[Scottish] Re: News Letter April 08

Dan Shearer dan at shearer.org
Mon Apr 14 01:38:03 BST 2008

On Sat, Apr 12, 2008 at 11:33:38PM +0100, Willie Fleming wrote:

> I'd be very interested to hear what plans Dan Shearer has for the domain. 

Three domains actually: scotlug.{com,org,net}

When I arrived in Scotland I wanted to find out who did FLOSS here. Like
many others, I found the most obvious thing online was Scotlug. It also
seemed to me the Linux community in this country was still working out
what it wanted to be. I thought it was likely that the most obvious
tag/name/brand for FLOSS in Scotland, Scotlug, would end up becoming
more important over time. So I got the domains before some other
sector[1] did.

In the last three years the Scottish FLOSS community has started to
define itself. Small (<40 people) events happen quite often in various
cities now; two mid-sized development conferences have been hosted
(Akademy in Glasgow and Debconf in Edinburgh); the launch speech for
GPLv3 was given in Scotland by its author; there is now an OSS category
in the annual Scottish Software Awards; MSPs are being directly involved
in FLOSS issues. I could go on. All very encouraging.

These days I think the happenstance Scotlug brand is stronger than it
was. The website has regular activity and is more clearly a jumping-off
place for finding your local LUG. So I think Willie is exactly right,
now's a good time to think about what's next for free software
representation in Scotland. I've written up some specific thoughts for
Scotlug including what we can do with the domains at
Then I discovered the wiki is locked and I can't remember what I do to
unock it. Please can someone do the necessary again, thanks :-)

In the meantime, since people have been talking about the idea of an
umbrella organisation, here's a case study I think is relevant:
Australia.  A decade ago the Australian FLOSS community was in an
analogous position to what we have in Scotland today. How has it turned

In Australia there are many LUGs with wildly different structures and
styles. There is also a peripatetic conference, linux.conf.au, which has
gradually become a central brand[2] and is looked after by a very
light-touch central group called Linux Australia[3] which is constituted
so that pretty much everything happens electronically. It is Linux
Australia that awards the conference to a bid team from a city/LUG each
year, and who looks legit and long-term enough that large companies feel
comfortable handing over sponsorship cash year after year. It is Linux
Australia that is the notional official badge behind involvement in
national discussions about IP legislation, no matter who the particular
bods are who turn up to explain the world to MPs. It is Linux Australia
that decided to expand the community by defining New Zealand (4 hours
flying time away) as "Australia" so linux.conf.au could be held there,
and BSD as a kind of Linux with respect to linux.con.au..  But the
LUGs[4] are where the life is, and Linux Australia is dedicated to them.


Dan Shearer
dan at shearer.org

[1] "ScotLug - general hauliers for people of the Northern persuasion", or
"ScotLug - Society for Plastic Ear Surgeons in Scotland", perhaps.

[2] http://lwn.net/Articles/267870/ is a reasonable summary. Many have
said its the best conference in the world. I'd modify that to "the
English-speaking world" and shed a tear for the demise of the Atlanta
Linux Showcase which was a similar 100% community organisation.

[3] http://linux.org.au

[4] compare each of http://www.linux.org.au/conf/200[1-7] with
http://linux.conf.au (2008) and http://marchsouth.org/ (2009) . Each
totally different, although code for things like the registration
database and documents for planning are passed along from year to year.

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