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Are LUGs hurting widespread Linux acceptance?

By maleficent in Technology
Mon Apr 02, 2001 at 10:32:57 AM EST
Tags: Politics (all tags)

This weekend, I attended an "install fest" held by the local free un*x group, of which I am a member. Two things occurred in relation to it that made me question the benefits and drawbacks of such a group and led me to consider the possibility that Linux user groups are hurting widespread acceptance of Linux.

The first event that made me raise an eyebrow to the concept that LUGs were helping to marginalize Linux occurred while I was hanging posters to promote the install fest. An individual walked up to me and asked why I was hanging up a poster with a penguin on it. I responded by giving him a brief run-down of Linux and why we were having an install fest.

His response: "So, it's tough enough to install and set up that you have to have a meeting to do it?"

I didn't know what to say to that, so I responded that most of the time it wasn't difficult to install at all.

He says, "Having an install fest says to me that it's going to be tough to install."

With a slurp on his Coke, he walked away.

I considered this for a while. I can clearly see the basis for his reaction, as anything that would suggest needing a meeting to even begin to use something indicates a high level of technical knowledge to use it. It's clear from the poster and from our promotion of the event that this is provided as a service for those who want help, as opposed to help being necessary, but his viewpoint is still quite clear to me.

It wasn't until the install fest itself that I realized that the fellow might have a stronger point than I realized. We held the install fest in a building shared by a number of other groups that were also holding activities, and at one point an individual strolled into the room, curious as to what we were doing with all the computers. Being something of the PR person in the group, I explained the situation briefly to him and he seemed quite interested. Then this fellow dropped a logical bomb upon me.

"It sounds interesting, but does it bode well for Linux when this," waving his hand around the room, "is the support that's available for installing it?"

When one is installing a Microsoft operating system, it's easy to walk down the floor or pick up the phone and ask someone for help, as a vast majority of computer users are already using it. What if you're installing Linux, though? You might be lucky enough to know someone that is a Linux guru, but if one's not available, then you're reduced to shuffling through man pages or online documentation, hoping for an answer.

Windows users generally don't need to have a user's group for support because the support is already there. You can ask your neighbor or nearly anyone for help with Windows and they can provide it. With Linux, it's not so clear.

The presence of a user's group for an operating system seems to reflect that there is some need for support for the operating system that cannot be found elsewhere. The clues that a group of users gives the public is that there is support for the system, but it also gives the reflection that there needs to be support for the system and that this support isn't readily available elsewhere.

I think that LUGs are their own double-edged sword. I realize that, although many LUGs state as part of their mission the desire to promote Linux and open-source software, some LUGs do not. In that case, this article doesn't really apply. However, groups that do want to promote Linux are, in some ways, hurting their own cause.

Is there a way to avoid this type of conflict, not only with Linux user groups, but with user groups of any kind? I'm not sure that there is.


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Are your local user groups helping or hurting acceptance of their platform?
o Helping 46%
o Hurting 26%
o What's a user group? 26%

Votes: 56
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Are LUGs hurting widespread Linux acceptance? | 36 comments (35 topical, 1 editorial, 0 hidden)
Well, (2.20 / 5) (#1)
by spacejack on Sun Apr 01, 2001 at 10:34:46 PM EST

I don't know if LUGs themselves are necessarily bad for Linux acceptance, but perhaps the promotion of them is; i.e., I would have been blissfully unaware of such a thing until I read this article. :)

LUGs are pretty prevalent in central Iowa (2.00 / 1) (#2)
by maleficent on Sun Apr 01, 2001 at 10:47:18 PM EST

AAFUG (Ames Area Free Unix Group) and CIALUG (Central Iowa Linux User's Group) are both quite active here. I also know that they are quite active in eastern Iowa and there are a great many active ones in California.

