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What's a LUG?


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linuxdude32

Bruno asked me to do a post about LUGs. I hope it's helpful, if not, blame him! :) Seriously, tell me if you have questions or criticisms.When I first started playing with Linux, I didn't know anybody else personally that was. There was a magazine and a CD. The CD scared me when it warned me on the install that I should make sure all my data was backed up before I proceeded. I chose cancel. Lucky thing I did, too! It was an early version of Debian. If you think Debian is hard to install and setup now, imagine back in 1998! My apologies to the Debian folks out there, but compared to Mandrake, Red Hat and SuSE, it's positively prehistoric, but I digress. I did get back into Linux about 6 months later with Red Hat and I was entranced. I was so excited I wanted to tell other people about it. The main bonuses to me was that it was stable (Windows 95 always crashed and pissed me off greatly) and that it was free or cheap. Around that time (1999)I was the president of the Kawartha Computer Club (as I am now). I did a presentation for the KCC about Linux (it was Red Hat 6.0 then, I think) and sold CDs to interested members. Not really knowing there was such a thing as a Linux User Group (LUG), I started a SIG (special interest group) that met weekly out of KCC members that wanted to learn more about Linux and who had bought a CD or gotten one through a magazine. My main goal then was just to connect fellow Linux users together. I hoped that we could get tips and tricks from each other. I was far from being a Linux guru but in the beginning was the only SIG guy who knew much about it. Our little SIG grew in interest. As far as attendance goes, it wasn't growing very fast, but every month another person joined the meeting announcement list (which informed potential attendees of meetings). Eventually we also broke away from the Kawartha Computer Club and became the Peterborough Linux User Group (PLUG).At our meetings, we'd chat about Linux or someone would bring a computer with hardware they couldn't configure or just to have Linux installed on it or we'd demonstrate a new version of Linux. Mandrake became very popular in our group as local computer stores started to sell the boxed editions. Some people couldn't make every meeting, so we changed to meeting every two weeks. My biggest problem is that I was stuck doing the presenting all the time because nobody else wanted to.By the winter of 2000/2001, a member joined who was willing to do presentations and later to host meetings in his home. This guy was a professional webmaster who favored FreeBSD for web servers. Nothing wrong with that. I invited him to do a demo on FreeBSD. Us Open Source guys need to stick together. He did other demos, too. Then another member did a presentation on LVM (logical volume management). It was complicated (I could just barely grok it). Over the next couple of years, we got companies willing do donate books, draw prizes and so forth. At the beginning of this year, we committed the unpardonable sin, we charged for membership. :) My goal was 10 members, we ended up with 16, each contributing $25 for extra benefits. Meetings themselves are still free. We now have 3-4 people who regularly do presentations and a few more that do the occasional presentation.I wanted to give you that history, because in it you should see the most important part of Linux -- the people. As many writers have found out to their chagrin, Linux users are a vocal group and are very defensive of their OS, the same way a parent would be of their child. That's because Linux isn't just another OS. It's our OS. Linux clubs are almost always known as LUG (Linux User Groups). Don't let the "user" part fool you, though, LUGs often have developers, technicians, computer science students and teachers in them. And we're not just geeks. Some of the members of my group are novices or intermediate users. What we share are our interests in learning more about Linux and learning more about how we each use Linux. LUGs can vary in the services they offer, but at a minumum, you can expect:(1) People who will answer your questions or point you in the right direction,(2) Presentations, probably monthly, about Linux programs or new distributions.(3) Discounts on some Linux programs or magazines (Linux Journal offers subscription discounts),(4) A place to get Linux CDs either downloaded for you or borrowed and,(5) An online list where you can ask questions in between meetings.Additionally, many LUGs have extras such as:(5) A Linux borrowing library,(6) Installfests, where anybody can bring their computer to get Linux installed on them for free,(7) A newsletter and,(8) chances at winning cool prizes.The best feature though, that every LUG is sure to have, is the people, just like you, who can help you with your Linux questions or just to show off to when you get that great new distribution. Chances are, there is a LUG already near you. And if there isn't, why don't you start one? There's no central list of LUGs on the Internet, but you should be able to find a LUG nearby on one of them. Here's some of the ones I know of below. Check Google for more.Linux OnlineLinux User Groups WorldwideTux.orgRed Hat's User Group ProgramYahoo DirectoryOne of the things I can't stress enough whether you're joining a LUG or creating your own is to get involved and get everybody else involved! And the other thing is that no matter how small a group is, go to the meeting. Small groups can't become big groups until people go to it. And more people become a magnet to getting more. And the success of a LUG isn't just in how many people are in it, anyway. It's in the social aspect, the comraderie, giving people not known for being social and place to belong.The other aspect of LUGs it activism. Promoting Linux gives the people a voice, a chance to give everyone an alternative to Windows. LUGs are one of the best ways to give choice to a public that doesn't know there is any choice. Microsoft has said a lot of wrong things about Linux, but a couple of things that it has said are true, it is viral, in that amongst experienced computers, it catches on. Microsoft also called it a toy. They're right, Linux makes computing fun again and even a child can learn how to use it. A LUG can raise awareness in a community by having public Installfests, by giving away CDs (I'm doing this at the KCC meeting June) for free, by helping out a local school by building them a cheap computer lab using Linux software. Doing all of this by yourself is pretty hard, but a LUG makes it possible. We hope to have an Installfest in the next few months and we're looking for a school or non-profit that we can help.Get involved!

