Memos to Members/16 December 2004

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This website is not affiliated with SAGE or the USENIX Association. The use of the term "SAGE" below is historical, and refers either to the SAGE subgroup of USENIX, or to a precursor of the organization now called LOPSA.

Date:    Thu, 16 Dec 2004 10:57:27 CST
From:    David Parter <>
Subject: [SAGE] SAGE Memo-to-Members (December 2004)

SAGE Memo-to-Members 
December 2004

1. LISA 2004 wrap-up and news

   For those who couldn't attend, LISA 2004 (Atlanta, Nov. 14-19) was
   very successful. We had about 1120 attendees, and feedback was very
   positive. Congratulations and thank-you to all the speakers; Lee
   Damon (Program Chair); the Program Committee; and the Invited Talks,
   Guru-is-In and workshop coordinators; and to the USENIX staff and
   everyone else involving in making LISA the great conference that it

   Next year's LISA Program Chair is David Blank-Edelman. You can
   contact him with comments/ideas/questions at

   Also at LISA:

   - Doug Hughes was the recipient of the first Chuck Yerkes Award for
     Outstanding Individual Contribution on Member Forums. 
     Congratulations Doug! 

   - Brent Chapman was the recipient of the SAGE Outstanding Achievement
     Award. Congratulations Brent!

   - Short Topics Booklet #12 was released:

         Building a Logging Infrastructure
         by Abe Singer and Tina Bird

     Booklet #12 is being mailing to all new members. It will be on the website soon. If you want to order a printed copy, see 

   - New SAGE Polo Shirts were on sale at LISA, and will be available in
     the future via the SAGE Store.

   - Free SAGE Stickers (for laptops and other flat surfaces) were a big
     hit: see

     JD Welch donated the designs. The "Rules for Sysadmins" were
     provided by William Annis. We are out of stickers now, but we 
     will be making more stickers (and adding designs) in the future. 

   - Contestants in the annual LISA QUIZ SHOW received framed copies of
     the SAGE Code of Ethics (along with the usual pile of tech books)
     as prizes (visit for the text of the
     code of ethics and a downloadable version suitable for framing).

   - The SAGE transition team had a very productive open meeting with
     members. The transition team provided an update on the transition
     to an independent SAGE (see below). Other issues discussed included
     governance, marketing, and improving communication.

2. SAGE Transition status/news

   (note: much of this is taken from the slides prepared for the
   community meeting, with updates and edits appropriate for an email

   First, we need to reiterate several important points:

     * SAGE services will continue to be provided by USENIX until the
       transition to a new SAGE organization. Rob Kolstad and the USENIX
       office staff are still working on SAGE projects and services.

     * SAGE memberships continue unchanged -- please renew when your
       membership expires!

     * LISA will continue to be co-sponsored by USENIX and SAGE, and
       will continue to be the premier System Administration event.

   The transition team (Lorette Cheswick, Geoff Halprin, Trey Harris,
   and David Parter) and others have been devoting considerable
   attention to understanding the organizational problems that have hurt
   SAGE in the past, as well as to identification of our strengths.

   During the transition, there will inevitably be some cases of "One
   step back, two steps forward." It is our goal that the "two steps forward"
   will happen in a timely manner. Setting up a new organization and
   coordinating with USENIX will inevitably lead to instances where we
   miss opportunities, or are slow to deal with things.

   The creation of a new, independent SAGE will allow us to move
   forward on our agenda in a more aggressive, wide-reaching way. We
   will have much more flexibility, but with independence comes
   responsibility -- and teething problems.
   In examining lessons learned from the past, a few issues stand out:

     * The independence issue has been put to rest: the question has
       been decided, we are moving on

     * Opportunities for volunteerism have been scattered,
       under-utilized, poorly organized, and frustrating for volunteers

     * We have had a failure to communicate (and the tardiness of this
       memo to members is not a sign of improvement -- as we are well

   We have identified three preliminary points to address those

     * Better communications: The organization and the members must
       be connected. Ideas that have been discussed include better use
       of mailing lists, wikis, and sending the "memo to members" on a
       regular (scheduled) basis

     * Better member involvement: More volunteer opportunities, with
       more support and satisfaction for volunteers

     * Better leadership development: This flows naturally from a more
       involved and connected membership, but that isn't enough. Instead
       of ad-hoc Nominating Committees (for the elections) every two
       years, we will be putting together a standing Leadership
       Development Committee. The Leadership committee is tasked with
       developing and nurturing SAGE leadership at all levels, and
       serving as the nominating committee for Board elections.


      In accordance with the roadmap established by the USENIX Board of
      Directors, the SAGE Transition Team has filed the paperwork for
      incorporation (in New Jersey) and applied for tax-exempt
      status. The transition team is now officially the Interim Board of

      This has been submitted to the USENIX Board of Directors, who have
      accepted it pending verification.

      We are awaiting verification and clarification of some details
      from the State of NJ.


      We have been drafting the bylaws for the new SAGE, and have
      established the following:

      - The Board will have 9 members, elected at large, for two-year
        terms (Note: Elections will be by preferential voting)

      - The Board will elect officers from within the Board 

      - Elections for the first full board are targeted for March,

      - As discussed above, nominations for the Board will be handled by
        the Leadership Development Committee (to be named). Nominations 
        can also be made directly by members.

      We have been exploring our options for how to manage the
      organization day-to-day. Options range from hiring our own staff
      to contracting with a company that specializes in association
      management. Most likely we will end up with a hybrid: An
      association management company for administrative and other tasks
      common to most associations, and individual contracts for
      SAGE-specific services as appropriate.

3. How you can get involved

   Right now, we don't have the capability to effectively use a lot of
   volunteers -- but there are things that members can do to help:

   - Stay involved, and keep caring

   - Renew your SAGE membership, and recruit your co-workers and other
     sysadmins to join.

   - Participate in your local SAGE group, and bring along some of your
     co-workers. If you don't have a local SAGE group, help start one!
     Participation in local groups is the most effective way for most
     members to make a difference right now.

   - If you have business experience, and have the time to help us
     review our business/management/administrative options, please
     contact us. 

   - If you have marketing experience, and have time to help, or ideas
     about how we should market SAGE (including a better answer to the
     question of why a system administrator should join SAGE), please
     let us know

   - If you have experience with member/community-oriented web sites
     (such as what could/should be), and have time to
     participate in either the technical or editorial direction of
     the web site, please let us know.

4. Contact info:

   * SAGE Transition Team/Interim Board:

   * SAGE Coordinating Committee:

   * SAGE member services:     

David Parter
Your memo-to-members editor