[H-GEN] [H-ADMIN] Hi & Humbug AGM 2010

Russell Stuart russell-humbug at stuart.id.au
Sat Sep 11 20:30:02 EDT 2010

[thread moved to general, because it is relevant to the entire club]

On Mon, 2010-09-06 at 17:42 +1000, Andrew Gaydon wrote:
> At the meeting (& minutes), I got the distinct impression that
> 'Humbug' would resist becoming a 'Sub-committee' of LA.

You probably got that impression from what I said.  Just to be clear,
the problem isn't with having closer ties to LA.  Personally, I think
that would be a good idea.

The problem is effectively handing over control of the club and its
assets to a council in Sydney that is elected most by people outside of
Brisbane.  Historically Humbug's remit is different to LA's, and some of
the members still see it that way.  If I could see some benefit to
Humbug outside of the administrative detail of getting insurance, it
would be easier to justify.  So if closer ties meant more publicity, or
regular local activities LA help organised, or more recognition in some
area (eg government, business, universities), ease of getting talks -
something beyond just sorting out an administrative detail like
insurance, then my attitude would change.

But currently the only benefit is insurance.  It is a huge change just
to fix insurance.  Maybe it is necessary, but I think the Exec would be
remiss in their duties if they didn't take the time to look at possible
solutions before considering dissolving the club under its current

> Observation: 
> I'm sure that you are all aware of the ramifications of not being
> incorporated.

Don't be so sure.  I only know what I have read on the various
government web sites.  Eg:


Nonetheless, incorporation does involve taking on more responsibilities
and work.  I guess the question is it worth it, given all we are is a
set of people that share a common philosophy, who once a fortnight and
have a chin wag.

> The question of how to increase membership ? (a tough one).

Yes, that is the question.

When Humbug was formed years ago, the internet was new, open source was
novel and difficult to use, and bandwidth hard to come by and expensive.
Humbug offered free bandwidth, a place to learn how install and use open
source, and a place to talk about all this.

Now bandwidth is ubiquitous, your grandmother could install and use
Ubuntu, and you can chat about whatever you want on the zillions of
internet forums out there.  So the really compelling reasons that
brought people to Humbug have gone.

The one thing Humbug still aspires to be is the place in Brisbane you
can physically come and talk to others who are interested in open
source.  To be fair, if you judge by meeting turnout, we are the most
popular place in Brisbane to do that.  Also, you my not be aware of it,
but Humbug has a very active IRC channel that fills that role online for
many people in Brisbane.  You can join it on #humbug at
irc.humbug.org.au.  It is in fact one of the biggest IRC communities I
know of.

However, there is no doubt Humbug's membership is dropping.  We do need
to find people who are as interested in open source as we are, and bring
them into the club.  Realistically, those people will be students.
Students have historically been the most enthusiastic contributors to
open source.   And by good fortune, Humbug happens to meet where all the
students are.

The current plan, hatched by some of us at the last meeting, is to offer
free some LCA registrations to students who come along to humbug and
talk to us about what they are doing in open source.  We hope to get the
Uni's help us promote this as they are a natural fit - some of them even
base assessment on open source contributions.

Currently I am formulating our pitch for the Students and Universities
alike.  I plan to present it at a talk at the next Humbug meeting at
around 5PM.  This is just a case of me sprouting ideas, and hoping to
get feedback on improving them.  Once this pitch has been refined, the
next step will be to present it Uni's, in the hope that they will help
us locate their students who are as enthusiastic about open source as we
are.  I have already spoken to one UQ lecturer who is keen to help us.

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