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BLUG Management (was Re: [blug-non-tech] Hope you all had fun !)

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  • Kiran Jonnalagadda
    ... A few questions here. Apologies if these were answered at the meet; I didn t attend and didn t see these answered in the minutes of the meet. 1. Who are
    Message 1 of 15 , Aug 31, 2003
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      On Monday, August 25, 2003, at 08:45 PM, Atul Chitnis wrote:

      > Well, for those few who didnt attend the meet (210 of you did) - we
      > didn't
      > select any logo, because none of them were what we were looking for.

      A few questions here. Apologies if these were answered at the meet; I
      didn't attend and didn't see these answered in the minutes of the meet.

      1. Who are the "we" referred to above? I know "we" is supposed to
      expand to "managers of LB/2003", but who are these people? Can we have
      a list of names and a description of what each did to become a manager?

      2. Where are the logos that were submitted? Don't BLUG members have a
      right to choose their logo democratically? Why is this task assigned to
      a self-appointed management?

      3. Several companies must be interested in sponsoring the BLUG site for
      the benefit of publicity in each page's footer. Don't BLUG members get
      to choose who sponsors the site? Competition among sponsors will ensure
      that the site is well maintained and useful. For example, the current
      front page does not validate at the W3C validator [1], even with
      Doctype and Encoding explicitly specified [2].

      [1]
      http://validator.w3.org/check?uri=http%3A%2F%2Flinux-bangalore.org%2F
      [2]
      http://validator.w3.org/check?uri=http%3A%2F%2Flinux-
      bangalore.org%2F&charset=iso-8859-
      1+%28Western+Europe%29&doctype=HTML+4.01+Transitional

      4. As a registered not-for-profit society, isn't the BLUG legally
      obligated to present to members an annual statement of accounts and
      minutes of board meetings?

      4a. Where is the statement of accounts for the financial year 2002-03?

      4b. Who are the members of the board? How did they get elected to that
      post?

      4c. Does subscribing to the mailing lists make one a member of the BLUG
      (for the legal definition) or is there some other procedure? If the
      latter, what is the procedure?

      The memorandum of association at
      http://linux-bangalore.org/blugmemo.php does say something about these
      issues, but has significant gaps. For example, where is the "prescribed
      form" for membership and when are the annual general meetings held?

      5. Who appoints the coordinator for each year? In three years and three
      coordinators I have seen, the next coordinator is always named at a
      meeting without prior discussion either at a meeting or here in the
      non-tech list. How is this decision made?

      I hope someone has answers for these. An organisation that purports to
      be the country's largest association of open source/free software
      supporters cannot appear to be run by a closed/anonymous management.

      --
      Kiran Jonnalagadda
      http://www.pobox.com/~jace
    • Biju Chacko
      ... /me decides to go into no email mailing list mode for the next week or two until the flamewar subsides. -- b -- ... Biju botsie Chacko
      Message 2 of 15 , Aug 31, 2003
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        On Sun, 31 Aug 2003 19:21:58 +0530, Kiran Jonnalagadda wrote:

        > I hope someone has answers for these. An organisation that purports to
        > be the country's largest association of open source/free software
        > supporters cannot appear to be run by a closed/anonymous management.

        /me decides to go into 'no email' mailing list mode for the next week or two
        until the flamewar subsides.

        -- b

        --
        -----------------------------------------------------------------------
        Biju 'botsie' Chacko biju_chacko at vsnl dot net
        http://www.symonds.net/~botsie Public Key available on request
        -----------------------------------------------------------------------
      • Surjo Das
        Oh No ! Not another flame war ! Come one man ! be cool ! If you are not happy, take it off-list. __________________________________ Do you Yahoo!? Yahoo!
        Message 3 of 15 , Sep 1, 2003
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          Oh No ! Not another flame war ! Come one man ! be
          cool ! If you are not happy, take it off-list.

          __________________________________
          Do you Yahoo!?
          Yahoo! SiteBuilder - Free, easy-to-use web site design software
          http://sitebuilder.yahoo.com
        • arunissatan
          ... Whyever? While the original post might have been a bit cynical, there s no reason to take this off-list. Arun
          Message 4 of 15 , Sep 1, 2003
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            --- In linux-bangalore-non-tech@yahoogroups.com, Surjo Das
            <surjodas@y...> wrote:
            > Oh No ! Not another flame war ! Come one man ! be
            > cool ! If you are not happy, take it off-list.

            Whyever? While the original post might have been a bit cynical,
            there's no reason to take this off-list.

