[conspire] (forw) Re: Linux install fest

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Thu Jan 20 11:48:11 PST 2005

----- Forwarded message from Rick Moen <rick at linuxmafia.com> -----

Date: Thu, 20 Jan 2005 11:31:34 -0800
To: Paul Wythes <paul at wythes.com>
Cc: installers at linuxmafia.com
Subject: Re: Linux install fest
Reply-To: installers at linuxmafia.com
From: Rick Moen <rick at linuxmafia.com>

Quoting Paul Wythes (paul at wythes.com):

> My name is Paul Wythes and I'm new to Linux and want to 1) learn how to 
> install Linux from a public distribution and 2) start learning Linux.  
> Are you still hosting Linux install fests?  If so, when and where?  I 
> was just on the CABAL and BALUG websites but couldn't find anything 
> about upcoming installfests.  Any info you can forward is much 
> appreciated.  Thanks!

1.  Long story.  ;->
2.  Please feel very welcome to bring your computer to the CABAL meeting
    at my wife's and my house, this Saturday from 4 PM to midnight.
3.  It's a pity, but you just missed an installfest at EBLUG in Fremont,
    which I helped run last night.
4.  The term "installfest" has long been something of an albatross for
    Linux user group planners, because it misleads newcomers and 
    ends up causing the planners to spend time writing long e-mails
    to explain.


Here's the deal:  There are maybe a dozen Linux user groups in the
greater Bay Area.  Some do only lecture-format meetings.  If you brought
your PC to one of those, seeking help and advice about loading a Linux
distribution, they'd look at you a bit funny.  Regular (San
Francisco Chinatown-based) BALUG meetings are like that.

Some other Linux user groups do social events only.  BUUG in Berkeley is
like that.

A few groups (such as EBLUG, LUGOD, and SVLUG) do both lecture-format
meetings and workshop/installfest ones.  In the case of EBLUG, you have
to look at their schedule to determine which type of meeting their
regular, once-per-month meeting will be, that month.  SVLUG, by
contrast, _always_ has a lecture-type meeting the first Wednesday of
each month at one location, and _always_ has a workshop/installfest
meeting the 3rd Saturday of each month at a different location.  LUGOD
does the same thing, except on different dates and in Davis rather than
Silicon Valley.

CABAL's meetings are always on the 2nd and 4th Saturdays of each month,
4 PM to midnight (less cancellations noted on the schedule), and always
at my wife's and my house in Menlo Park.  Once in a blue moon, we have
an organised presentation, but people are _always_ welcome to bring
machines for installation or solving of Linux problems.

The connection between CABAL and BALUG is that CABAL (which I primarily
run) is a BALUG offshoot -- basically a former BALUG special interest
group.  CABAL has in the past run public "installfests" inside _some_ of 
the commercial Robert Austin Computer Shows on certain weekends at the
Cow Palace or Oakland Convention Center.

That seemed like a good idea through around 1998, when a lot of the Bay
Area computing public had never hear of Linux and was surprised and
intrigued to see it.  But it's now 2005, and everyone's heard and seen
Linux, so there's less point in our shlepping big piles of heavy
equipment all the way to Daly City or downtown Oakland, paying for
parking, and then surrendering a Saturday to sit at folding tables in a
drafty hall and sip bad coffee, surrounded by discount computer

We (CABAL) haven't done a Robert Austin Computer Show in a couple of
years.  I don't know if we will again or not.

Those were/are often referred to as "BALUG installfests" or "BALUG/CABAL
installfests", but the truth is that they were always organised and
staffed by CABAL.  People get confused by this, because the BALUG site 
links to information about them.

Short version:

Forget about the concept of installfests at the moment.  Come to the
CABAL meeting this Saturday.  If that doesn't work for you, follow the
links from BALE (http://linuxmafia.com/bale/) to find scheduled events
where you can get installation help, e.g., at SVLUG, LUGOD, EBLUG, or

----- End forwarded message -----

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