What is kwlug?
From the front page of the kwlug web site :
KWLUG - The Kitchener-Waterloo Linux User Group is a monthly meeting of GNU/Linux, Free Software, Open Source and technology enthusiasts. We meet in Kitchener, Ontario, usually on the first (non-holiday) Monday of the month. (Directions) Our meetings are free and open to those with an interest in Linux. Find out more about our meetings. Join our mailing lists.
The Kitchener-Waterloo Linux Users' Group is a group of computer enthusiasts that meet on an ad hoc basis the first non-holiday Monday of every month. Using various flavours of Linux as a base, instead of Microsoft Windows variants, volunteers present on topics that have caught their interest. Although called a Linux user's group, the focus is seldom on Linux itself - instead, the focus is on what people do with computers, be it browse the web, use maps, edit photos, or program - typically, experiences apply whether using Linux, Windows, or any other operating system. The focus is on what we do with computers, not, generally, the nature of the computers themselves. Inevitably, however, the very nature of describing something interesting that was done leads to a technical discussion as to how one goes about doing it.
kwlug is a computer group, it is technical – if you don't mind being dropped in the deep end of the pool, you will thrive.
kwlug is free and open to all to attend, participate, contribute, or just lurk. No expertise or experience is necessary, merely a desire to learn. Come share in the mutual support of like minded people.
It is more accurate to describe kwlug as a free software users' group, not a Linux users' group. All software used is available via free internet download. It would be even more accurate to say kwlug is a FOSS users' group, a particular type of free software - the important point is that not only is there no cost to kwlug, there is no cost to the software. FOSS provides an equal playing field, whether you are a home hobbyist or a large corporation, being barrier free with a very low, and most often no, cost of entrance.
In most every case, there is a free and popular equivalent to most any non-free software application. Skills are almost always transferable, and directly applicable, to proprietary versions.
kwlug is more than just a monthly meeting, it hosts a website at , and two mailing lists. [A mailing list is group e-mail, akin to computer forums or chat groups, but executed via e-mail.]
There is no cost to be part of kwlug, there is no cost to the software used - everyone is able to fully participate and expand their horizons and skills. There is no barrier to entry, and mutual encouragement and help is but an e-mail away.
* 'FOSS', or Free and Open Source Software, is not an intuitive term, but it is an important one. Much like 'conservation' seems intuitively obvious, it quickly becomes quite a complex subject. Excerpting from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_and_Open_Source_Software:
Newcomers to the subject can be confused by the term "free". In the context of free and open source software, "free" is intended to refer to the freedom to copy and re-use the software, rather than to the price of the software. The Free Software Foundation, an organization that advocates for free software, suggests that to understand the concept, one should "think of free as in free speech, not as in free beer".