            Arun
          • Srichand Pendyala
            Firstly, i agree about the BLUG logo part. i think we all deserve to see the entries and possibly decide by vote on the best one. ... For one, someone seems
            Message 5 of 15 , Sep 1, 2003
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              Firstly, i agree about the BLUG logo part. i think we all deserve to see the
              entries and possibly decide by vote on the 'best' one.


              >I hope someone has answers for these. An organisation that purports to
              >be the country's largest association of open source/free software
              >supporters cannot appear to be run by a closed/anonymous management.

              For one, someone seems to be breaking the List Rules

              Quoting BLUG List rules

              {
              Off-topic
              Stay on-topic for the list. This isn't a good place to discuss automobiles,
              POLITICS , music, or anything that is not related to Linux. Sometimes topics
              will diverge from the general discussion, but please try to keep it relevant
              to the list topic. Do not ask programming questions ...
              }


              >Kiran Jonnalagadda
              >http://www.pobox.com/~jace

              and oh, broken link....


              Srichand

              PS : no offence meant ( if any interpreted)



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            • Madhu M Kurup
              Hi all, First: I m not going to do a Biju :) Second: I could take this offlist with Jace, but figured that more people would crib that this is closed/anon.
              Message 6 of 15 , Sep 2, 2003
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                Hi all,

                First: I'm not going to do a Biju :)

                Second: I could take this offlist with Jace, but figured that more
                people would crib that this is closed/anon.

                Third: dont assume malice when mis-communication will do.

                Kiran Jonnalagadda <jace@...> said on August 31,2003:

                > didn't attend and didn't see these answered in the minutes of the
                > meet.

                Heh, I miss the time people used to gang up on me for minutes of the
                meet, please spare some slack for the poor volunteer who does so. And I
                think Murali did a fairly good job - to give him credit.

                > 1. Who are the "we" referred to above? I know "we" is supposed to
                > expand to "managers of LB/2003", but who are these people? Can we have
                > a list of names and a description of what each did to become a
                > manager?

                Hmm, I'm sure this isnt any trouble at all to do. Except one does have
                to beat up on each of the people. Volunteers for collating lists, please
                step up. And yeah, pretty HTML that conforms would be nice.

                > 2. Where are the logos that were submitted?

                Answered:
                "These entries would be put up on BLUG web site for others to see and
                get inspired to act fast."

                > Don't BLUG members have a right to choose their logo democratically?

                Aah. Rights. Which leads to Rights AND Duties. Nevermind that line of
                thinking. I fail to imagine a situation when this "right" would ever be
                denied. Do you see such a situation?

                > Why is this task assigned to a self-appointed management?

                I fail to see that you could have read this:

                "and the other was by a Manager of BLUG which could not be the choice
                for obvious reasons".

                > 3. Several companies must be interested in sponsoring the BLUG site
                > for the benefit of publicity in each page's footer. Don't BLUG
                > members get to choose who sponsors the site?

                Sure. Lets see some desire and then we can get some choosing. Shall we?
                In my view of the world money talks. And preferably ON the table types.
                When HP was sponsoring LB2002, it had it's logo on as well, AFAIR.

                > Competition among sponsors will ensure that the site is well
                > maintained and useful. For example, the current front page does not
                > validate at the W3C validator [1], even with Doctype and Encoding
                > explicitly specified[2].

                And apart from a ideological point of view, that means precisely what?
                I'm not sure how being 100% standard aware has anything to do with
                usefulness. Clickity click. Renders nicely on Moz/RH9. IE/Win2K. Ok,
                should cover over 99% of the world. Ah. more clickity click. Works fine
                on Lynx. Covers the remainder % too I suspect. Is there a browser that
                complains?

                > 4. As a registered not-for-profit society, isn't the BLUG legally
                > obligated to present to members an annual statement of accounts and
                > minutes of board meetings?

                Members? Ahem. And who should/would that be? I think that I'm a member.
                And I'm not too sure whether legally I still am one. But if anyone wants
                to argue this, I have but one line : "horgadae baaro, nodkothini" :) My
                point: if you think that you are a member, sure you can ask the co-ord
                for info on finances.

                > 4a. Where is the statement of accounts for the financial year 2002-03?

                Can't say anything here except for S.G. Calling S.G. Earth to Kartik.

                > 4b. Who are the members of the board? How did they get elected to that
                > post?

                Kartik.....?

                > 4c. Does subscribing to the mailing lists make one a member of the
                > BLUG (for the legal definition) or is there some other procedure? If
                > the latter, what is the procedure?

