Question: How would making an Advocacy SIG/LoCo a part of GNHLUG be beneficial?

My Answer: Easy-to-find-stuff-ness.  It's much easier to coordinate between
a SIG and a "mother" LUG than between SIGs in two totally separate
organizations.  Think of clapping your hands as compared to clapping one of
your hands with one of a friend.  It's confusing enough that our SIGs
already have their own web sites, mailing lists, etc.  "Privatizing" out
SIGs to other organizations would only fracture things more.

Question: Would having Ubuntu support a GNHLUG SIG compromise 501(c)(3) status?

My Answer: Perhaps.  If you go over the legalese with a fine-toothed comb,
the answer will probably be "No".  This is because any profit made by
promoting Ubuntu would be Ubuntu's profit, not profit for GNHLUG.  Of
course, I'm not a lawyer.  My personal opinion is that GNHLUG might do
better as a 501(c)(6).  Corporations accepted under 501(c)(6) are permitted
greater freedom with regard to lobbying, and it's not inconcievable that
GNHLUG (or one of its SIGs) might lobby as a part of some future advocacy
effort.  501(c)(3) corporations are still allowed to lobby, just not as
much.  I don't know if there will end up being a practical difference.  If
GNHLUG makes the decision, now, _not_ to engage in FOSS lobbying, 501(c)(3)
status would seem provide all the same benefits as 501(c)(6) status, with
the additional benefit that donations to GNHLUG would be tax-deductible to
the donor (if they itemize deductions, subject to the 50% limitation rule,
if the Sun is in the constellation Gemini on the date the return is filed).

Question: Should we have a SIG for every distro?

My Answer: No!  No.  Did I mention "No"?  Unless there are A LOT of people
interested, this is a recepie for the aforementioned balkanization.  We
might as well have a "Red Sox Fan Linux Users' SIG", a "Ex-Convict Linux
Users' SIG", and a "Ben Scott Linux Users' SIG" if we go down that road. :)

Question: What is the formal procedure for starting a SIG?

My Answer: We don't have one.  SIGs are informal.  I don't think SIGs are
anything which really need to be formalized, either.  They won't have any
contractual power; they're just an organizational convenience.  The only
thing SIGs really need to have is a unique name (think IANA).  It's
probably best to let SIGs form and dissolve as the need arrises.  If
someone wants to start a SIG, they should be free to do so with minimal
formal encumberance.  To have SIGs occasionally sprout, blossom, die out,
and come back strong a year later seems perfectly reasonable to be.  Those
SIGs which persist are those which generate enough interest to keep going.
It's a matter of "the survival of the SIG-gest".

Question: What about helping new users?

My Answer: Helping new users become familiar with FOSS and helping them
with problems they encounter is a proper role of an advocacy group.  How
fair would it be to introduce people to Linux and then make them figure
things out on their own?  "New User Support" is a vitally important part of

Question: Ubuntu SIG or LoCo?

My Answer: The Ubununtu Local Community Team (LoCo) has an peculiar
dual compostition; it's both Ubuntu-specific and an advocacy group.
The LoCo is a bit like water H2O: two parts hydrogen, one part
oxygen.  The LoCo is two parts advocacy, one part Ubuntu.  So
there's a danger, here, of mistaking "Ubuntu" for "Advocacy".

I think the issue at hand is how to incorporate a FOSS advocacy
subgroup under the GNHLUG umbrella.  I fear that creating an
Advocacy SIG, an Ubuntu SIG, and a Fedora SIG all at the same time
will serve to divide an already loosely-bound LoCo.  Matt has put a
lot of time into getting the LoCo organized, and there are a number
of people who are really pumped-up about getting out and promoting
Linux (specifically, Ubuntu).  This is NOT the time to start
dividing out into distro-specific SIGs but time to focus this
wonderful energy on the real point of this all: advocacy.  Yes,
Ubuntu is a great distribution for certain advocacy activities; and
yes, it's great getting CDs from Ubuntu; but that doesn't make it an
*Ubuntu* group.  It's still fundamentally about introducing Linux to
the outside world.

As mentioned above, an important part of advocacy is new user support.
As such, it would only be appropriate for an advocacy SIG with an
emphasis on Ubuntu to provide Ubuntu-specific support for new users.

So the answer (well, my answer) to the "Ubuntu SIG or LoCo?"
question is: neither but "Advocacy SIG (with Ubuntu focus)".
gnhlug-org mailing list

Reply via email to