Jeremy (et. al.),

>After thinking about it for a bit, I don't know if we really need to
>find an umbrella organization right away.

All good points, and some of them were ones I was going to point out
this morning, but you beat me to it.

Other points:

Any formal organization that I know of, even one under an "umbrella",
has to have some definition of "membership", "charter", "structure" and

"Charter" could be "defining an open phone"

The definition of "membership" can be something as simple as "people on
this particular mailing list"

Bylaws state what people can and can not do, how many officers you have
(President, Secretary and Treasurer are the traditional ones), how they
are chosen (I almost said "elected", but that presumes things), and who
can chose them.

Do you have a board of directors?  Some foundations have a couple, with
one having fiscal and legal responsibilities, and the other may have
technical responsibilities.

I am modeling the new LI after a very old and successful organization
called "DECUS" (Digital Equipment Corporation User Society) as well as a
couple of other long-term successful organizations such as the
Automobile Association of America and the Association for the
Advancement of Retired People (yes, I know the last two are weird for
this group, but they have interesting models for "end users").

DECUS had country groups as well as many, many "Special Interest
Groups" (VMS, UNIX, Networking, Security, Hardware, etc.)  It was a
cross-matrix, so the Special Interest Groups could have members in many

But before you could form a "Special Interest Group" you had to have at

o Four members
o Three officers (President, Secretary, Treasurer)
o "Charter" - what you were going to do

The bylaws were supplied (for the most part) by DECUS, the central
organization, which had its own President, Secretary and Treasurer

Digital "sponsored" DECUS, but did not run it.  It truly was an
organization of Digital's users.

So, I suggest that your group follow the path of trying to solve some
issues like "who belongs", "who speaks for the group" and "what do we
want to do".  You will need to solve these before either forming your
own organization or approaching another.

In the meantime, as you said, I see no *real* hurry to do either.  You
have some time.

Warmest regards,

Jon "maddog" Hall
Executive Director           Linux International(R)
email:         80 Amherst St. 
Voice: +1.603.672.4557       Amherst, N.H. 03031-3032 U.S.A.
Cell:  +1.603.943.6666       WWW:

Board Member: Uniforum Association
Board Member Emeritus: USENIX Association (2000-2006)

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