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Is the LUG a thing of the past? 162

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the where-else-do-you-get-cds dept.
tinahdee writes "Linux User Groups dying out? LUG leaders report that attendance is down — but mailing list traffic is still good. Do we still need LUGs, given the ease of installation and ubiquitousness of online information about Linux? Lots of people say, yes, we still need LUGs (and some disagree)."
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Is the LUG a thing of the past?

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    • Leaders and topics (Score:1, Insightful)

      by dysplay (1026828)
      I find two issues have been eating away at my local LUG. First is the leadership issue. In the last three years the LUG's leaders seem to be growing increasingly lazy. Four years ago we had a great leader, fun meetings, good attendance. The next year we had a leader who put in a lot of effort, but chose some lousy meeting topics. The year after that it picked up again at first, but towards the end our president stopped putting effort into the club and meetings started disappearing. This year there were so f
      • by farrellj (563) *
        I still think there is a place for LUGs, but they need to change with the times. Some LUGs , like the one here in Ottawa, have generally lost their way, and in this case, degenerated in to a flame war society. I haven't bothered to go back after being away ill for a while.

        There still is a place for a LUG to do things like Install Fests, and other advocacy oriented jobs.

        ttyl
                  Farrell
  • local forms yes, (Score:5, Interesting)

    by tomstdenis (446163) <tomstdenis@@@gmail...com> on Monday July 23, 2007 @10:43AM (#19955981) Homepage
    It isn't 1997 anymore. We don't need to meet up in shopping malls to trade 1.44M discs. LUG over the net makes sense as having a community to rely on for troubleshooting is what makes or breaks a distro.
    • by weazzle (1084967)
      I went to LUGs in college for the free (Google funded) pizza! Actually, this only occured when the LUG at my university had firefox extension revision days, which were awesome:)
    • LUG over the net makes sense as having a community to rely on for troubleshooting is what makes or breaks a distro.

      You don't get out much, do you? Now, I've never been part of a LUG, but I can tell you that meeting people face-to-face is oftentimes a lot more productive than exchanging e-mails or even in IRC or IM. Plus, it's about the networking. I've met many people in my life who have became good friends, and some have given me excellent job leads, through other groups I've been involved with (other t

      • I get out plenty, but when my box goes haywired I want an answer now, not next month at the LUG.
        • I think there's a big difference between why one goes to LUG vs. hitting the Internet. The difference might the same as preferring to go to work rather than telecommuting, or taking a class at college vs online classes. Some things are just a lot better in person, and if you have the time it's definitely worth it to show up.
          • If all I want to do is meet peeps, I don't need to be a member of a tech club to do that. I can hang out with my friends, for the sole reason of just hanging out. Don't need a "special occasion."

            • by MBGMorden (803437) on Monday July 23, 2007 @12:04PM (#19957215)
              Yes but some people like to, yannow, make *new* friends, and it's often enjoyable to make friends with people who enjoy the same things as you do. That's kinda the whole POINT behind clubs and organizations.
              • Apparently, I didn't really make my point. I was trying to say that communication in person is almost always better and more valuable than online communication. For instance, it is harder to take an online class than it is to show up in person, people who telecommute to work are often passed up for promotion because they have a disconnect from daily operations, problems taken to the weekly LUG are often solved quicker than those that I need to solve by myself (3-4 people searching the net with me is a bit f
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by jkrise (535370)

      We don't need to meet up in shopping malls to trade 1.44M discs.

      That may be true, but the advantage of a LUG is that your attention is focussed on that one topic - Linux, Open Source, Freedom to Tinker, News things happening, Meeting Real people... the last point being a very important factor.

      People make presentations about their offerings, and offer Services for a fee; we get to talk about local and topical issues.. like the impact of Vista on the local IT and user companies; tips and tricks used by Sysadmins etc. etc. Emails, mailing lists etc. are a very poor substi

      • by cyclop (780354)

        That may be true, but the advantage of a LUG is that your attention is focussed on that one topic - Linux, Open Source, Freedom to Tinker, News things happening, Meeting Real people... the last point being a very important factor.