[ Parent ]
LUG's don't hurt Linux, (3.45 / 11) (#3)
by kwsNI on Sun Apr 01, 2001 at 10:49:07 PM EST

LUG members that sound stupid when asked a question do.<P>

First of all, you should have pointed out that Windows is just as difficult to install for many people. I've worked in tech support. You wouldn't believe the number of people that can't install Windows. Linux is no different that Windows in this. <P>

Second, point out the number of places offering basic Windows training. Point out that your LUGs installfest is similiar to this. <P>

What seemed to hurt you in this case was your answers, not the LUG having an installfest.

I can picture in my mind a world without war, a world without hate. And I can picture us attacking that world, because they'd never expect it. -Jack Handy
What should I have answered? (3.00 / 1) (#5)
by maleficent on Sun Apr 01, 2001 at 10:52:04 PM EST

I, for one, would like to see LUGs succeed in their goals. That's why I'm the VP of one. What should I have said to these two people if my answers weren't appropriate?

[ Parent ]
Here's what you answer (5.00 / 4) (#16)
by DesiredUsername on Mon Apr 02, 2001 at 08:54:20 AM EST

"We get together to install Linux because getting together is fun, not because installing is hard."

Play 囲碁
[ Parent ]
installing (4.00 / 1) (#6)
by Delirium on Sun Apr 01, 2001 at 11:02:00 PM EST

First of all, you should have pointed out that Windows is just as difficult to install for many people. I've worked in tech support. You wouldn't believe the number of people that can't install Windows. Linux is no different that Windows in this.

I wouldn't say "just as difficult." Okay perhaps for the people that can't install either one it's just as difficult (i.e. impossibly difficult), but there are many more people who can install Win98 than who can install Linux. Hell, even I have trouble installing Linux and I'm much more computer-knowledgeable than most of my friends/family/acquaintences. Win98 however I can install without any problems whatsoever (and not because I've done Windows a lot but not Linux a lot either - I've installed Win95 twice and Win98 once, and all three installs were incredibly easy, while my Slackware 3.0 and RedHat 7.0 installs were not nearly as easy). Generally installing Windows consists of "put the cd in the drive, follow the prompts." The only information needed is really easy-to-find stuff, like brand/model of your monitor (it's printed on the front of nearly all monitors). Linux on the other hand wanted to know what screen resolutions my monitor supported (I have no idea), and required a whole other install/setup process to get my modem (and PPP) working.

[ Parent ]

The flip side... (none / 0) (#28)
by esch on Mon Apr 02, 2001 at 09:29:11 PM EST

As Distros get better and more commercial, the installs get easier and faster (http://www.progeny.com). I don't think It's that the installation is particularly difficult anymore, just that it's a daunting task for a new user. Much the same as asking your girlfriend to change spark plugs... Relatively easy, but it may seem difficult to someone who's never done it before.

[ Parent ]
LUGs aren't well advertised enough to matter (3.66 / 6) (#4)
by belgarath on Sun Apr 01, 2001 at 10:52:03 PM EST

I don't know about outside of the Portland, OR. area, but around here, I've never seen much advertising for LUGs (or any other user groups, for that matter) outside of a few very specialized areas, such as usenet newsgroups and local computer magazines.

Due to this lack of advertising, I don't think that LUGs stand any significant chance of changing the opinions of the masses. However, I have seen school acceptance of Linux (I'm in high school) increase due to the support offered by several LUGs.

I'm not disagreeing that they could give this impression, but I think that their benefits outweigh the risk of spreading a bad impression. However, knowing that this perception exists should allow LUGs to publicize their install events as being more social than as technical necessities, thereby limiting the perception that it described here. Perhaps someone else has another idea of how to publicize these events without making Linux look difficult to install.

