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Statement of Direction

Taken from the old ProgSoc Wiki

Why Does ProgSoc Exist?

This is a question of some importance, as it directly affects what ProgSoc was trying to achieve when it was created and echoes of this still exist today.

In March of 1989, Chris Keane and Roland Turner approached the UTS Union with a view to setting up a Union affiliated club for people interested in programming. In fact, the initial intent was specifically for those interested in UNIX system programming and kernel hacking but was later broadened to cover programming generally. The choice to be Union affiliated was to lend us some legitimacy when dealing with the University and other bodies and to gain access to Union funding to support whatever we decided to do.

Since then, the club has grown, evolved, and moved in all kinds of directions, so read on.

From this came ProgSoc's objectives as stated in its constitution which are, briefly:

  • To encourage programming within UTS
  • To be affiliated with Activate UTS (formerly known as UTS Union)
  • To work with and/or join organisations with similar objectives
  • To develop non-commercial software for use by others outside ProgSoc

The fourth objective initially referred to software for the UNIX operating system but was broadened to include software generally. Nonetheless, there is a great deal of interest in UNIX within ProgSoc and certainly, ProgSoc's computer installation is a collection of machines running variants of UNIX. Furthering UNIX, and helping others to use it, remains an unstated objective of the Society.

What Should ProgSoc be doing?

Well, quite a few things. Generally, anything which furthers ProgSoc's objectives.

To encourage programming

  • Hold classes/lectures and/or produce publications to help people learn to use computers and to program them. (e.g. programming classes, guest lectures and TFM.)

  • Hold programming contests.

  • Hold non-programming contests which require (or will benefit from) an element of programming ability. (e.g. X-tank, SoCS Doom)

Provide a forum for people interested in computers and IT to interact

  • This occurs through our weekly meetings, where we meet up to chill and discuss in a friendly environment.

Activate UTS affiliation

  • Talk to Activate occasionally.

  • Keep Activate's paperwork flowing.

Organisations with similar objectives

  • Yoyo in Melbourne and the University Computer Club in Perth. There have been contacts with Yoyo and UCC over the years, but little common activity has ever arisen, simply because of distance.
  • On an international level, there exist bodies such as the Harvard Computer Society and programming societies at other universities, but no formal interactions have been made.

Developing software

  • There is a little of this going on. When some critical mass is reached, a registry of projects being undertaken by ProgSoc members would be appropriate. Currently, however, most development is proceeding in very small, unconnected groups. Attempts to foster interest in the past have not yet yielded any substantially new development projects.

As an underlying task, ProgSoc should be (and is) running a network for members to use in furthering the Society's objectives.

  • Involvement of as many members as possible in this particular activity has been and remains a primary task for the Executive. From this joint activity and the communication that goes along with it, we expect to increase activity within ProgSoc.

  • Maintaining a good relationship with the FEIT remains important as long as we are connected to their network and occupy their space.

  • Seeking new opportunities when/if they arise for a closer relationship with ITD and/or other parts of the University is also sensible.

  • Maintaining our relationship with hardware vendors (these have included Sun and Apple) is beneficial from the standpoint of being a continuing supply of equipment to upgrade/replace old equipment. Seeking new relationships with other vendors of various types is also potentially beneficial.

So, What About the Future?

There has been no push to substantially change ProgSoc's objectives, so the appropriate activities remain much the same. The Executive encourages any and all members who are interested in setting up any activity generally in line with ProgSoc's objectives to do so. Naturally, it is to be expected that the Executive will both endeavour to facilitate and, to some extent, moderate such activities.

April 2, 1997, updated May 15, 2003, and again April 25, 2013, and again November 11, 2017, and again March 2, 2018 and again September 3, 2023.