[kwlug-disc] "What Linux Distro Should I Use?"

unsolicited unsolicited at swiz.ca
Tue May 4 05:19:56 EDT 2010

Raul Suarez wrote, On 05/04/2010 2:02 AM:
> I am all for new users presentations. e.g. My presentation on 
> development languages and environments is meant as an introduction 
> to Linux programming (yes, I'll send the abstract very soon). 
> Personally I feel like a new user at most of the presentations. 
> That's what makes it interesting for me. Learning things I didn't 
> know before.

So, you're including an IDE in your presentation? (-:

> But how frequently do we want to have a presentation about "what is
>  Linux"?

I'm not sure we ever need to have one. They probably already have some
clue or they wouldn't be there. But if I take "what is Linux" as "Now
what?" then short bits would probably be useful. Everybody can use a
refresher on something basic, every meeting. Ah, here's one for a
blurb ... chattr / chmod / etc. How about /etc/passwd & group. Or top
5 things to know about vi (write, quit, yank, put, open, Esc).

These are, in essence, show and tell blurbs.

Although I'm drawing a blank at the moment, I doubt it would be hard
to come up with a bunch of such.

> I hope we have new/curious users every meeting but eventually the 
> new users will become more experienced.

Only if they stick around. And if I think back to the presentations 
over the past years, nobody attending all of them could come out of it 
all as a 'generally experienced and competent Linux user.' The topics
haven't been that broad, nor contiguous (except possibly Khalid's).

Nor do I think that that is what kwlug is, or wants. (But just
throwing that observation out.) Somewhere in between?

> So the challenge is how to facilitate the integration of new users;
> helping them understand the basic concepts that will, in turn, 
> help them understand the topics presented. This has to be done on a
> regular basis as there will always be new users.

Is there value to having a survey like wwitpro does? What would people 
like to see presented, do they have a candidate for the floss fund, 
comments at all? Maybe we should simply have a suggestion box?

> Here is some brainstorming (most have pros and cons: - Revive the 
> 6:00 - 7:00 slot? or maybe the 6:30 - 7:00 slot;

> - Implement Bill's idea regarding having a volunteer every meeting
>  go to a separate area and introduce new users to "What is linux?";
It's been a while since I've thought about this, but I think you have
me slightly wrong.

I'm guessing it would be useful, and SJK has the space, that if people
come with questions, and some number of regulars were willing to tutor
instead of watching the presentation, they could separate off and work
together. I suspect this only really works with laptops, if brought.
Which we could encourage.

Or, this second group becomes a discussion group for whomever wants to
talk about whatever. I frequently learn or become alerted to issues, 
simply by lurking.

- it would probably be bad if everyone abandoned the main presentation 
to join this group. 8~(

By asking at the beginning of a meeting, at least we're reinforcing we
can help - if you have questions / maybe we have answers. If nobody
partakes, then nobody partakes. [But nobody will partake if they don't
know before hand that they can partake.]

- not that we don't say ask your neighbour, but we don't say you can 
toddle off into a corner. (If we even should.)

This is separate from a 'show and tell' (found this neat firefox 
addon) or 'newbie blurb' and definitely separate from the other time 
slot, if implemented. (As best I remember, the space is not available 
much before 7:00 / Paul can't get there sooner.)

> - Add a few pages to the KWLUG site with references and links to 
> videos, tutorials and documents for new users. (We don't need to 
> write them. there are enough resources available);

You have a point. The web can be like drinking from a fire hose, 
overwhelming. But such a list, with a note that, hey, feel free to ask 
on the list or at a meeting, makes a connection between meeting, list, 
and site, that we can point to at a meeting. See this page at 
kwlug.org, go here, ask questions there.

> - Have a volunteer host a "post meeting" gathering with new users;

As far as I know, we have to be out soon after 9:00. But, it may be
reasonable to say that new users might pass up the main presentation
as being too advanced, so simultaneous would work?

 > - Team with the Working Centre Computer recycling program.  We can
 > ask if they have volunteers interested on presenting Beginner Linux
 > training classes. Or one of us could volunteer one hour once a
 > month. e.g. me. Or even train the trainers.

Hadn't thought of that. Are we talking here about duplicating new user 
facilities that exist elsewhere in K-W? er, do other facilities exist 
in K-W?

> Do the people in the list have more ideas? Remember, it is 
> brainstorming. We can narrow down them later.

Paul (Charles?) can you comment on historical desires, and nature of 
same? e.g. Either we've scared everyone off, or there's a reason why 
the lack of 'newbie time' has tapered off - lack of demand? And, 
videos were shown at one point, but not currently, for the same 
reasons? Can you comment on the nature of the desires?

- is it age particular or specific? Do we target younger people?

Do we need to advertise? Tell school boards we exist? Computer shops?

If we shortened presentation time slightly, could there be more 
variety in the agenda? (Bunch of short bits before the really long 
bit?) And if so, fill it with what?

I suspect we've always been ready and willing to help anyone out with 
anything - not so sure that that's been visible, though.

Maybe we come across too intimidating? I KNOW we aren't, the early 
part of a meeting is really a fun free for all for as long as people 
are so inclined, and the host lets them get away with it, but then I 
was around this block many times before ever coming to kwlug.

Is the question, here, really, we have occasional new people coming 
out - what would it take to retain or engage them?

WE know installfests are of limited usefulness, but do they? Is the 
basic premise "Now what?"?

> --- On Tue, 5/4/10, Paul Nijjar <paul_nijjar at yahoo.ca> wrote:
>> From: Paul Nijjar <paul_nijjar at yahoo.ca> Subject: [kwlug-disc] 
>> "What Linux Distro Should I Use?" To: kwlug-disc at kwlug.org 
>> Received: Tuesday, May 4, 2010, 12:12 AM
>> Over the past few meetings I have been getting a bit of feedback 
>> from new KWLUGgers. They have been telling me that while the 
>> meetings have been interesting, the content has been way over 
>> their heads.
>> That got me thinking about another question I have been running 
>> into: what linux distro people should start with.
>> One direction this takes me is to suggest that we make an 
>> explicit attempt to schedule some more newbie-friendly meetings, 
>> and label them as such on the website.
>> Another horrible direction is that I have been pondering whether 
>> to give a presentation on this topic. However, I don't know 
>> whether this is a terrible idea or just a really bad one. (Also, 
>> the next available KWLUG slot is November, assuming Khalid, 
>> Andrew, Brad or somebody else has not snapped it up already. I 
>> would present sooner if I spoke at Software Freedom Day or 
>> Ontario Linux Fest.)
>> Recently I heard Richard give this talk in five minutes. It was 
>> pretty excellent. That leads me to believe that this might be a 
>> good final talk for the June meeting, if Richard or somebody was
>>  willing to risk his or her life by giving it.
>> Thoughts?

More information about the kwlug-disc mailing list