[unclug] growing the LUG

Todd M. Lewis utoddl at email.unc.edu
Fri Apr 28 07:51:24 EDT 2006

Cristobal Palmer wrote:
> Rather than read too much into the lack of responses, I'm going to
> assume that I wrote (0) too long an email and (1) sent it at a bad
> time in the semester.

I think there may be a couple of other factors. One is that, with the 
growing capabilities of web hosted communities, there isn't as much need 
for face to face contact among people with a common interest. Not that 
face time isn't important or useful, but most everybody is already 
plugged into one or more groups through the internet -- usually much 
larger groups that you could hope to create locally.

The second factor is that Linux is becoming too ubiquitous to compel 
people to take the time to meet physically/locally somewhere. That's a 
good thing for Linux, but bad if you like LUGs. It would be like trying 
to start a Light Switch Users Group.  Geek One: "They are soooo cool, 
wouldn't it be great if we could get together and extol the virtues of 
light switches to each other?" Geek Two: "Well, er, no, thanks. But if I 
run into a technical problem with a light switch, I'll keep your contact 
info handy."  I exaggerate, but you get the idea.

I've got a stack of 4 PCs on my desk, each with a different Linux 
distribution installed. They pretty much all just work. A new 
distribution comes out, and if it's interesting enough to me, one of my 
machines gets rebuilt. Maybe. They've gotten pretty good. I read 
http://slashdot.org/ and http://lwn.net/ every day. I'm on the mailing 
lists of the software projects I'm interested in. I get the invitations 
monthly to the North Carolina System Administrators meetings, though I 
hardly ever go. (See <http://www.ncsysadmin.org/> if you're interested.) 
I've subscribed to this list in case some local user asks about 
something I'm familiar with and I can help him/her out, but that 
_rarely_ happens any more. I'm already maxed out for meetings, 
schedule-wise. What exactly do a local LUG and I have to offer each 
other that makes it worth the effort either for the LUG or for me 
(beyond this list, which is admittedly low volume enough to hardly 
count)? I have nothing against the LUG idea or the people who want to 
meet other people. (Some people need that; I usually find it draining. 
Go figure.)

Besides, in a LUG meeting, I'd never ramble on this long. :-)

    / Todd_Lewis at unc.edu  919-445-9302  http://www.unc.edu/~utoddl /
   /       "He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the      /
  /             vices I admire." - Winston Churchill             /

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