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It's election time at the bigger of the two Linux user groups in Melbourne. There normally wouldn't be any need to write about it as this is something that comes by every year and passes without incident.


But this year things are somewhat different. For one, there is no candidate who has put up his or her hand to take on the role of president for the Linux Users of Victoria user group.

Donna Bemjamin, who has been president for the last two years, did not accept renomination. Another two members of LUV who were nominated - Ben Sturmfels and Ben Dechrau - did not accept the nominations either.

(Before I continue, disclosure: I am a member of LUV, I receive posts from the two main lists and occasionally post myself.)

Secondly, the reason why there is no nomination appears to be the nature of discussions on one of the mailing lists which, over the period since June, has been veering into areas that could broadly be categorised as misogynistic.

Benjamin, an energetic and able person who was the chief organiser of a well-attended Australian national Linux conference in 2008, has not given a clear cut reason as to why she did not accept a nomination for another term.

She, however, has expressed a degree of disgust with the mailing lists and the discussions therein. LUV has a number of such lists, the main ones being the LUV list and the LUV-Talk list. On the latter, any topic can be raised for discussion while the former is only for posts relevant to Linux.

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Sam Varghese

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A professional journalist with decades of experience, Sam for nine years used DOS and then Windows, which led him to start experimenting with GNU/Linux in 1998. Since then he has written widely about the use of both free and open source software, and the people behind the code. His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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