Lack of LUGs not confined to Portland (3.00 / 1) (#11)
by CanSpice on Mon Apr 02, 2001 at 12:51:29 AM EST

I have to agree. I live in a moderately large city (Victoria, BC -- about 300,000 people), and I can't remember the last time I saw any advertising for any sort of LUG. I know there's a VLUG, but only because a friend of mine was in it. In fact, the only time I've been to an installfest was down in Huntsville, Alabama! And that's about as non-local as you can get.
--- I don't have a sig.
[ Parent ]
lugs ... what? (2.20 / 20) (#7)
by jann on Sun Apr 01, 2001 at 11:46:30 PM EST

whadda linux have to do with LUG's

Last time I checked LUG stood for Lesbian Until Graduation ... a reference to the propensity of young liberal minded women to partake of lesbian tendancies whilst studying and exploring what they want. Typically they are the pretty ones and not the butch ones. Also typically they leave university and become conservative well married housewives living in well to do aeras

So what do they have to do with computer operating systems.

perhaps we are running out of TLA's and no longer is anything making sense

First paragraph states what LUGs are.... (1.50 / 2) (#8)
by maleficent on Sun Apr 01, 2001 at 11:49:33 PM EST

... but to be honest, I've never heard of that particular acronym being used in another way.

[ Parent ]
That would explain it. (3.00 / 1) (#20)
by FeersumAsura on Mon Apr 02, 2001 at 11:03:43 AM EST

I wondered why #lug had some confused people turning up .I think that could explain. Or they were just idiots.

I'm so pre-emptive I'd nuke America to save time.
[ Parent ]
LUG _Members_ Are Bad For Linux (1.26 / 30) (#9)
by 2400n81 on Mon Apr 02, 2001 at 12:29:20 AM EST

yeah sure LUGs are bad for linux. walk into any Linux user group meeting and pass out from the repugnant body odor and ass stench. great impression to make on new users.

linux? "oh no that's not hard to install!" it is why you have been stuck in the same clothes for three days trying to correct a broken redhat server install.

you have to have something to do while you are wading thru the install. be like RMS. play the flute and drop acid.

I think... (2.50 / 4) (#10)
by Elendale on Mon Apr 02, 2001 at 12:37:19 AM EST

The problem with LUGs is not entirely what you mentioned here (this only prevents Linux from reaching other people) but that most people assume that you have a LUG available. If you live in an area where you don't then you're out of luck. I'm not so sure that we can "evangelize" Linux in this manner at all, but i'll let that problem be dealt with elsewhere.

-Elendale (by the way, the correct answer to your witty cynic would be "Its only hard the first time")

When free speech is outlawed, only criminals will complain.

My localish LUG (4.07 / 13) (#12)
by AdamJ on Mon Apr 02, 2001 at 01:39:44 AM EST

Awhile back when I was a bit more interested in Linux than I am now, I went to see if there was a local LUG. Sure enough, there was, although they had a very ugly and out of date web page.

One of the 'features' of the web page was a list of all the members of the LUG, with a cute snappy quote. Like: "Windows was made to be simple, thus simple people will use windows."

I made a decision at that time to have nothing to do with the LUG. That's bullshit. I don't need to be abused because of my OS choice, especially by somebody who - you would assume - is somewhat open minded.

To me, that's not promoting Linux - that says squat about Linux, and just disses Windows. And while there are certainly times that Windows needs to be dissed, I don't think it's an effective way of promoting Linux. Point out something /good/ about Linux and I'll listen - point out that Windows does something badly and I still don't know if Linux (or any other OS) can do it better.

Note: This is not intended to be anti-Linux, although parts of it read that way. I like Linux. I just don't think it's suitable for my day to day use, and I don't think I'm "simple" because of that.

Coke drinker was a troll (3.69 / 13) (#14)
by DesiredUsername on Mon Apr 02, 2001 at 08:47:28 AM EST

There was a woman pouring free samples of Mug root beer at Walmart this weekend. Hypothetical conversation:

Me: Mug root beer, huh.
Her: That's right. Would you like to try some?
Me: If it doesn't spread by word of mouth, you've got a crappy product.
Her: He's wise beyond his years.
Me: And if you have to pour it for me here, what'm I gonna do when I get home?
Her: You are right. These product demos are actually HURTING sales!

Installfests are not about gathering enough massive brainpower in one room to overcome the enormous complexity of installing Linux. They are about having a party to spread the word, showing people there is a community of support and pooling resources (hardware, software and mental). If your coke-drinking friend honestly got the wrong impression, then yes, your LUG is doing a bad job. But it's not an inherent flaw in the idea.