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GolfProRM

Super sweet! Thanks for the info! I had no idea we had a LUG right here in Lincoln, Nebraska! Signed up right away! :) Can't wait to meet some local Linux users... will be nice to hear some interesting presentations about different distros and such! :DThanks a million!

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Thank you Jason for the great way you explained to us what a LUG is ! A very nice and interesting text to read, you did put in a lot of work and I do appreciate that.( you see Ryan signed up right away at his local LUG, I told you there would be a rush on all the local LUG's all over the world, didn''t I :) ):) Bruno

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Quint - only 102 miles? I could not find one within 4 hours of here! Guess I am on my own. I take that back. I'm glad the forum is here!

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Quint - only 102 miles?  I could not find one within 4 hours of here! Guess I am on my own.  I take that back.  I'm glad the forum is here!
Gosh, Julia, would have thought there'd be one closer to you; but N.C. is a sizable state. :) Share your relief, that the forum is a click away. :)
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Quint and Julia,Not ALL the local lugs will be listed on those sites, a search on google might just let one pop-up more near to you. If not you can always do what Jason did; start one yourself !:) Brunooogle

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Thank you very much for nice read and welcome to our small "virtual LUG" that's been hosted by Scot's Newsletter Forums.By the way, we know Scot is hiding penguin under the bad but, shhh .. we won't tell :)I live in Ottawa, Otario. Canada and we have many LUG's.Just last week I believe, "MUG" - Microsoft User Group stopped working due to lack of volunteers :)

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Quint and Julia,Not ALL the local lugs will be listed on those sites, a search on google might just let one pop-up more near to you. If not you can always do what Jason did; start one yourself !:) Brunooogle
Brunooogle,Well, you came through again...there's a very small LUG, in Moundsville, WV, about 21 miles from where I live. Thank you. :( BTW, Yoper Linux seems to be a Slackware clone. :)
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There you go Quint ! See there is always a way if you want to . . . :):( BrunoPS:Yoper is a different story, in short: it was a free download as long as it was in the RC ( Release Candidate ) stage, they got loads of attention and everybody was hyped. Then came the Final version and they stopped the Free downloads and started charging $95 for it. Well that got every distro-lover well turned-off ! Also the high rankings on Distrowatch got a fishy smell of manipulation about it. ( just roumors ) Now they want to try to get some p****-off fans back to them and offer a limmited version for download . . . . . just not my type of Open businessmodel for Open Source Software. ( BTW even the now available free download is NOT completely Open Source )

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There you go Quint ! See there is always a way if you want to . . . :):( BrunoPS:Yoper is a different story, in short: it was a free download as long as it was in the RC ( Release Candidate ) stage, they got loads of attention and everybody was hyped. Then came the Final version and they stopped the Free downloads and started charging $95 for it. Well that got every distro-lover well turned-off ! Also the high rankings on Distrowatch got a fishy smell of manipulation about it. ( just roumors ) Now they want to try to get some p****-off fans back to them and offer a limmited version for download  . . . . .  just not my type of Open businessmodel for Open Source Software. ( BTW even the now available free download is NOT completely Open Source )
Was not aware of that; what a shame that has come to pass. :)
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nlinecomputers

So if your a fan of Linux User Groups does that make youa Lugnut :( Thank you. Thank you. I'll be here all week.

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volunteer

Jason, thanks for sharing about your group and the links. I found that Memphis has a group, GOLUM (Group of Linux Users in Memphis) founded in 1998, that meets on the 1st and 3rd Thursday and has a membership of 150 (which really surprized me). I plan to attend the next meeting on the 19th. At least I can tell them I have a Linux pedigree, I'm registered. It's a 90 minute drive to downtown where they meet.Ken

