How do we sustain a GLUG?


#1

I ask as a member of the SJBIT GLUG which is very inactive. A lot of the students only show up for the first one or two sessions after which they lose interest. We’ve tried getting them interested and I’ve asked them what they want to learn and gain from the GLUG but I’ve been with disinterest.

Any suggestions?


#2

Greetings,

I am myself attempting to revive a Linux user group in Bangalore. I tried using Meetup as an option, but to no avail. I am now involving My Alma Mater and students in order to get an active community going. So far, I have planned tech talks on specific topics, ranging from Basics to intermediate. Also, Workshops that let them do fun stuff, like building OpenHW Projects, using Python programming.

Any suggestions and advice is welcome.

P.S. I like the way this has been developed.


#3

I think all need to respond to this post with their experiences in their respective GLUGs


#4

i’m from GLUG PACE, i don’t really understand the question :joy: :stuck_out_tongue:


#5

Then share with us the secrets of your GLUG :slight_smile:


#6

Greetings to all.

This is in reply to @saky and @siddharth and after reading all other comments. Having started using Linux in 2000 and having installed Apache webserver in an AT386 PC with 128MB RAM (Yeah, these existed then) and not knowing where to go for help when you got struck was frustrating. Today, when abundant information is available on the Web and there are experts who are willing to share their knowledge for the benefit of the community, it is confounding when people (your friends/batch mates/others) do not show interest to learn and adopt Free software by attending GLUG sessions.

I know and have experienced the difficulty of generating interest in Linux among users and in open source in general because of fear of unknown & failure and resistance to change. People would like to just grab a pirated version of MS Office and use it when the excellent LibreOffice is available for free. Adobe Photoshop is pirated when very capable GIMP is available - you get the point. Even CSE students prefer using Windows as the desire to explore and work on Linux seems daunting. A Meetup group that I started in Hyderabad quickly grew to over 50 members - but after joining no one seemed to keen to attend the Sessions.

Swimming against the current
Please remember that you’re swimming against the current and getting your friends/batch mates to attend GLUG sessions and getting them to show sustained interest is a big challenge and a test of your perseverance. But, please keep up your motivation because at the end of the day, you’re actually helping them experience something new and wonderful - they are not realising it now but after attending some sessions, they will realise what they’ve been missing and thank you for pushing them to attend your GLUG sessions.

Colemak
As a person who is 52, but pretty fast on a QWERTY keyboard, when I decided to shift to COLEMAK, it was an up-hill task and quite frustrating. But I am getting used to it because I know the advantages of COLEMAK for my fingers and I am pursuing it though it is difficult because the benefits are immense.

You are in the same situation - trying to get your friends/batchmates using Windows (QWERTY) to shift to Linux (COLEMAK) is indeed difficult but please keep up your spirits and don’t abandon your efforts because slowly you will see positive change in them.

Oh, and just tell them that using Linux and other open source tools is not only Geeky but Cool as well.

Why not start with this
I would like to suggest that you demonstrate installation and use of Ubuntu in a VirtualBox so that they do not have to abandon Windows completely while they learn and pick up skills in using Linux. That way they will be able to experience both OSes and slowly shift. Perhaps this strategy may get them to attend your GLUG sessions.

Unfortunate
I am based in Hyderabad, so I unable to personally meet you and learn something from you all.

Keep up your good work.


#7

Maybe free food / tea will help kickstart things. :slight_smile:


#8

We give them a choice of dual booting and some people prefer using VirtualBox. But the problem is the transition.

Another problem is not everyone likes using GUI. Some people, actually a lot of people find using commands a pain.
Another problem is the familiarity… Windows is familiar… If we make it too geeky like programming, Linux and CLI and languages, it’ll be hard to work out because not everyone is a fan of programing…


#9

I think there are lot of factors to take into account. The college itself. I mean - I was in @saky’s college and nobody cares about anything else apart from academics. Which by definition is all screwed up. And the student’s itself are distracted by many many things. They are all misinformed. About how they are going to get a job the moment they get 70+%. The scenario is definitely changing. And students nowadays (most of them) do not care about anything apart from having fun (which again by their definition is a little screwed up)

I completely agree with this. Showing interest and going against the flow will make a difference. If not for them - it will make a difference for you.