Play 囲碁
Makes sense... (4.50 / 2) (#23)
by gregbillock on Mon Apr 02, 2001 at 04:18:11 PM EST

I've had very positive experiences with other Linux users helping me out. (And putting good stuff available on the web in easy-to-find places.) Overall, this has been much better than Official Tech Support.

Also, many people don't have anyone "downstairs" they can call to help with their computer. They have to call tech support, or their grandkid, for help. It is a pain to try to debug crotchety, unfamiliar software on the phone!

Given this, it seems to me that the Linux "community model," is not only over-cliched, but very valuable. Having someone in person to help with things is a feature, not a bug! This would be my pitch to the Coke-slurper: the point isn't that Linux is terribly hard to install, it usually isn't. The point is that when things aren't going smoothly, using a computer shouldn't be a frustrating experience in isolated torment. Better to get someone who knows the answer and solve it quick and move on rather than to suffer some character-building marathon struggle in frustration (which tech support typically is).

[ Parent ]
Training for windows (3.00 / 4) (#15)
by Komodo321 on Mon Apr 02, 2001 at 08:48:07 AM EST

You do have a point - the image of Linux is of a non-intuitive, high-maintainence system. I don't know if the installfests add to that, or are a response to people's pre-existing concerns. But if Windows is so easy, why is there such a large market for training - everything from how to use a mouse, how to use Office, how to administer a system. The one thing that Microsoft does really well is convince the general public that their product is easy to use and the product that everyone else is using, which was a self-fulfilling notion.

Most of the people I know are routinely frustrated by features like auto-indent that mangle simple text documents in Word.

Demand. (3.00 / 1) (#19)
by Alarmist on Mon Apr 02, 2001 at 10:52:45 AM EST

But if Windows is so easy, why is there such a large market for training - everything from how to use a mouse, how to use Office, how to administer a system.

Because there is a huge demand for it. Not necessarily because Windows is hard (though it can be a pain in the ass), but because there are many millions of people who have to use it as a part of their daily work.

There is no comparable demand, in terms of scale, for Linux. Were the marketshares to be reversed, there would be just as much, if not more, training for Linux.

[ Parent ]

Boston Computer Society (3.25 / 4) (#17)
by www.sorehands.com on Mon Apr 02, 2001 at 09:30:49 AM EST

I found that a user group helps the acceptance of a platform/operating system.

The Boston Computer Society (BCS) had set up volunteer help lines. By having this, and introductory sessions and classes, people who would not use something would try it with the BCS as a safety net.

Many companies would present at BCS meeting. Microsoft introduced many products at BCS meetings. Microsoft, Borland, and several other companies used the BCS as a pool for beta testers (back when beta test was really a beta test).

Mattel, SLAPP terrorists intent on destroying free speech.

Not a bad idea, just a really poor implementation (3.66 / 9) (#18)
by RangerBob on Mon Apr 02, 2001 at 10:33:12 AM EST

The idea of having a LUG isn't a bad idea, it's actually a very good one. They should be places where people can go to ask questions or to get help. They should be something that provides a social aspect so you can meet people who are going through the same things that you are. I think that they can be better mechanisms for support when you can see the person face to face (and not have to pay to report a bug like some other companies would have you do :).

The problem I've seen with LUG's is the membership. Having a bunch of geeks running around with holier than thou attitudes isn't going to help us get more people using Linux. Telling a newbie to RTFM everytime they need something isn't going to convince someone to try Linux out.

Windows Users Don't have Install Fests ... (2.75 / 4) (#21)
by DCMonkey on Mon Apr 02, 2001 at 01:47:51 PM EST

... they have CompUSA's Computer Service Department, or its equivalent at the store where they bought the computer; the computer that had Windows preinstalled.

