[sf-lug] meeting at Euro Cafe 01/19/2009

Christian Einfeldt einfeldt at gmail.com
Tue Jan 20 19:34:38 PST 2009


On Tue, Jan 20, 2009 at 6:08 PM, jim <jim at well.com> wrote:

>   do you have a tentative date for your
> triage session?

No date yet.  I am waiting to see what will happen with ACCRC.org.

> who would be welcome to
> participate?

We will need people who can fix machines.  The emphasis will be on quality,
not quantity.  We want to build and throughly test machines, so that they
really work when done.

> what would be involved:
> * evaluating machines to see which parts
> seem to work?
> * unscrewing screws and dismantling boxes
> and parts?
> * assembling working machines out of good
> parts?
> * installing linux on working computers?

Yes to all of the above.

> * other?
>   if the above is not too far off, what
> would be the chances that people coming to
> help would be able to get parts and/or even
> a working computer?

I would love it if everyone came with an idea of a person who needed a
computer, and if that person would mentor that recipient in the use of the
computer.  As Jim Stockford and I found out today, simply providing
computers is not enough.  Maintaining social ties with the recipient is far
more successful.

One of the most successful and remarkable examples of this truism is the
work of Holden Aust, the guy who built my first GNU-Linux machine.  Holden
strives less for large number than for on-going contacts with the people he
supports.  And he has successfully moved lots of people to Linux.

Another good example is the school.  For 4.5 years, we have had a presence
in that school because we have done the _little_ things, such as replacing
machines when they conk out, and spending time there getting to know the
people.  If you are not familiar to people, they will not call you when the
machine conks out, they will just set it aside, as Jim Stockford and I
learned today.

Jim and I went to a girls' after-school program in the SOMA district of SF.
We had dropped of a computer there, and I occasionally called up the
director to see how she was doing with the machine, but I got non-committal
responses.  "Oh, we haven't really tried it yet."  "oh, it's fine.  I think
the girls are using it a bit."  In reality, it never took off there.  I
believe that is because this non-profit is an intensely woman-focused space,
and we big hairy guys were really just very much out of place there.  We
offered to answer any questions that the program staffers had, but they just
did not resonate with us.  We were just foreigners.  They had no ties with
us, no basis for trusting us, nothing in common with us, and little desire
to speak with us.

I have said it before and I will say it again, we in the SF-LUG community
are not doing enough for diversity.  We need more women, more gays, more
African Americans, more Latinos, and more recent Asian immigrants.  As long
as we remain a group of predominantly Caucasian heterosexual men, we will
not reach our potential as a group.  We are a good group of decent, earnest
people, but we simply lack the life experiences that we need to reach beyond
our current prevailing demographic.

GNU-Linux is a wonderful, stable, flexible OS with tons of wonderful apps,
but our reach in SF will always be limited as long as we remain a group of
predominantly Caucasian heterosexual male engineers.

There are very vibrant GNU-Linux communities in other countries, especially
non-English speaking countries like Spain and Brazil.  We need to do more to
connect with those communities and connect the dots between those off-shore
communities and their SF counterparts.

We need more women.  Period.

Do we have any gay members?

How many active African Americans do we have?  Asians?

I would welcome any suggestions as to how we can increase our reach.  I
believe that a more stable presence at St. Anthony's would be one avenue.
Another method would be for us to simple draw up a list of community orgs
and ask to go speak at the board meetings of those orgs.  I think we need to
visit more groups and just say hello and let them know we are here.  That
would be a start.
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