Minutes of Linux Australia
Annual General Meeting 2016
Deakin University, Waterfront Campus, Geelong, Victoria
Monday 1st February 2016, Room D2.193 Percy Baxter Theatre
Minutes taken by Ms Sae Ra GERMAINE, Ms Kathy REID.
Collated by Ms Katie McLAUGHLIN
The meeting was opened at 1802 by Mr JOSH HESKETH
Mr HESKETH noted that it was his last AGM as president
MOTION by Mr HESKETH That the minutes of the 2015 AGM are accepted https://linux.org.au/meeting/2015-01-12
SECONDED by Mr STEWART SMITH
CARRIED with 1 abstention
President’s Report (Appendix A)
The President’s report was presented by Mr HESKETH
No comments from members were made on the President’s report
Members thanked the Council members in doing the due diligence
Members thanked the admin team, for auditing
Mr HESKETH noted the following:
Overseeing the events has been a challenge
The LCA Ghosts allows for the continuation of knowledge
A review of the policy should be undertaken in future years
LA’s ability to address this relies on member submissions
Submission was made in the previous year of the TPP, software patents and intellectual property.
The Council has an outstanding action item to make contacts to various people that may have some information and legal advice on what we can do.
state has not changed we have a document that shows what we require
The strategy is to rewrite or look for an alternative solution seeking input from volunteers
the need for a name change. “Linux Australia” is no longer accurate, very little of our work is focussed on Linux itself.
This is the last term for Mr Josh HESKETH
Mr Josh HESKETH comments that it has been a pleasure and an honour
Questions from the Floor
Mr Craige McWHIRTER comments that GovHack 2016 was not listed as an event
Mr HESKETH replied that there is not a formed subcommittee for GovHack 2016 at this time. They are working on a new policy which will better suit their needs. Council to work through this. Expect it to be a subcommittee.
Mr Peter CHUBB asks what is happening with older subcommittees
Mr HESKETH replies that there are two types of subcommittees: Events Subcommittees and Other Subcommittees. Some subcommittees are such as LUGs and Meetups are formed under the old policy, but newer events are covered under the newer subcommittee policy. Without enthusiastic volunteers, we won't establish a new committee.
MOTION raised by Mr Mike CARDEN to accept President’s report
SECONDED by Mr Christopher NEUGEBAUER
CARRIED with one abstention
Ms Kathy REID initiated the conversation of Inflection Point
Refer to http://lists.linux.org.au/pipermail/linux-aus/2016-January/022356.html
Ms REID strongly urged the 2016 Council to consider the document
Presented by Mr Tony BREEDS (via teleconference)
Mr BREEDS apologises for the late delivery of the report, and thanked the 2014 Council for leaving the budget in such a good shape; even though there was an income loss due to LCA2014 not performing quite as expected.
Mr BREEDS notes the financial year for the report is from October 1 to September 30
Mr BREEDS reports a high profit of $143,000 over the last financial year.
Mr BREEDS notes that the profit was due to the success of the LCA2015, DrupalSouth and PyConAU conferences, and thanks those event organisers.
Mr BREEDS notes a small loss from the WordCamp Sydney event, due to one of their sponsorships from WordPress. Linux Australia is working closely with the WordPress Foundation.
Mr BREEDS notes that the suggested improvements from the 2014 Council Treasurer Mr Francois MARIER have all been actioned.
Mr BREEDS notes that of the $5,000 set aside for grants, only half of this was used. This is due to the way grants are counted. The grant for Drupal 8, for example, was handed out of profits of conferences, and appear as Sponsorships rather than Grants
Mr BREEDS notes that the insurance costs for the year were over budget, due to the GovHack event.
Mr BREEDS notes a signed 3 year contract for server maintenance
Mr BREEDS notes that the 2016 budget has not been formally moved to Council. Mr BREEDS suggested that LA increase budget for sponsorship to support organisations such as SFC, EFA and Drupal Foundation.
Mr BREEDS thanks all past Treasurers for their hard work and efforts, specifically Mr RUSSELL STUART and Mr PETER LIEVERDINK
Questions from the Floor
Mr HESKETH notes a profit of $22-23K. The way the financial stuff worked and WordPress Foundation. When it was resolved, we needed to cancel the invoice we had for WordPress. We do not use the overall profit as success.
