Effective from this year's Linux.conf.au conference annual general meeting, held in Perth last week, Sydney resident Pia Smith was voted in as president of Linux Australia by the organisation's members.
Asked why she wanted to be president, Smith said she wanted to invigorate the organisation, so as to raise the profile and scope of the Linux operating system in Australia.
"Linux Australia hasn't been doing too much for the last few years, which is a pity because there is a huge potential there. Several months ago I started looking into the potential and what could be done and what Linux Australia could represent," Smith said. -I talked to the community and tried to find out what they wanted to do. One thing that everyone agreed was that there was potential to do things better."
So what are some of the things people can expect to see from Linux Australia in 2003?
"Our first step is to get our processes into form and get communication going. I think we can better represent the local communities, lobby, and provide more assistance to the community as a whole. We can give Linux a voice in Australia," said Smith.
When asked of the significance of being the first female president of Linux Australia, Smith said her election as president was significant for women in IT, and an important personal achievement.
"It's [the IT industry] quite male-dominated," Smith said. -I think it isn't that people are sexist in IT, it is just because not that many females are getting into IT".
Smith also hinted that there could be more corporate involvement on the horizon for Linux Australia.
"I think that Linux Australia should be about the Linux community and that involves spenders. How to represent that in such a way that you don't annoy the different sub-groups is going to be a bit tricky, but certainly they will be incorporated because you can't just shut off a section because they are making money out of it," she said.