Finally, I want to make some very practical, even mundane, suggestions
for anyone wanting to found, maintain, or grow a LUG.
There once were numerous organisations offering assistance to LUGs.
One of the long-time ones remains active:
Tux.Org is an umbrella organisation for
LUGs and open-source software development projects, providing
a corporate entity, Web hosting, mailing lists, mirrors of
popular software, and expertise and funding in planning special
LUG events. More information can be found at the
- Determine the nearest 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 corporations, Internet service providers, etc.
- Find friendly businesses or institutions in your area willing to help you form the LUG.
- Form a mailing list or some means of communication among 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 distributions for anyone who wants it.
- Post flyers, messages, or handbills wherever computer users are in your area.
- Secure dedicated leadership.
- Follow Linus Torvalds'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 GNU/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 GNU/Linux users -- are likely to gather.
- Elect formal leadership for the LUG as soon as 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 (organises 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 GNU/Linux and free software / open source development efforts by donating Web space, a mailing list, or an ftp site.
- Establish an ftp/Web site for relevant software.
- Archive everything the LUG does for the Web site.
- Solicit "door prizes" from GNU/Linux vendors, VARs, etc. to give away at meetings.
- Give credit where due.
- Submit your LUG's information to all the LUG lists.
- Publicise your meetings on appropriate Usenet groups and in local computer publications and newspapers.
- Compose promotional materials, like PostScript files, for instance, members can use to help publicise 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 organisations and schools with their Information Technology needs.
- Advocate the use of our OS enthusiastically but responsibly.
- Play to LUG members' strengths.
- Maintain good relations with vendors, VARs, developers, etc.
- Identify and contact 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 software -- new kernels, bugs, fixes, patches, security advisories -- and the state of the GNU/Linux world at large -- new ports, trademark and licensing issues, where Torvalds is living and working, etc.
- Notify the Linux Documentation Project -- and other pertinent sources of GNU/Linux information -- about the documentation the LUG produces: technical presentations, tutorials, local HOWTOs, etc.