[clug] Declining attendance?

Andrew Donnellan andrew at donnellan.id.au
Sun Oct 14 21:11:21 MDT 2012

Hash: SHA256

On 15/10/12 10:43, Robert Edwards wrote:
> I would also like to hear what the new Linus Torvalds (U/G
> students) are up to these days. I feel that the "Linux generation"
> is growing old and the next generation are possibly not as
> interested in the underlying principles of Free, Libre, Open etc.
> software. Is this a fair comment? Is there anything we can do about
> it? (seems that nobody in Canberra could be bothered with SFD this
> year - myself included).

In my official capacity as an undergraduate... yeah, fair comment.

There was a period during my high school years where I was really
quite enthusiastic about free software, to the point where I prevented
my sister from installing Flash Player on the family desktop. Then I
discovered video games, and realised that I finally had a use for
non-free software again...

My experience is that there are few students at the ANU who pay much
attention at all to the ethical concerns behind the free software
movement - and even fewer who care enough to do anything about it.

There are *plenty* of Linux users in RSCS, though - often their
justification being that Linux is a better OS on technical grounds, or
that it's a better programming environment given that the ANU uses it
in teaching (which are both valid points, of course).

We're the Facebook generation - I've heard enough students, even among
the more ideologically-driven in RSCS, tell me in no uncertain terms
that they believe privacy is dead. I think this attitude also extends
to free software. There is some contrast to be found in changing
attitudes towards copyright law more generally - but I think that's
mostly driven by an unwillingness to spend money on music downloads
than a principled stance in favour of reform.

On the subject of CLUG specifically: I've only been to a handful of
CLUG meetings (lack of time) but I have noticed the dearth of fellow
undergrads. Which is not to say they are uninterested in the idea of
talks - CSSA[0] managed to fill a lecture theatre to capacity the
other week with a talk from one of our academics, and we've got a PhD
student giving a talk this week. I suspect a lot of students just
aren't aware of CLUG's existence - it doesn't have a huge amount of
advertising. CSSA can probably assist with that.

(from a Google Apps-hosted email account...)

[0] http://cs.club.anu.edu.au/

- -- 
Andrew Donnellan                                 andrew at donnellan.id.au
Tel: +61 2 6184 0998 (ANU x40998)           andrew.donnellan at anu.edu.au
Mob: +61 406 711 748                      http://andrew.donnellan.id.au

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