[Talk] OSIA structure & expectations, was: [Osia-discuss] Milestones

Stephen Jenkin sjenkin at canb.auug.org.au
Mon Mar 22 12:58:58 EST 2004

OSIA is/will be an _Industry_ association, not a User Group.  It's
intention is to represent _business_ in the field, which means others,
like 'the government', will expect it to speak for all OSS businesses.  
This is a _major_ discontinutity AND over the next 12-24 months all the
'major players', like IBM, HP, Sun, Oracle, SGE, Apple?, who are into OSS
will want to get on-board - welcome the 'suits' and non-geeks and
justifications in terms of dollar value and market share.

OSIA will sit beside User Groups [eg LA & LUGs], Professional Associations
[AUUG, SAGE-AU, ACS], Industrial bodies/unions [APSEMA] and other Industry
bodies [AIIA].  Getting the relationships clear and 'right' could take a
while and maybe some hissy fits.  And there'll be lots of people members
of MOST of these entities, wearing different 'hats'.

The AIIA handles 'interested but non-industry entities' [my words] as
Affliate members.  Presumably they don't have the same costs or voting
rights.  Because of the FOSS markets' early state of development,
individuals have a high interest in OSIA activities and potentially a high
level of input.

The things that we in Open Source do _exceptionally_ well - light-weight
structures, fast reaction, technical competence, strong connection
to/involvement with the technology & its geeks, clear vision of the
future, strong opinions, ethics/morals and sense of social justice and
direct community/customer involvement - need to be kept in this new world,
but they are typically diametrically opposed to the requirements and
approach of 'Big Business'.

A controversial point - I don't think the two can be reconciled, but the
tension between the two is necessary for a vigorous, honest and responsive
industry. Perhaps we need two distinct arms [geek/advocate and
business/marketing] within the one organisation - only joining them at the
top??  Perhaps two distinct organisations - but whatever it is, it has to
be clear, with clear boundaries.  And the sooner, the better.

[IBM lost its mainframe income stream when the pricing was ten times that
 of its substitutes (Unix & midframe). Microsoft has followed this path
 and will lose clients in exactly the same way.  When greed dominates for
 long enough, clients revolt.]

The immediate challenges are:
- decide on a 'one-body, two-arms' or 'two-bodies' strategy
- decide on a legal structure embracing 'branches' & membership types
- write a Constituion, set Objectives/Mission/Vision, election process
  and member polling/joint decision processes
- elect a Board of Directors, get registered, do the legals
- set initial goals/projects/tasks and their success/failure criteria
- get cracking

For those interested in what an industry body gets to look like after 25
years: http://www.aiia.com.au [Yes, that's a .COM]  From their site, it's
impossible to find out their membership fees and its structure.  From
ASIC, they are a Public Company, limited by guarantee.

Have they done a good job?? According to whom & what criteria?
I think Australia and our industry is better off for them being
around, even if local branches of multi-nationals are in there.

Did I mention that the entity we're planning now is likely to be around
for a long time? And that we get just one chance at starting it?
[Do you feel like a Founding Father? No pressure...]

[And some comments on the 'milestones' thread]

Apologies in advance for the aggressive editing...  A couple of comments
in-line below as well.

On Sat, 20 Mar 2004, Snowy Angelique Maslov aka 'Snowpony' wrote:

> Hash: SHA1
> On Sat, 20 Mar 2004, Brendan Scott wrote:
> > On the topic of membership fees, I think we should think about how
> > much money we would like the organisation to have as well as what
> > members should pay. 
> I personally like the fee model Scott suggested.

It's a very good start.

> I think $25 a year for individuals

A reasonable minimum fee.

> We have 185 individuals on the list apparently and 60 companies.
> We would also need to look at how we are going to run this and hold an initial
> AGM somewhere to vote in potential president, treasurer, secretary and however
> large an executive committee we come up with.

No - this is going to be an incorporated entity, it needs a
Constitution and a Board of Directors.
Either as a 'public company limited by guarantee', a 'public trading
company' or an Incorporated Association [incorporated in a state].

> What we probably should work out is what is likely going to be our required
> expenditure over the next 12 months and then set fees and solicit some
> donations from there.

That's very sensible...
Though, because things change, the structure needs to allow for additional
subscriptions to be made during a year in response to specific needs.

> - -- 
> Snowy "Snowpony" Angelique Cerise Maslov -- http://snowy.org/email.signature

Steve Jenkin, Unix Sys Admin
0412 786 915 (+61 412 786 915)
PO Box 48, Kippax ACT 2615, AUSTRALIA

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