[Consortium] Greetings, thanks, LAC report, and other important stuff...

Ivica Ico Bukvic ico at fuse.net
Wed Apr 27 23:34:58 EDT 2005

Greetings all!

First off, I would like to extend my thanks to all the board members,
especially Daniel, for entrusting me the honor as well as the responsibility
of the Director of Linuxaudio.org consortium. I sincerely hope that during
my term I will be able to live up to your expectations :-).

Right before my departure for LAC, I posted a reply with a brief overview of
my goals for the consortium for the upcoming year, apparently, that e-mail
was sent to the "management" list and therefore not everyone got to read
about them. Therefore, I would like to use this opportunity to present you
with a quick overview of the ideas I would like to pursue (naturally, with
the board's blessing) over the course of next 12 months. Considering that
these goals are very much in-line with my LAC paper, I will present them in
the form which has met support from both the consortium members who had
attended the meeting, as well as other general participants who were there
in order to learn more about the consortium. I will, however, provide some
additional thoughts in respect to each of the sub-initiatives that I've been
toying with since my return from LAC. Therefore, please observe the
information below as a mere list of suggestions.

"Made in GNU/Linux" initiative whose scope is described below, is an
expansion of the consortium's operations in order to better serve the
community. The sub-initiatives are listed in no particular order (also
please note that many of them offer overlapping benefits which is annotated
appropriately in their description):

1) Continue expansion of the membership base
*I've talked with the FreeBob project developers in order to follow-up on
the Daniel's correspondence with them prior to the LAC and they have
expressed genuine interest in joining, which, as Daniel has already reported
earlier today, they have already done.
*John ffitch (Csound) also expressed interest in joining, and I have
received an e-mail earlier today from Dave Phillips (who had contacted John
via csound list) suggesting that this should happen any day now.
*Han-Wen and Jan of Lilypond project, after an interesting discourse have
also expressed interest in joining. I've contacted them earlier today in
order to once again encourage them to join the consortium and I just
received an e-mail confirming their interest.
*Ludger Bruemmer, head of the ZKM music dept., has also expressed interest
in supporting Linuxaudio.org via ZKM (as an institution). I am currently in
touch with Goetz to see if this will pan out.
*Several other users/developers who attended the consortium meeting at LAC
(it was open to all who wished to attend) have expressed general approval of
the consortium's goals as well as the goals listed below.

2) Offer non-project-oriented (i.e. user) membership
*While the consortium is currently primarily focusing on project/institution
membership, I feel that we should also reach out to the end-user members of
the community, including also an important sub-group -- artists. In order to
foster exposure, my belief is that Linux audio software needs to be featured
in real-world situations to really gain credibility. Naturally, this is
already happening on various levels but I would want to see Linuxaudio.org
take on a more active stance towards this form of outreach.
*Some end-users I've interacted with have expressed willingness to
contribute to the community but felt that they lacked necessary skills (i.e.
development, dreaded documentation writing). My belief is that the end-users
should be offered an avenue through which they could contribute to the
community, including donations and/or membership fees (for more on this
please see below under the heading "foundation"), as well as
interaction/collaboration with other sub-groups.

3) Serve as converging point between various sub-groups
*Developers, end-users, commercial vendors, other open-source
groups/foundations (FSF), media, other.
*Encourage interaction and cross-collaboration.
*Generate membership options for each of these sub-groups in as inclusive
fashion as possible. For instance, offer various levels of membership (i.e.
for developers we could have following membership levels: "supporter" is a
non-paying member who supports the consortium by being part of it and in
return is linked from the consortium's page and has a vote in decisions,
"patron" is a paying member who in addition to "supporter's" benefits also
gets PR exposure through initiatives sponsored by the foundation, etc.)

4) Provide database-driven website that would eventually encompass an
exhaustive search for various audio-related software, linux artists,
supported hardware etc.

5) Expand board's functions in order to cover necessary functions that will
be introduced with the implementation of a foundation
*Media Relations
*Hardware vendor contact

6) Instantiate a not-for-profit foundation
*Establish various levels of membership for various sub-groups including
ones with annual dues
*Seek funding opportunities from commercial vendors
*Generate initiatives that provide additional cash-flow (i.e. CD
compilations, journals, other)
*Offer annual awards for best Linux audio-related art and for the software
project that made most progress in the past year (additional rules would
apply, i.e. same project cannot win more than once, or perhaps not more than
once in 5 years, etc.)
*Consider making awards available only to the paying projects OR make every
linux audio project eligible and if they win and happen not to be part of
the consortium, they get a complimentary membership for one year (which
would hopefully encourage them to remain members)
*Most importantly, use money for PR stuff (posters in magazines, conference
*Seek sponsorship/support from institutions and companies alike
*Sponsor creation of specific documentation (prioritizing could be voted on
by the membership base)
*Consider forming the foundation in a country that is Linux-friendly (i.e.
no volatile patent support etc.) -- this may not be that relevant, though. I
would actually appreciate some thoughts on this point.

7) Generate consortium's logo
*Necessary for letterheads, media exposure, etc.
*Encourages consistency.
*Would be available in several sub-flavors for use by members as well as
commercial vendors (with appropriate licensing fee): a) "Made in GNU/Linux"
would be for projects which have been developed primarily on Linux platform,
b) logo without the aforementioned statement would be for others.
*The use of the logo by members would be encouraged but not mandated.
*The placement of logo (on the website or inside the application) would be
left to project developer's discretion.

8) Strengthen ties with other open-source foundations (i.e. FSF)
*Ability to rely upon legal and other forms of help when necessary

9) Provide exhaustive info for newcomers
*Endorse hardware
*Endorse linux distributions
*Other info

That should more or less it in a very rough form. As you can see there are a
lot of things and ideas but I believe what needs to happen first is to place
these into some sort of a timeline and establish time-stamped milestones.
Since I am quite tired (still fighting the jetlag) and this e-mail is way
longer than what I originally anticipated it to be, if you don't mind I
would like to talk about this aspect of my proposal later on this week in a
follow-up e-mail. In the meantime, I would greatly appreciate any feedback
on these ideas.

Once again, many thanks to all, especially to the linuxaudio.org members who
have generously shared their thoughts at LAC in order to make this
initiative better!

Best wishes,

Ivica Ico Bukvic, composer & multimedia sculptor

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