Home opinion-and-analysis Open Sauce Linux Australia: preaching to the converted isn't enough

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Last year, in its annual budget, Linux Australia allocated a sum of $5000 for media training. The entire amount was unspent.


The allocation (PDF) provides an interesting comment on an organisation which, though sorely aware of the need to raise both its own profile and that of free and open source software in general, still fights shy of doing anything concrete towards these goals.

Last year, Linux Australia released the raw data from a survey which has been set in train by James Turnbull, who held the position of president for the first half of 2010 before he stepped down to take up a job in the US.

There was no effort made by Linux Australia to analyse the data and release it to the public in a readable form; iTWire was the only organisation that looked at the raw data and gave it some publicity. One overwhelming conclusion from the data was that the organisation needed to make itself better-known.

Since the current president, John Ferlito, took over, Linux Australia has expanded its activities. It used to sponsor just the one conference, the Australian national Linux conference, every year; now it sponsors conferences catering to users of the Drupal CMS, the Python programming language, and two that cater to users of the popular WordPress application.

In addition, this year, Linux Australia provided backing for AdaCamp, the first camp organised by the women's advocacy group, the Ada Initiative.

But all of this activity might as well not be undertaken. There are hardly any efforts to publicise the camps, and what does take place is pitifully inadequate.

Yet Linux Australia continues to drag its feet - it redesigned its website last year but there is yet no page detailing the activities of a media sub-committee as was present on the old site. And with good reason too; no such sub-committee exists.

Ferlito says: "There currently isn't a media sub-committee. We haven't had enough interest from the community in wanting to be a part of one. For the time being, the council is managing this function itself."

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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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