                I still have my card (card carrying member...) with the funny
                photograph. Will bring it around the next time I'm at a meet ... :)

                > 5. Who appoints the coordinator for each year? In three years and
                > three coordinators I have seen, the next coordinator is always named
                > at a meeting without prior discussion either at a meeting or here in
                > the non-tech list. How is this decision made?

                AFAIK, some poor bloke is volunteered up, most of the time by the
                previous bloke who was voluteered. He/She is then ganged up, emotionally
                blackmailed, beaten up and thrashed to an inch of his/her life before
                they agree. Admittedly wouldnt it take that much, just if you got an
                email like this one?

                AFAIK, being a co-ord paid you Rs0. yeah. Rs0. Did I forget to mention
                Rs0.

                > I hope someone has answers for these. An organisation that purports to

                purports? It isnt? I'd like to see some evidence :)

                > be the country's largest association of open source/free software
                > supporters cannot appear to be run by a closed/anonymous management.

                Ah. Libre. Free. As in speech and in beer. Free speech is cheap. So it
                is easy to toss around. On the other hand, work is tough. I'm not here
                to point any fingers anywhere. All I can say is the following: I've
                worked for the LUG. I've written for the LUG. I've presented for/at the
                LUG. That's gives me a certain right to speak and be heard at the LUG.
                And I'm just exercising that.

                All the decisions that I've been privy to (note: I don't claim
                awareness of all) have been made in the clearest sense of the phrase
                "common good of all". Admittedly these might have been appear to be
                anonymous/closed (re: choice of presentations/schedule) but AFAIK, if
                someone had the desire to know, he/she would have had them explained
                out.

                And:

                "Srichand Pendyala" <psrichand@...> said on September 1,2003:
                > Firstly, i agree about the BLUG logo part. i think we all deserve to
                > see the entries and possibly decide by vote on the 'best' one.

                I don't think this was ever a problem. However, subtle facts (like those
                pointed out by Atul) are often the reason why a popular (read Tux
                images) logo might not be selected. Not sure what a good sln is here, in
                my mind, get a few vetted then put them up to the vote makes most sense.

                > Quoting BLUG List rules
                >
                > {
                > Off-topic
                > Stay on-topic for the list. This isn't a good place to discuss
                > automobiles, POLITICS , music, or anything that is not related to

                I think that ^^^^^^^^^^^^ is more in line with National/State/Panchayat
                :) politics... Perhaps someone might want to correct me on that.

                Cheerio,
                M

                Madhu M Kurup /* Nemo Me Impune Lacessit */ mmk at yahoo-inc dt com
              • Manu Bhardwaj
                Hi ... Obviously, nobody wants to throw themselves into this, but after being in a certain engineering college for so long, I can t resist putting my head out
                Message 7 of 15 , Sep 3, 2003
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                  Hi

                  On Wed, 2003-09-03 at 09:11, Madhu M Kurup wrote:

                  > > 4. As a registered not-for-profit society, isn't the BLUG legally
                  > > obligated to present to members an annual statement of accounts and
                  > > minutes of board meetings?
                  >
                  > Members? Ahem. And who should/would that be? I think that I'm a member.
                  > And I'm not too sure whether legally I still am one.

                  Obviously, nobody wants to throw themselves into this, but after being
                  in a certain engineering college for so long, I can't resist putting my
                  head out to be chopped ;-) !

                  Cutting and pasting from http://linux-bangalore.org/blugmemo.php -

                  "
                  3. MEMBERSHIP:
                  The membership of the Society will be of the following three categories.
                  a) Life Membership : Rs.1,000/-
                  b), c), d),.... blah blah blah
                  "

                  What are they talking about? What membership? Who is a member? I'd never heard of
                  such a thing before. In fact, I remember even participating in a thread about who
                  a true BLUG member is ( )..... and not getting an answer.

                  I'm not looking for answers now, though. I'm just wondering where this page fits in with
                  how the BLUG actually runs itself. Perhaps this page is some sort of a legal requirement?

                  "
                  5) GENERAL AND OTHER MEETINGS:

                  a) A General Body Meeting of the society will be held Annually during the
                  month of June.
                  ...
                  c) A Committee consisting of 7 members shall be elected in the General
                  Body Meeting once in a year.
                  ...."

                  Do these things actually happen? Just curious... hopefully like some others on this list.

