Re: Ubuntu SIG

2008-07-10 Thread Bruce Dawson
I have no problems with starting a GNHLUG Ubuntu SIG. Might be useful
having a Redhat/CentOS one too. And probably Debian.

... As long as they work together and provide resources for the greater
GNHLUG. I really don't want to see general flamefests about which
distribution is best. (Although the merits of each for a well-documented
and specific purpose might be allowed).


Arc Riley wrote:
 At the BBQ on Sunday the topic of starting an Ubuntu SIG under GNHLUG was
 discussed, Jon said the next step would be posting this here.

 There is already an Ubuntu LoCo being started for New Hampshire.  A LoCo
 is a local Ubuntu advocacy and promotion group which is given resources from
 Ubuntu/Canonical such as CDs, a banner, etc.  They tend to be the human
 face of Ubuntu in local areas and some go so far as releasing localized
 versions of Ubuntu.  By policy they are not run under an existing LUG, but
 are encouraged to collaborate and often share meatspace.

 Here's a short faq on this collaboration, with links to more info about

 As there is already a GNHLUG SIG for Python and Ruby, the subject of
 starting an Ubuntu SIG is favorably supported by a majority of the LoCo
 members.  This would allow the LoCo to be tied into the LUG much better,
 share physical meetings (and likely membership), and could grant us
 501(c)(3) umbrella status for the SIG side if/once GNHLUG completes that
 process (ie, for handling CD orders).  Ubuntu doesn't provide LoCos with

 Is this something the board of GNULUG would like to see, and how do we go
 about getting approved as a new SIG?


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Re: Ubuntu SIG

2008-07-10 Thread Ben Scott
On Thu, Jul 10, 2008 at 12:09 AM, Arc Riley [EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote:
 At the BBQ on Sunday the topic of starting an Ubuntu SIG under GNHLUG was
 discussed, Jon said the next step would be posting this here.

  I'm not sure how I feel about this.  Well, I guess I feel conflicted.

  Anything that helps Linux/FOSS is good in my book.  Community is
what we're here for.

  Historically, GNHLUG has avoided endorsing any particular vendor
(i.e., distribution), trying to remain technologically neutral. I do
think it's important that GNHLUG be remain neutral and fair.  The Red
Hat employees among us have generally really bent over backwards to
make sure their involvement in the LUG is distribution-agnostic.

  People already using a given distribution might benefit from
distro-specific help, especially for installs.  On the other hand, a
lot of stuff is not distro-specific, and we'd be cutting out others
not using the distro.  That's bad for both sides.  If, say, an Ubuntu
user has a problem that can be solved with a Perl script, they'd loose
out on Kevin Clark's expertise (I don't think he's an Ubuntu user).

  Balkanization is also a concern of mine (I'm not sure others share
this concern); I worry that we'll end up with 40 different groups of 3
people each.  Community is not helped by divisions.

  I can't help think of the Unix wars of the 80s and 90s.
Infighting nearly killed Unix back then.  FOSS mitigates that to a
large extent -- the software isn't locked up by the vendors.  But I
would still hate to see Linux go down that road.


-- Ben
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Re: Ubuntu SIG

2008-07-10 Thread VirginSnow
 Date: Thu, 10 Jul 2008 09:26:55 -0400
 From: Bruce Dawson [EMAIL PROTECTED]

 I have no problems with starting a GNHLUG Ubuntu SIG. Might be useful
 having a Redhat/CentOS one too. And probably Debian.

I think having a generic Advocacy SIG would be most appropriate,
most effective, and least prone to catastrophic disintegration.  With
a distribution-agnostic SIG, any vendor -- Ubuntu, RedHat, Debian, --
could contribute indiscriminantly to FOSS/Linux advocacy activities.

 distribution is best. (Although the merits of each for a well-documented
 and specific purpose might be allowed).

With this quid pro quo, I agree.  Some distributions *are* more
appropriate for certain specific purposes.  For example, the Windows
user who has never used Linux before will almost certainly be more
comfortable with Ubuntu than with Slackware.  Consequently, handing
out specifically Ubuntu install disks to potential new users is likely
to be appropriate.

But for the SIG itself, I think that would best be left distro-neutral.
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Re: Ubuntu SIG

2008-07-10 Thread Ted Roche
What Ben said :)

I think Balkanization is a worry. On the other hand, the Python and Ruby 
SIGs have done a good job of providing a place where practitioners can 
get more in-depth information on that specialty (and even on other 
alternatives). And the Perl Mongers and Erlang specialists haven't felt 
the need to start their own SIG or quit in protest.

