though this does not match Council terms. Incoming Council is then free to issue a Budget Revision after their appointment.

SECONDED by Francois Marier

CARRIED unanimously

MOTION by Christopher Neugebauer that financial assistance programs such as the Regional delegates Programme for LCA be moved to the budget of the relevant conference to administer

SECONDED Hugh Blemings

CARRIED unanimously

Council noted that the Subcommittee register needs updating.

ACTION: Sae Ra to update Subcommittee register.

Saturday closed 1724 hrs

Sunday opened at 0945hrs

Outreach and engagement

MOTION by Hugh Blemings that given the divergent opinions between LUV and LA on the TPP submission that LA contact LUV with a view to submitting the TPP submission in its current form

SECONDED by Josh Stewart

CARRIED unanimously

Generally we wish to keep doing community outreach.

It is likely that there will be submissions called for in regard to copyright reform. Another key issue is the NBN. Will keep this on our radar. Generally lend our support, there are many other organisations already with a voice here.

Another issue is open formats in government, such as the British government’s Digital by Default strategy. We will seek input from the community on collaborative documents that could be submitted to the government.

Awards, acknowledgement and processes

Rusty Wrench is running well. No further actions required here.

MemberDB functional enhancements

MemberDB is lacking two key functions



Role assignment has no UI.

None of the other systems on the market do elections. Council discussed the need to still be able to do elections. Council discussed difficulty in funding bespoke development.

MOTION by Kathy Reid that the Council recognises that MemberDB is lacking functionality and no longer serves Linux Australia’s needs in terms of membership services, and further that alternative options should be considered in 2014.

SECONDED by Chris Neugebauer.

PASSED unanimously.

ACTION: Kathy Reid to investigate requirements for membership management further with a view to writing a Functional Requirements specification or similar for possible replacement of MemberDB.

Open Invention Network

Francois briefed Council on the Open Innovation Network and how it is designed to diffuse the threat of patent monopolies. It is essentially a mutual non-aggression pact around use of patents. Because Linux Australia does not hold patents there are no binding legal elements.

MOTION by Francois that Council further consider the costs, risks and benefits of becoming a signatory to the Open Invention Network with a future motion to be put forward at a future Council meeting.


PASSED unanimously.

linux.conf.au 2015 conference

Discussion on whether to move linux.conf.au 2015 to new Subcommittee format. We will need to liaise with linux.conf.au 2015 to ensure they’re comfortable with these arrangements.

linux.conf.au 2016 conference

No discussion required at this time, under control.

linux.conf.au 2017 conference

Discussion around taking expressions of interest now, then have the Subcommittee take over. Expressions of interest and further work here DEFERRED to a later date.

ACTION: Initial communication around linux.conf.au 2017 Expressions of Interest to go out in due course

Other business

Joshua Hesketh called for any other business. No other business was tabled and meeting was closed at 1045hrs. Council members then proceeded to work on action items.

Joshua Hesketh re-opened meeting at 1427hrs

MOTION by Joshua Hesketh that Linux Australia’s byline be changed to read;

Linux Australia is the peak body for Open Source communities in
Australia. Linux Australia represents approximately 5000 Australian
users and developers of Free Software and Open Technologies, and
facilitates internationally-renowned events including linux.conf.au --
Australasia's grassroots Free and Open Source Software Conference.

Linux Australia is voluntarily bound by the principles embodied by its
statement of values and the articles of association, and undertakes to
operate at all times in an open, transparent and democratic manner.

SECONDED by Chris Neugebauer

CARRIED unanimously

MOTION by Joshua Hesketh to accept LCA2015 as a Subcommittee with initial members

Cherie Ellis - Conference Chair

Steven Ellis - Sponsor Manager

SECONDED by Francois

CARRIED by a majority of Council members with one abstention
(Kathy abstained as core team member of LCA2016, possible conflict of interest in any voting on LCA2015 matters).

Joshua thanked the Council for their commitment and attendance at Face to Face.

Meeting closed at 1433hrs

Discussions minuted in camera

Several discussions were held in camera and are not made public at this time
Record of action items

ACTION Sae Ra to update website with new byline

ACTION: Initial communication around linux.conf.au 2017 Expressions of Interest to go out in due course (draft comms in the Google Drive DRAFT folder)

ACTION: Chris to have a look at a draft of the Code of Conduct so that it has applicability to the mailing lists. The mailing list Code of Conduct needs to give us some discretion for disciplinary action.

ACTION: Kathy to work on the Risk Register and report back to Council when a draft is ready

Council noted that the Subcommittee register needs updating.

ACTION: Sae Ra to update Subcommittee register.

ACTION: Kathy Reid to investigate requirements for membership management further with a view to writing a Functional Requirements specification or similar for possible replacement of MemberDB.