In the previous section I focused exclusively on what LUGs do and what they ought to be doing. In this section the focus shifts to practical strategies for accomplishing these goals.
There are, despite the endless permutations of form, two basic things that local LUGs do: first, they meet together in physical space; second, they communicate with each other in cyberspace. Everything or nearly everything that LUGs do can be seen in terms of meetings and online resources.
As I said above, physical meetings are synonymous with LUGs and with most computer user groups. LUGs have these kinds of meetings:
What do LUGs do at these meetings?
The commercial rise of the Internet coincided roughly with the rise of Linux, and the latter in large part owes something to the former. The Internet has always been an important asset for Linux development. It is no different for LUGs. Most LUGs have web pages if not whole Web sites. In fact, I am not sure how else to find a local LUG but to check the Web.
It makes sense, then, for a local LUG to make use of whatever Internet technologies they can appropriate: Web sites, mailing lists, gopher, FTP, e-mail, WAIS, finger, news, etc. As the world of commerce is discovering, the Internet can be an effective way to advertise, inform, educate, and even sell. The other reason that LUGs make extensive use of Internet technologies is that it is the very essence of Linux to provide a stable and rich platform for the deployment of these technologies. So not only do LUGs benefit from, say, the establishment of a Web site because it advertizes their existence and helps organize their members, but in deploying these technologies, the members of the LUG are provided an opportunity to learn about this technology and see Linux at work.
Some LUGs that use the Internet effectively:
Please let me know if your LUG uses the Internet in an important or interesting way; I'd like this list to include your group.