Miss me? Don't answer that!
The last several months have been... interesting... and full
of emotional ups and downs. I've not really said anything
for about a month now, so here's a catch-up... and a few
historically relevant items to make the catch up make a
little bit of sense to anyone reading this who doesn't
already know everything....
Last December, I was hired by Caldera as their "Director of
Community Initiatives". All of my time was donated in a
roughly 50/50 split to Linux International and
Linux Professional Institute.
Naturally, when they had their first round of layoffs April
27, I was among the first to go, since I wasn't producing
direct revenue for the company. Of course, I wish them
well, and appreciate the donation they made to both of my
favorite Linux non-profit programs!
Apparently Jon "maddog" Hall, the Executive Director of Linux International agreed, and
careful thought, he decided to make me the only other
contracted staff person for Linux
International, even generously agreeing to donate
copious amounts of my time to Linux Professional
Therefore, for the past six months, Linux
International has been funding the marketing efforts
of both Linux Professional Institute and
International and for the past three of those months,
nearly all of my time has gone to helping
Linux Professional Institute successfully
launch and complete their
Level 2 Linux Systems Administration tests.
If you were around when Linux Professional
Institute was in beta for
their Level 1 tests, you may recall that it took about 10
months to get thru the beta process. We recieved many
valid complaints about that lengthy process, and
worked hard to create a 6-8 week process instead. I'm proud
to have been a participant in that significantly reduced
timeline, working closely with Exam Development Director
Kara Pritchard, Psychometrician (and so much more) Alan
Mead, and the many important volunteers who provided a great
deal of help and support throughout the process. It has
been fantastic to work with such dedicated people, and to
see the LPI program growing internationally with
double digit month-to-month percentages for the last several
At the same time as I've been focused on LPI,
the Linux International board has been working
on projects such as an open source voting mechanism,
building a lean but effective future for the organization,
and exploring lots of opportunities for careful growth.
Many companies have been announcing Linux-related products
and services, and maddog has been contining to keep up his
back-breaking schedule, travelling the globe to evangelize
Linux use, ensuring a future for those companies who are
investing in the future of this little Operating System.
Now, maddog has asked me to focus on strategic and tactical
issues which will ensure the future of Linux
International. I'm pleased to be focusing on such a
worthy project, but more than a little sad to be moving into
a much less active role with LPI for the time
being. Life is so full of comings and goings, some of them
welcome, others accepted with just a touch of sorrow.
So, for the rest of 2001, I'll be reporting primarily on
Linux International stuff, and leave the
LPI matters to csm.
This week, I've been re-orienting myself, building
goals, and recruiting teams to work on a complete website
overhaul (badly needed), survey of existing members, and
building a membership drive that will help us create new and
very interesting programs next year.
Historically, LI has
focused on evangelism of Linux. For 2002, we are going to
take a slightly different approach with more visibility to
our members as s primary focus. With the departure of many
contributing companies from the Linux industry has come the
inevitable funding issues faced worldwide. Unemployment is
growing daily by the thousands, businesses continue to close
their doors, and remaining companies are very hesitant to
contribute to even the most worthy non-profit organizations.
So, we at Linux International are faced with
the task of exploring financial alternatives. Our only
revenue model at this point is memberships... so we will
soon be launching a membership drive. This year, we brought
all our members up to current status, so next year we can
focus on growth.
To attract and retain members, it's important to tell the
world what we're doing... and to make sure what we are doing
is valuable to those companies who are current or potential
members. Recently, we're hearing that members consider the
work on defending the Linux trademark to be relatively
unimportant, the endless travel around the world
evangelizing Linux has been interpreted poorly, and the need
for a return on investment to be the major priority of
future membership drives.
Hmmmm... this is a problem. If we were to stop defending
the Linux trademark, we'd go back to seeing porn sites and
anti-Linux businesses using the name to deface our efforts.
If we stopped going around the world to tell people how
Linux and Open Source can impact their businesses, growth
would stall and we'd lose our international presence, the
opportunity to exchange information and ideas with people
around the world, and the many media opportunities that have
helped grow the Linux OS to date! As far as additional ROI
based member services, we are exploring and considering
every option we can think of. While building alternative
revenue producing programs has come up, we are a non-profit
organization, and must be very careful about how and where
we accept financial support.
These are the things I've been pondering this week, and
all suggestions, thoughts, criticism, and membership
inquiries are welcome. I can be reached at email@example.com