Uhm, Red Hat? (3.66 / 3) (#22)
by deefer on Mon Apr 02, 2001 at 03:08:01 PM EST

RH already do the support stuff. Pay them some cash and they sort stuff out for you. I've always felt well looked after any time I've had contact with them, and I've been through more help lines than most.

That said, LUG's are useful. For the price of a pint, I managed to collar some bloke I met at Lonix (London LUG) and spent about an hour picking his brains. He was pleased to help, and I got what I needed (some really knotty stuff to do with Samba).

Maybe what you're looking for from LUG's is wrong? I am limited in LUG experience, but thinking about it, if I had gone there and not had some background (ie RTFM already) I would possibly not have received such a generous response. Maybe I would, and in no way am I putting down the fine folks at Lonix, but the general vibe I got was not of the newbie, but more of an few gurus and a couple of acolytes. And these folks rightly do not want to waste their time fielding stupid questions that have very simple answers. Maybe LUG's are best not dealing with out and out newbies, but are much better dealing with people who are genuinely interested in knowing more, and have put some time into learning. This, I can see an LUG excelling at.

That, of course, leaves the total newbies out in the cold, but that doesn't worry me so much; if they want the support then they can pay for it. $25 bucks is supposed to be the cab ride home after drinking free beer, isn't it?

Kill the baddies.
Get the girl.
And save the entire planet.

This is a job for PR types (3.00 / 2) (#24)
by darkonc on Mon Apr 02, 2001 at 05:56:38 PM EST

What you ran into looks like a problem in 'spin control'. There was nothing really wrong with his question... In a lot of ways it was a valid question that other people might have. It just spun in the wrong direction.

An appropriate response might be:

Linux is generally easier to install than WIndows is, but most people don't have the time and energy to do it themselves. What we do is get together a bunch of people who are willing to do the job, and even give people some pointers to get them started.
No problem.
Killing a person is hard. Killing a dream is murder. : : : ($3.75 hosting)
D'oh! Exhibit A; The Internet! (2.66 / 3) (#25)
by cable on Mon Apr 02, 2001 at 06:03:29 PM EST

Point out the amount of support available on the Internet. Also how Linux can be dual-booted with Windows, so in case they can't get the Internet part of Linux working they can boot to Windows to get on to ask questions for free.

Tons of Newsgroups, Online Forums, Chat rooms, Clubs, web sites, Howtos, Faqs, everyone ready to help even the most inexperienced soda sipping newbie how to install Linux. ;)

Only you, can help prevent Neb Rage!

Differing LUG methodoligies (3.00 / 2) (#26)
by lsd on Mon Apr 02, 2001 at 06:53:15 PM EST

I'm a member of the Linux Gamers League, a group of Linux users dedicated to not just using Linux for gaming, but as a desktop OS in general. We've taken a unique spin on the installfest idea - we hold LANs. Both Linux and Windoze users are welcome, and because of the Linux talent on-board and the constant evangilising, there's always 2 ot 3 people that end up getting a Linux install done by the end. We've managed to get a good few converts this way, and we support them (and each other) via IRC.

Games players tend to be a cluey bunch - check out the numerous hardware and overclocking sites around if you're in any doubt - so they make perfect Linux newbies. And many of them have cable, and are more than a little interested in setting up a nice Linux gateway... :)

User Groups (4.55 / 9) (#27)
by DragonHawk on Mon Apr 02, 2001 at 09:00:26 PM EST

I actually wrote up a point-by-point rebuttal, but when I was done, I realized two things: First, that it would be one of many such rebuttals, and second, that most of these counter-points were self-evident.

Upon further reflection, I think a bit of a trip down memory lane might be much more educational for some people...

*cue clock spinning backwards cut scene*

It is now 1985. The term "hard disk" is what Mac users use to refer to 3.5-inch floppies. IBM compatible users all know that January 1, 1980, was a Tuesday. Software is sold for "IBM-PC, Tandy, and 100% compatible" computers. Major OEMs have their own, branded versions of MS-DOS. Windows does not exist. 640 KB was enough for anybody.

The major force in home computing was... user groups. IBM-PC user groups.

