[CLUG-chat] [CLUG-announce] Upcoming CLUG Talk: What can CLUG do for you?

Dave Jones dave at mediumrare.co.za
Fri Aug 7 09:36:19 SAST 2009

Just a thought re perceptions. It may help a lot if we stopped
refering to 'the newly enlightened' as newbies. Its disparaging- esp
if a newcomer is already apprehensive.
This thread is definitely on the right track though.
Keep it up.

On 8/7/09, A.J. Venter <aj at outkastsolutions.co.za> wrote:
> On Fri, Aug 7, 2009 at 7:37 AM, William Walter
> Kinghorn<williamk at dut.ac.za> wrote:
>> Hi Adrianna,
>> Thank you, you put what I was trying to say so nicely.
>> William
> There has been some interesting discussion flowing here, from
> different points and with different views, and interesting rift
> appears to be between those who think that newbies really can get the
> basic info  from google - and those who feel that offering a bit of
> handholding there would be among the best things we can do.
> I'm with Adrianna and William on that one - we need to do that, but I
> would like to say that things to actually get the word out is a
> crucial thing we can do to grow our member base.
> Traditionally, that was installfests - whether this is still the best
> approach is up for debate, I think they are an interesting approach
> but not an ideal one and certainly not by themselves. Even if used it
> should simply be standard practice that even as we set it up for the
> user we subscribe him to the mailing list right away - so he's part of
> the group with his new system from the start.
> It was interesting to see the mention about some users feeling CLUG is
> too Ubuntu centric and others saying that's just not true - really
> though, I agree with that feeling (and being old debianites doesn't
> really change it, many if not most old debianites run Ubuntu as their
> desktops anyway and keep Debian on the servers). True we've had talks
> about other distro's - but really pretty much every question and
> answer almost implicitly assumes that the user is running ubuntu and
> it's the only one we recommend for newbies.
> That's, to me, the most destructive change in the history of GNU/Linux
> ! It used to be, if a user expressed interest we would ask him
> questions about his real computing needs - and then recommend a distro
> targeted to those needs. A great deal of what made it so attractive
> was that your OS could in fact be targeted to your individual needs.
> Now we always recommend the generic one that suits everybody some of
> the time - but really isn't trying to be what you specifically need
> most of the time (for any given "you")... not even Microsoft does
> that, there's a reason they have up to six different editions of
> windows (and those are still far too generic).
> Now I also understand why this change happened - there is a lot to be
> said for "make the transition easier by allowing more tricky choices
> to be made later" - so I support it, I myself would not even recommend
> the distro I founded  to newbies, Ubuntu is probably better for them -
> but what is a problem (and what I think the previous poster was
> complaining about) is an attitude among some members that since Ubuntu
> is the best starting distro these days, it must be the only distro you
> ever use. When somebody starts showing interest in exploring others we
> don't encourage and advise them anymore - if you leave the Ubuntu
> nest, you're on your own in dragon country...
> Even when we launch exciting projects here, more often than not at
> least one person will reply "why don't you just use Ubuntu" (or
> whatever app is the default for this task on Ubuntu) - a question that
> I would think any halfway decent developer will have asked himself
> long before he came to announce his project and which is therefore
> almost insulting to the announcer.
> Not to mention, Ubuntu is really small on the enterprise server space
> which is where a huge number of the GNU/Linux professionals in this
> city work - I work in that space and I know a lot of people in it -
> most of them have unsubscribed from CLUG, when I asked them why the
> answer is usually "because my job is RHEL/CentOS - and there is just
> too much focus on Ubuntu in CLUG".
> I want GNU/Linux to be a major desktop force, but we can't do that but
> alienating our loyal server users first....
> Okay - I'm not trying to rant but we're talking about how to make CLUG
> more useful to more people - and these are problem areas I see that we
> could be better at (and I include myself in that statement).
> To finish off, a nice practical suggestion: we need to do some more
> visible things. We used to do the computer fair but I agree with the
> poster who said it's an expensive waste of time now - but why is SULUG
> planning for SFD while CLUG is ignoring it ?
> CLUG should be planning some sort of event - somewhere public and
> visible with a real celebration of what we stand for and a chance to
> get that message out. GLUG,PLUG and TLUG team up every year to throw
> huge events for SFD and it's become a very lovely part of the
> GNU/Linux user's calendar up north, last year even the minister of
> telecommunications keynoted and spoke about the value of open-source
> to innovation (let's not get into a debate about discussing
> open-source at a free software celebration... we don't expect South
> African politicians to be informed speakers do we ? :D)
> I think it's high time we learned from them - let's team up with SULUG
> and make this years SFD in the western cape one to remember, we have
> three huge universities in the area - with lovely campuses that most
> of our memberships are alumnii or students off. UWC in particular has
> been a major force for GNU/Linux in this area - I'm sure we can get at
> least one on board to let us do something awesome on their campus ? A
> fairground kind of feel - the kind that will attract passers-by and be
> a chance to generate interest among the ignorant and be a place for
> those who already have that interest to find link into the community
> and overcome that fear-of-change that stops them going forward.
> Of course, as always when I write more than one line, I expect some
> critique of my ideas :D good - only through debate and discussion of
> various points of view can greater understanding be reached all
> around.
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