        Real people? Do you mean that people I talk with on the Net are all.. Bots? Droids?

        Seriously, stop the "real people vs Teh Internet" FUD. The internet is made of the very real people talking on it. What we communicate doesn't change a lot if we communicate it using voice or us

        • by jkrise (535370)

          The internet is made of the very real people talking on it. What we communicate doesn't change a lot if we communicate it using voice or using the TCP protocol.
          Even a telephonic chat is much less effective than an in-person chat / presentation. You get to ask questions, and get meaningful responses then and there.... and everyone benefits.. even those who didn't bother to ask. A synchronised webcast with multiple attendees comes closest, but very cumbersome to setup.
      • by HiThere (15173)
        You must not go to the same LUG that I do. Conversations are likely to include systems administration, but that's merely a fraction. Wild divergences into multitudinous other topics aren't avoided. They do, however, tend to have a computer professional's approach to things, however, which gives them a different flavor than normal conversations about, say, politics.
    • by LWATCDR (28044)
      It depends. In a college I can see the value/fun of LUGs. Outside not so much anymore. Linux has become more mainstream and the Internet really has done a job on this kind of get together. Kind of like user groups in general I don't know if they have much value. It is kind of sad in a way. Local BBS and user groups where local. Now that we have the internet fewer and fewer local groups seem to be thrive. Like the death of computer magazines I think we are getting exposed to fewer and fewer new ideas. We s
      • by i.r.id10t (595143)
        In Colleges, LUGs are usually Lesbians Until Graduation.

        I'm sure they'd still attract plenty of lonely geeks from Mom's Basement at an open meeting though...
    • The problem I have with most LUGs is it's - well - what it says it is, a user group.

      There's been a movement lately to create ELUGs - Enterprise Linux User Groups. I know the one I'm involved with in my city just had a long discussion about creating an enterprise group. The problem is one of need. Users need very different things then those of us involved in day-to-day management of an enterprise Linux base.

      I know I for one enjoyed being in the different LUGs I was in, but I gave more then I got for
    • LUG over the net makes sense as having a community to rely on for troubleshooting is what makes or breaks a distro.
      Unless you're trying to troubleshoot your Internet connection.
    • Maybe LUGs should virtualize their meetings on Second Life or similar virtual spaces. That would give most of the benefits of the live meetings (interactive troubleshooting, a decent-sized audience for presentations), but allow for geographically dispersed groups to interact or consolidate if that makes sense.
      • If you're going to meet at all [e.g. at a specified time] might as well do it in meatspace. However, the *need* for said meets is ever vanishing with the proper usage of help forums.

        If all you want to do is meet new peeps and hang out, hit the pub, sports club, etc, e.g. places people go to to relax, and just strike up a conversation. Either the guy, gal, thing, will blow you off, or chat ya up.
    • We don't NEED LUGs anymore, but that's not to say that they need to disappear. It is just that it would be more like a club now. People with similar interests getting together. Not because they NEED to, but because they WANT to.
    • not just the ease of downloading cdroms and dvds over broadband, and the ease of installing, but also perhaps because people are more likely to have more than one computer so that they can experiment and break the OS on one machine and then use their other to get help. When I first installed linux I had only one machine, although it was dual boot, so if I broke it the fix/test cycle was much harder.
    • by Lumpy (12016)
      REally? so how do you help a noob get his linux install up and running? you cant help him online as he cant get online.

      LUG's are needed for the noobies you HAVE to hold their hands and you have to eject the guys from the group that say "OMG!! you want ot use Debian?? are you stupid RTFM!!!" Those members have zero use in a LUG. a LUG needs the linux experts that are happy to explain for the 68th time how to find your photos or music files.

