[AUUG-Talk]: AUUG2007 speakers

Arjen Lentz arjen at mysql.com
Wed Feb 7 14:14:58 EST 2007

Hi Steve,

On 07/02/2007, at 11:19 AM, Steve Landers wrote:
> On 07/02/2007, at 10:01 AM, Arjen Lentz wrote:
>> On 06/02/2007, at 12:05 PM, Steve Landers wrote:
>>> On 06/02/2007, at 10:02 AM, Adrian Close wrote:
>>>> P.S.  We haven't had a conference theme in recent years and I  
>>>> think we need one.  Ideas wanted.  Winning suggestion gets at  
>>>> least a choccy frog.
>>> Without wishing to be (too) provocative - how about something  
>>> along the lines of "Open Source Software - it's more than just  
>>> Linux" ;-)
>> LCA also had BSD, microkernel, OpenSolaris and other talks.
>> So the above is by no means a differentiator.
> Actually, it is - who advocates/supports developers and users of  
> OSS applications on platforms other than Linux?

All of LCA, SAGE-AU and OSDC are conferences inclusive of the above  
topics, and of course there is Open Source Industry Australia  
(osia.net.au) advocating open source (incl open standards) use in  
Australia - and LCA and OSIA have been specifically effective in  
interactive with state and federal governments influencing policy, as  
well as gaining significant press attention for these relevant issues.

One gets recognition for things being accomplished, not just for  
stating intentions or principles.
Nor can one keep leaning on past accomplishments. What is happening NOW.

>> There are a number of currently well attended conferences in  
>> Australia:
>>  - LCA: kernel and other lowlevel stuff, assorted geeky gadgets.
>>  - SAGE-AU: sysadmin related stuff.
>>  - OSDC: more higher level developer stuff (app languages/tools).
>> These three appear to neatly complement eachother.
>> Can you indicate where AUUG fits?
> See front page of http://new.auug.org.au - in particular, the last  
> three points.

Let's look at all 5:

 > - Unix operating systems from proprietary vendors

Past AUUG conferences indicate otherwise, they have not covered  
proprietary unixes to any significance, and will therefore not have  
attracted members who have such an interest. In fact, I would  
question whether those who were members for that reason are still a)  
members and b) active, since in recent years their needs have  
apparently not been catered for.

 > - Linux, BSD and other Open Source operating systems

Same as all other aforementioned organisations and conferences.
We shouldn't let ourselves get stuck over the fact that LA is called  
Linux Australia. The LCA conference programs over recent years have  
clearly shown its broad appeal, and its growing attendance is further  
proof of that.
This year, there was, for instance, a keynote from Andy Tanenbaum.  
Definitely not a Linux fan even ;-)

 > - Open standards, specifically those which enable the free and  
unrestricted interchange of information

I think you'll find all relevant major organisations (Linux  
Australia, OSIA) on board with that (can't speak for SAGE-AU, I don't  
know), so while it's good and necessary that AUUG would also want  
this, it is by no means a distinguishing facet.

 > - Open Source applications, regardless of the platform they run on

Certainly, but this again is not unique to AUUG.
The others organisations and conferences actively support the same  
and this is reflected in their past activities.
OSDC already had Java and .Net topics last year, to name one specific  
practical example.

 > - other cool technical stuff

Depending on what level/topic exactly, I can definitely say that I've  
seen this at past LCA and SAGE-AU conferences (in abundance), and  
while I have not personally attended past OSDC conferences, the  
program certainly appears to have included this also.

I should mention that the AUUG conference is quite expensive compared  
to the other conferences.
You will find this to be a definite factor in people's decision  
making process.

But I also refer back to my earlier question here about which topics  
previous AUUG conferences have covered.
The AUUG board does not decide what AUUG is interested in,  
(potential) members have existing interests and will partake in an  
organisation that reflects that. Those who have seen no activities of  
interest to them will have either left or are dormant on autopay.
I was intrigued by the statement from the board that there had been  
no motion to disband AUUG at the AGM.
Speaking for myself and taking on board the points made here earlier,  
I think most people have left; it seems a bit silly to spend >$100  
and such merely to get to suggest and vote on closing shop. One may  
say that members will have voted with their feet already.

Mind you, and I want to be absolutely clear about this!
I think the AUUG conferences 2003-2005 that I attended were all well  
organised and interesting, I have met many new people and learnt  
about interesting topics.
But I also note that the number of attendees had been steadily  
declining, and I see the small attendance in 2006 as a reflection of  
that. There are no doubt many additional aspects to this, but we  
can't look purely inside AUUG. There are now other organisations with  
significant traction, and likewise other conferences. And our IT  
environment has evolved, right?

Organisations need to serve (and be seen to serve by others) a  
purpose other than validating their own existence. When they stop  
doing so, it is time to call it quits. That way volunteer efforts,  
money and goodwill is not wasted.
The stoic continuation of AUUG does not inspire me in any way. It  
ignores/dismisses rather than addresses issues.
I would like to celebrate AUUG's past great achievements, not see it  
limp on comatose.

Arjen Lentz, Support Engineer & Trainer, MySQL AB
Based in Brisbane, Australia

MySQL support subscriptions @ mysql.com/products/enterprise/
MySQL news & blogs @ www.planetmysql.org

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