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Stepping Down as President of Linux Users Victoria and 2014 Committee (President and Secretary's) Report 2014

LUV annual general meetings are typically our smallest meetings of the year. It is a bold and few technically-inspired individuals who wish to sit through the necessary administrivia that keep the organisation alive in a formal sense, and the lack of an advertised speaker does suggest the possibility of ad-hoc pot-luck when it comes the short, technical lightning talks. However, I would like to make a special plea for LUV members to attend this agm. The reason being is that, after four years as president of LUV, I am going to step down from this position.

This is not because of any internal friction within the organisation, and it most certainly is not because the workload is too onerous, or the responsibilities too demanding. It is none of those things. Being president of LUV has been a privilege, an honour, and an opportunity to contribute in some small and meaningful way to one of the world's largest and oldest Linux user groups, a transformative operating system and application suite that embodies technical excellence and the high ethical principles of transparency through free and open-source licensing. Linux has changed the world and being part of that is really quite a wonderful experience.

The reason I am stepping down as president is really quite simple: It's time for someone else to take up the role of chief organiser and leader. It is time for someone else to give the organisation direction and contribute their innovations. Organisations need to regenerate themselves and one method to do those is to ensure that people do not become too attached to the positions that they hold. It is a sign of an organisation's illness if this does not occur in leadership roles (in the more administrative positions, e.g., treasurer, it is certainly less of problem). Where it does not occur the potential for empire-building within the organisation and obsession among the individuals concerned. Thus it is in the interest in preventing stagnation in the organisation and giving people the opportunity to make their contribution, that I am stepping down as president.

This does not mean however, that I am leaving LUV. Having served on the committee, or as public officer, since 2006, I would welcome any nomination that recommends me as a committee member. I intend to still be involved in helping LUV organise meetings, contribute to software freedom day, establish chapters in different parts of the state, write policy positions, and so forth. But please, no nominations as president.

It is somebody else's turn.

Posted to luv-main, Sun, August 31, 2014

2014 Committee (President and Secretary's) Report 2014

Following changes in the model rules for incorporated associations, the president's and secretary's reports are combined into a single committee report. The treasurer's report will be considered separately. The following is the committee report covering the period from the end of June 2013 to the end of June 2014 but also with supplementary comments from the period after that to this Annual General Meeting.

According to our subscription to luv-announce, which serves as a membership register, Linux Users Victoria has 1426 members.This is my understanding that this is an increase of approximately 5% on last year's numbers which itself is good increase. It is probably also helped by our decision to establish a meetup.com presence which currently has 222 members, along with a continuing social media presence on Facebook, Twitter and even back to the days of livejournal.

As a result Linux Users Victoria continues to hold its position as one of the largest and most active LUGs in the world, and with chapters in Melbourne, Ballarat, Geelong, Shepparton, and most recently the La Trobe Valley, we are, in many ways, operating as if we were several LUGs rather than just one. It is true of course that some of these chapters are not particularly active, and this should be flagged as an issue that the next committee must address. Nevertheless, as we grow and continue to do so new people have the opportunity to take leadership positions in these regional bodies.

In the period noted, LUV held 11 main meetings with 22 speakers and an estimated average attendance of approximately 30. In addition to these main meetings there were 10 beginners workshops, and 11 committee meetings Two beginners workshops were replaced with Software Freedom Day, which LUV
did most of the organising and was assisted by Free Software Melbourne, and the Annual Penguin Picnic. All of these events continue to have good attendance and active participation. In 2014 we also held a second AGM to re-confirm the financial report presented earlier but with the dates realigned to satisfy the Victorian government's requirements. It is also with some delight that it can be announced that Electron Workshop and Free Software Melbourne have taken the lead organising role of Software Freedom Day from LUV with our encouragement. We will, of course, continue our involvement, but the leadership is now in the hands of much more appropriate body.

In addition to organising these events - along with the operational and administrative activities such as maintaining our websites, mailing lists, the provision of Linux news at our meetings, and the library of LUV – a major success must be our contributions to the Australian government Advisory Panel on Intellectual Property review of the Innovation Patent System which largely came to the same conclusions as our submission. It is critically important that this be taken up with the relevant Federal minister for implementation and we look towards the national bodies to provide effective leadership to on this issue. LUV also reviewed and contributed to the Linux Australia submission on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and is a key stakeholder in the Linux Conference Australia 2016 which will be held in Geelong.

On a personal note, as many of you may have read, this will be the last report that I give to LUV as president. Having held the position for four years, I will not be accepting nominations for another term in this role. This is not due to any friction within the organisation, or because the workload is too onerous. It is simply because I do not believe that individuals should remain in leadership positions in democratic organisations for too long. Somebody else should be have the opportunity to take up this role and contribute their own innovations and dynamic to the organisation. I have seen the organisation grow in both the number of chapters and in the membership. Our finances are in good condition, and the attendance and active participation in our events remain good. I leave the position of president with the opinion that it has been an honour and a privilege to serve LUV and contribute to the Linux community, a transformative operating system and application suite that embodies technical excellence and the high ethical principles of transparency through free and open-source licensing.

I would like to give special thanks to members of the committee, who have worked tirelessly to make LUV a successful organisation this year. Les Kitchen has done a tremendous job as the organisation's secretary, and Wen Lin has once again, kept our finances in excellent order. Daniel Jitnah has continued in that highly varied and supportive role as vice-president, and our four anything-but-ordinary members, Deb Henry, Rodney Brown, Andrew Pam, and Russell Coker, have also engaged with dedication and sincerity in making our events a success. These individuals are deserving of our applause. Finally, I would like to thank you, the members, who have shown your interest in making the world a better place through Linux.

It has been a great for LUV, and a great four years for me personally. We can look forward to see what the future brings with some optimism.

Presentation to LUV AGM, Tuesday September 2nd, 2014