      Installfests where you can let a newbie leave with a fully ready
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Ephemeriis (315124)

      It isn't 1997 anymore. We don't need to meet up in shopping malls to trade 1.44M discs. LUG over the net makes sense as having a community to rely on for troubleshooting is what makes or breaks a distro.

      Exactly.

      LUGs don't fill the same role they used to. I remember, back in the day, the only way I could get my hands on install disks was from the local LUG. Someone there worked someplace with a fat (for the time) pipe and was able to download the software off the 'net. I'd give him a box of blank disks, a

    • by babbling (952366)
      They used to be Linux User Groups. I think nowadays they're less necessary for users and more for people with a special interest in Linux.
  • No (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 23, 2007 @10:44AM (#19955985)
    No, as stated by Netcraft, only BSD User Groups are dying.
  • by auroran (10711) on Monday July 23, 2007 @10:45AM (#19955993)
    Installing Linux is easier and there's lots of online help. LUGs also have the use for a social community and can let people meet face to face and discuss things. I find that real life is a much higher data rate and can save me hours of time online.

    It also never hurts to brush up on inter-personal skills at the same time.
    • by doombringerltx (1109389) on Monday July 23, 2007 @10:58AM (#19956203)
      Learning interpersonal skills from linux users is like having Bill from sales help you with an computer problem
    • brush up on inter-personal skills

      Only on /. do people admit to using interpersonal skills so infrequently that they have to brush up on them.
    • by tepples (727027)

      Installing Linux is easier and there's lots of online help.
      So what should people who need help getting to the online help (e.g. can't get an IP address) do?
    • Try going online to ask about how to fix your broken X11 settings.

      What a horrible mess. I was on #linuxhelp on freenode.net and those guys just ignored this noob who waited and asked twice about this in several minutes, he had all kinds of details on what was going wrong. I told him to use the "system-config-display" command and voila, problem solved. Everyone else sent him on a wild goose chase.

      I've not seen that kind of incompetence or snobbery in a local LUG.
  • by HangingChad (677530) on Monday July 23, 2007 @10:46AM (#19956011) Homepage

    ...consultants. Time for Ubuntu to move into the enterprise.

  • Yes, indeed! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by VincenzoRomano (881055) on Monday July 23, 2007 @10:46AM (#19956023) Homepage Journal
    User groups are made by users, that is people.
    And people still need to meet each other for brinstorming, experience exchanges and, of course, a good cup of your favourite beverage!
    Try doing this on a mailing list!

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Aladrin (926209)
      Wait, I get why you can't share beverages over email lists, but brainstorming and experience exchanges? That's almost exactly what they were designed to do.

      Brainstorming: Pose a problem and everyone can (after thinking a bit) post a possible attack on the problem. Unlike in-person brainstorming sessions, not everyone has to be there at the same time and everyone can have time to think a bit before screaming answers.

      Experience exchanges: As with brainstorming, there's time to think and answer, and no req
      • by cyclop (780354)
        Added value of mailing lists: They are usually archived. In searchable text.
        Try to find instantaneously what someone said last Wednesday at the LUG while chewing that pizza, instead.
        • OK, I'll chew the pizza while you serch the text! There are things that get much funnier in person than on a keyboard.
          Just unleash your imagination! :-)
        • by Aladrin (926209)
          Good thinking! (Considering I already said that...)
      • by iplayfast (166447)
        Don't lugs usually have mailing lists as well. The two aren't mutually exclusive, and actually go quite well hand in hand.
    • In Ithaca New York we have what we call the "Ithaca Free Software Association," which is a computer user's group which is focused on promoting and supporting free software in general, rather than any particular operating system. We welcome anyone who wants to use free software, whether they run GNU/Linux, *BSD, Windows, or MacOS. Meeting face-to-face each month is a great way to meet new members, though most of our communication is done over the email list.