People would get together, sometimes over pizza, sometimes over beer. They would swap stories and tips, detail the adventures they had recently undergone in getting this or that to work, evangelize their favorites in various categories, and so on. Software was swapped freely -- most of it legitimately. This is back in the heyday of shareware, when if you couldn't afford Word Perfect, you used PC-Write. If you couldn't afford 1-2-3, you used PC-Calc.

Sound familiar? Rather like a present-day Open Source OS, maybe?

If you told anybody that this crowd would be responsible for the single largest period of economic growth in the history of the human race, you would have been laughed out of town.

*return to present day*

Nobody is laughing at PCs now. They do laugh at Linux, though. After all, the major force behind Linux is the user groups.

Ha ha.

I do not like Microsoft. Remove them from my email address.
Well... (3.33 / 3) (#29)
by Manish on Mon Apr 02, 2001 at 10:03:30 PM EST

I think the reply to that guy could have been "It's not tough to install. Still most people think so, and that is what we are having a meeting for - to promote and tell people about the usability of Linux".
Finding a LUG in your area (2.50 / 2) (#30)
by logiceight on Tue Apr 03, 2001 at 12:13:06 AM EST

If you want to find a LUG in your area. I found this LUG page with shows LUGs from all over the world.

LUGs differ a lot (2.00 / 1) (#31)
by mami on Tue Apr 03, 2001 at 01:33:32 AM EST

I have to a couple of different LUG groups as a complete outsider, newbie etc. They differ so much in style that a general one fits all judgement is not possible.

Usually they are good for people who actually really don't need them. To promote Linux to outsiders and newbies they are not always that successful. They are good as a social and technical exchange of ideas among geeks. Some are very helpful with regards to their subject talks and demos. The installfests I think are not as necessary any more as they used to be three years ago.

In no way do LUGs hurt anyone. But Linux related documentation and tutorials are already so widespread online that newbies just need LUGs' mailing lists and google to help themselves.

My thoughts (3.00 / 3) (#32)
by Lion on Tue Apr 03, 2001 at 11:56:55 AM EST

Saying that LUGs are hurting linux because they make the OS look like it's hard to install/use it's not fair.

Remember the time when people used all sorts of computers? C64s, Ataris, etc. There were User Groups back then too. DOS and Win311 groups as well. After all it's better to have UG support than nothing at all.

If linux had the same installed user base than windows, perhaps there would not be LUGs, since you could go out and ask anybody how to setup this or that.

Furthermore, installing windows for an inexperienced user is just as daunting as installing linux.


where is the point? (3.33 / 3) (#33)
by dazk on Tue Apr 03, 2001 at 01:39:10 PM EST

I can't count the number of phonecalls I got from friends of mine having serious problems installing Windows on their PCs. I know I'm probably one of the persons in the neighbourhood mentioned in the article. But then again this is also true for Linux. I'm the one in the neighbourhood for Linux as well and people ask questions. I think UGs are primaily for finding other people that are interested in something you are yourself. Nobody is perfect so finding people that already solved a problem you have is a nice thing. At some point you can contribute yourself and help others. That's the main reason for their existence IMHO. Usergroups are some kind of meeting point for minorities. As long as linux is an operating system run by a minority LUGs will exist and having them hold install parties is not bad for Linux at all i think. The major difference between most people using Windows and those running linux is the degree of interest in what's going on in their PCs. Most Windows users probably use their preinstalled OS until it breaks on them, which will happen soon enough. Then they don't know a thing about fixing it. Most people I know starting with Linux are annoyed by that and want an alternative. They are extremely glad to be able to get the kind of support that you can't get running windows. They are interested in the hows and whats. They want to learn and don't make mistakes others made before. Usergroups for Windows are as nessesary as LUGs. The difference is just that the average windows user is not interested enough to join one. Maybe the term LIG (Linux Interest Group) would be more appropriate for the kind of group a LUG is. Then again it will soon transfer into a LUG again since people who are interested usually become users.
I think all the discussion about how to get linux spread even more is useless anyways. It will spread by itself. But it will always only reach those willing to learn a bit more than clicking icons. Those that don't like to leard will never be happy with linux. They aren't happy with windows either though. They will always have (for them) unsurmountable Problems wich they gladly transfer to someone with a different attitude. Then they will probably watch TV when that person fixes the problem. See what I mean? It happened to me more than once. There are few that are actually interested in the solution to their problem but those will probably get to like Linux once attending a user group and being able to receive knowledge ;)