                  "
                  9) EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE:
                  a) To ensure and promote the primary aim and objectives of the Society.
                  ....
                  h) May decide to expel a member of Managing Committee or a member of the
                  society in case any one is convinced of any Criminal offence, or prove
                  insanity or any members action in contravention to the bye-laws.
                  ....
                  p) To make the Rules and Bye-laws and get approved.
                  "

                  Haha!! What I'd like to point out here is that the English in this page could
                  perhaps be refined (unless, again, it is some sort of a legal requirement to
                  use bad grammar).

                  I volunteer to do this.

                  A nitpick to finish:

                  "f) To ensure that all monitary transactions are...."

                  are.... at least spelt right on that page?

                  -Manu

                  --
                  Manu Bhardwaj <http://manubhardwaj.net>
                  <PGP: 0x7EF46A88>
                  --
                • Manish Jethani
                  ... [snip] ... Let s get the basics right. mem·ber n. 1. A distinct part of a whole, especially: 1.
                  Message 8 of 15 , Sep 4, 2003
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                    Manu Bhardwaj wrote:

                    > On Wed, 2003-09-03 at 09:11, Madhu M Kurup wrote:
                    >
                    >
                    >>>4. As a registered not-for-profit society, isn't the BLUG legally
                    >>>obligated to present to members an annual statement of accounts and
                    >>>minutes of board meetings?
                    >>
                    >>Members? Ahem. And who should/would that be? I think that I'm a member.
                    >>And I'm not too sure whether legally I still am one.
                    >
                    [snip]

                    > Cutting and pasting from http://linux-bangalore.org/blugmemo.php -
                    >
                    > "
                    > 3. MEMBERSHIP:
                    > The membership of the Society will be of the following three categories.
                    > a) Life Membership : Rs.1,000/-
                    > b), c), d),.... blah blah blah
                    > "
                    >
                    > What are they talking about? What membership? Who is a member? I'd never heard of
                    > such a thing before. In fact, I remember even participating in a thread about who
                    > a true BLUG member is ( )..... and not getting an answer.

                    Let's get the basics right.

                    <http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=member>

                    mem·ber
                    n.

                    1. A distinct part of a whole, especially:
                    1. Linguistics. A syntactic unit of a sentence; a clause.
                    2. Logic. A proposition of a syllogism.
                    3. Mathematics. An element in a set.
                    2. A part or an organ of a human or animal body, as:
                    1. A limb, such as an arm or a leg.
                    2. The penis.
                    3. A part of a plant.
                    4. One that belongs to a group or an organization: a club
                    member; a bank that is a member of the FDIC.
                    5. Mathematics. The expression on either side of an equality
                    sign.
                    6. A structural unit, such as a beam or wall.

                    (Obviously, we're talking about #2 :-D )

                    Manish

                    --
                    Manish Jethani (mannu#livejournal.com)
                    phone (work) +91-80-51073488
                    http://mannu.livejournal.com/
                  • Atul Chitnis
                    All: Please DO NOT take this as an attempt to raise an ugly war again, because it is not. I am simply fulfilling a promise, and closing the circle on something
                    Message 9 of 15 , Dec 11, 2003
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                      All:

                      Please DO NOT take this as an attempt to raise an ugly war again, because
                      it is not.

                      I am simply fulfilling a promise, and closing the circle on something that
                      happened in September. At that time I promised that I would address this
                      issue again after LB/2003.

                      Please note that I am addressing those parts that I left unaddressed in
                      September - if you want answers to those parts, check the archives.

                      This is not an invitation to anyone to come flaming with both barrels - if
                      you really care about the BLUG, you will let this matter die. No one will
                      be happier than me if not a single reply is made to this note.

                      Atul

                      On Sun, 31 Aug 2003, Kiran Jonnalagadda wrote:

                      > 1. Who are the "we" referred to above? I know "we" is supposed to
                      > expand to "managers of LB/2003", but who are these people? Can we have
                      > a list of names and a description of what each did to become a manager?

                      The managers of the event were Kartik, Mahendra, Khader, Swati, Tarique,
                      Manish, Kishore, Prady, Harsha, Jessie, Gopi and me.

                      They each became a manager for several good reasons, some which were that
                      they were interested in helping with the event, they stepped forward and
                      volunteered to help, had proven track records at being able to to handle
                      the work, were all volunteers at past events, were trustworthy and
                      reliable.

                      These people were not "self-appointed" - they worked hard to earn their
                      place on the team that arranged the event.