      Meeting face-to-face is also how conduct our even
    • Most of us drink heavily while posting on mailing lists. So I don't see your point.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 23, 2007 @10:47AM (#19956031)
    My wife didn't want me going anymore because of all the babes that were there.
    • College Intern (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Dareth (47614)
      We had a college intern who worked for the same company I did each summer. Every year he seemed to get better and better at IT/Tech. Then he got a gf, and all his progress calm to a halt.

      Once you get a gf, your tech progress stops, and you will be at that level for the rest of your life. Just make sure it is high enough to earn a living. Yeah, I could have been an uber-geek, but I traded it all away for some sex. *wink*
      • What slowed me way down was the need to actually pay rent. Working crappy jobs will just destroy your mind. You go from spending all your time learning and creating to doing the bidding of some PHB. Usually this involves going from creating wonderful new things to creating yet another iteration of some existing thing.

        The gf/wife/family makes you less likely to work on your own projects but doesn't really impact your learning. You just no longer have any spare time or money to work on your own stuff with. Be
  • Yes. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bjornnlc (533548) on Monday July 23, 2007 @10:47AM (#19956033)
    Yes. The majority of LUGs I know disappeared in 2004, only leaving the larger ones behind. The quality on the remaining LUGs are top notch, so I guess this is a natural phenomenon that occurs after every hype.
    • There are less people just hanging out saying Linux is cool. There are more groups of people with specific issues. Ubuntu LoCo's are picking up. Just natural evolution based on need. (And anyone who has attended one knows,/b. it is not intelligent design!)
    • only leaving the larger ones behind.

      I live in a small town (10,000) with very rural surroundings, the group I go to consists of about 10 people that show up at any given meeting. It's a small group, but of a high quality, we usually pass around ideas for projects, things we're doing at work etc. For me, it's kinda like having a computer club after getting out of school, I think windows users are missing out.

    • Yes. The majority of LUGs I know disappeared in 2004, only leaving the larger ones behind.

      Ah, gee whiz, it figures I'd go start a LUG [dlslug.org] just as they're going out of style.

      The quality on the remaining LUGs are top notch, so I guess this is a natural phenomenon that occurs after every hype.

      Seriously though, what we have is called a LUG but it's a group of computing enthusiasts and professionals who happen to use open source technologies. Every once in a while we have a linux-specific presentation, but we also
  • We need LUGs (Score:3, Insightful)

    by b1ufox (987621) on Monday July 23, 2007 @10:48AM (#19956047) Homepage Journal
    We do need LUGs !!!
    LUG is not only about solving or troubleshooting other user's Linux problems, but also about knowing and meeting with people who share the same mindset(mostly). Email is good but effectively in person conversation prevails over emails.

    Definitely its not the end of LUGs, but we need more awareness among people and students alike about LUGs. The FOSS /Linux bug has just started in a true sense, therefore this calls fore enthusiastic people to common under single roof.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by DataBroker (964208)
      Speaking personally, I have less of a reason to go to a LUG than "back-in-the-day". Before I was so new to it, that any help was great. At that time, I was hacking together leftover, unsupported, often-broken hardware.

      Now though, I can afford to buy normal hardware, and the stuff I have is all standardized enough that I'm not looking for help guessing the right X config settings for my particular vid card.

      Attendance at LUGs being down may actually be indicative of less hand-holding being needed for
    • Another reason why LUGs are necessary is because coordinated groups have much more power than single individuals. In my company, the IT department is ALWAYS trying to clamp down on what we can do.

      First it was no AIM, then no SSH, then no FTP, then no POP3, then lots of websites blocked including blogs, Linux helpsites, etc. The only thing that prevents them from mandating that everyone has to run Windows is our LUG. They have enough people who go out of their way to work with their managers to make sure
  • Besides, trademark issues and politics by "vested interests" - namely, agents from proprietary s/w firms who poison these groups and get them dissolved.

    It's now "foss.in" in India, and numerous JUGs (JBoss User Groups), PHP Programmers Group and even Ruby on Rails Groups have sprung up recently in cities like Pune.