MOTION by Mr STEVEN ELLIS to accept the Treasurer’s Report
SECONDED by Mr PAUL WAYPER
CARRIED with 1 abstention
Auditor’s Report (Appendix C)
Presented by Mr HESKETH on behalf of the Auditor
Mr HESKETH reported that a Financial Audit has been conducted. The entire report, and all notes, are available online
Questions from the floor
Mr Julian GOODWIN asks whether the holding of large amounts of cash reserves is appropriate
Mr HESKETH replies with an outline of how LA holds cash equivalents and manages cashflow to optimise revenue.
Ms REID asks if the auditor’s report was qualified or unqualified
Mr HESKETH replies that it was an unqualified report
MOTION by Mr Andrew DONELLAN to receive the Auditor’s Report
SECONDED by Mr Tim SERONG
Secretary's Report (Appendix D)
Presented by Ms GERMAINE
Questions from the floor
Ms Lin NAH asked a question between the difference between financial and non financial membership
Ms GERMAINE notes that there is no difference. Ms GERMAINE also notes that donations can be accepted, but not as a financial member. Also noted is that this has been considered in the past but was decided as not something the Council wanted to pursue at the time.
MOTION by Mr Cameron TUDBALL to accept the Secretary’s Report
SECONDED by Mr Matthew CENGIA
MOTION by Ms REID that the membership approves of the actions of Council
SECONDED by Mr Peter (Surname Missed)
CARRIED with 5 abstentions
MOTION by Ms REID that the Linux Australia community extend their sincere thanks to Mr JOSHUA HESKETH for his exemplary, tireless and sustained efforts as President, Treasurer and Council Member of Linux Australia for the last six years. His affable nature, diplomatic approach, diligence and forethought have served the organisation invaluably.
SECONDED by Mr Mike CARDEN
CARRIED with 1 abstention by Mr HESKETH
MOTION by Ms REID that the Linux Australia community extend their sincere thanks to the Council for 2015: Vice President Mr JOSH STEWART, Secretary Ms GERMAINE, Treasurer Mr BREEDS, Council Members Mr JAMES ISEPPI, Mr McWHIRTER, Mr NEUGEBAUER
SECONDED by Ms McLAUGHLIN
CARRIED with 4 abstentions
General Questions from the Floor
Mr ELLIS enquired about the potential for a partnership with the NZOpen Source Society. Trying to get a lot more events in motion, wanting to strengthen partnerships with Linux Australia
MOTION by Ms REID to that the community in general support the closer working together of the NZ Open Source Society and Linux Australia
SECONDED by Mr ELLIS
Ms DONNA BENJAMIN highlighted the lack of awareness of the Drupal Community. Ms BENJAMIN notes that she is aware that the Drupal Association wants to own the Drupal Events in Australia
Mr HESKETH replies that council have been working with the Drupal Community over the last few months to strengthen the relationship. Acknowledged some miscommunication has occurred with WordPress Foundation and the way that sponsorship occurs. Need to work closely to reduce administrative overhead, and to align goals and interests. Both organisations want to run good open source events.
Ms BENJAMIN asks if there was an expectation that the profits from WordCamp would be returned to the WordPress Foundation
Mr HESKETH replied that No, and the Council would ensure clarity in the future.
Mr Tim (Surname Missed), Lead of WordPress Brisbane, noted that is was their understanding that the financial issues had been resolved, and the WordPress Foundation is grateful for the services that LA provides, and express their gratitude. WordPress community in Australia is willing to work with the Drupal communities and LA to strengthen all communities.
Election of 2016 Council
Mr STEWART SMITH acting as Returning Officer
Mr SMITH notes that the election is run on software he wrote.
Full results https://linux.org.au/membership/index.php?page=view-election&id=22
President: Mr HUGH BLEMINGS.
Vice President: Ms KATHY REID
Secretary: Ms SAE RA GERMAINE
Treasurer: Mr Tony BREEDS
Council Members: Ms CHERIE ELLIS, Ms KATIE McLAUGHLIN, Mr CRAIGE McWHIRTER
Of note: the Election Software recorded an identical amount of votes for Mr McWHIRTER and Mr JAMES ISEPPI. Due to the nature of the program, a ‘coin flip’ of unknown randomisation was used to present either candidate on the page, changing when the page is refreshed.
The Tie Break used was a Physical Coin Flip during the AGM. This was won by Mr McWHIRTER
It was Noted that this Council represents the highest number of women to ever serve on a Council, and are in the majority for the Council
Mr SMITH thanked those who voted, the outgoing council, and the incoming council.