                      Note that while the Bangalore Linux User Group is a registered society,
                      Linux Bangalore is an event created and driven by a group of people (the
                      very group listed above) for the Linux and Open Source community - not for
                      or as the Bangalore Linux User Group. LB != BLUG, and vice versa. The BLUG
                      *facilitated* the LB series by providing support.

                      The same applies to the Linux bangalore mailing lists, which are run by me
                      personally. They are intentionally not called "BLUG-*" to make it clear
                      that these lists do not consider themselves to be the BLUG, and I have
                      stated this repeatedly on these lists as well.

                      Therefore, let us be clear about the fact that the managers of Linux
                      Bangalore (the event) are not (and never have been) responsible for the
                      BLUG. They have simply used their available resources (organisational
                      skills, contacts and driving power) to help the BLUG at times (such as
                      help plan BLUG meets).

                      > 2. Where are the logos that were submitted? Don't BLUG members have a
                      > right to choose their logo democratically? Why is this task assigned to
                      > a self-appointed management?

                      To answer this, one needs to explain how things work in the real world.

                      For the past so many years, the Bangalore Linux User Group has facilitated
                      events like the community participation in events like IT.COM, BangLinux,
                      Linux Bangalore, etc. by providing logistical support (such as volunteers)
                      and content (speakers).

                      We have always taken great pains to highlight this, and to some extent
                      have been successful in doing so. But last year, during LB/2002 (and this
                      year, during another event - the IPv6 summit), we realised that among
                      all those colourful sponsor logos, the BLUG was getting lost.

                      We badly wanted to highlight our home LUG, and since no one else felt this
                      need (which really could only be felt by people like us, who arrange
                      events, and hence understand the importance of such things), we decided to
                      drive a campaign that would result in a nice recognisable logo that we
                      could use to represent the BLUG at the forthcoming LB/2003.

                      No one "assigned the task to a self-appointed management".

                      You don't have lunch using a democratically elected body of people to
                      decide that you should do so and how.

                      You have lunch because you are hungry.

                      This project was dropped when the matter was politicized. We are very sad
                      that this happened, but there was no way we could continue the project
                      without further bloodshed (mostly ours).

                      > 3. Several companies must be interested in sponsoring the BLUG site for
                      > the benefit of publicity in each page's footer. Don't BLUG members get
                      > to choose who sponsors the site? Competition among sponsors will ensure
                      > that the site is well maintained and useful. For example, the current
                      > front page does not validate at the W3C validator [1], even with
                      > Doctype and Encoding explicitly specified [2].
                      >
                      > [1]
                      > http://validator.w3.org/check?uri=http%3A%2F%2Flinux-bangalore.org%2F
                      > [2]
                      > http://validator.w3.org/check?uri=http%3A%2F%2Flinux-
                      > bangalore.org%2F&charset=iso-8859-
                      > 1+%28Western+Europe%29&doctype=HTML+4.01+Transitional

                      While this statement itself seems a bit "motivated", let me address it
                      anyway.

                      First of all - no other company, other than Sify, has ever come forward
                      offering to host the site. No offer has *ever* been made. Period. No
                      interest has been shown by either your company, or that of your close
                      friends, either.

                      Secondly, the site does not just exist because the BLUG decided it needed
                      it. It exists because well-wishers of the BLUG (duly listed in the
                      sponsor section of the site) decided that the BLUG needed a web site of
                      its own. They pulled together resources (cash, time, talent, design
                      skills, etc.) and the result of this was a web site for the BLUG.

                      You statement about "Competition among sponsors will ensure that the site
                      is well maintained and useful" seems puzzling. Is the site currently
                      unmaintained and useless? And how exactly would "competition among
                      sponsors" happen, given that only one sponsor can actually sponsor the
                      site? It is unlikely that IBM would maintain a site that HP is a sponsor
                      of.

                      What you really seem to be saying is that you object to the fact that one
                      *particular* company is sponsoring the site.

                      For more than two years of its existence, the site bore no sponsor logo at
                      all, but just a name-mention of the two entities responsible for creating
                      the site (not hosting or maintaining it). This is easily proved by looking
                      at archival webshots:

                      August 2001:
                      http://web.archive.org/web/20010801162945/http://www.linux-bangalore.org/

                      July 2002:
                      http://web.archive.org/web/20020719041144/http://linux-bangalore.org/

                      December 2002:
                      http://web.archive.org/web/20021201024844/http://linux-bangalore.org/

                      The first time the current site sponsor logo appeared on that site is in
                      February 2003 - not because the sponsor insisted on it (why should
                      they, after not doing so for more than 2 years, and not even during the
                      highly successful LB/2002?), but because some members thought it was
                      something that should be done.

                      http://web.archive.org/web/20030208111332/http://linux-bangalore.org/

                      Note that the current sponsor, who happens to be my company, doesn't
                      sponsor the site because it sees it as good advertising value (as other
                      potential sponsors might see it as), but because it cares about the BLUG.