    Besides, it is questionable whether even Linus is interested in the ideals which made the Linux kernel successful - and I for one, welcome the declining use of this trademarked name in Free Softwa
    • by byolinux (535260) *
      Quite.

      Just yesterday I formed Manchester Free Software [fsuk.org] for the people of Manchester, UK.

      Linux kernel really isn't it all, but sadly, certainly individuals in the local 'LUG', are unwilling to discuss issues of software freedom, so a new group seemed useful.
  • by erroneus (253617) on Monday July 23, 2007 @10:58AM (#19956197) Homepage
    Some people use it as a reason to get out on the weekend. They do barbecues and cookouts, they play network games and otherwise just hang out... and occasionally address a Linux issue or two.

    If you go there to pick up chicks... uh no.

    Some people, I have seen, take their LUGs very seriously... they attend them as if they were attending church! For those people, it's a traditionally religious experience... in the most literal sense possible. (inside joke)

    I find most of these LUGs to be rather annoying. The ones that are little more than an excuse to get out of the house on a Saturday are pretty good though... burgers 'n beer are always good and a LUG is as good a reason as any.
    • by gregorio (520049)

      Some people use it as a reason to get out on the weekend.

      Which is, most of the time, pathetic. Seriously, this is not flamebait, but most (not all) people who need a LUG to attend to parties and interact with real people are the kind of people I really want to avoid. They're mostly egocentric and cocky, and most think they're uncomprehended geniuses, while they're just dumb people with a technical / scientific set of interests.

      So it's not a good place even for technical conversations. Sometimes taking th

    • by mackyrae (999347)
      My last boyfriend picked me up at a LUG. OK really, we met at LUG. We didn't start dating (officially) until 2 weeks later.
  • "Are automobile associations dying out? Leaders report that attendance is down but mailing list and show traffic is still good. Do we still need automobile associations, given the ease of driving and ubiquitousness of online information about automobiles? Lots of people say, yes, we still need automobile associations (and some disagree)."

    • by Aladrin (926209)
      What the hell is an automobile association, and why did we need them?

      That sounds like a joke, but it's not really. At first I thought you meant insurance or something, but now I realize that's not the case. I can only assume you mean it's like a fanclub for... automobiles.

      I've driven a car for half my life and never heard of such a thing. I mean, there's the people that have classic cars and travel to different 'shows' to show them off, but I've always heard them called clubs, not associations, and I've
      • At first I thought you meant insurance or something, but now I realize that's not the case. I can only assume you mean it's like a fanclub for... automobiles.

        They probably started out that way (when driving was still more a hobby than anything else). But nowadays they are indeed more like an insurance (free tow service in case your car breaks down, free trip back to your home-country if your car breaks down while abroad). They also offer lots of non-insurance services to their members, such as:

        • monthly newsletter, featuring tests of new car models, info about new freeway construction, holiday destinations, "safe driving" tips, and yes, the occasional article
        • by Aladrin (926209)
          Oh, so it -is- insurance then. Everyone I know basically considers the AAA as cheap road insurance. (Flat tire, out of gas, etc.) They don't give 2 flips about all the rest of that stuff.
          • by Dogtanian (588974)

            Everyone I know basically considers the AAA as cheap road insurance. (Flat tire, out of gas, etc.) They don't give 2 flips about all the rest of that stuff.

            Well, that's pretty much how the British associations (the AA- no, not *that* AA- and the RAC) are viewed as well. And to be fair, the GP had already conceded that they were really just glorified insurance/breakdown-services these days as well.

            The AA and RAC *do* still run their own breakdown services for the most part though- it's more than just "insurance" in that sense. Not sure about their other rivals in the UK.

