[AUUG-Talk]: bequests and benefactors
millerp at canb.auug.org.au
Tue Dec 11 11:17:08 EST 2007
It is with a heavy heart that I put hand to keyboard to write these
words. Such a cliche, but so apt. I've spent some time thinking, over
the last couple of weeks, about how I feel about AUUG and its future.
These few words took many days to write.
The AUUG gave me my first chance to speak at a conference, it was the
first to publish a paper of mine, and it provided a community of
like-minded people to bounce ideas off. The AUUG over the years taught
me, challenged me, and supported me.
Before I get to the heart of this matter, some context for the following
discussion. From the AUUG Constitution:
3. The aims for which the AUUG is established are to promote
knowledge and understanding of Open Systems including but not
restricted to the UNIX system, networking, graphics, user
interfaces and programming and development environments, and
For the furtherance of these aims and to achieve its purposes,
the AUUG may carry out any or all of the following activities:
conduct technical meetings, conferences, discussion groups,
panels, lectures and other types of meeting; prepare and
distribute a newsletter and other publications; collect software
and distribute said software to its members for their use;
verify licenses of members for the purposes of administering
the services of the AUUG; subscribe to or cooperate with or
affiliate with or amalgamate with other associations formed
elsewhere with similar aims; accumulate assets; and establish
and promote other activities not included in the above list
consistent with its aims for the benefit of its members.
Dissolution of Auug
33 (3) If upon the dissolution of the AUUG there remains after
satisfaction of all its debts and liabilities any property
whatsoever, the same shall be paid or applied by the Management
Committee, according to a resolution of the membership at or
before the time of dissolution, to any fund, institution or
authority which, itself, is either a non profit company as
defined by Section 3(1) of the Income Tax Act 1986 or is exempt
from income tax.
It is my observation that members appear to be comfortable with the
notion of transferring most or all of the monetary assets of the AUUG to
the John Lions Chair for Operating System upon the dissolution of the
HOWEVER upon reading section 3 AIMS in the constitution, it seems to me
that the Chair only covers a subset of the AUUG's stated aims.
This, in itself, is not a problem. The AUUG conferences, taken
individually, rarely covered all of the AUUG's stated object "to promote
knowledge and understanding of Open Systems including but not restricted
to the UNIX system, networking, graphics, user interfaces and
programming and development environments, and related standards." The
same if true for any one issue of AUUGN.
Some members have objected to any of the AUUG's dissolution assets being
transferred to Linux Australia, citing insufficient coverage of the
breadth of the AUUG's stated aims.
Considered in this light, either a donation to the Chair is
inappropriate, or a donation to Linux Australia *is* appropriate.
Humour me a moment before hitting "Delete".
It is my observation and experience that Linux Australia is far more
inclusive than it's title may suggest. Its annal conference, for
example, welcomes talks from anyone with an Open Source bent. Before
you all shout me down, I acknowledge that this does not include some
proprietary Open Systems. But I'm not looking for an identical set of
organisational Aims (such an organisation would *be* the AUUG). The
John Lions Chair does not have an identical set of Aims, either: indeed
I have read the John Lions Chair documentation and there is no guarantee
at all that the John Lions Chair will ever look at *any* Open System in
its research, proprietary or otherwise, let alone all of them.
When I recall the beginnings of the AUUG, I recall an organisation keen
on swapping expertise, experience and source code. I recall conferences
where an inexperienced speaker was one who has only implemented *one*
Unix device driver. The conferences were largely by developers for
developers; there was no "management track".
I recall a community (though it did not call itself that) who shared
source code. Even AT&T shared the source code, until the suits got
involved. A community who shared an ethos. A community who's direct
legacy is the current situation in Australia where we have one of the
highest Open Source per capita participation rates in the world.
Linux Australia is the organisation which today represents a vibrant,
active and engaged community promoting knowledge, understanding and
*participation* in open source software including but not restricted
to: the UNIX system's offspring, AND networking, AND graphics, AND user
interfaces, AND programming environments, AND software development,
AND open standards. Those are the AUUG's aims, are they not?
Just as I see no conflict in presenting a substantial donation to the
John Lions Chair (even though it spans some but not all of our Aims),
I also see no conflict with presenting a substantial donation to Linux
Australia (even though it spans many but not all of our Aims).
Should the decision be made, explicitly or by default, that the AUUG is
to be dissolved...
I would move that:
if upon the dissolution of the AUUG there remains after satisfaction of
all its debts and liabilities any property whatsoever,
(a) any liquid assets (cash on hand, term deposits, bank account
contents) be donated to the UNSW Lions Chair for Operating Systems;
(b) all other tangible and intangible assets, including DNS domain
Names, trademarks, copyrights, computers, routers, office equipment,
etc, be donated to Linux Australia Inc.
I am sad to think that the AUUG may dissolve, but it would appear that
its day has come and gone. It's legacy, however, is alive and well.
Peter Miller <millerp at canb.auug.org.au>
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