GLLUG Ramble - Days long gone.
The way that GLLUG events are organised has changed again recently and bought it more inline with how things used to be done. When I first joined GLLUG the meetings (speakers and venue) were mostly organised by a fearsome man (who was rabid about his privacy so I won’t mention his name) who had a nack for getting good speakers but no skill at organising (most meetings were announced about a week before they happened) or promoting them.
Fortunately someone was willing to step in to the breach; Colin Murphy. He spent a lot of time and effort making sure that fliers went out, news groups were told and that people felt welcome. For a while things went well for the group. Linux grew in popularity, more people were using it commercially (giving GLLUG the occasional sponsor like Veritas and Sun), and the pool of speakers grew. This lasted for a couple of years but then one day things went bang.
This next bit’ll be a little vague as I wasn’t present when it happened (I was outside talking to one of the sponsors) and I’ve heard a number of slightly different accounts over the years; I also don’t want to offend people that gave a lot to keep the group going. At the end of an otherwise normal GLLUG a suggestion was made to change some of the details of how GLLUG was run. A clash of personalities, a disagreement about the merit of the ideas and some harsh words led to “He without a name” walking out of GLLUG and washing his hands of it. And this lead to the “GLLUG admin team”.
Now to clarify what I mean by the “GLLUG admin team”. It’s basically a mailing list of people that offer to organise a meeting and try to split tasks among themselves. Anyone can join the list and will be given a fair chance if they step forward and offer to do one of the tasks (chase a speaker, send announcements, print fliers etc). I’ll be honest, I don’t really like the way this works.
In the past I’ve seen this lead to tasks being discussed to death, not picked up and left to the last minute. Like every thing organised by a group really :). A recent example is the January GLLUG meeting. It never happened. Who ever wanted to do it did no follow up, no chasing and let the whole thing slip to the point where it was cancelled. In contrast, all the GLLUGs I’ve organised have been mostly one man shows with me asking for the occasional thing to be done and then checking up on them. If something didn’t get done it was my fault and everyone knew who to point at. I’d hunt the speakers, send the mail announcements, chase the occasional sponsor (Outcome Technologies bought the speakers dinner at my second GLLUG) and most of the other tasks. Some of the bits, updating the official GLLUG site, sending USENET announcements, are still handled by other people but this is more due to me either not having access (the site) or not seeing the point (USENET announcements). I’m not saying my way’s right but when doing stuff for GLLUG it makes my life a lot easier.
I’ve been very quiet on the GLLUG front recently and with the exception of Sean Tohill (who is a master at getting us a place to hold meetings) and Chris Bell (who put the LiVeS evening together on his own) so have the rest of the admin team. While LUGs always used to have a purpose the more mainstream acceptance and use of Linux has marginalised their role in the community and forced a lot of them to either become online only or close their doors. I don’t think GLLUGs ready to go away yet but I do think it needs an overhaul. And that’s what I’ll be posting about soon…
So in closing, thanks to all the people that have helped GLLUG over the years. The organisers, from the Aussie who kicked it all off, to those on the admin team today. The speakers who have given their own time to educate others, the people who have gifted us venues, the sponsors who have allowed us to show our gratitude and the people that turn up and make the pub discussions afterwards worth giving up a Saturday for.