[LUGcomms] virtual lug talks

Russell Stuart russell-linuxaus at stuart.id.au
Thu Mar 18 20:59:00 AEDT 2021

Hi all,

This is a follow up to the virtual LUG meeting we had at LCA 2021.  It's 
far too late.  Apologies for that.

Before getting into the meat of it, there is something you should be 
aware of.  I suggested we convene on this mailing list because it was 
inactive.  But now I'm a moderator, I can see 64 current subscribers who 
will get this email, and there were about 10 of us.  I think that is a 
good thing.

First, a summary of our online meeting.

I gather we agree LUG's are all suffer from two problems.  One 
immediate: COVID wrecking havoc with our normal meetup habits.  The 
second is long term.  There is less interest in the style of gatherings 
LUG's tend to have, ie meetings based on running Linux on your PC.

I will add to these two other things we seem to agree on: enthusiasm for 
open source is as strong as ever.  The active participation LUG's used 
to attract hasn't gone away.  It's just splintered into lots of 
different meetup's, online communities and conferences.   In fact here 
in Brisbane I would lay long odds if added up all the hours people spend 
discussing and collaborating on Rust, Javascript, VR and other meetups I 
would find it far surpasses the interest Humbug attracted at its peak, 
and at that peak was well over 100 people attending every meeting.   The 
second observation is those meetup's in particular have been battered by 
COVID 19, just as we have been.

The nub of this email is it appears we open source people have a problem 
in common with LUG's: COVID 19 is preventing us from getting together to 
have a natter about our favourite interest.  And it also appears to me 
the LUG's could band together to provide an answer to that common 
problem.  Most of us have roused up speakers in the past, and we tend to 
have the broad social networks needed to do the job.  We also have the 
in-house expertise to set up virtual Australia wide talk.  Well, to be 
more precise LUV has that expertise, in fact they do it now.  And 
finally, we have the ear of the LA council.

On the subject of the LA council, I should set expectations.  I've been 
the LA treasurer for 4 years, so I can say with some authority they are 
like the rest of open source: the council is a do'oracy.  Things happen 
because someone gave up their spare time to make it happen.  In a 
do'oracy the people in charge tend to be the people who gave up their 
time.  The people on the council are busy people already.  They can't 
and won't be organising and throwing resources our way to make our job 
easier.  If this is a success, it will be because we made it a success 
and it will be ours to own.  But ... they do have access to money.  They 
are pretty tight fisted with that money - to have any hope of being 
granted some, you have to convince them you are advancing open source. 
And even then we aren't talking a lot of money.  But if this is a 
success and we need to pay for VM's or bandwidth, I expect the smallish 
means required to do that will be forthcoming after a suitable amount of 
begging.  We might also need to provide headsets to speakers to ensure 
suitable audio quality.

The proposal is we LUGS organise a regular nation wide virtual meetup 
that our members can attend, the bait being talks.  Ie, no different to 
what we used to do, but virtual.  And that we actively seek to make this 
appealing to the splintered offshoots, so they also provide talks and 
their members attend.  Doing that will lessen the load and broaden the 
group.  The nuts and bolts of this proposal are:

-   LUV sets up the infrastructure for a nation wide virtual meeting.
     Apart from organising the server, this boils down to providing
     speakers and attendees with suitable URL's.

-   Each participating LUG undertakes by replying to this email to find
     suitable speakers on a rotating basis.

-   I suggest we organise with a calendar like thing (cloud spreadsheet,
     trello or whatever) with a LUGS name beside each meeting date, and
     the LUG enters the talk names they have lined up.  Continuity is
     critical, and this will allow is to see if someone is having trouble
     so others can step up with a talk they already have.

-   The LUG's will activity canvas other open source'y groups in their
     area, asking them if they know of speakers who could contribute and
     members who would be interested in attending.

-   We will maintain a registry of those other open source groups and
     their contacts to ensure the process can continue as people fall off
     the perch.

-   We will actively encourage people from outside the LUG's to join us
     as organisers of this - ie allow them to organise talks, giving them
     access to whatever small amounts of infrastructure we have.

-   For clarity for now the only explicit goal is to have a talk
     organised, invites containing URL's distributed, and perhaps more
     than 20  attend.  If we regularly pull that off I'll deem the
     endeavour a wild success.  Other things like recording the talks or
     providing chat rooms for other purposes will probably happen, but
     for the moment the focus is simply on getting this ball rolling.

Action Items

I will also create a folder on LA's Google account that will initially 
contain the two spreadsheets mentioned above - the meeting dates and 
group registry, and I will share that folder with whoever replies to 
this email.  (I'm guessing we will change this arrangement later.)

Russell Coker, has to reply to this email on behalf of LUV saying they 
will step up and organise the infrastructure for the first few rounds of 

WE have to decide on meeting dates and frequency.

YOU have to reply to this email, saying:

-  You are interested in arranging talks on behalf of LUG xxxx in area

-  You will contact other open source groups in your area canvassing
    for talks,

-  You will host (introduce speakers, your LUG, etc) your talks on
    the infrastructure we come up with,

-  You will distribute the invites containing the URL's to the talks far
    and wide,

-  You will keep any paperwork we decide on up to date with your doings
    (eg, the talk schedule and registry mentioned above), and finally

-  Any meeting time and frequency preferences your LUG has.

I, on behalf of Humbug (the Brisbane LUG), undertake to get the ball 
rolling by organising the first talk.  It will be from brispy, the local 
Python meetup, who has ceased meeting due to COVID.  With respects to 
dates and times, fortnightly or monthly seems appropriate.  If they take 
off weekly might also be appropriate.  On times, during weekdays 
anything starting between 6:30 PM and 8:30 PM Queensland time (+1000) is 
OK.  On the weekends any time could probably be made to work.

Russell Stuart
+61 438 805 133

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