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Re: Re: The LUGs in India

Sandip Bhattacharya [Mon, Mar 05, 2001 at 12:41:49AM +0530]: 

> Why are you so worked up about "getting legitimacy" from LIH site or
> even LIH people? If you folks have managed to get the city folks come

If a LUG manages to attract people towards linux, it does not need to know or
care about the supposed legitimacy of an "official listing".

The hassle with $city.linux-india.org is that there are plenty of reasons (not
all of them political) to have two or more LUGs in a city - and I haven't seen
a subdomain that can point to two different IPs at the same time.

When there's something like a subdomain which only one LUG can have, and there
are trappings of "official recognition" attached, there is plenty of reason for

> Seriously, all these talks about registrations of societies and local
> chapters is not going to work out, if these in-fighting keeps
> happening. Let all LUGS remain independent bodies, and LIH be just a
> place for unofficial discussions. 
LUGs remaining independent bodies *sooner or later* conflicts with the other
theory (a central organization is needed to push linux).  Also, I'd disagree
with the "central organization is necessary" part - linux's spread has been
rather lateral, like a gradually expanding puddle of water when you pour it on
the floor.

> I know I am not making sense because
> we DO need a central body with a large weight to push Linux, but I see

Why?  A central body (with highly visible linux advocates) will definitely push
linux *forward* - when we need to go *sideways* if we want to expand our user

Trying to chase windows in a forward direction (with lots of highly visible
advocacy, huge events like it.com / bang!linux and such) is, IMO, futile.  A
huge headstart and deep pockets ensures that M$ wins hands down every time.

On the other hand, a lateral spread (peer to peer, word of mouth spead of
popularity) works out better in the case of something like linux.  Yeah, linux
won't ever become as popular as napster or hotmail (both of which spread
precisely this way) but it will grow faster (and increase loyalty among its
user base) this way.  

You haven't seen too many people switching back to windows from linux, have
you?  Get this straight - sheer numbers don't count in this game (except that
they look impressive).

Oh yes, another thing is that there's no foolproof metric to compare the user
base ...

1. Counting sales figures won't work - most people install linux from borrowed
/ magazine supplied CDs.  The same CD can and will provide enough linux to
power several dozen boxes, and keeps circulating around between various people.

2. Surveying ftp server logs at the dozens of official (and unofficial) mirrors
of linuxen around the world is a painful task - and again inaccurate because of
the same reason as (1) above.

3. As for projects like the linux counter project, just how many people do you
think don't have web access and still use linux?  Also, how many linux users
who have web access do you think bother to go online and click buttons?  

To answer my own question in #3 above, not many.  Consider the example of
eGroups hosted LUG lists.  If somebody sets up a web based poll, you'll find
probably 10 or 15 people out of a membership base of ~ 300 even bothering to go
to egroups and fill up the form.  If the same question is asked on the list,
you'll get far more replies (with a yes / no / "me too" and possibly a detailed

Also, just trying to push up the number of linux users (by making linux so
user-friendly that it becomes easier than windows) is blind advocacy.  Someone
who's pushed / attracted to install linux without wanting to learn it is doomed
to delete his linux partition and reinstall windows. 

Instead, if you want to attract windows users, let them _graduate_ to linux.
Yes, graduate.  Getting a degree and graduating from college takes at least
some effort on your part.  Ditto with graduating to linux.

Linux must never, ever, lose its focus as a powerful server / workstation /
power user OS.  Compete with Sun / HP (and WinNT / Win2000) instead of trying
to compete with windows 9x / ME (and MacOS, say). 

> it is going to take quite a bit of time. Till then we can all see to
> it that the local LUGS get stronger, and start making a difference to
> their own cities, before reaching for the sky.
Local LUGs are that, by definition.  *LOCAL*.  "Think globally, act locally" 

> There are so many ideas. Like going on a school-to-school Linux
> introduction spree, or hitting the colleges - promising volunteer

Local LUGs are generally doing (or at least, planning to do) these ... and as
for the "catching them young" part, any of you who have kids, give them a linux
box for their first computer.  See how they'll enjoy reading about (and writing
exams about) MS Office and "how to cut, copy and paste" later in school.

One of my friends has a 14 year old daughter.  Apparently, she prefers using
debian and emacs and refuses to touch windows. She's definitely not your
typical *nix geek variety though (likes bubblegum bands and thinks Leonardo
diCaprio is "cute").

> Like Raj keeps saying at our linux-delhi meets - "If you come up with
> an idea, it's your baby. You got to see that it works out". What say

... and once the baby is born, see that it grows and isn't choked by the weed
that windows is.  Linux makes a handy weed killer, if applied judiciously.

Suresh Ramasubramanian  <-->  mallet <at> efn <dot> org
EMail Sturmbannfuhrer, Lower Middle Class Unix Sysadmin
"What separates normal people from kooks is how they react when people disagree
with them or tell them "NO"  <-- Ron Ritzman on news.admin.net-abuse.email