Open Source Briefing - Report & THANKS
sjenkin at pcug.org.au
Thu Dec 19 22:40:39 EST 2002
Many, many thanks for all your help & feedback.
My meeting with the Treasurer/Deputy Chief Minister, Ted Quinlan went well.
It was a little cramped for his advisor Peter Madden & myself - Mr Quinlan got to
sit & drive the web browser on his PC & we stood around.
There are 2 followups Mr Quinlan has asked for & another I will ask him about
- meetings with the major vendors about what they can do with Open Source
- a set of proposals for 'Actions & initiatives'. I will deal with Peter forming
and I will approach them to see if in the New Year a _group_ presentation can be
I left Mr Quinlan with a copy of Senator Lundy's press release [Cbr Times] on Open
Also rang the Senators' office telling them I'd met with Mr Quinlan and they
Mr Quinlan was interested in both the $$ savings & 'social equity' issues - but
_much_ more interested in the opportunities of building businesses here in town.
Dropped in on OzLabs & talked to Hugh Blemmings, Martin Schwenke, Stephen Rothwell
about what had been said & what to do next - both IBM corporate & CAUUG/CLUG.
Went to the UUnite/CAUUG BYOE-BBQ & met with the crowd, gave a report and asked
for stories and feedback.
Ben Elliston came up with heaps - including that Redhat should present. He will
approach them. [All the vendors need to liase about the content to present a
Rusty Russel talked about a recent trip to Spain [a poor province, Caitlin?] that
had especial problems that were well solved with Open Src - got to deploy _double_
the number of PC's!! They made their own dialect distribution, setup a (school)
teacher training course [contract locals to write it], and setup 29 'internet
cafes'. Really impressive.
Michael Still [& family], Martin S, Stepehen R, Brad Hard, Keith Matthews all
contributed interesting & v. useful insight and comment - and do you think I took
a tape recorder. Damn!!!
One of Mr Quinlans first comments was what computing is all about - "I dont know
[or care to?] what my PC runs. (It should just work...)". This is what IT is all
about - empowering others with our tools, not enslaving them or holding them to
After my 'What is OpenSrc' slide I got the (predictable) question - "How do they
make money from _giving away_ their work?" - A question I didnt have a good
(&short) answer to. The group tonight came up with a good one - Open Source is
not about selling (thousands of) _product_ - it is about selling a service. Your
ability to add features, customise or install a package.
Mr Quinlan seemed to understand _why_ having access to source code was so
important - you never get stranded or orphaned - and you can take the code just
where you want.
The business model is lots of highly-specialised, expert/world class _small_
groups that offer support/customisation/extensions. These groups are born
_global_ with the Internet - and Canberra already has more than its fair share of
world-class experts in a number of projects/areas.
He is also enough of a realist to know that he cannot just decree 'Open Source' -
it won't happen unless there is a real ground swell. Which means we have to start
to identify in detail just what Open Source activities are already happening
inside InTACT & ACT Govt [and also elsewhere in Canberra].
The group tonight thought is was obvious that the Education market was the best
'first market'. Are there other 'low hanging fruit' any of you know of?? For
instance, places that just want to offer browser access [like ACT libraries] could
run 'Kopix' even.
Thanks for bearing with me this long - My Christmas Question to you all is this:
What sorts of actions & initiatives would _you_ like to see??
I'd like suggestions/refinements for the sorts of proposals we can put to the ACT
I'll issue this call again in early-Mid Jan. I'm thinking of getting the proposal
in before end of January.
Steve Jenkin, Unix Sys Admin
PO Box 48, Kippax, ACT 2615
0412 786 915
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