                      Since this is becoming a highly politicized issue, and because someone
                      sees "profit" in having someone else sponsor the BLUG site, Exocore offers
                      to withdraw its sponsorship for the official BLUG site (which currently
                      consists of unlimited web space and bandwidth plus site administration) to
                      allow another company to sponsor the official BLUG site.

                      However, note that this will necessitate the creation of a new domain, as
                      the name "Linux Bangalore" is the name of the event, not the Bangalore
                      Linux User Group. As long as the two were seen working together, there was
                      no problem, but if there is to be a formal parting of ways, then this
                      point needs to be addressed. Linux Bangalore is an event that will
                      continue to be driven by a group independent of the BLUG.

                      You support your argument with some technicalities about web design and
                      HTML coding. When I had similar issues on my personal site, someone sent
                      me a heads-up not only telling me that there was a problem, but also how to
                      fix it. I appreciated that - it is the Open Source way of doing things -
                      find a bug, and report it, along with the fix.

                      The point is really that site represents the inputs and design of people
                      who care, but who may not be exceptionally gifted in Web programming and
                      design. The current BLUG site design is done by Mahendra when he was the
                      coordinator, the LB event sites have been designed by Swati Sani. Some of
                      the back-end coding has been done by me (the news system), Tarique and
                      Kingsly (event back-end code), Kartik (content), Biju (content), and a
                      long list of other people. You are free to point out issues and help fix
                      them.

                      Ironically, the person who helped me fix my site was *you*. I wonder why
                      you didn't think it worthwhile to provide similar help to the BLUG site,
                      instead of making the *need* for such help a political issue.

                      > 4. As a registered not-for-profit society, isn't the BLUG legally
                      > obligated to present to members an annual statement of accounts and
                      > minutes of board meetings?

                      Of course it is.

                      > 4a. Where is the statement of accounts for the financial year 2002-03?

                      At the time when you posted your note (early September), the first year's
                      accounts (the BLUG did not have an account until December 2002) had not
                      yet been finalised (the last date was 30-Sep-2003), and needed auditor
                      approval.

                      The accounts for the year 2002-2003 were finalised and have been published
                      in the souvenir distributed at LB/2003 - just as it had always been
                      intended. The same information will be up on the website in a couple of
                      days (after we tie up remaining loose ends, such as publishing event
                      slides).

                      Note that these do not really represent *BLUG* accounts - because the BLUG
                      has never had any financial transactions.

                      That bank account was opened solely for the purpose of LB/2002 (and, by
                      extension, LB/2003). Therefore these represent *event* accounts, because
                      the BLUG has not had a single financial transaction outside the scope of
                      the events.

                      The minutes of "board meetings" are available as well. Here they are:

                      "Met, had coffee and snacks (paid for by Jessie out of her own pocket),
                      went home. Nothing of significance was discussed.".

                      The importance of this should immediately be apparent:

                      The BLUG is a registered society for the sole purpose of being legally
                      able to open an account to deposit sponsor money for events. The "board"
                      has no function at all, and has taken no actions at all.

                      In fact, in view of the politicization of the whole thing, I would
                      recommend the dissolution of the society, and to go back to being what
                      things were like before - a group of enthusiasts who make it their goal to
                      spread the word of Open Source.

                      I myself cannot initiate such a dissolution, given that I have never been
                      a member of the BLUG board, nor have I ever been invited to be one, nor
                      did I ever see the need to be one in order to achieve my personal goals -
                      which are the spread and adoption of Open Source technologies in India.

                      Given the nature of messages posted by you *after* this note of yours, it
                      is quite likely that you could imply "manipulation behind the scenes".

                      This would be a ridiculous suggestion, given that my boss (Gopi Garge) is
                      currently the president of the BLUG "board" - a board that is a
                      meaningless entity in itself, and whose "manipulation" would not gain
                      anyone anything.

                      And even if there was something to be gained - anyone who believes even
                      for an instant that you can "manipulate" Gopi needs to *seriously* have
                      his head examined.

                      The BLUG board was simply a required paper function. In Biju's words, it
                      was "legal fiction", required to achieve something specific - which was to
                      allow events to happen.

