[Talk] Some thoughts on AUUG, LUG's and their future

Steve Jenkin sjenkin at pcug.org.au
Tue Jul 2 22:48:49 EST 2002

[Apologies for the length - search for AUUG for the nub of this.]

It is becoming clear that Linux & *BSD are the future of Operating
This is meant to start a conversation/discussion of what this means for
us & AUUG.

Whilst Microsoft (MS) has been the dominant brand for the first billion
PC's sold, over
the next 5 years and their next billion PC's, Microsoft will either
leave the O/S market 
entirely or become just another minor player.

Why?  Collapses, especially from product substitution, in the IT
marketplace happen
very quickly and with surprisingly few external leading signs.

Customers are rarely loyal - in fact gleefully antagonistic if after
years of 'forced'
upgrades and lack of choice [railroading?], they can assert a free
choice and buy a replacement - and if it is "cheaper, faster, better",
then so much the better.

And lastly, Microsoft is in the business of _market_ domination.  They
are NOT in the
business of giving away all their software freely.  Loss leaders &
'strategic' gifts
they understand - but their game is _just_ about the money.  Even with
~US$40bn dollars
in the bank, they can't & won't compete with free software.  They need
to look for new
products & markets where they can destroy the opposition and dominate.
Sound like the X-Box?

There is also the small matter of consumer/product liability.  If _any_
law suit
awarding 'consequential damages' against any commercial product gets up
anywhere in the
world, a whole host of software companies will depart - in a world
without consequences
[ie there is no penalty for producing defective products] these people
can survive and
thrive.  If consumers can force legal & financial consequences onto
software vendors
selling defective products, the marketplace will shake-out with
neck-snapping speed.

So where does this leave AUUG and its current ~400 members?
AUUG has recruited nearly zero new/young members in recent years. [real
figs are???]
The 'Old Guard' seems closed & iconoclastic to those outside...

AUUG is now possibly in the box seat for this new world, if it can
reposition itself.

- Linux, *BSD & Mac OS/X are 'where it is happening' in operating
systems now.
  SunOS/Solaris used to be the leading edge.  AIX, HP-UX etc have only
ever been
  vendor niche products.  Is SCO still around even?  SGI/MIPS are

- LUG's, those autonomous anarcharic colletives, are exactly the right
  for Linux enthusiasts.  They should _not_ be formal or 'under AUUG'.

- *BSD & Mac OS/x have their own well defined 'support systems' & ardent

- AUUG must co-exist with LUG's, *BSD, Mac User Grps etc.
  What works well in other spheres is 'affiliation' of Clubs with a
national body.
  Club members get either discounted membership or a subset of benefits
  With AUUG and 'Affiliated' User Groups this could be discounts to
  the conferences/events, access to AUUG logistic support & active

- AUUG offers 'somewhere to go' after LUG's and other user groups.
  When you start to play 'high stakes' Unix, Where do you go to find
peers, swap
  'war stories' and get help or other views?? AUUG.
  And the same people will still attend their local User Groups for the
same reasons
  and rewards they get now.

- AUUG's main member benefit has always been its conferences & events -
they are 'deep',
  'surprising' and _always_ have _world experts_.  They are outstanding
IT conferences
  and lasting over 20 years [yes!] helped define the Australian IT
conference scence
  and have seen many major events come & go. [Remember 'The PC show'?]
  [By 'surprising', I mean I've always come away with something [info or
insight] that
  surprised me - was new to me & relevant to my work.]
  How do you get to know what you don't know??

- Our ~$100 pa is not enough at the moment.
  To breathe this new life into AUUG requires _time_ from members.
  If each of us can give 4-8-12 hours of time a year, that should be
more than enough
  to create a solid, robust foundation - and if not, it was no great
personal cost.

  The sort of volunteer activities are straight forward - web site/email
list mgt,
  face-to-face talks at User Groups or Universities/TAFEs, or the small
amount of
  work for 3-4 people organising local tutorials or conferences.

- Approach all the LUG's, *BSD & Mac User Groups etc offering
'Affiliation' & benefits
- Offer AUUG logistic support for 'linux.conf.au' and 'installfests'
- Actively promote AUUG activities in _all_ Unix-like user groups - on
the email lists
  [Call for papers, announcement, final reminder], web site links &

- Actively 'recycle' international-class speakers either brought out by
AUUG or that
  happen to be in OZ for other events.  This involves liasing with
LUG's, Mac grps,
  SAGE & even the ACS to share speakers and actively cross-promote with

- Rebrand AUUG EG: - "Aust Unix/Linux/BSD User Group"
  and "Where you go when you are playing 'High Stakes' Unix"

What AUUG offers is depth, history and excellence.  We just have to get
the message out.


Steve Jenkin, Unix Sys Admin
PO Box 48, Kippax, ACT 2615
0412 786 915

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