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:blink: If I mention Linux in this town, nobody knows what I'm talking about.I can always come here though!
Joy, you know it; always welcome here to have fun with the friends of the All Things Linux, we have our daily meetings right here in your computer and no membership ( Volunteer: $ 150 is that serious ? ) to pay. :D:D Bruno
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except when someone says grandmas can't use Linux
Whoever told you that Joy ? I´ll have him/her banned ! :blink: :D Some people, Joy, some people are so ¨cool¨ that their brains are frozen solid . . . . :D Bruno
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Quint and Julia,Not ALL the local lugs will be listed on those sites, a search on google might just let one pop-up more near to you. If not you can always do what Jason did; start one yourself !;) Brunooogle
I tried. I think I found 150 links about how they had to "lug" the plane to do the first flight from Kitty Hawk by the Wright Brothers. ;) I did find a link page from someone at NCSU who likes to vacation here. ;) Quint - How can you say WV? In my house, my husband says he is from "West By God Stand Up and Salute Virginia". I have listened to him say it that way for 24 years. I did not know anyone from WV could say it without the six words in the middle. :D I thought it was the only state with 8 words in its name. :blink: Just to save you from asking, he is from over in the turnpike area by Beckley.BrunoooogleI think I will start one myself. Just me and the two students that want to take a class in it next year. ;) Joy - I saw that too. I thought about taking offense but since my granddaughter is a step-granddaughter (two years younger than my daughter) I thought I would save it for you to have the honors of reacting!
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Peachy
BrunoooogleI think I will start one myself.  Just me and the two students that want to take a class in it next year. :blink:
That's the spirit, Julia. If you build it, they will come! ;)
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linuxdude32

Thanks guys for your compliments. The fact that several of you actually got past the long boring story and were inspired enough to look for a LUG is pretty amazing in itself! ;) Julia, I think I heard you're in North Carolina, but you didn't say where exactly. I did a search on north+carolina+linux+user+groups on Google and there were a few hits, but I don't know if any are close to you. Here's the results.Also, to help with searching all things Linux, try the Linux-specific Google search and use that to look for lugs at instead of the main search engine.Quint. If you let me know where you are, I might be able to find one closer to you. I also forgot to mention that there are many PC user groups and they're a good place to find Linux users, too. APCUG (Association of PC User Groups) maintains a user group locator. You could also ask at your favorite computer store if they know of one or call a college or university nearby. Finally, I'll give a PLUG for PLUG (my LUG) an mention that we have a virtual membership plan too. ;) So, if you really have a bug for joining a LUG and you don't need a good mug, pull a rug and join PLUG! I can hear the groans even while I write this... :blink:

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LinuxDude32. Thanks. I had done a google. I live at the ocean. I am closer usually to Virginia than North Carolina places. People come here on vacation. Sane people do not live here. This time of year nobody has time for anything but work. It is time for the annual invasion of tourists. We do see many Canadian tags on cars too! There is a local community college but Linux is well out of their range. I live close to Kitty Hawk. That is probably the most famous landmark here because people know about the Wright Brothers. You know Linux is not used much when you have used it for two weeks and you suddenly are the local resident expert. That's scary. Folks that have hung around here for very long know I know just enough to be dangerous - or to teach! :blink:

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Quint - How can you say WV?  In my house, my husband says he is from "West By God Stand Up and Salute Virginia".  I have listened to him say it that way for 24 years.  I did not know anyone from WV could say it without the six words in the middle. ;)  I thought it was the only state with 8 words in its name. :D Just to save you from asking, he is from over in the turnpike area by Beckley.
Julia,Have heard some of the locals refer to that. ;) Guess it's because I'm a born/raised "Noo Yawka". :blink: Have been down around Beckley a few times...beautiful, great fishing, makes a person understand what John Denver meant. ;)
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Thanks guys for your compliments. The fact that several of you actually got past the long boring story and were inspired enough to look for a LUG is pretty amazing in itself! ;) Julia, I think I heard you're in North Carolina, but you didn't say where exactly. I did a search on north+carolina+linux+user+groups on Google and there were a few hits, but I don't know if any are close to you. Here's the results.Also, to help with searching all things Linux, try the Linux-specific Google search and use that to look for lugs at instead of the main search engine.Quint. If you let me know where you are, I might be able to find one closer to you. I also forgot to mention that there are many PC user groups and they're a good place to find Linux users, too. APCUG (Association of PC User Groups) maintains a user group locator. You could also ask at your favorite computer store if they know of one or call a college or university nearby. Finally, I'll give a PLUG for PLUG (my LUG) an mention that we have a virtual membership plan too. :D So, if you really have a bug for joining a LUG and you don't need a good mug, pull a rug and join PLUG! I can hear the groans even while I write this... :blink:
Thanks, Jason. I'm not sure, after investigating further, whether they're a registered club, but will find out; Mike Hall is the owner of a PC repair store in the area, and I believe he started the group (don't know the exact name ;) ). This is his website:Hall Computers
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henderrob

Thanks for the links to LUG registry. I'm going to try the Calgary Linux User Group next month. Missed June's meeting B)

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georgeg4
rolleyes.gifThanks Bruno, I love this place (except when someone says grandmas can't use Linux).
Hey Joy I don't know where you read that but I sure hope it doesn't apply to Greatgrandfathers as well . I hate to think I wasted all these years trying to be GREAT something . :D
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georgeg4

Thanks for the info Linuxguy I found your story to be anything but boring . I read it with interest and I am afraid I am in quint's position . Where I live they don't even know what linux is . Most don't even know what Windows is . They just turn on their computers and go to the chat rooms .So in short I am following in teachers footsteps so to speak I am going to start my own lug ( this ought to be a good one :D The blind leading the blind ) But I will try it anyhow .

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