                      > 4b. Who are the members of the board? How did they get elected to that
                      > post?

                      The members of the "board" were 7 people legally required to register a
                      society. We chose people who were least likely to be accused of anything
                      untoward in nature. The list of people can be found in the memorandum on
                      the site.

                      > 4c. Does subscribing to the mailing lists make one a member of the BLUG
                      > (for the legal definition) or is there some other procedure? If the
                      > latter, what is the procedure?

                      No, being a member of a mailing list does not make you a "legal" member of
                      the BLUG - the mailing lists are not the BLUG.

                      Nor do you have to be a "legal" member of the BLUG to avail of any of the
                      benefits of the BLUG - it has always been a stated objective *NOT* to
                      differentiate between people this way.

                      There is theoretically a procedure to become a legal member, but because
                      the intent of the society formation was never to differentiate between
                      members and non-members, the system is meaningless because it has never
                      been used.

                      I am therefore not a legal member of the BLUG either. And yet I have never
                      felt any less a member of the BLUG.

                      And no, you cannot wave your chequebook to "buy" yourself a voting right
                      in the BLUG, because the BLUG has no legal "voting" system - the BLUG
                      society is a legal piece of paper whose sole purpose was to enable the
                      collection of sponsorships for specific events.

                      We have since discovered that even this is not necessary anymore (it is
                      now possible to open an account specifically for an event), and after the
                      final accounts for 2003-2004 are published, both the account and the
                      society could be dissolved as they serve no purpose to anyone other than
                      the politicians.

                      > The memorandum of association at
                      > http://linux-bangalore.org/blugmemo.php does say something about these
                      > issues, but has significant gaps. For example, where is the "prescribed
                      > form" for membership and when are the annual general meetings held?

                      To show you just how meaningless that query is - the prescribed form is on
                      the back of a paper napkin in Coffee Day, Cunningham road. You are free to
                      design your own prescribed form and use it. I recommend the paper napkins
                      at Barristas, since they blot less.

                      The BLUG has two annual days - August 25th and a formation day (March
                      20th) - the latter has never been celebrated or marked in any way so far.

                      By general consensus, August 25th represents the BLUG's annual day, and
                      marks the only sort of "official annual general meeting". On this day, the
                      current coordinator sums up what has been done by the BLUG over the past
                      year, and invites suggestions for new stuff.

                      Any financial transactions are also announced. If none were announced,
                      none took place.

                      Nothing else of significance is discussed, and we sit back and enjoy the
                      evening socialising, having an outrageous amount of fun and good food.

                      One of these days, you may want to attend one of these meetings.

                      > 5. Who appoints the coordinator for each year? In three years and three
                      > coordinators I have seen, the next coordinator is always named at a
                      > meeting without prior discussion either at a meeting or here in the
                      > non-tech list. How is this decision made?

                      Simple - no one appoints anyone.

                      Since I am not legally a BLUG member (thanks to your note, this is now
                      clear), I cannot really *define* how it is done, but I can tell you that
                      the process works by volunteering.

                      Despite the jokes we make about it, each coordinator has essentially
                      chosen himself/herself, either by volunteering to be the Sacrificial Goat
                      for the year, either through direct voicing of such an offer (e.g. KD, VLB
                      and me), or by actions throughout the year which made him/her a logical
                      and popular choice (by finger pointing - Biju, Jessie, Mahendra, Kartik).

                      If you would like to be the coordinator next year, please volunteer.

                      The only requirement is that you should be able to prove active
                      participation in every aspect of the BLUG - which I think is a fair
                      requirement.

                      BTW - simply attending meetings, listening to talks and eating food is not
                      considered as "active participation" in most organisations in the world.

                      > I hope someone has answers for these. An organisation that purports to
                      > be the country's largest association of open source/free software
                      > supporters cannot appear to be run by a closed/anonymous management.

                      I completely agree. I hope you are satisfied with the answers, and are now
                      convinced that there is no BLUG-related management, and certainly not
                      closed or anonymous.

                      The only real "formal" activity of the BLUG has been the meetings every
                      month. The topic, format and content of the meeting, along with the
                      speakers, is always decided on the mailing lists, in a completely
                      transparent manner. Mailing list members suggest topics, suggest talks,
                      suggest themselves as speakers, and the meet happens.

                      As for the Linux Bangalore event - there is certainly event management in
                      that, but it is not related to the BLUG. And even here it is neither
                      closed nor anonymous.



                      Have we said enough on all this?

