[Talk] A template for monthly meetings/talks. COMMENTS PLEASE

Greg Black gjb at auug.org.au
Mon Jan 19 21:57:19 EST 2004

On 2004-01-19, David Bullock wrote:
> On Mon, 19 Jan 2004, Greg Black wrote:
> >
> > Vendors don't need support from AUUG -- they have their own
> > methods for getting their message out wherever they want.
> The difference of a meeting is that the vendors and their
> potential or actual customers have an opportunity to interact.

Vendors and customers and potential customers can meet to their
hearts' content (and they do).  And they can easily take those
opportunities to interact as much as they want.

> Vendors might get the open-standards message louder if they
> met with AUUG members more frequently.  It is too valuable a
> forum to dismiss.

I'm sure vendors would get the message if AUUG members (and
others) were to make it a condition of their purchasing
decisions that their vendors supported the appropriate open
standards, rather than the tired old refrain: "Oh well,
everybody uses Microsoft, so we'll be safe if we do that."

The point is that making the open whatever case at AUUG meetings
is valuable to the extent that it encourages AUUG members to
take the message on board and to inform their decisions when it
comes to spending money.  The time to talk to the vendors about
it is at the time of purchase:  no support for open standards
means no sale.

If AUUG members keep on buying the closed stuff, then we are not
doing ourselves or the software-using community any favours.

> > What AUUG should be focussing its energies on is stuff like open
> > standards and open software -- that's the domain that needs work
> > from all of us, and it's where we stand to gain.
> General point taken, but do you have concrete ideas how such
> energies might best be expended?  'focussing' on open-standards
> in AUUG chapter meetings is somewhat preaching to the choir
> (unless the vendors are there too, listening).

Not at all -- AUUG members are as bad as the rest of the
community when it comes to taking the easy way out.  I do not
use Microsoft products at all and I refuse to support customers
who think they have to have Microsoft products in their place of
business unless those products are kept right out of the domain
where I have responsibilities.

But I constantly see AUUG members using Microsoft email clients
(which must be the bottom of the barrel when it comes to
rational choices), even when writing to AUUG audiences.  What
are they thinking?

First, we need to get AUUG members to understand just why open
standards are so important -- and then we, as such members, need
to get that message across to vendors.

> Should AUUG participate in the creation of such standards,
> or lobby for standards to be adopted or created?  Or seek to
> become a popularizer of university research into key problem
> domains in computing (get the good stuff into industry earlier),
> or a whip to the universities to get to work on the things
> that actually matter?

Yes, to pretty much all the above.

> I like the 'AUUG should be directing the industry' undertone
> here, but how does one achieve bang-per-buck given finite
> resources?

That seems to me to be a good topic.  Perhaps somebody could
prepare a paper on the issues and present it as a major part of
the next Conference?

I think this is an important topic and would love to see us take
it somewhere.

Cheers, Greg

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