June 21, 2004
ALU Seeks New President
Raymond de Lacaze has resigned as the president of the Association of Lisp Users, so the ALU is looking for a brave replacement, someone with an interest in bureaucracy and a lot of patience. Note that they're accepting nominations only until June 30, i.e. 9 days from now.
I quote their entire email below. Note that neither news of Raymond's resignation nor anything about the nomination, nor even anything about the recent ALU questionnaire appears on the ALU website. Actually, no information regarding any of this appears on either one of their websites, one of which is an easy-to-edit wiki. Weird.
Subject: President ALU -- request for nominations
-*-Our apologies if you receive this message more than once-*-
As you may have noticed, Ray de Lacaze has resigned as ALU's
president. As ALU board we sincerely regret this, not in the
last part because Ray has taken the initiative to organize two
very successful conferences: ILC02 in San Francisco and ILC03
in New York City. Partly because of Ray's efforts, the Lisp
and Scheme communities are more dynamic than a few years ago.
The ALU is therefore looking for a new president. As ALU board we
have decided to first ask ALU's membership (which is currently
anyone who has attended ILC conferences) to nominate candidates
for this position.
It is the intention of the ALU to stimulate both the Scheme and Lisp
communities worldwide and to promote the use of these programming
languages in industry, government and academia.
The role of the ALU president is open to invention. However,
the president must
- Attend a monthly one-hour board meeting via teleconference;
- Be able to think about ALU issues between meetings;
- Have an interest in bringing the Lisp and Scheme communities
together through an annual or biennial conference;
- Cooperate in developing proposals for funding.
The president will probably need several hours per month
for these tasks and several days per year devoted to
high-level conference activities such as finding brilliant
people to present at our conference and seeing them do it.
Operational responsibility for the conference will not
fall to the president.
ALU needs a paying membership to:
a. Upfront costs for organizing conferences and other activities
to promote the interest of the Lisp and Scheme communities;
b. Compensate officers for certain of their efforts and travel
c. Pay someone to develop and maintain the ALU website and build
an archive that makes it easy to get comprehensive,
high-quality information about Scheme and Lisp.
We are developing ways to accept online payments and collect
- Support collaboration within the Lisp and Scheme communities by
organizing conferences and other activities;
- Support collaboration within the Scheme and Lisp communities
to create awareness of excellent qualities of these languages
for real-world applications.
The ALU board welcomes nominees for the presidency. After
reception of your nomination, we will contact the nominee for
willingness to accept the position and discuss various issues
to assess the qualities of the candidate. For this reason, please
nominate with the name and the email address of your candidate.
To keep the nomination period short, we will accept candidates
until June 30st 2004 (midnight, your local time). After that date,
no more nominees will be accepted and the board will vote for
its new president and report the new ALU president to you.
If you have any questions, feel free to contact anyone on the board.
You can email the whole board at email@example.com.
On behalf of the ALU board,
Ernst van Waning
board member, ALU
Posted by jjwiseman at June 21, 2004 11:32 AM
Actually, no information regarding any of this appears on either one of their websites, one of which is an easy-to-edit wiki. Weird
An easy-to-edit wiki? Really? I trust you've rectified this omission, then ...
OK, I already know you haven't. The ALU does seem to be an organization with a definite Inside and Outside, and almost everyone in the Lisp community (sic) considers themself to be Outside.
So, the question I pose to all Lispers reading this: what would it take for you to start thinking of the ALU as an organisation that actually represents your interests, rather than just some marginally-related people who post to cll once a year to ask you to fork over money?
Or, if you do feel the ALU is on your side, what is it that they do that you like?
Or, if there's nothing they /could/ do - perhaps you think it's foolish to expect a community of interest between all the people they wish to represent simply because we all use parens instead of curly brackets - you can say that too.
I'm still trying to decide what my answer is, though it's regreettably obvious from my wording here what my prejudices are...
Sorry, I could have been clearer there. "An association of which you are part", not just some other people whose aims you roughly agree with. What kind of Lisp-representing body would you want to be on the Inside of?
PS: no, I'm not considering the job (as if). I don't think that representing Scheme users and proprietary Lisp vendors is compatible with plotting to take over the world by means of Free CL, and I prefer the latter
> Or, if you do feel the ALU is on your side, what is it that they do
> that you like?
They're a resource which deepens the "lisp community" and has advantages of their own. Of course, there are disadvantages and noticing the lack of wiki update was an apt observation.
Such top-heavy organizations seem to be useful against political obstacles. Having volunteered for a couple hours with the Oslo meeting, I saw that the politics can really get insane.
> I don't think that representing Scheme users and proprietary Lisp
> vendors is compatible with plotting to take over the world by means of
> Free CL, and I prefer the latter
Are two things ever completely opposed or completely aligned? Antagonism happens. ;)
Opensource is an excellent vehicle for spreading Free Software, even if this forces Free Software to constantly explain how Opensource is wrong. I think that's an example of good antagonism.
> marginally-related people who post to cll once a year to ask you to
> fork over money?
You will notice the ALU's big on meetings. That's likely because physical proximity tends to help the trust along. I think blogs would too, if they were the blogging type.
For me, the educational value of ALU is the important thing. I want to be able to look at their open accounting books, and know about things they encounter.
I passed the ALU questionnaire around to (some of) those members of my group who use Lisp as one of their tools in their day-to-day work. The reactions ranged from "I didn't know we were an oppressed, persecuted minority" to "who on earth are these people?". I can imagine that they would be even more bemused by the thought of an ALU president...
Are these people part of the Lisp community? Perhaps not, but remember: these are guys who use Lisp at work. Maybe those are the real Lisp community, and the hordes of consultants forced to use Java and C++ are just jealous onlookers. (Particularly so if all they do is whine...)
The ALU email says:
"As ALU board we have decided to first ask ALU's membership (which is currently anyone who has attended ILC conferences) to nominate candidates for this position."
I never attended an ILC, and indeed I have not received the above mentioned email. But in the spring of 2003 I helped to create the new ALU web site. And in August of 2003 I paid 100$ to become a regular member.
This leaves me wondering how ALU membership is defined, and whether ALU maintains an up to date members database in the first place.
I attended - and spoke at - ILC02 (and very good it was too, my presentation notwithstanding), and have not paid the ILC any money, and the only place I've seen this announcement is here on lemonodor. So, please don't take it personally ...
From my point of view the biggest thing going for ALU is that they represent a continuum from the pre-ANSI days up to the present. Losing that would be a sad thing.
Even though the student membership is only $25, I do wonder what it would get me besides warm fuzzies: ALU activities --such as they-- are seem to be concentrated on the wrong side of the Atlantic. As far as I can tell there's not even a mailing list for the international audience. On the promotional front I'd much rather get that feeling of money well spent for sillyness by donating to an organization that was committed to CL world domination. ;-)
Oh well. I hope they find several good candidates (from the little I've heard the shoes may not be the smallest in town) and find a way to invigorate the whole organization.