----- Copy kills music! Naaah! Greedyness kills Brain! Counter: Bought 17CDs this year because I found tracks of an album on fileshare and wanted it all.
No OS is easy to install (none / 0) (#34)
by hardburn on Wed Apr 04, 2001 at 03:10:10 PM EST

I have yet to see an OS that's easy to install. Not MacOS. Not Windows. Not GNU/Linux. Windows and (and Mac to some extent) have the benifit that you can walk into a store and pick up a box with the OS pre-installed.

We don't have that luxury at this time, so we need to improvise. I think a LUG holding an install fest is as good a way to do this any.

while($story = K5::Story->new()) { $story->vote(-1) if($story->section() == $POLITICS); }

My experiences with Linux... (none / 0) (#35)
by regeya on Wed Apr 04, 2001 at 07:10:20 PM EST

Part of the reason I got involved with Linux was because of the local LUG.

My local LUG was hosting a local expo back in '96, and I got to talk to people who were running Linux. Yeah, part of the reason I used Linux was due to a need. I couldn't get time on the CS department's computers, and our dorms didn't have 'net access, unless you tied up a phone line, which was limited to either one hour or four hours, and that was if there were any free lines...aargh...but the reason I stuck with Linux was because there were people handy that I could ask for help if I needed it. I also learned more than I ever dreamed about networking and security in a year than I would have by going to formalized classes and from books.

My experience with tech support is, well, I hate tech support. :-) I've called various tech support lines for various companies and I've gotten put on hold for a bare minimum of an hour. When I get through, I usually get a screen-reader that, if reinstalling a driver doesn't work, wants the software or the unit shipped to a central location. Contrast that with being on a local LUG mailing list, where if someone doesn't know the answer (and surprisingly, I usually had better luck with the local LUG mailing list than I have with, say, Usenet) then you'll probably be able to bend ears (maybe even bring the machine in!) at the next meeting.

My advice would be to not let the occasional Coke-slurping naysayer bother you, and realize that you're probably doing more good than harm. :-)

[ yokelpunk | kuro5hin diary ]

Linux (Self) help (none / 0) (#36)
by bobneumann on Mon Apr 16, 2001 at 01:53:50 PM EST

Here are the contents of an actual email I sent this morning RE trying to get Linux Router Project working using help from Trevor Marshall's website. I thought it applicable. [[[[[Reply to original message: Nope, I've gotten no response at all. It's a little frustrating, being a Micro$oft guy myself, I'd love to get more use out of Linux and its derivatives, and all the hype seems to say, "Look out Microsoft, your own professionals are all going to switch to Linux any minute." The truth is, though, that the attitude in the Linux community come across to outsiders as, "If you're not a Linux person, then that's just tough for you. You've got to learn it the hard way, just like everyone else." The funny thing is that for all its shortcomings, I didn't have to learn Microsoft the hard way. It's just like second nature, and I've had no training whatsoever. As a current Microsoft professional, I hate paying them the high fees, but I don't have the time to learn everything over again "the hard way". If many current MS pros feel like I do, then Linux will wither on the vine. Anyway, no, I still don't know. Original Message: To: Bob Neumann/09709707 cc: Subject: IPPORTFW Hi, I found your email address in your post putted in Trevor Marshall web site. I've a problem like yours and I don't have found a solution to solve it. Is your problem solved? Can you help me? Thanks, Carlo Puglisi]]]]]]

Are LUGs hurting widespread Linux acceptance? | 36 comments (35 topical, 1 editorial, 0 hidden)
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