[Consortium] Re: LinuxAudio.org and Salem Radio Labs

Daniel James daniel at linuxaudio.org
Fri Jan 23 06:19:12 EST 2004

Hi Fred,

> WRT our earlier discussion about SRL joining the group, this is
> something I'd like to do.  I now need to run this past the
> management folks at our Corporate offices -- which brings me to the
> point of this message:  the word "consortium".   In light of the
> discussions over the past week or so, my understanding is that the
> organization is a group to advocate informally the use of
> Linux-based audio solutions, with no binding legal agreements
> between members.   That being the case, I'm not sure that
> "consortium" is an accurate description.  Perhaps "Advocacy Group"
> would be a better term.

My original aim was to eventually move beyond advocacy alone to 
include co-development projects and the like. Of course, that's up to 
the members.

> The reason I bring this up is that, in the US at least, the word
> "consortium" comes weighted with some rather heavy legal baggage,
> implying formal, close relations between members by means of
> binding legal agreements if not actual collective control and
> ownership.

I wasn't aware of that - I hadn't heard of that usage in the UK. What 
you're describing would be called a 'partnership' here.

I've just found this feature on Google:


I like the definition from biology:

'Two or more members of a natural assemblage in which each organism 
benefits from the other. The group may collectively carryout some 
process that no single member can accomplish on its own.' 

> That being the case, any proposal on my part that Salem 
> join this "consortium" will put all the legal types at Corporate
> into hyperdrive.  At best, it would make obtaining such approval an
> extremely long, arduous process.  More likely, such consent would
> never be obtained at all.

Lawyers, eh?

> So, with these sorts of issues in mind, would it be possible to
> characterize the group by means of a less intimidating term? 
> "Advocacy group" works for me (it is, after all, a purely voluntary
> association that carries no legal obligation with it), although I'd
> be glad to talk about alternatives.

It is the case that we've already announced linuxaudio.org as a 
consortium. However, once the management board is in place - 
hopefully next week - they could discuss this issue. We certainly 
don't want to put anyone off from joining.

I suggest that you approach your people in the meantime and test their 
reactions to the idea, explaining that your company will not be 
expected to sign any contract. 

Personally, I think goodwill, trust and peer pressure are far more 
powerful than contracts. I suppose that when you sign a contract, 
you've already acknowledged that trust has failed to be established! 



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