Ubuntu Loco already has an organizational structure, through the Ubuntu 
web site [*], and all are welcome to post meeting announcements to the 
GNHLUG calendar. So, what services can GNHLUG provide, other than the 
501(c)(3) umbrella? (Let's be clear that we're not set up for that yet, 
and would have to ensure any monies changing hands fell within the 
context of our not-for-profit charter once granted.)

There is a bit of friction about a group that is both within GNHLUG 
and outside of it. Ubuntu Loco has a presence on the web and obviously a 
single-supporting parent organization from which it is receiving support 
in the way of promotional materials. That makes it fall more into the 
category of a private foundation than the charitable organization that 
GNHLUG is filing as, and could prove to be a stumbling block.

In so far as an Ubuntu SIG is following the practices of GNHLUG to serve 
as an educational resource to let people know about the Free/Open Source 
Software, Libre, GNU/Linux, et al, I think GNHLUG has been, and ought to 
continue to be, willing to share our resources, web site, calendar, 
announcements, etc. with Ubuntu Loco and any other group with similar 
purposes, just as we mention SwaNH meetings or computer-related 
activities put on by the New Hampshire High-Tech Council.

There is an aspect of competition and chauvinism (1) that needs to be 
kept in check. We all like trash-talking the other distro, whether 
that's Gentoo or OpenSuSE or Fedora or Debian, just like car club 
members will razz the Ford Edsel owner. At long as this is good-natured 
and doesn't drag into into endless threads of vi versus emacs (that'd 
never happen, right?), I think we should welcome special interest groups 
with open arms. I'd be open to seeing New Media and Developers and 
Advocacy groups, too, as long as they can serve as a focus for 
participants getting together and accomplishing things. Others might be 
considering Django or Drupal SIGs, where focused meetings on those 
products can be held.

There is definitely a worry about thinning the ranks through 
over-specialization. If we keep the same ~300 members and hold 16 
meetings a month, we're not going to see the same amount of attendance. 
However, I don't think numbers of attendees per meeting are as a great 
measure of success as attendees getting the meetings they want to get. 
Also, welcoming more specialties under our tent is more likely to expand 
membership than draw from the same crowd.

As more meetings are held (and gasoline continues to rise in price!), I 
think it's more important than ever that groups do a better job of 
promoting themselves, not just in a competition for member attendance as 
to make sure interested people both within and without the organization 
know of meetings of interest, and just as importantly, to provide a 
useful record of past meetings so that someone new to the group can get 
useful information presented at a past meeting, and regulars can get 
lots of information on what's coming up in future meetings. I think Open 
Source is all about Choice, so offering more Choice is a Good Thing.

What I would be opposed to would be a splintering of websites or mailing 
lists or RSS feeds such that those who wish to capture all that goes on 
within GNHLUG needs dozens of subscriptions or feeds. I, for one, do not 
  mind a lot of talk on the main -discuss list when it is on-topic 
(pretty much anything technology-related). When a person asks a question 
on how to get Hardy Heron to do something, it's just as likely a common 
question on GNOME or apt or Thunderbird, and I'd be really disappointed 
if those discussions ended up on a separate list. I've already seen 
these kinds of problems where folks are posting to the DLSLUG general 
discuss or Python list, and miss the contributions of many of the other 
members of GNHLUG.

So, to sum up an already over-long response, I'm not opposed to the idea 
in principle and think we should welcome all. However, it may turn out 
that the Loco's financial transactions may not fit under our future 
not-for-profit status, but it brings up questions worthy of review. I'd 
like to see the SIG started, and better communication on what the LoCo 
is doing. We'll have to work with our legal and accounting teams to 
determine, based on what the LoCo proposes, whether that's an eligible 
activity under our future status...


(1) original semi-mythical definition, not male-piggishness, see

Ted Roche
Ted Roche  Associates, LLC

Re: Ubuntu SIG

2008-07-10 Thread Arc Riley
I should probably start by clarifying that we're not a bunch of Ubuntu
zealots. :-)

Promoting Ubuntu to Windows users is seen as a pragmatic solution.  I
personally prefer Gentoo, but handing a newbie a Gentoo install CD isn't
likely to draw him into the fold.  You could argue that other distros (ie
Fedora) could serve this equally well, but we're getting free Ubuntu CDs and
other community promotion resources, where Redhat seems more focused on
marketing to businesses.

I think a Fedora SIG would be a great idea, too, if there's enough people

The purpose of the LoCo is to introduce Ubuntu to Windows users.  We're not
for promoting it to existing Linux users, and that topic's covered on the
LoCo faqs.  The LoCo is primarily online; IRC, mailing list, wiki - the only
meatspace functions we're likely to conduct are in-person meetings among
members (Ubuntu /activists/, not general users) and having a presence at
tabling-type events.