  • Of course we still need LUG's
  • LUG... (Score:5, Funny)

    by holmedog (1130941) on Monday July 23, 2007 @11:04AM (#19956307)
    I always thought LUG was an acronym for Lesbians Until Graduation, one of the best forms of birth control in high school/college I've ever seen.
  • by EXTomar (78739) on Monday July 23, 2007 @11:11AM (#19956395)
    I would have to say "Yes, LUGs are dying out". They served a purpose before the days of cheap, high reliability servers, which lead to "Wiki technology". Before this happened the way to get "how to" tips was to go to LUGs or take a chance on a number of uncollected sources like boards and Usenet. I suspect LUGs will still be popular in academic settings but will go away for the public in general.
  • The UG is not a thing of the past. The problem with a LUG is that it's balkanized. Make it a cross between a Windows User Group, a Linux User Group, a general computer hobbyist club and a programmer's hobbyist group, like 2600 or PerlMongers, and you'll be able to draw in anyone who wants to use a computer. This in turn will benefit Linux as it will show it as a competitive and viable option that is easy to install and use. The specific UG is dead; long live the generalized UG.
  • Do we really need any of them anymore?
    • by guaigean (867316)
      Maybe not for indivudal PC's/Desktops, but there are a couple that are still quite useful for larger systems, such as: http://www.cug.org/ [cug.org]

      As there is so much information on the net about desktops, the UG has sort of faded. However, for large scale systems, the details are not so common, and you really have to meet up with the people who know to get the answers you need.
  • by Mysticalfruit (533341) on Monday July 23, 2007 @11:20AM (#19956529) Journal
    Yeah, it's not 1997 anymore and practially anybody can install Linux on their chosen piece of hardware. However, there are so many facets to linux and so many people are focused on doing different things with linux, it's great to interact with other Linux enthusiests and broaden your horizons.

    One of the things that our LUG has been doing forever is inviting our members to do presentations on things their working on or give talks in areas of their interest/expertise. These presentations have run the gambit from WiFi Security to modeling objects with PovRay to FUSE. We've have distribution comparisions (with proponents for each distribution explaining the pros/cons).

    What's cool about a LUG is that your likely to have people who are experts in extremely diverse areas who are all Linux nerds getting together and hanging out.

    It's not everyday you get to see a hardware engineer, an English teacher, a chiropractor and a pharamcologist comparing notes on what's the best window manager!
  • Lugs are good (Score:5, Informative)

    by jshriverWVU (810740) on Monday July 23, 2007 @11:21AM (#19956539)
    I am in a nice sized LUG. Would guess over 200 people if not a lot more. Yet I admit I never go to meetings. The mailing lists is really where all of the action is. Need an answer quick? Email the list, rather than wait till the once a month meeting. Also a lot of us tech types are stereotypically introverted, so we dont need to attend a meeting and are more likely to participate via an online method (mailing list, irc, etc).
  • Our LUG [nclug.org] works well because we foster several associated social activities, including dinner before or after meetings, bowling gatherings, dinner parties, an adjunct weekly Hacking Society [hackingsociety.org] where we network and help each other with each other's issues, and even a regular geek camping trip! [bazcamp.org]
  • Back in the 'golden age' of personal computing there were UGs galore. MacUGs, Commodore UGs, Atari UGs, and just plain ol' UGs.

    Being a Mac kind of a guy, I was very active in the local Mac UG here in East Texas TAMU. The death of UGs can be directly traced to the advent of the internet, especially broadband. Two of the main attractions of UGs were BBS, which the internet just flat out killed, and file swapping, which the internet also killed, especially broadband.

    PS
  • ...sometimes they run into the issue that crops up with many clubs - keeping new people engaged.

    I speak from bitter experience. When I first encountered our local LUG, they were willing and able to help me get Mandrake loaded on an old laptop machine... and one of them was willing to let me -- some nobody that they'd just met that night -- take home a PCMCIA-connected portable CD-ROM drive, because once things were finally set up, it was closing time at the library.

    Unfortunately, my schedule was such that I
  • I've been an attendee of both BaltoLUG [baltolug.org] and BaltoMSDN [baltomsdn.com]; two technology groups based North of Baltimore in the Towson and Hunt Valley areas respectively. While I subscribe to both mailing lists, I only regularly attend BaltoMSDN.

