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Finally, I want to make some very practical, even mundane, suggestions for anyone wanting to found, maintain, or grow a LUG.
There are several organizations that offer assistance to local LUGs.
Groups of Linux Users Everywhere is a user group coordination and support program started by SSC, the same people who publish Linux Journal. The GLUE program is an inexpensive way for a local LUG to provide some benefits to its membership.
- Linux Systems Labs
LSL offers their Tri-Linux Disk set (Three Linux distributions on four CDs: Red Hat, Slackware, and Debian) to LUGs for resale at a considerable discount.
- Linux Mall User Group Program
Sponsored by WorkGroup Solutions, the Linux Mall User Group Program offers a range of benefits for participating User Groups. LUGs are also free to participate in Linux Mall's Referral Program as well.
- Cleveland Linux User's Group
Owns the Internet domain,
lug.net. They will provide your LUG an Internet domain name at
lug.net. More information may be found at LUG.NET or by e-mailing .
- Red Hat Software's User Group Program
Assists LUGs to develop and grow. More information may be found at Red Hat Web site
- Determine the nearest pre-existing LUG
- Announce your intentions on
comp.os.linux.announce and on an appropriate regional hierarchy
- Announce your intention wherever computer users are in your area: bookstores, swap meets, cybercafes, colleges and universities, corporations, Internet service providers, etc.
- Find Linux-friendly businesses or institutions in your area that may be willing to help you form the LUG
- Form a mailing list or some means of communication between the people who express an interest in forming a LUG
- Ask key people specifically for help in spreading the word about your intention to form a LUG
- Solicit space on a Web server to put a few HTML pages together about the group
- Begin looking for a meeting place
- Schedule an initial meeting
- Discuss at the initial meeting the goals for the LUG
- Make the barriers to LUG membership as low as possible
- Make the LUG's Web site a priority: keep all information current, make it easy to find details about meetings (who, what, and where), and make contact information and feedback mechanisms prominent
- Install Linux for anyone who wants it
- Post flyers, messages, or handbills wherever computer users are in your area
- Secure dedicated leadership
- Follow Linus's benevolent dictator model of leadership
- Take the big decisions to the members for a vote
- Start a mailing list devoted to technical support and ask the ``gurus'' to participate on it
- Schedule a mixture of advanced and basic, formal and informal, presentations
- Support the software development efforts of your members
- Find way to raise money without dues: for instance, selling Linux merchandise to your members and to others
- Consider securing formal legal standing for the group, such as incorporation or tax-exempt status
- Find out if your meeting place is restricting growth of the LUG
- Meet in conjunction with swap meets, computer shows, or other community events where computer users---i.e., potential Linux converts---are likely to gather
- Elect formal leadership for the LUG as soon as is practical: some helpful officers might include President, Treasurer, Secretary, Meeting Host (general announcements, speaker introductions, opening and closing remarks, etc.), Publicity Coordinator (handles Usenet and e-mail postings, local publicity), and Program Coordinator (organizes and schedules speakers at LUG meetings)
- Provide ways for members and others to give feedback about the direction, goals, and strategies of the LUG
- Support Linux and Free Software development efforts by donating Web space, a mailing list, or FTP site
- Establish an FTP site for relevant software
- Archive everything the LUG does for the Web site
- Solicit ``door prizes'' from Linux vendors, VARs, etc. to give away at meetings
- Give credit where credit is due
- Join SSC's GLUE (Groups of Linux Users Everywhere) but be aware they charge a membership fee
- Submit your LUG's information to all of the Lists of LUGs
- Publicize your meetings on appropriate Usenet groups and in local computer publications and newspapers
- Compose promotional materials, like Postscript files, for instance, that members can use to help publicize the LUG at workplaces, bookstores, computer stores, etc.
- Make sure you know what LUG members want the LUG to do
- Release press releases to local media outlets about any unusual LUG events like an Installation Fest, Net Day, etc.
- Use LUG resources and members to help local non-profit organizations and schools with their Information Technology needs
- Advocate the use of Linux zealously but responsibly
- Play to the strengths of LUG members
- Maintain good relations with Linux vendors, VARs, developers, etc.
- Identify and contact Linux consultants in your area
- Network with the leaders of other LUGs in your area, state, region, or country to share experiences, tricks, and resources
- Keep LUG members advised on the state of Linux software---new kernels, bugs, fixes, patches, security advisories---and the state of the Linux world at large---new ports, trademark and licensing issues, where Linus is living and working, etc.
- Notify the Linux Documentation Project---and other pertinent sources of Linux information---about the documentation that the LUG produces: technical presentations, tutorials, local HOWTOs, etc.
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