Changes in Linux, Changes in PLUG

Recently, Linux has grown by leaps and bounds, moving into the mainstream consumer market. PLUG, as a Linux based community, must also grow to accommodate these changes. It has always been PLUG’s main goal to spread Linux and this goal will not change. The means of execution, however, will. In the past, PLUG was service oriented: helping people install Linux on their computers. Now that Ubuntu, standing on the shoulders of giants, has broken through into the mainstream market, installation is no longer the biggest obstacle for new users. Work flow integration is.

Linux living in the mainstream market means that the bar for technical experience of Linux newcomers has dropped tremendously. Installation is now handled by distributions and manufacturers, leaving life integration up to the user. This is where PLUG comes in. Novice Linux users now need PLUG more than ever to supply paradigm shift-from-Windows help. Since PLUG was so service oriented before, there were two requirements for members: 1) be an expert at Linux and 2) want to help others with Linux. Point (2) really filters out a lot of perspective advanced members. Since advanced members help draw novice members, this member loss is potentially exponential.

Bars, for example, have this same type of situation. They have cheap drinks to attract women and as a result, the women attract men. PLUG needs “cheap drinks.”

The “Cheap Drink” Plan

  1. Split PLUG events into a “novice series” and “expert series.”
  2. For the first week of every month, there will be a novice series PLUG presentation. An introduction to Linux, open source, and how it can help non-tech people.
  3. For the last three weeks of every month, there will be unique expert series PLUG events.

This separation of novice and expert events will give novice users an easy channel to learn and get involved with PLUG and at the same time, give expert users a reason to be in PLUG. Since the expert users are drawn to PLUG, they will give novice users a reason to join. (These time spans are not final).
There will also be a two hour callout. The first hour will be an “introduction to Linux and open source” and the second hour will be for expert users, delving into the more technical aspects of PLUG.

Reorganization

An obvious separation is also apparent between the marketing side of things and the technical side. To handle this, I’ve outlined a new, more explicit management hierarchy:

  • Chief Executive Officer (CEO – President)
    • Advertising
    • Marketing
    • Novice Event Series
  • Chief Technology Officer (CTO – Vice President)
    • Webmaster
    • Machine administrator
    • Expert Event Series
  • Chief Financial Officer (CFO – Treasurer)
  • Secretary
    • Librarian
    • Public Relations

Hopefully with all these changes, it will be more obvious how to join, and what to do once joined.

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