    The BaltoLUG community has been great for helping me figure out newbie questions regarding Linux, but more often than not the topics were not applicable to my job or even hobby interest. It almost seemed as if there was too much diversity in interests; and overall very little emphasi
  • I still like LUGs and attend regularly, if for no other reason than talking with like-minded people... Get a great dinner (it's always at a restaurant), walk into a room, and discuss the most elegant way to set up a backup cron job over a Chai latte. No, LUGs aren't dead at all.
  • The linux user group in my area (Sioux City, IA) changed its name to something more general in hopes of raising attendance. Even with a more general name and audience, I think the group is all but dead now. Some people tried to get meetings back to monthly, but it never quite worked out. I did enjoy the few meetings I did go to though.
  • by ndb (536827)
    And how could we go for beers after a LUG meeting, if it's all on-line?
  • <pedant>I think the word you're looking for is "ubiquity."</pedant>
  • Hey, the link to the story doesn't work.
    Apparently that didn't stop all the above people
    from posting...
  • LUGs (Score:3, Interesting)

    by digitalhermit (113459) on Monday July 23, 2007 @12:12PM (#19957351) Homepage
    It's interesting.. Our local LUG (FLUX in S. Florida) has been wrestling with declining (still respectable, but declining) attendance for a couple years. We've batted around ideas, but I guess part of the reason is that the novelty of Linux has worn out. It's somewhat pedestrian now, considering how many suits use it without even knowing.

    The interesting thing is that I see a lot more Linux usage in corporate environments than ever before. There are lots of requests for administration and setup from SMBs, and in my 9-to-5 corporate IT employer, there are Linux servers running production loads.

    Running Linux is no big deal anymore, so has lost some of its attraction. But I noticed the Mac groups have had a resurgence.. Maybe it's in cycles.. I was in a Mac user group a long time ago (about the time of the Centris and Quadra machines), and they faded for a while, but came back. With the Dell offerings, more corporate deployments, "good enough" improvements of Linux in corporate loads, etc.., I think the groups will grow again. The demographics will be different, but people will come.

    Plus the Internet has made the community a lot larger. Before it was hard to find like-minded folks.

  • they should (in addition to general linux advocacy) help train people in the ways of linux development. we always respond to 'linux doesn't have X' with 'well then you should make X'. A LUG should openly help train people in some of those areas. A lot of LUGs i know are all about how to configure some service or the new features of the latest release of a distro. We (the community) need some meat - not just installfests and meet-and-greets.
  • I can only speak from personal experience, but I definitely think that LUGs are still relevant. There's a great group that gets together weekly in Ohio on an IRC channel, and this coming school year we're starting a LUG on campus (University of Cincinnati). Aside from putting you in touch with more people who may be able to help you solve a problem, LUGs are great for general discussion about FOSS and and all kinds of things. It's a great venue for people to share new discoveries and have active dialogue
  • In school LUGs were Lesbians Until Graduation
  • As a mac user, I remember the days of the MUG, the Mac User Group. We were a strange collection of people all with the fiery zeal for the Macintosh. We met together because it wasn't uncommon to be the only Mac user at school, at work, sometimes at home. There wasn't anyone to associate with who felt how we felt. We were the advocates for the Mac, we supported each other, we traded software, we helped each other out.

    The internet came along, and for a brief time, the MUGs represented themselves online. It
  • No only do I think LUGs are useful, I want to start one. If anyone in the San Fernando Valley (CA) is interested, please stop by the LASFS [lasfs.org] clubhouse on Thursday Night (07/26/07) and ask for Ed Hooper.

    As always, just my $0.02 worth.
  • I would like to see more variety of LUGs. Most seem to be home enthusiasts with more desktop type things discussed. What I'm looking for is more a sysadmin oriented LUG where more obscure topics are discussed.
  • The UCLALUG is alive and well, with a large number of active members. Most of us use it as a place to hang out between or after class, but it can be a great resource. Some of the most talented programmers and Linux users I've ever met hang out there, so it's a great place to bounce around ideas and see where they go.

