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[SLUG] Update - April


Hi all,

April was a pretty good month, there was a _lot_ of work put into the
Free Trade Agreement (FTA) issue, in terms of submissions, education,
publicity and the like. Many thanks to everyone who helped out, and
especially to Rusty who put so much work into it, and has managed to
speak to _all_ the right people :) If you are one of the (few)
unenlightened, please check out http://linux.org.au/fta. It is your
future at stake here, and with our government already trying to sell
this idea to the US non-believers before listening to us, we have a lot
to be concerned about.
(http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2004/05/05/1083635180695.html)

The LA ctte has been able to attend several seminars and symposiums on
the FTA to give our point of view, and highlight to dangers present. We
have also been speaking to several vendors and government
representatives about it, we also have an article in this months IDM
magazine. Anyone who hasn't already, for <insert random deity> sake sign
the petition :) http://www.petitiononline.com/auftaip/petition.html

We have been trying to organise a visit from Lawrence Lessig to further
convince our government of the major concerns surrounding Chapter 17 of
the FTA. We've managed to convince him to take time out of his busy
schedule for a once off appearance directly to our senate, rock on! :)

Speaking of news, we have organised training for most of the press team,
and several key members of the ctte and community. This is a trial
thing, and if successful we may be able to offer this to more community
members who have a need for such skills. Basically we are aiming at
better arming our spokespeople and writers to come across more
professionally and more effectively to our wider audience. This will
hopefully help for LCA publicity as well as for issues such as the FTA
and other concerns of the community. We have now established several
relationships with publications and hope to have regular columns in some
of them (details next month! still being finalised) which means a real
voice out there.

Check out http://linux.conf.au as the LCA2005 team already have put a
few details up. They have some pretty kewl ideas and we are really
looking forward to supporting them for the next LCA!

We have had two grant requests this month, both from Computerbank NSW.
Both are still progressing through our grants procedure (described at
http://linux.org.au/projects/grants/. Apply for your project/event
today!).  Computerbank NSW has recently had the good fortune to be given
4000 machines, and we are looking to help them with establishing a way
to deal with the machines, so that they can better do their job and
distribute these machines to the socio-economically disadvantaged in our
community. We strongly support Computerbank and hope that anyone out
there with any time might also help them out. It is a good cause, and
humbling to realise that the Digital Divide issue is alive and kicking
right here at home.

We are happy to announce that we are getting back off the ground with
our education schemes. We are finalising the LA Education Officer
position and will soon announce the lucky vict^H^H^H^Hperson ;) On this
note, we are at this point in time the only official LPI Affiliate in
Australia, and have not yet really worked with this due to other issues.
We hope to strengthen our relationships with LPI and any other
certification bodies (such as Red Hat) in order to improve our
professionalism and ability as a community.

OSEG (http://opensource.org.au/oseg/) had a big win with their advice to
ACS (Australian Computer Society). The ACS has taken on our suggestions
almost intact and have even backed our advice about the FTA. They will
be officially unveiling their Open Source policies May 31st in Canberra.
Way to go!

We have a new web design, by the wonderful Janet Reid. Check out the
icons and penguin tracks at
http://www.lucychili.no-ip.org/linuxau/index.shtml. We will be playing
with this and have a mock site up soon, then hopefully the entire
website should be migrated within a month or two. We have a site-map
available at http://linux.org.au/~pia/la-web-structure2.jpg for anyone
interested. Warning, it is really big!

We had a successful speaker swap with OLS for LCA2004, and will be
having a speaker swap with LinuxTag for LCA2005. Way to go Damian Conway
who will be enjoying OLS this year! Unfortunately for us, OLS has become
a more kernel driven conference and so we decided to tee up with
LinuxTag who are more in the same vein for next year. 

What else? We are organising business cards (finally!) and also hoping
to have a sit-down OS demonstration for journalists in Sydney (to
start), so anyone interested in helping out please contact me on
pia@xxxxxxxxxxxx (SLUGgers especially! :)

I have been invited to speak at the Brazilian International Free
Software Conference (http://softwarelivre.org) and will be coming back
via New Zealand to visit :) I'll be ear-bashing the government
representatives there to find out how they went about their FTA
negotiations, and how it affects them considering their postitive
approach to open source.

Cheers everyone,
Pia
-- 
Pia Smith
President of Linux Australia
pia@xxxxxxxxxxxx