                      Then let me say something now - something that has been burning inside
                      me for these past three months, and something I was unable when you first
                      posted your note.

                      In 2001, I ceased all further interaction with Linux India when a process
                      of politicization was started, trying to turn LI into an "organisation"
                      with "positions", a "hierarchy", "elections", "rights", "registration" and
                      "powers".

                      The BLUG isn't about any of these things. However, your note attempts to
                      position it that way - and it is something I reject. Completely.

                      The BLUG is about Open Source technology and its application and adoption.
                      As long as it stays that way, and achieves its goals (which it certainly
                      has done in a big way since 1999), I see no reason for anyone other than a
                      hungry politician wanting to change this.

                      Attacks on the "BLUG management" are meaningless - there is no "BLUG
                      management" - heck, there isn't even a formal BLUG - it's a bunch of
                      technology enthusiasts and a couple of mailing lists, for $deity's sake!

                      Demanding "answers", and implying "rights" because you happen to be a
                      member of some mailing lists (that is run by me, not the BLUG, and isn't
                      een named "blug-xxxxx" to make it clear that while it serves the BLUG, it
                      isn't the BLUG) highlights the single biggest problem with many such
                      communities:

                      An over-inflated sense of entitlement.

                      It is a classic symptom seen when a perceived "audience size" reaches
                      critical mass - that's when the politicians (and the armchair
                      revolutionaries) step onto the stage.

                      None of this would have happened had the BLUG been perceived to be less
                      successful, and would have represented a much smaller group of people.

                      And it causes such communities to be self-limiting, even self-destructive
                      in nature.

                      I sincerely hope that the promoters of the campaign in September now have
                      their answers, and will allow the BLUG to live on in peace, rather than
                      promoting further politics which would invariably divide the BLUG and
                      potentially destroy it.

                      Despite everything that has been written above, the BLUG is a very very
                      real thing to many people (including me).

                      But if the time has come to encourage politicization of the BLUG (or any
                      other community), then the time has also come for a whole lot of people to
                      ask themselves why they would want to stay involved.

                      Starting with me.

                      Atul
                    • Biju Chacko
                      ... I generally agree with the way things are run -- my objections are mostly more in style rather than substance. However, that has got to the most ridiculous
                      Message 10 of 15 , Dec 14, 2003
                      • 0 Attachment
                        On Thu, 11 Dec 2003 23:29:06 +0530 (IST), Atul Chitnis wrote:

                        > As for the Linux Bangalore event - there is certainly event management in
                        > that, but it is not related to the BLUG. And even here it is neither
                        > closed nor anonymous.

                        I generally agree with the way things are run -- my objections are mostly more
                        in style rather than substance.

                        However, that has got to the most ridiculous argument I have heard. I find it a
                        little difficult to swallow that 'Linux-Bangalore' and BLUG are different things
                        and that LB/200x is not a product of the BLUG.

                        It's a great rationalisation (which (no offense) Atul is very good at) but it
                        doesn't reflect reality.

                        *Any* organisation's culture and ethos is just a reflection of the people who
                        run it. The BLUG and LB/2x (like any open source project) are run by people who
                        stand up and do all the dirty work. There have been numerous efforts to get
                        people involved (I've done it a couple of times myself). People have come
                        forward and helped out. Again like any OSS project, the people who have
                        contributed the most get listened to the most.

                        There has never been any barrier to entry. I started by carrying chairs and
                        moving tables at Bang!Linux and ended up as SG. Pretty much everybody who was
                        listed as a manager of LB/3 has had similar experiences.

                        In short, if you want to change things send in a patch. A patch in this case
                        means actual work rather than cribs from the sidelines. Like any patch, don't
                        expect yours to be applied until it's proved to be useful.

                        Now for the disclaimers: Hmmmm ... I hardly have any:

                        1. I'm not involved in the BLUG management anymore, so I don't have any self
                        interest in defending it.

                        2. I'm not particularly friendly with Atul anymore, so I sure as hell have no
                        interest in defending him.

                        3. I don't work for Exocore anymore (don't hold any particular affection for it
                        either) so I don't feel that I should defend it's sponsor status.

                        But I'm not unbiased -- the current form of the BLUG and LB is as much my work
                        as it is anybody's. I find it offensive that anyone should insinuate that it's
                        controlled by a secret cabal that's conspiring to keep everybody else out.

                        -- b

                        --
                        ------------------------------------------------------------------------
                        Biju Chacko http://in.redhat.com Red Hat Inc
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