Linux Organizations

Have you ever wanted to rant about commercial applications for Linux? Wanted to find fellow Linux addicts? Wanted an understanding shoulder to cry on because you just typed “rm -rf /”? Linux organizations, at local and global levels, can enhance the sense of community between Linux users.

As the Usenet comp.os.linux.* groups get more and more crowded, it has taken more and more time to participate in the global Linux movement. For those without Usenet access, it is almost impossible. Linux users groups (LUGs) and organizations are starting to spring up all over the world, with many different goals. We asked three of them for statements explaining what they are about. One is a global group, one an amalgam of local Linux users groups, and one is a local Linux users group.

Linux International

Patrick D'Cruze pdcruze@li.org.au

Linux International (LI) is a not-for-profit, volunteer-run organization that has been formed to promote and encourage the growth of Linux. Essentially our goal is to encourage as many people, organizations, and communities as possible to start using Linux.

We are all Linux enthusiasts within Linux International. Each of us is grateful for the work that has been done by the countless Linux developers over the past three years. We ourselves would like to contribute something in return back into the Linux community that would benefit others. This is the common strand that ties all of us together within Linux International.

Linux International has begun working in a number of areas. The three most important areas are supporting Linux developers, supplementing Linux development, and lobbying commercial companies.

The Linux developers are one of Linux's biggest strengths. Developers are a committed, highly enthusiastic, professional group of people who have devoted an enormous amount of time and resources to Linux. It is a great credit to them that they have developed an extremely sophisticated and reliable operating system such as Linux without the huge resources and support of a large commercial company. Linux International would like to do what ever is possible to support their work and aid them in their continuing development efforts.

Linux International will soon be announcing a worldwide trust fund. (It will probably be in operation by the time you read this.) Many people have expressed interest in making some small monetary contribution to the Linux developers to thank them for their work and to be used to aid them in their future work. Linux International is in the process of establishing central donation points in nearly every country to make it easy for grateful groups and individuals to donate. All money collected will be distributed to the Linux development community.

Linux International has also been involved in some supplementary development projects. The work we undertake is designed to complement the existing work undertaken by the Linux developers, and will be aimed at filling in a few holes in an otherwise very impressive operating system. The work we undertake will be in a similar spirit to the existing Linux development efforts and it is hoped will be of use to the Linux community. Our work so far has concentrated on large projects such as national language support for Linux and the development of configuration and autoconfiguration tools.

The third major area we are involved in is lobbying third-party software and hardware manufacturers to support Linux. Many software developers and hardware manufacturers may be unaware of the opportunities available by targeting the Linux market. We are involved in an on-going campaign to alert them to the possibilities available and to encourage them to support the Linux user base.

These are just some of the areas in which Linux International has been involved. There are many other “public service” areas in which we would like to contribute; however, at the moment we are constrained by the number of people working in the organization.

Linux International is a volunteer-run organization. All of the work we are involved in is being undertaken by a number of volunteers. However the work never ends and we gladly welcome new volunteers who would like to help out.

Why would people be interested in contributing to LI? There are a number of reasons:

  • Linux International has been formed to work for the greater good of the Linux community. Our aims and objectives are to aid the Linux developers and also to provide a number of other benefits to the community. Our emphasis is on helping the Linux community and doing all that we can towards satisfying their needs. We can and do provide those working with Linux International with job references testifying to the work that they have performed and the experience they have accrued. This has already benefited a number of students and other professionals.

  • Many people are eager to contribute something back to the Linux community. However many people do not have the time or the skills to contribute by developing some software for Linux. There are many ways non-software developers can contribute within Linux International. We are always in need of more people to assist us in our efforts at lobbying software developers and hardware manufacturers. There are plenty of other ways by which people can contribute something back into the Linux community. If anyone is interested in doing so, we would certainly like to hear from them.

There are no fees associated with participation in Linux International; the only requirements are dedication, motivation, and enthusiasm. Each of us within Linux International is committed to using our talents to help and expand the Linux community. To others who share this philosophy and would also like to contribute something to the community: we are more than pleased to hear from you. Contact Linux International by sending e-mail to info@li . org. au.

If you have questions or suggestions for Linux International, please don't hesitate to contact us. We are here to serve the Linux community and we welcome any feedback or assistance that would allow us to better achieve this.

So in what way do we add to the Linux experience? There are many ways in which a company or organization can effect changes or accomplish things which individuals might find difficult to do. Two examples are a world-wide trust fund, and lobbying software developers. Both can be achieved by individuals, but they are arguably easier to accomplish by working within an organization. Linux International is committed, like many people, to helping the Linux community. We can and do use our organizational status to great effect when this allows us to achieve things that individuals may find hard to do. But perhaps more than this, we represent a group of committed Linux enthusiasts. We all know that Linux is the best operating system in the world. Our job now is to go out and “sell” it to the rest of the world and spread the “Linux gospel” to others. We firmly believe that there is nothing better than sharing a good thing with someone else. And this is really what the Linux community is all about. Sharing.

International Linux AssociationCharles Liu 1645 S. Bascom Ave., #7Campbell, CA 95008Phone/Fax: 40tl-369-9818alte@rahul.net

The International Linux Association, or ILA, is an amalgam of LUGs. The ILA is an attempt to assist bringing Linux into the mainstream of computing and provide benefits and value to members. At this time we will start to:

  • Hold monthly meetings at each chapter to allow members or members-to-be to have a place and time to get together face-to-face to exchange information. Also, the invited speaker will share his/her point view of Linux to the attendees.

  • Provide training seminars/classes for experienced and inexperienced Linux users.

  • Provide a package to allow student members to afford the Linux CDs and books. (We believe that no one should be without Linux for merely economic reasons.)

  • We would like to organize a Linux speaker bureau to provide speakers available worldwide to talk about Linux.

Linux opens a lot of career opportunities for individuals, as well as business opportunities for companies. For example, the individual who is going to teach the course “Introduction to Linux” is currently a software consultant; ILA provides him the opportunity to teach and become visible and credible to the public, which creates some consultancy job opportunities.

Through initial and followup training courses, ILA will be able to start introducing and promoting Linux to members who participate in such processes would improve their professional career.

For corporate members, we hope to help them take advantage of Linux as a paragon of Open Systems.

I feel very strongly that if we do it right we will achieve what we want to do.

Michael K. Johnson is the editor of Linux Journal, but that doesn't keep him from hacking.

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