[clug] Declining attendance?

Paul Wayper paulway at mabula.net
Mon Oct 15 17:06:05 MDT 2012

Hash: SHA1

On 10/15/2012 11:22 AM, Francis Markham wrote:
> I'll bite.
> In an era where there is a credible open source alternative is available 
> for almost any proprietary package and the open source options for geeks 
> are often better than their proprietary competitors, advocating software 
> freedom seems almost antiquated. Sure, I appreciate free software and
> use it where ever possible, but issues like vendor lock in are no longer
> daily annoyances (for me at least, YMMV).

I'll call you on this.  The people I know who use Windows default to the
proprietary options first for the large things - word processors and
spreadsheets, graphics programs, video editors, even email programs.
Microsoft spends a lot of money making sure that Office is in so many places
that it's seen as "what you get"; the other proprietary software vendors
spend an equal amount of time making sure uni students only use Photoshop,
for example.  There are exceptions, and browsers are one of them, where the
proprietary vendor is losing ground to free, open source software.

So I think that Software Freedom Day is important, because it's trying to
raise awareness that there _is_ a choice, there _are_ packages that are just
as good (or better) than proprietary software that are free to use and free
to distribute.  I've got a large number of blank CDs that Linux Australia
paid money to print for the distribution of open source, free software.  And
I think giving away CDs is a simple, effective way to get this software to
people and make it available for use.

I'm not convinced this is the best way to increase the adoption of FOSS though.

And ultimately, if you'll all forgive me, I got tired of trying to organise
Software Freedom Day in amongst all the other things I try to organise, only
to have maybe two or three people volunteer to help.  It also clashes with
another event that I go to every year so it's often very difficult for me to
attend both.  We had a couple of good years doing SFD, but no-one else is
stepping up to the plate and actually organising things and without that it
doesn't get done.

Which is precisely the problem I believe I'm having with CLUG meetings -
everyone wants to hear someone else talk, and almost no-one is volunteering
to give a talk.  Bob's right - having meetings come up and not having any
speaker for them is bad for CLUG, and I feel personally responsible for
that.  I feel like I've done a lot of work talking to people and asking,
encouraging and even begging them to give a talk, only to have nothing show
up in my email and no talk the next month.  How do I solve this?  If anyone
has any suggestions on how I can actually get more speakers at CLUG, then I
am open to them!

But ultimately what I want is not suggestions of how to get someone else to
do a talk.  What I want is people to volunteer to give talks.  I'm happy to
provide assistance in preparing the presentation, and I'm happy to even
assist in the presentation if necessary.  I've always said that anyone can
speak at CLUG on any topic that interests them - you don't have to be an
expert on something in order to be able to communicate what you know.  Being
able to present at a meeting is a useful skill for everyone, especially in
the modern world of business, and this is a forum where everyone is
interested and friendly.  If there's any other assistance I can give people
to help them take an idea and turn it into an actual talk, then I'll give it.

Have fun,


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