[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Edlug Archive Mar 2004
RE: [edlug] Advocacy
There is already an organisation called Open Source Scotland.
It's purpose is to advocate the use of Linux and open source software. List members include many Scottish businesses, software developers, OSS advocates etc.
The list has been quiet for a while. Perhaps some new blood, or better still a 'project' would give it renewed impetus.
Open Source Scotland is supported by ScotlandIS, but not affiliated to any other group.
The site is temporaily down due to a Zope related incident. We'll get that fixed shortly.
From: firstname.lastname@example.org on behalf of David Marsh's listreading hat
Sent: Fri 26/03/2004 12:41
Subject: Re: [edlug] Advocacy
[Text interleaved/in conversation order, quotes trimmed for context]
On Fri, 19 Mar 2004 17:56:19 -0000, Tim Day wrote
about: RE: [edlug] Advocacy
> Anand wrote:
>> PS we need a name, preferrably with a clever acronym!
> Oooh an appeal for a contrived acronym, I am powerless to resist...
Why does that line sound like it could have come word-for-word
from Dilbert's, or possibly more likely, Wally's mouth, heh!? :-)
<various neato acronyms snipped>
I _know_ that feeling, but can I caution against a too-clever
hacker-acronym in this case?
The primary purpose of an advocacy group is to influence *other* people
after all, not (unfortunately) to appeal to *our* hacker nature.. :-(
This means, ultimately, appealing to suits, marketroids, politicos and
other "business" types (PHBs), and therefore we have to look and act
serious (or at least pretend to look and act serious enough to convince
them that we look and act serious! ;-), especially when the 'opposition'
in any debate are slicked PowerPoint[TM]-laptop-toting M$ types with
honed arse-lic\\\\\\\\business-engaging skills ..
 ie, tell them what they think they want to hear..
Unfortunately, this pretty much means that most hacker-happy acronyms
are out, as while they look eminently kewl (and instinctively imply
class  and elegance) to us, they look amateur to suits [who don't
understand them] (so, out goes anything which happens to resolve to a
silly name , is recursive (surprised nobody's done one of those
yet!), or named after a tree ;-).
 pun! ;-)
 Ngggh. Musst resisst...
"SAORSA: Scottish Association for Open-souRce SoftwAre" would be my
effort, bonus points for grokking the (highly-contrived) acronym ;-)
Yeh, a pithy ('scuse lithp) acronym would sound kewl to us (well, me,
anyway :) but it probably wouldn't have quite the right image we want to
project (of gravitas, knowledgeability, efficiency, and most
importantly, speaking for a mass of users/developers/opinion-makers) to
those we are trying to lobby, unfortunately, hence you need words like
Association, Federation, Institute, Society, etc..
I suspect that something worthy-but-dull (and utterly non-frivolous)
would improve our standing in the eyes of those we are trying to
convince. I know that's boring, but advocacy is as much about
appearance, perception and mindshare as actual hard facts
(unfortunately) - how else would M$ have got so big :-(
As many of you may be aware, there is already the Association for Free
I'm afraid I don't know who's in it (ie, any key names from the UK
community?) but it appears (unless there are other organisations not
shouting as hard?) to be the nearest the UK has to some kind of
formalised lobbying structure  for FLOSS (and while a neat term,
anything with FLOSS in it wouldn't work as a suit-impressing acronym,
imho: think fluffy-candy, think sheep, think of the insults they could
hurl :-( ). It also has a good, down-to-earth and appropriately formal-
and serious- sounding name, which I feel is important.
 I don't know if UKUUG does much of that kind of thing?
Probably the last thing FLOSS advocacy wants is a fractured lobbying
front (think: any other Personal Favourite Issue Of Choice where there
are numerous lobby groups not all pulling in the same direction) as this
makes it easier for the opposition to poke holes and make such
damaging claims as "See, they can't even agree on what they want", etc,
and confuses our targets when they are being approached by different
groups with different names and objectives: they're confused (and
FUDded) enough about IT as it is: all we want to do is make it <caress>
nice and simple for them </caress> and slowly assimil\\\\\\\embrace them
into the fluffy\\\\\business-friendly-and-efficient world of FLOSS.. ;-)
Assuming AFFS is doing the Right Things (I don't know enough to
comment), I would like to suggest that what might be the best path would
be to affiliate (or co-exist or align or whatever phrase would cause
least flamage <sigh>) to them and name the advocacy group "AFFS
Edinburgh", or even "AFFS Scotland" if we have contacts in other LUGs
(etc) who are interested in taking part? That way we "build on an
existing brand" and make it sound like we are part of a bigger -
organised - thing and therefore increase our standing immediately in the
I suspect that there are few enough of us and few enough with enough
spare time that it would make sense to have separate 'formal' groups in
different parts of Scotland. AFFS Scotland may only happen to have
activists in Edinburgh (and maybe a few elsewhere), or it may turn out
to have more activists in Glasgow, but anything with "Scotland" in the
title will seem (it's all about image, remember) approximately 32x more
impressive (at least ;-) to the suits (particularly the ScotExec) than
anything that's 'only' "Edinburgh" (and they don't need to know what's
actually behind the green curtain, that it may only actually be (mainly)
folk from Edinburgh doesn't matter, it _is_ the image that counts!).
(And before anybody rants excessively about autonomy, bottom-up,
decentralised non-structures (blah) and how
we-don't-need-no-steenking-federation, yeah, sure, *we* know that works,
but in this game you have to play by their rules _at first_: let's
*first* get them to actually *listen* to us, and *then* we can start to
show them There Are Better Ways To Live and Work: if that means
"pretending" to be Part of a Bigger Movement to get our foot in the
door, let's get the door open and then worry about Part 2... ;-)
Oh yeah, count me in, too, please ;-)
David Marsh, Edinburgh, Scotland, N Europe. | http://web.viewport.co.uk/
<email valid @time of writing>, but reply to list preferred, thanks.
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