The purpose of the SIG is for Ubuntu users to meet, get help on problems
they've hit, workshops, presentations, etc.  More general GNU/Linux topics
(applications, programming languages, etc) are best left to other GNHLUG
SIGs and local chapters.  Every 6 months, for example, an upgrading
workshop covering new features and getting help with problems encountered.
Other workshops could include managing alternative package sources, fixing
configuration issues, presenting less common Ubuntu distros and installs
(MID edition, Edubuntu, installing on an EEE)..

The Ubuntu SIG would also serve as a resource for people obtaining Ubuntu
through Dell computers and other computer retailers providing it
pre-installed.  The sorts of general questions and problems new Ubuntu users
are likely to hit are often unique to Ubuntu and not frequently handled by
the existing GNHLUG chapters - it's unreasonable to expect chapters to run
workshops such as Upgrading to 8.10 - why, how, what problems to expect
every 6 months, or be prepared to support Ubuntu-specific configuration
issues post-upgrade, etc.

Of course there's crossover - most if not all of the LoCo membership would
be heavily involved in the SIG, and the SIG could handle things like group
Ubuntu CD purchases better than the LoCo could.  The two groups would be
separate, I believe we'll be seeing many new GNHLUG members joining with the
SIG as their primary chapter who are not very interested in Ubuntu
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Re: Ubuntu SIG

2008-07-10 Thread Jarod Wilson
On Thu, 2008-07-10 at 16:22 -0400, Arc Riley wrote:
 You could argue that other distros (ie
 Fedora) could serve this equally well, but we're getting free Ubuntu
 CDs and other community promotion resources, where Redhat seems more
 focused on marketing to businesses.
 I think a Fedora SIG would be a great idea, too, if there's enough
 people interested.

I'd certainly be willing to get involved, time permitting. Oh, and I
have a box of commercially pressed Fedora 9 x86 installer DVDs and live
CDs sitting in my office... Fedora actually has something similar to
LoCo, its probably just not as well advertised -- Fedora Ambassadors.
(Though it targets both Linux users and potential converts, not just the
potential converts).

Jarod Wilson

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Re: Ubuntu SIG

2008-07-10 Thread Arc Riley
  I think a Fedora SIG would be a great idea, too, if there's enough
  people interested.

 I'd certainly be willing to get involved, time permitting.


 Fedora actually has something similar to LoCo, its probably just not as
 well advertised -- Fedora Ambassadors.

I'll argue that a Fedora SIG would be very benefitial, provided enough
Fedora LUG'ers are interested to get it started.  Like Ubuntu or any other
distro, Fedora has unique configuration mechanisms (printers, dialup,
drivers, etc), potential probems with package management, upgrading issues,
etc that new users are hitting and need help with.  Even for more advanced
Fedora users, it would seem the community aspect of the SIG would keep them

Emphasis on having enough people, which is why I'm not advocating a Gentoo
SIG despite it being my distro of choice :-)  There are a few GNHLUG people
(such as Ted and Bill) who seem to be doing most of the work, I don't think
it's fair to expect them to help run more chapters.

With the Ubuntu SIG proposal, we have a group of people energized and ready
to make this happen.  That seems to be the core issue at hand, whether
there's enough people for it.

If a Fedora SIG got started I would try to attend often, I have a Fedora box
here (for testing/dev) that I often run into difficulty maintaining and
would love to attend presentations/workshops on new releases and have a
group of local knowledgable people to get help from.
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Re: Ubuntu SIG

2008-07-10 Thread Nikkiana H.
Since, I tend to lurk and not come to meetings much, let me do a quick
intro. I'm Nikki, also involved with the Ubuntu LoCo project and have been
lurking around GNHLUG for about over a year (and I've been to a couple of
CentraLUG meetings). By trade, I'm a theme (web) developer, specifically
specializing in Drupal theming. Most of my contribution to the open source
community in general has been in the form of documentation, answering new
user questions, and just in general advocacy and spreading the word to
people who don't know. Outside of my sphere of work, I don't develop, and I
don't really consider myself anything other than an average user who isn't
afraid to tinker with things and fix them myself if I need something

Not with the intent to be rabbelrousing at all, but one of the reasons why I
*personally* haven't been very involved with GNHLUG, either on the mailing
list or in attending meetings is because most of the topics that I've seen
being covered aren't in my realm of interest or are  beyond my skill level.
Excluding last Sunday's BBQ, I've only been two meetings in the past year.
One was on Drupal, the other was on activism...  My dissapointment has been
in the fact what I've observed with GNHLUG in the past year is that there is
very little offered by the group as a whole for brand new users and
non-developer users.

Like Arc, my vision for what an Ubuntu SIG (or any other distro specific SIG
for that matter) is more of a support group for new and less experienced
users, which would be a demographic that is most likely to be asking distro
specific questions and needing distro specific support, and it would get
these new users involved with a communtiy.

