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

Enno Davids enno at doc.metva.com.au
Mon Jul 8 13:31:54 EST 2002

On Thu, Jul 04, 2002 at 12:11:21PM +1000, Steve Jenkin wrote:
|Thanks for your comments.  I'm now subscribed to the list, so I can
|follow& reply...

I'm just replying to a random message here so please bear with me....

On the name:

I think AUUG is a name which has value in two areas. Its of the same pattern
as similar groups in other countries (UKUUG, etc.) and it has some history.
Both of these things work well to define to those in our field who we are.
What the letters stand for (this week?) may be less important. For newcomers,
a short bit of prose describing what we do is likely to be more definitive
than which particular words are used (and which ignored) in the construction
of the acronym.

On our Aims/Future:

This discussion has been interesting. Not least as it seems to me to be two
discussions in one. One of these is the how do we adjust our (AUUG's) aims
to be more inclusive and thus turn around the current membership decline.
The other is the "what's in it for the member" discussion. Its not clear
that when we discuss one we have the other clear in our minds though as much
of the talk around the former topic is targetted at how we engage with the
LUGs and BUGs of this world. But from what little I know of them, they're
pretty much happy the way they are and we have yet to articulate any real
value proposition for them. And while AUUG can be a group which offers a
mentor role for LUG and BUG members, its not clear to me that that's why I
want to be in the group, nor pay my $100 odd a year for the privilege.

For my 2c, AUUG needs to be the place people can go after the LUGs and BUGs
have nothing more to offer. Somewhere where people who've outgrown the
support of those groups can migrate to for help or chat or just like minded
friends. So long as we're just more of the same, we have no role as they're
already getting that and usually much more economically. (As I understand
it most LUGs and BUGs operate on a much more moderate fee structure?). But
AUUG can offer a place to go after the LUGs and BUGs quite happily. For the
people who perhaps have more than one Linux running. Or have dabbled in NeXT
or BeOS. More recently perhaps those Apple people who peeked under the curtain
of OS/X and become interested in what they saw. (I know that a lot of AUUG
people I speak to have become interested in OS/X for complementary reasons
for instance...). Whether this is enough to keep the group viable in terms
of numbers, I can't say.  (And clearly I think this is the real issue we're

As to the value proposition for individuals, its a lot harder. In AUUG-Vic
we've been discussing this for a while too under the heading of "How do you
sell AUUG to people you work with?" What are the compelling reasons for
joining? I'm not sure we've yet come up with any fantastic answers and that
speaks to our problem more generally I suspect. Is AUUGN worth those $100
odd we pay annually (I believe it soaks up the bulk of the annual fee?).
Is the conference content still compelling? Or am I attending just to network
with my peers? Is it worth the money we pay for it? The question of what a
member gets for his or her money is crucial though. Most of us old hands
remain in for simple reasons. (friends/loyalty/inertia?) But new recruits
will take a much harder line on what they get for their money. 

I too found Greg Rose's post earlier this year to be an interesting strawman
about a possible future. Not sure it got the discussion back then it merited
but as clearly, the issues are still with us. Is AUUG reaching a watershed
where we need to fundamentally restructure ourselves? Or can we continue on
as we have?

On M$'s future:

I can honestly say, I don't care here. M$ has a bunch of strengths and
weaknesses and these may well combine to see them through the next 20 years
or not. I can say I find their product lines way too flaky to want my data
to be coralled in that space, but enough others clearly differ that they
have a place for now. I'm also happy to say though that I actively encourage
people to consider other alternatives when asked! :)

Anyway, enough of this,



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