Gauteng Linux users to expand activities

By   |  March 31, 2009

More than 12 years after it first started, one of South Africa’s largest Linux user groups is regrouping to broaden and increase its advocacy activities. The Gauteng Linux Users Group (Glug) earlier this month elected a new committee and is already planning series of events over the coming months to promote both Glug and Linux and free software.

The newly-formed committee has a number of plans including regular meetings, more active FOSS advocacy events and a mentorship programme.

Historically a loose association of members, Glug has functioned largely as a mailing-list with only occasional meetings and promotional activities. But recently, says Ross Addis the newly-elected chairperson of Glug, members of the group have been asking for a more structured approach to meetings and activities. Following much discussion on the mailing lists and on its IRC channel, Glug members decided to hold a special meeting on March 20 at which a new committee was elected.

Addis says that there are many benefits in pursuing a more structured approach to running the user group. “With the constant influx of new and energetic members, it became desirable to meet the new members face-to-face,” he says. “Linux is still all about sharing, volunteering and community. Linux these days is very big business, and many … of the Linux promotion campaigns carry a very corporate sheen. There are a few exceptions, but most seem to miss the OSS hobbyists or emerging IT professionals.”

Having a more formalised community structure for Glug would also help in communicating with other organisations, such as government, says Addis. “There has been an expressed need by some in the public sector to engage with the South African FOSS community. While many FOSS professionals in government are also members of the LUGs, there is a need for community bodies to stand up and interact with the various bodies, committees and projects,” he says.

“There was much debate as to whether GLUG should be a mailing list only LUG, whether it needed a committee type structure or whether it may have outgrown it usefulness. The various debates and meetings culminated in a meeting on 20 March, where a committee was elected. This was done in the most transparent and democratic fashion possible, with voting facilities being provided to those member who where unable to attend, for various reasons.”

At that meeting a new Glug committee:
Ross Addis – Chairperson
Karl Fischer – Vice chairperson
Walter Leibbrandt – Secretary
JP Viljoen – Web master
Oskar Pearson – Mailing list owner
Jonathan Carter – LUG liaison
Andrew Alston
Jaco Kroon
Gert Burger

The new committee plans to publish a constitution for members comments on 22 May, as well as suggesting a legal structure for formalising Glug. The committee’s term will end at the AGM next year, where a new committee will be elected.

Addis says that the new Glug committee already has a number of key objectives and events in mind. Among these are plans to promote Glug and free software in general through events such as the Glug 12th birthday and Software Freedom Day in September. Regular meetings and social gatherings will also be arranged.

To promote skills development, Addis says that Glug is looking at the possibility of establishing a mentorship programme to sponsor young people that want to become Linux/FOSS professionals.

“We also want to create GLUG chapters. Due to members being spread across Gauteng, it is a challenge to have regular meetings where everyone can attend. What we intend to do is have everyone on the mailing lists, yet members in the far flung reaches of Gauteng can have their own meetings, with the content of the meeting being relevant to them. The chapter representatives will also be allowed a seat on the committee. There is already a chapter on the West Rand and Pretoria. There has been a request for a chapter to be formed in Rustenburg,” says Addis.

Comments

12 Responses to “Gauteng Linux users to expand activities”

  1. Jaco van der Schyff
    March 31st, 2009 @ 9:51 am

    This is very good news and ultimately “a good thing ™”.

    The establishment of a formalised body consisting of proffessionals and hobbyists alike who engage government and industry at all levels will do alot for FOSS promotion in South Africa. As will the mentioned mentoring programme.

  2. Andre Coetzee
    March 31st, 2009 @ 11:21 am

    Is this article a well written and just representation of the facts? Alastair is on the glug-chat mailing list and knows that the Glug meetings were held on the same date and time as Other User Groups in Gauteng, basically excluding those people from this new User Group.
    Insofar chapters are concerned: this is a new thing decided by the Glug committee? What about existing Linux User Groups in Gauteng? Does the writer of the above suggest that we just dissolve?
    I created a SFD page last year, over the weekend the page mas mostly deleted by Addis, no consultation, no info added, DELETED. Of course I undeleted the page again, is tectonic a publication or does it do rubber stamp marketing?

  3. Alastair Otter
    March 31st, 2009 @ 11:33 am

    @Andre Coetzee

    I am on the mailing lists and I have seen the discussion that lead to these events. The article reflects the eventual outcome and result of that discussion. I’m certainly not “rubber stamping” anything.

  4. Raoul
    March 31st, 2009 @ 11:41 am

    This is good news for Linux in Gauteng! I’m looking forward to hearing of how Linux is increasingly promoted in Gauteng through the co-operation of all the LUGs in Gauteng under the umbrella of GLUG.

  5. Andre Coetzee
    March 31st, 2009 @ 11:47 am

    The problem with posting to the mailing list is that many people are scared of being flamed, do not want to post their opinions about controversial subjects etc. The outcome of a discussion on the glug-chat mailing list is hardly the basis for a factual article, specially when people are banned (and scared of also being banned) for having opinions.

    Factually: This re-invented formal Gauteng Linux Users Group is not the only Users Group in Gauteng. There are active Linux User Groups, with fixed monthly meetings (With double digit attendances)
    Could I invite you, Alastair, to a different User Group Meeting and will you give us all the same publicity?
    We also have great initiatives and although we do not have ‘chapters’ our communities are very active.

  6. Alastair Otter
    March 31st, 2009 @ 12:55 pm

    @Andre Coetzee

    I am more than happy to write about any user group if it is in the interests of promoting Linux and free software and in the interests of informing readers. I always have been. This is not about a preference for one user group or another, so lets not turn it into an either-or proposition.

  7. JP Viljoen
    March 31st, 2009 @ 11:50 am

    Thanks Techtonic for the coverage of our recent developments. I hope this will lead to even more people becoming aware that GLUG is there as a presence in Gauteng for all those who are interested in Linux. For anyone wishing to contact us via IRC or the mailing lists, you can go to http://glug.org.za and check out the Contact Us menu on the site, where all the appropriate details are listed.

  8. Andrew
    March 31st, 2009 @ 11:54 am

    A good thing. More visible FLOSS advocacy & a mentorship program are admirable goals.
    I’ve tended to stay away from LUG stuff, coz mailing-list chains are painful to sift through, especially if the LUG is nice and active. However updating to the current decade and using blogging, microblogging and social-networking would make me keen to participate.
    (my 5c)

  9. Neil Thompson
    March 31st, 2009 @ 12:36 pm

    As one of the few people from 1997 remaining at least semi-active on the lists, I’d like to welcome the efforts by the new GLUG committee for the promotion of Linux and free software in Gauteng.

    Although I’m no longer overly fond of “meat-space” meetings, I know there are many people who are, and I hope that the establishment of local chapters will lead to the building of a community which can engage with business, government and other free software communities.

  10. Gluger
    March 31st, 2009 @ 12:44 pm

    @Andre Coetzee:

    You make people scared of posting with your constant threats of legal action and your disrespectful attitude towards anyone who disagrees with you.

    That is why you were banned from Glug . FACT!

    Cheers
    Gluger

  11. Andre Coetzee
    March 31st, 2009 @ 1:03 pm

    Thank you Alastair, the next User group in Gauteng that is meeting is at Benoni Lakeside Mall on the 17th of April at 7pm (M&B) if you cannot make it we will send you some info on what was discussed.

  12. Karl Fischer
    April 7th, 2009 @ 2:00 pm

    I love people that work together to achieve goals!

    Good Show!

Comments are closed