[AUUG-Talk]: Conference Update

Christopher Vance Christopher.Vance at auug.org.au
Tue Sep 25 12:26:37 EST 2007

On Tue, Sep 25, 2007 at 07:04:25AM +1000, Peter Jeremy wrote:
>As I've previously stated, I can't justify a trip to Melbourne this
>year after attending last year's conference.
>There have been a couple of comments about this year being the last
>AUUG conference but I don't recall seeing any discussion about the
>background to this decision.

It takes time, effort, and money to organize a conference.


At the moment, we have a board of only four people, soon to be three.
If members aren't willing to do some board time, things eventually
peter out.


The smaller the number of people involved in organizing stuff, the
less happens, and the more stress on those left trying.  One of our
board is down for preventive maintenance, and one is about to leave
Australia to work OS.


Because the board was late starting to organize the conference last
year, we made a loss.  We hope to break even with a cheaper conference
this year, but don't have the reserves to keep doing this.

We do have a significant sum in the Lions Trust (I'm not sure of the
name and legal situation) but this is dedicated money, not available
for regular activities.  This is for student papers.


It used to be that AUUG had a niche with no competition.  Since then,
many of the things which used to be AUUGish things to do have grown
their own dedicated organizations and conferences.

This is not a bad thing, and we don't envy their successes, but it has
left AUUG like a swiss cheese where what's left is the small bits
between big holes.

We don't just do Linux.  We don't just do Open Source.  We don't just
do Internet.  We don't just do System Adminstration.  We don't just do
non-proprietary Unixes.  We don't just do proprietary Unixes.

It's fine that there are organizations which do all these things, but
the non-exclusion which made AUUG what it is, is now part of what
makes AUUG no longer a viable competitor in its own original niche.


There are a number of possible ways forward:

1) We could try to run smaller conferences, possibly even regional
ones, as long as they break even.  But the chapters are basically
dead, so I don't really see this working.

2) We could wind up, and give everything to the Lions Chair.  Probably
the easiest choice.

3) We could wind up, and give everything to newer organizations.  Any
Lions Trust money would have to be passed on with similar strings.

4) Rename the organization to the AUUG Lions Foundation (or similar)
to express that this is all we do.  Unfortunately, we probably don't
have enough income to support the organization to do only this.

5) Other alternatives members might suggest.

I was hoping to get a motion up at AGM to make some actual choices,
but I think we're already out of time on this.

It looks like the board will need to deal with the future direction of
AUUG after the conference is over.

Christopher Vance

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