Mr HESKETH gave a warm welcome to the incoming council
Questions from the floor for the new council
Mr HESKETH notes that the votes in the 2015 election numbered 70, whereas this election, 2016, numbered 112. This is a significant increase.
Mr TENNESSEE LEEUWENBURG asked a question regarding active discussion, new names, directions and strategies
Mr BLEMINGS replied that this was something we need to engage with the council and the broader community.
Address from the Incoming President
Mr BLEMINGS noted he was grateful to serve the community in his new position.
Mr BLEMINGS thanked Mr SMITH as the returning officer
Mr BLEMINGS noted the issue of addressing the membership database, with tooling being but one of the interesting challenges ahead.
Mr BLEMINGS noted the expectation as the council to rely on the community
Mr BLEMINGS opened the floor to further questions
Mr RUSSELL COKER noted a LUV free BBQ
Ms CHERIE ELLIS noted communications with NZOpen Source will be improved
MR JOSH HESKETH officially closing the meeting at 1916 hours
Appendix A: President’s Report
Linux Australia continues to be the peak body for Open Source communities in Australia with a strong year. 2015 saw seven open source conferences run within Australia and New Zealand by volunteers under the auspices of LA. This sustained strength in local events is a testament to the dedication and hard work of our collective and expanding community.
During the year the organisation had to deal with an unfortunate breach of their servers. Thankfully the damage was limited and no personal data is believed to be compromised. Full details were released to the members as soon as it was practical and the overall handling and disclosure of the incident was widely praised. A second potential leak of information later in the year highlighted the need for more volunteer help and efforts in keeping our systems up to date and our data secure.
After the financial loss from the previous year, the organisation has managed to return a healthy profit and strengthen its overall position allowing itself to be self insuring against conference losses. This is thanks to the hard work of all the events and volunteers throughout the year.
While a 2016 budget is still being drafted it is the hope of the outgoing council that some of the extra funds will be put into the grants and sponsorship account allowing the organisation to create stronger roots in allied organisations such as the Software Freedom Conservancy and the Electronics Frontiers Australia.
The organisation is at a bit of a crossroads while it looks towards the future. I believe protecting our values in an online-first world will become increasingly important. Software as a service poses significant challenges to open source, open data and privacy. I hope to spend a bit of time thinking about ways in which we can address some of these challenges both as Linux Australia and as an open community.
Kathy Reid kicked off a great inflection point on Linux Australia’s strategic direction, proposing some challenges, options and solutions. Anthony Towns also weighed in with some very pragmatic thoughts that were well received by the members. These discussions are ongoing and anybody interested in weighing in (or even better, volunteering) is encouraged to do so on the linux-aus mailing list (which also contains the relevant archives).
As many are likely aware, I decided early on in the year that this term would be my last. I have been on the council for 6 years now (and involved with LA for even longer) and I think it's time for some fresh blood, so to speak. I can not give enough thanks to all of the members and fellow councilors for their support and hard work during this time. I look forward to welcoming in the new council and wish them all the best.
Events and Conferences
During 2015 there were 7 conferences/events ran as part of Linux Australia.
JoomlaDay Brisbane 2015
WordCamp Brisbane 2015
The upcoming events currently being organised as part of Linux Australia:
PyCon AU 2016
WordCamp Sunshine Coast 2016
Reports from the various conferences and their activities can be found at http://linux.org.au/sub-committees or their individual websites.
A timeline of all of Linux Australia’s events can be found here: http://tinyurl.com/koye3mw.
Grants and Sponsorships
Linux Australia has long had a grants programme open to its members for helping fund items that are in alignment with our values. This year the Council approved 2 requests from members and sponsored 3 initiatives.
Contributions to the Drupal8 Acceler8 fund to the value of $7,500
Grant Request from Andrew Donnellan to fund Russell Keith-Magee as a presenter at CompCon 2015 to the value of $1,200.
GovHack award “Open source bounty” for $2,000
Grant request from Donna Benjamin to the value of $1,000 to support the release party for Drupal 8.
DrupalCamp Silver Sponsorship to the value of $500
The current non-conference based sub-committees are:
Sydney Linux Users Group
Media and Communications Subcommittee
Reports from the various sub-committees and their activities can be found at http://linux.org.au/sub-committees
Subcommittee policy and procedure updates
During 2014 the council spent a considerable amount of time working on a new subcommittee policy to help with oversight and the longevity of Linux Australia’s various events. The policy has proven to be a success and has ensured that our conferences have the appropriate help and responsibility assigned to them.