Thanks for mentioning COLEMAK. Did not know about it. :smile: And the analogy is apt :smiley:


#10

Hi all,

I’m new to the FSMK community. Recently facilitated the regional workshop at Hassan Regional Camp - a 4 day workshop to teach students to build a small web app. Feel like sharing my opinions here -

  • People who are beginners into this journey are very visual driven. Speaking from personal experience, when I knew nothing about system programming / OS concepts / etc , I found these very topic names to be extremely dry. People need some sort of gateway, something which grabs their attention and captivates them enough so that they start to find it interesting. Usually people do not like seeing things inside a black screen, typing out shell commands.
  • For me, the gateway to learning and exploring was the Web. Reason was, it was exciting for me to see tangible results almost immediately when I did something. During that one workshop I conducted, I could see students getting excited and showing interest when they could see things on a browser - for example, something as simple as watching CSS3 transitions / animations into play got them excited. Had I taught them Database concepts on Day 1, they wouldn’t have shown much interest.
  • People are able to relate to stuff that works in real world scenarios. People like learning stuff and someone explaining them how this is implemented in popular, existing stuff. For example how Facebook shows recommendations - how it could be implemented using a graph database.

Once this barrier is broken and people realize that they can do cool stuff, that’s when they will find interest in other things which previously seemed boring. I for now, find Backend programming and Database Architecture very fascinating, when previously I had found them to be very dry subjects.

Although the above points are mostly on Web programming, they need not necessarily apply to that topic alone. Having said that, here’s my take -

  • We could have the first few sessions very visual driven. The topic should be an extremely catchy one, something which most people can easily relate to/ find interesting, preferably result oriented. Something like DIY. For example -

Learn to build your own chat server in 4 hours using web sockets.
How to create a blog ?
Build a pac-man game in Python
Become a Full Stack Dev in 4 Days!
Make awesome breathtaking presentations using impress.js

  • A brief summary of the importance of the tools that we use to build the above. For example - if we use NodeJS, we could have a small para of two or three lines (again a catchy one) -

NodeJS lets you build real time web apps, with a robust backend. Used at Paypal, LinkedIn and Uber, among several others. Node is fun and easy to learn!

If we could do this, then perhaps people will find the sessions to be very interesting and continue to come.

Hope this made some sense ?? :relaxed:


#11

I get the college thing. I am studying BCA(1st yr) in Bangalore and I use Linux full-time. I moved into linux 3 years back and I just love it. However more to the point most people in our college even the final year guys cringe at the thought of using Linux. They have this idea that using Linux means a lot of trouble(technical trouble) and all. Moreover many people play computer games and computer games is not too glorified in Linux.

Many people actually are afraid if the whole CLI thing, but once they get used to it they begin to love it.

Also I feel that the curriculum need to be changed. Most CS books in India are pro-Microsoft. I remember I had a book way back in 6th std that used to teach us about Microsoft Office. Why not Libre Office?? Libre Office is more accessible (FREE).

Even in our college the BCA curriculum of Bangalore University states that there should be a subject on 4th semester called “UNIX Programming”. The course teaches basic UNIX commands and Bash Programming. But there is no follow-up to this subject. For the UNIX programming lab they use telnet to log into a RHEL machine thats running Linux Kernel 2.6. and that’s it!!! They spend hardly 50 hrs on Linux!!

I think the curriculum needs an update!! and not just at the university level but at the grassroot levels


#12

A lot of general body(GB) participants had this question. I think it would be useful to contribute to this discussion


#13

#14

#15

I think it boils down to priorities. I’ve noticed a trend where students are more active in the beginning of the semester (I’m talking about non-Core members). As the semester progresses, they lose interest and stop showing up to meetings. They just don’t feel that this is important enough, that they have something to learn from these sessions. We’ve had some difficulty with sustaining a GLUG at SJBIT in the past. We continue to face issues, but now, we have about 8-10 stable members, people who always show up to the sessions and who actively promote the GLUG.


#16

I definitely agree with @shashankmc at various points like people don’t care about anything other than academics and securing good marks because they are just interested in getting a boring job which pays their expenses.
One major reason students turn up heavily in the beginning weeks of any semester and loose interest afterwards is that initially they are very free and don’t have many burdens like internals and attendance issues.
I was thinking if the core members of glug from every college can do some real time projects based on functioning of college like attendance management system or results management portal and present those projects to the college so that the college can utilize those projects. Students will use those portals in college on a day to day basis then there might be a chance that students start feeling interest towards the development part of those projects and that might resolve the sustenance issue.


#17

#18

Hey…i would say having frequent quizzes and coding competitions with cash price is a good way to start


#19

I agree with the first part of the suggestion. Unfortunately, cash is not a good incentive to learn. In fact it is a wrong incentive unless there is a business interest. Students need to see value in productively engaging in the activity. If the activity is not productive then we need to figure out how to make it so.


#20

good point but according to me having a cash price initially atleast is a good way to attract broader audiences to the competition so that there is good publicity for the club…