Where to find support for Linux in South Africa

By   |  March 24, 2009

A few week ago we ran an article by Nic Ludick that argued that PC retailers were doing Linux a disservice. One of the solutions, Nic suggested, was to grow awareness of local and community support channels. Reader Gary Alexander took up the challenge and compiled a guide for beginner Linux users looking for help.

This article is primarily for all the new users of Linux, whether someone suggested you try Linux for the first time, or you received it pre-installed on your new computer or notebook. Linux support works a little bit differently to support for other operating systems. There are a lot more options available for you and, generally, if you are willing to dig a little deeper into the system, you can get good quality support from the many groups of users out there that provide help and assistance, usually for free.

The Linux community that provides assistance is a diverse one, made up of experts and beginners alike, many of whom use Linux as a hobbyist operating system. Many of them help out not because they are paid to do so, but just as a way of being part of the community and giving back to it. As with any community it is important to be aware of the etiquette and rules that apply. This is a good article to read, as it gives a good idea on how to ask your questions so that you get a good answer.

Here are some of your many options when you find yourself stuck with an issue on Linux.

User groups
User Groups are groups of people who use the specific operating system or application on a daily basis. Linux user groups provide support and assistance for their members and often have meetings and community events. Here are the major Linux user groups in South Africa:

Most of these user groups also have mailing lists for online support, assistance and chat.

Mailing lists
There are many mailing lists for Linux support. Here are the most common ones for the most popular distributions of Linux:

Many other mailing lists are available for each application that runs on Linux, so if you are stuck with a problem on say Thunderbird, do a Google search for thunderbird mailing lists and you should get to the correct place.

As with the mailing lists, all the major distributions have their own forums for support. A quick Google search for your distribution and forum should bring up the correct link.

For general Linux support their are also a few forums you can use to get support:

Commercial support
If you need the services of a company or individual to provide Linux Support for you on a commercial basis, there are two places to check:

You could also post to one of the Linux User Groups requesting support as many of the technical people from the various support companies hang out there and will be more than willing to help.

Gary Alexander is a Gentoo and Ubuntu fan and blogs at Sticky Toffee Blog.

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4 Responses to “Where to find support for Linux in South Africa”

  1. Jaco
    March 25th, 2009 @ 7:54 am

    I’ve been involved here @ some of the NZ LUGs; word of advise: involve beer.
    Have a meet (one or twice a month, not on a Monday or Friday), talk shop for a set time-period, and got to the pub to argue further

    Unfortunately I has unable to get to a functional LUG in Jhb-north, but it’s encouraging to see that you guys are dusting it off & carrying on.

    Good luck

  2. Jaco
    March 25th, 2009 @ 8:26 am

    PS. This may form the model for a communal business:

  3. OpenPortal
    March 25th, 2009 @ 10:09 am

    OpenPortal forums is a local site that offers free technical and software support for Linux or Windows.


  4. Deryk
    April 16th, 2009 @ 11:38 am

    Linux is just not sold!
    Anybody looking for a computer system, will note that most computer hardware sold is sold indicating that it will come with a Microsoftoperating system. Along the line there may be offered a computer with a linux operating system. It is noticeably cheaper (cheap and nasty?). If the purchaser is looking for something of quality, he/she would never opt for
    an open source option.
    Possible Solution: Like in most proffesional groups there should be a group that pays to belong. The money so generated would support a peguin flag that would indicate a ntional 0800 contact number that would direct a prospectve purchaser to linux proffesionals in his/her area.

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