Solutions First and Ubuntu in Australia

dave kempe dave at
Fri May 5 09:54:36 BST 2006

Hi Everyone,
just joined the list, and probably should have joined a while ago. Shame 
that Renai saw fit to post some of this issue on Zdnet, I don't think 
this issue deserves that sort of publicity and can easily be taken the 
wrong way, mostly not to our benefit.

I want to clear up a few things regarding my company and Ubuntu in 
Australia and perhaps impart a little advice for the ubuntu-au team.

Firstly, I read the post from Robert Stoffers alledging Solutions First 
(sol1) are 'waiting in the shadows to cash in on big support contracts'. 
When I read that I laughed at first, then I was a bit concerned, because 
Robert seems serious. Perhaps we need a little history here so we know 
where So1l fits... Sol1 is an IT company in Sydney (10 people) who have 
grown to specialise in support Linux and Open Source software. We love 
Ubuntu, it suits our Debian roots and use it on all our desktops and 
servers/firewalls we control (thats over 200 counting the firewalls).
We have been using Debian/Ubuntu for over 7 years and count Jeff Waugh 
amongst our former employees and active community members and Debian 
developers amongst our current employees. Last year at Cebit, we where 
pretty much the only Linux stand and handed out nearly 1500 Hoary CDs. 
This year at Cebit (come and chat to us next week!) we will again be 
handing out Ubuntu CDs till they run out (over 1500) and advertising our 
Linux Support services and other services Sol1 offers.

When I got excited about Ubuntu (a while ago now), I went out an saw 
that ubuntu was not a registered trademark in Australia, and not a 
registered domain name, so I registered the domain name so I could give 
it to Ubuntu before someone else got it. Here is my mailing list post 
about it:
You can read it for yourselves.
I also thought about starting an AU-loco team and chatted to Jeff about 
it, but quickly realised that I didn't have enough aims to achieve 
anything, so gave up on the idea.
When asked about the domain name by Yuki Cuss, we responded quickly and 
fairly straight away made the domain name available. We also offered web 
hosting and DNS hosting as well, which was not taken up.
The notion that ubuntu-au is our marketing arm is pretty funny, but sad 
that someone would think we are trying to cash in on anything. We offer 
commercial support for Ubuntu, we also offer it for Redhat and Gentoo 
and Suse. We prefer Ubuntu, its better.
In summary, we are directly responsible for bringing Ubuntu to many 
Australian businesses of varying sizes and contribute back to the 
community where we can.
We are happy to work with the ubuntu-au movement which brings me to my 
next point.

It seems ubuntu-au has suffered the same crisis of direction that led me 
to give up on the idea nearly 1 year ago. I have had some time to 
reflect what things an australian ubuntu team might do and set goals 
for, and I have also had a good discussion with Stuart Livingston about 
these goals.

I think there is a number of technical things that Sol1 are doing that I 
think the ubuntu-au team can collaborate with us on.
However on reflection, I think its best we stick to organising events 
that help achieve greater mindshare for Ubuntu in Australia (if that 
what we want to do). I mean Installfests, trade shows and other events 
where we can hand out cds, talk to people etc. These events seem to be 
the best fit for the balance of our abilities and enthusiasm. I agree 
with Jeff, we don't need a formal structure, just an aim, some people 
and a plan. If you want to start somewhere, come down to Cebit next 
Tuesday/Wed/Thurs and help man the Linux Australia stand. There will be 
a massive chance to evangelise Ubuntu to the hopefully 30K attendees. 
Also, you can meet other ubuntu-au team members and talk about these 
issues in depth. I hope to see some of your there.

If any one has any other ideas as to how Sol1 can help Ubuntu in 
Australia, I would be happy to hear them. My offer of hosting still stands.



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