Linux User Groups (LUG)This forum allows Linux User Groups (LUG) to gain exposure. It also allows people looking for a LUG in their area to find one.
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I am willing to help start a Linux User's Group in this area and am looking for other people in the region who might participate. See signature line for complete contact info.
I suspect that all of us are about to see very significant growth in local LUGs (it will not hurt for a few new big ones to emerge, either; the old and now virtually defunct ACG/NJ -- the Amateur Computer Group of New Jersey, one of the original, largest, and most influential of all user groups back during the 1980's and early 1990's -- is a great example of just how useful such organizations can be). Why do I think there's going to be local growth? Right now, Linux looks to me to be a lot like CP/M was in the early 1980's -- something that is growing in appeal to potential users who have not used something like this before, but who are ready to try it and will like the idea of getting together locally to help each other out.
I have used computers since 1965, I have been setting up PCs and helping other people to use them since the CP/M days, and I've now amassed more than 18 months of successful primary dependence on Linux systems for my own research consulting business. I help out scores of people in this area who have Wintel computers, many of them connected with my church (Unitarian Universalist). Right now I am getting a noticable jump in interest in Linux on the part of these other users. Typically, these are not especially knowledgable people; rather they are ordinary PC owners who are now accustomed to using the internet, email, and other mainstream IT services, and they are getting increasingly frustrated with the constant crashes and hassles they are experiencing, especially with XP-based computers. They are ready to try something better. I hesitate to shift these mass market PC owners over to Linux, because most of these people are not quite ready to administer a Linux box and Linux is not quite ready for them -- but these two sides are getting real close to a good match, and they're gonna come together soon, I think. When that happens, we're all going to need local user networks, because all these new users are going to need substantial help and support, and those needs will begin to overwhelm those of us who presently provide support and help unless we start to organize now in anticipation of this trend.
Or at least this is my own take on what I think is going on. What do others think? And who in the Harrisburg PA area would like to join up with me to start to provide local support networks around here for Linux newbies?
Thanks for the tip. I am adding the HowTo to stuff I am assembling here, along with other materials from LUGWW. It looks like there were three LUGs in the general Central Pennsylvania region at one point, but only one may have survived. It is not easy to build these groups (speaking from experience with CP/M groups back during the 1970's and 1980's). Is anybody out there with further suggestions to add?
Actually, it turns out that there are at least TWO groups around here with interests in Linux and both of them meet on second Tuesday nights. CPLUG (the Central Pennsylvania Linux Users Group) looks like a good source for support. The group includes both hobbyists and a number of professional Unix system administrators, they know their stuff, and they're willing to help out. Join their email list, that's where much of the action is. See Kahless' message for their URL.
The second group is HUG, the Harrisburg PC Users Group. It is not devoted just to Linux but there is clear interest it. HUG also holds informal workshops on third Sunday afternoons to help people with any sort of problem with x86 machines and software. Most of their experience is with Microsoft systems. This group is smaller and more traditional and does not maintain the kind of online resources that CPLUG has developed. It has a web site at http://www.hrbgug.org.
To Kahless and any others in the Harrisburg area: I have gotten other responses to this notice and there's a good core for a small local SIG for new Linux people, tied to CPLUG. Get in touch by responding here if you need more info.
I am also reviewing distros to determine which one looks best for newbies and right now it looks like the new release of Ubuntu (5.10) leads the list, hands down. I do not think Ubuntu is maximally bulletproof in its default installation form, but it looks like it can be adjusted to create a Linux system that is no more difficult than Windows to use and administer, is substantially more reliable and stable, and substantially less costly and annoying.
Also note: the alternative Kubuntu distro (Ubuntu with the KDE desktop) seems to be less thoroughly debugged and has a very different bundle of software which at least IMHO ain't as good as the main Ubuntu release. You do not need to start with Kubuntu to install KDE. Contrary to some reports in circulation, apparently any number of alternative GUIs can be added to Ubuntu and it will then give users a log-in choice among all of them. For my own part, I have not much cared for earlier versions of Gnome and still use KDE on my own Red Hat system, but the new release of Gnome bundled with Ubuntu is very good indeed.
Hi, i just noticed this thread, sorry if I'm a bit late. I live in Enola, PA, which is not 10 minutes from Harrisburg. I never knew about any LUG in the area, so keep me posted if you do create one. Also, please post links to the other two.
The Wiki portal is the one most actively updated these days. Either address also provides access to email list signups, IRC. You may need to navigate to the home page to register. There are no fees and no formal structure but a few old hands handle coordination and planning.
My own assessment is that this is an excellent group. It includes a number of very experienced Linux system administrators, and newbies may feel that
some of the ongoing discussions are over their heads, but the group is quite good at helping people with little or no experience, as well.