I can certainly see this need for this in my own life. My husband has had
quite a bit of sucess in the past three months of convincing family and
coworkers to try Ubuntu, and while I'm thrilled about this...  when it all
of the sudden feels like your phone has turned into the How do I do X in
Ubuntu? hotline, you find yourself strongly wishing for a group to which
you can refer your friends for support.

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Re: Ubuntu SIG

2008-07-10 Thread VirginSnow

Question: How would making an Advocacy SIG/LoCo a part of GNHLUG be beneficial?

My Answer: Easy-to-find-stuff-ness.  It's much easier to coordinate between
a SIG and a mother LUG than between SIGs in two totally separate
organizations.  Think of clapping your hands as compared to clapping one of
your hands with one of a friend.  It's confusing enough that our SIGs
already have their own web sites, mailing lists, etc.  Privatizing out
SIGs to other organizations would only fracture things more.

Question: Would having Ubuntu support a GNHLUG SIG compromise 501(c)(3) status?

My Answer: Perhaps.  If you go over the legalese with a fine-toothed comb,
the answer will probably be No.  This is because any profit made by
promoting Ubuntu would be Ubuntu's profit, not profit for GNHLUG.  Of
course, I'm not a lawyer.  My personal opinion is that GNHLUG might do
better as a 501(c)(6).  Corporations accepted under 501(c)(6) are permitted
greater freedom with regard to lobbying, and it's not inconcievable that
GNHLUG (or one of its SIGs) might lobby as a part of some future advocacy
effort.  501(c)(3) corporations are still allowed to lobby, just not as
much.  I don't know if there will end up being a practical difference.  If
GNHLUG makes the decision, now, _not_ to engage in FOSS lobbying, 501(c)(3)
status would seem provide all the same benefits as 501(c)(6) status, with
the additional benefit that donations to GNHLUG would be tax-deductible to
the donor (if they itemize deductions, subject to the 50% limitation rule,
if the Sun is in the constellation Gemini on the date the return is filed).

Question: Should we have a SIG for every distro?

My Answer: No!  No.  Did I mention No?  Unless there are A LOT of people
interested, this is a recepie for the aforementioned balkanization.  We
might as well have a Red Sox Fan Linux Users' SIG, a Ex-Convict Linux
Users' SIG, and a Ben Scott Linux Users' SIG if we go down that road. :)

Question: What is the formal procedure for starting a SIG?

My Answer: We don't have one.  SIGs are informal.  I don't think SIGs are
anything which really need to be formalized, either.  They won't have any
contractual power; they're just an organizational convenience.  The only
thing SIGs really need to have is a unique name (think IANA).  It's
probably best to let SIGs form and dissolve as the need arrises.  If
someone wants to start a SIG, they should be free to do so with minimal
formal encumberance.  To have SIGs occasionally sprout, blossom, die out,
and come back strong a year later seems perfectly reasonable to be.  Those
SIGs which persist are those which generate enough interest to keep going.
It's a matter of the survival of the SIG-gest.

Question: What about helping new users?

My Answer: Helping new users become familiar with FOSS and helping them
with problems they encounter is a proper role of an advocacy group.  How
fair would it be to introduce people to Linux and then make them figure
things out on their own?  New User Support is a vitally important part of

Question: Ubuntu SIG or LoCo?

My Answer: The Ubununtu Local Community Team (LoCo) has an peculiar
dual compostition; it's both Ubuntu-specific and an advocacy group.
The LoCo is a bit like water H2O: two parts hydrogen, one part
oxygen.  The LoCo is two parts advocacy, one part Ubuntu.  So
there's a danger, here, of mistaking Ubuntu for Advocacy.

I think the issue at hand is how to incorporate a FOSS advocacy
subgroup under the GNHLUG umbrella.  I fear that creating an
Advocacy SIG, an Ubuntu SIG, and a Fedora SIG all at the same time
will serve to divide an already loosely-bound LoCo.  Matt has put a
lot of time into getting the LoCo organized, and there are a number
of people who are really pumped-up about getting out and promoting
Linux (specifically, Ubuntu).  This is NOT the time to start
dividing out into distro-specific SIGs but time to focus this
wonderful energy on the real point of this all: advocacy.  Yes,
Ubuntu is a great distribution for certain advocacy activities; and
yes, it's great getting CDs from Ubuntu; but that doesn't make it an
*Ubuntu* group.  It's still fundamentally about introducing Linux to
the outside world.

As mentioned above, an important part of advocacy is new user support.
As such, it would only be appropriate for an advocacy SIG with an
emphasis on Ubuntu to provide Ubuntu-specific support for new users.

So the answer (well, my answer) to the Ubuntu SIG or LoCo?
question is: neither but Advocacy SIG (with Ubuntu focus).
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