Where to find support for Linux in South Africa
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 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:
- Gauteng Linux Users Group (GLUG)
- Cape Linux Users Group (CLUG)
- East Rand Linux User Group (ELUG)
- Ubuntu South African User Group (Ubuntu-za)
- Ruby users group in Gauteng (Gauteng.rb)
- Linux Enthusiasts Association of Durban (LEAD)
- UCT Linux Enthusiasts Group (EG)
- Stellenbosch Linux Users Group (SULUG)
- Tuks Linux Users Group (TLUG)
Most of these user groups also have mailing lists for online support, assistance and chat.
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:
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.
Do you want to be a guest writer?