While the policy has been very effective in the early stages of a new subcommittee (during the formation and early budgeting) adherence to it has tended to dwindle as events get closer to their dates. One challenge is finding effective community members to help sit on the various subcommittees. Another is clearly the larger amount of bureaucracy that the policy adds.
The 2016 council should pay close attention to this to ensure that events do not become complacent. A review of the policy would also be helpful given the extra data after having used it for over a year to make sure the policy is actually practicable and actionable.
Advocacy, outreach and related activities
Through our Twitter account, we highlighted articles of interest to the Australian Linux community and grew our number of followers.
Outreach relies on our members taking doing a lot of the leg work. We would like to encourage those interested to take initiative and reach out to the council for support.
One of our carry-over goals from 2014 we hoped to achieve this year was to update our membership platform (currently memberdb). Unfortunately other priorities and difficulties in infrastructure prevented significant effort being expended on this item.
The current membership platform is frail and in need of updating. We need ways to better manage importing of members from LCA registrations, and better ways of contacting our members who may not be on the mailing lists.
The Council, thanks to the hard work of Kathy Reid, has put together a list of requirements of a membership platform and will be looking for volunteers to help with shifting to a new system.
Additionally the Council has considered ways to keep the membership list relevant with only active participants. This is a continued discussion that is dependent on a new system to improve communication before any action can be taken.
Linux Australia has a lot of challenges ahead of itself for the coming few years.
I would like to see the community thinking about some bigger questions. The organisation has been successful in recent years in running events but less so in lobbying to the government or advocating for policy changes etc.
Linux and open source are generally well received technologies and don’t require advocating for in the same way that they may have been 10-15 years ago. This raises a question of how do we stay relevant as Linux Australia. In fact, it is pretty obvious that we aren’t relevant as "Linux" Australia since we’re much more about being an open source organisation.
A name change for our organisation has been discussed many times before, but I believe it to still be an important discussion. However, extending even further from that are more fundamental questions to the organisation. For example, with open source being so mainstream, what does that mean for us? Or what does the popularity of mobile and web platforms mean for open source? Are there opportunities or a need for advocacy in those areas? How do we extend our ideals to open web, open data, open government, open hardware and open culture? How do we ensure that our values are upheld in our industries?
I would like to encourage and challenge our membership to be discussing these types of issues in a large picture sense and to be giving thought as to how we might be able to address some of them. Clearly these types of questions are very difficult to tackle purely at a Council level - especially when they are concerned with the administration and ongoing running of the organisation - so it is imperative that the community attempts to gain a consolidated voice in these areas.
A lot of these challenges are reflected in the 2013 membership survey where our brand and purpose was often mis-identified by members not understanding what we do. Addressing these systemic questions will help guide the direction of the organisation and also lead towards addressing issues such as our poor communication to membership.
It has been an honour to be trusted by the community to lead this organisation for such a long time. While I haven't achieved as much as I had planned, it has been a privilege to be involved and to do what I could. I hope that I have been able to improve and continue the organisation's success during this time. Thank you all for this opportunity.
While I have left a large number of proposed, and deliberately unanswered, questions in this report, I hope our members are not discouraged. I believe that we’ve had a very successful year and from an everyday running standpoint we continue to be functional and productive.
However I also believe we will find ourselves at a crossroads where, without these questions addressed, over the next year or two we will fail to keep relevant and we risk becoming complacent and existing purely to do no more than running conferences.
Perhaps that isn’t a bad thing, but it really comes down to our community and members. The Council is not here to drive the organisation but to merely enable its members. As such the direction and outcomes of the organisation will be defined by what we can do collectively, and not by what the Council tries to do.
Of course with the emphasis on the members I can not state highly enough just how much work volunteers put into the organisation. I wish I could thank them all, but I don’t think it is possible. Needless to say it is through the continued hard work of these individuals that Linux Australia continues to operate, and as such, I wish to say thank you to everybody who has been involved.
Similarly with myself not being on the 2016 council, that doesn't mean I will be disappearing altogether. I intend to help the new council on these challenges in any way I can. I also want to make sure that I'm available to consult and offer advice where possible should the new council wish to reach out.
Thank you all for a wonderful term. I look forward to watching this organisation continue to grow to its full potential.
- President, Linux Australia
Appendix B: Treasurer’s Report
Appendix C: Secretary’s Report
Appendix D: Auditor’s Report
Appendix E: Record of Attendance
Andrew Van Slageren