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a local linux mailing list for Brixton?

 
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jonti.london
PostPosted: Wed Nov 17, 2004 2:08 pm    Post subject: a local linux mailing list for Brixton? Reply with quote

I want to publicise Linux (sorry folks, not just BLAG, fine as that distro may be) to mom-and-pop firms and individuals here in Brixton, London.

At the moment, the address listed for the Brixton Linux User Group is blug@communitytechnology.org.uk. If you email that address you get directed to the blag-hatch@blagblagblag.org list.

But, something tells me that the BLAG mailing list is not quite the right list to use for general linux purposes. BLAG's about BLAG, right? I mean, it's not really the place to ask about using GNUCash to do one's books.

Of course I don't want to cut off the flow of new members to the blag list, so I'd want to make sure people enquiring about a mailing list for Brixton Linux Users would still find out about BLAG, maybe by mentioning BLAG in the initial auto-response. But I do feel the need for the resource of a linux mailing list for general local users. I guess I'm volunteering to maintain the list as well.

Perhaps I'm being a little over cautious, but it seemed to me to be only polite to float the idea here, to get any feedback. I've written to jeff (at blag) and alan (at communitytechnology) to make sure they know I've floated the idea for discussion.

jebba
PostPosted: Wed Nov 17, 2004 4:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The blag-hatch list isn't even up right now. It had moderate/low volume, but when the forums came online everything went to the forums and there were many posts. After the seizure things died down quite a bit, but they are picking up again.

I have no problem discussing with other distros on either the forums or the list. I think the forums may work better though because it is much easier for people to enter into the discussion without having to subscribe, dig through archives, etc.

So, in sum, if you want to discuss things like gnucash on the forums or list, feel free. :)

-Jeff, who just added "mailing-lists" to his TODO list...

jonti.london
PostPosted: Thu Nov 18, 2004 2:07 pm    Post subject: Re: a local linux mailing list for Brixton? Reply with quote

Hi Jeff,

Thanks for the reply, and thanks for confirming the blag forums are available for discussing any linux issues. All the same, I'd still like to see a mailing list as such, and one specifically for local general users and maybe-users. As the blag-hatch list is not functioning right now, I guess there is no harm in doing just that.

However, I got the impression you'd be happier to see folks use the BLAG forums. Maybe I'm wrong about that, but I certainly don't want to cause any unhappiness, so I feel I should explain where I'm coming from on this one. It comes down to something of a branding and image issue (pardon my language, please!). I'd say that from the name and material associated with BLAG people are likely to make assumptions about the purpose of the forums or mailing list.

After all, BLAG is a particular distro (Brixton Linux, yay!!) and an acronym for Brixton Linux Action Group. Part of the brand image of BLAG is that it works to overthrow corporate control of information and technology through community action and spreading free software. That mission statement doubtless attracts many talented computer literate types who understand Eben Moglen. But it's unlikely to attract the mom-and-pop stores, the small business person, charity or school, the people I want to tell about Linux. These guys don't necessarily want to learn about Eben Moglen's ideas. They just want their kit to work for them.

That's the plan, to promote linux locally, to get it mindshare. I've got the time, and hopefully access to the resources and backup, to contact local organisations directly, let them know what linux can do for them. A lot of these folk won't care tuppence about the issues that motivate you and me and many blaggers -- some of them won't even have heard about linux or opensource. But they will have heard about viruses (!) and will be happy to use Firefox instead of IE, Evolution instead of Outlook, OpenOffice instead of MS Office. They'll be happy to have their systems settings tweaked and hardened. They'll be surprised and happy to discover that for non-technical users Linux is far easier to control and make secure for internet use than is Windows. Eventually, probably after they've migrated to open source application software, many will switch their operating system as well.

You see the issue, I hope. I know from going to places like Brixton On-line that there's a lot of people out there who would derive considerable benefit from Linux and opensource, but who would have trouble getting their heads round the BLAG approach. Nevertheless, I want to reach them. An email address on publicity material directed to those folks could be of huge benefit in getting them informed and keeping them in touch. I see that as important part of helping the local linux ecology to mature.

Regards, Jonti

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