    We hold talks about topics such as writing Firefox extensions and building simple web applications. We also get plenty of people stopping by with Linux questions, from hardware issues to ``what
  • It used to be that a big part of what a LUG did was let people know that Linux existed, and correct misconceptions. We would put up flyers in coffeehouses and around campus to let people know that Linux even existed, we would get booths at tradeshows with computers running linux at the table, to correct the "it's text command line only" people, etc. At meetings a lot of the conversation would always revolve around the same things -- you don't need to get two harddisks to dual boot, yes there is a picture
  • (please reply with your own, and why you like it).

    My favorite lug is the KWLug at kwlug.org
    This lug was created several years ago, and has a large number of very bright people in it. The topics are always well researched, and members are encouraged to do presentations themselves. Some people never present, others present often, but it's always interesting. We've even had some minor celebrities giving talks there.

    In addition we've started a fund where people can (voluntarily) contribute to free software, as
  • by logicnazi (169418) <logicnazi@gmail. ... minus herbivore> on Monday July 23, 2007 @01:39PM (#19958651) Homepage
    I visited a LUG once because someone famous was coming by to speak (Stallman? Raymond?) and was so turned off by the whole experience I would never want to go back. The speaker was fine but hearing about upcoming meetings felt like going over to digg and reading one of those stories like '8 tips for using Bash' where they tell you obvious shit like how to turn on color in ls.

    I mean this was at a world class research university (caltech) and when I had trouble getting X to compile I would ask the guy down the hall who would then execute some totally crazy command line using four pipes awk and sed which magically fixed the problem. But instead of being the experts the people at the LUG where the linux equivalents of old school Mac users, trading little tips without any real knowledge. I liked the idea of a LUG but only if it has presentations of the sort of shit on kerneltrap and it's the best users not the worst who attend.

    Basically I got the sense that LUGs ware a lot like groups like MENSA (supposedly for smart people). Namely that the best people (most knowledgeable, most savy, smartest) weren't going to come because they were all in universities, or working at tech corporations that provided them with more than enough technological/intellectual stimulation. In the beginning it might have been different but once linux adoption was wide enough in academia and the business world it seems inevitable that LUGs would sink to the lowest common denominator.

    Maybe the proximity of caltech really biased my experience and LUGs in other areas are different but somehow I think the internet has worked as a great leveler giving the experts even in the most rural places better options and leaving for LUGs people who can't decipher the man pages
    • The similarity to the Mac User Groups isn't exactly surprising, given that the LUGs were conceptually spawned from the old Mac User Groups (MUGs).

      I too never really saw the whole purpose of either group... I mean, we have this whole "Internet" thing for a reason, right?
    • I've found that one of the best LUGs I've ever participated in is not geographically isolated, but rather it's an online LUG called USALUG [usalug.org]. Despite its name, there are members from all over the globe but most notably the U.S. and the U.K.

      The senior members are very knowledgeable, it has sections for all major Linux distributions, and the moderators and admins take great care in protecting newbies and offering help instead of harsh "RTFM" type "help". The community is quite closely woven with many member


  • I just found out about a crazy LUG community that probably overlaps with the old LUG community: Lego User Groups-

          http://www.lugnet.com/ [lugnet.com]

    Or for the Lego train enthusiasts, they have separate Lego Train Club Organizations:

          http://www.iltco.org/ [iltco.org]
  • It depends on what you're looking to get out of a LUG (or any other group). Back in the day, the LUG played a more important role as far as educating Linux users and spreading the word (and the code). With nearly ubiquitous high-speed connections, info on the web is easy to get, and often more specific on any particular topic than you'll get from a local group.

    But there are other reasons for user groups:

    - Learning. Different people learn in different ways. Some people learn well from watching and listening.

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