charter for LUG (Re: [NCLUG] i don't give a toss about ISPs)

John L. Bass jbass at
Tue Aug 6 09:32:33 MDT 2002

	If John L. Bass wants to discuss the reserved bits in octet five
	of the border gateway protocol's NACK header, well, likewise.
	There are better fora for those discussions than a community

serious networking protocol stuff is not my bag ... I've spent most
of my adult life as a systems programer, systems administrator, network
admistrator, and systems level architect ... fun stuff for a lot of
geeks. As a hobbiest, I dig a lot deeper into the geek kettle of fun

	I submit that the appropriate charter for a community LUG is
	community issues: where in Colorado can I buy a motherboard?
	Does the Tattered Cover have techical books?  Is there a 
	Linux-savvy ISP around here, and, for that matter what are the
	merits of a local ISP versus somebody big like Worldcom? :-)
	Can someone hold my hand while I install Gnome?  Where can I
	meet some hot Linux grrls who like to walk in the sand that
	used to be Horsetooth reservoir and reading passionate
	Klingonese poetry?

	Luke Jones  luke vortex frii fullstop com

Hmmm ... what a suprise ... just what some of us thought this
group was good for, before Matthew and Evelyn declared the thread
off-topic and started bashing us for not attending meetings.
Heck ... the posted charter on the web site clearly says:

	Membership Criteria 

	NCLUG members are people subscribed to the NCLUG mailing list.
	If you cannot meet this stringent requirement, you are still
	welcome to attend NCLUG events. (You will not, however, be able
	to cast votes without offering a bribe to the officers.) 

My management comments are however on track ... if NCLUG leaders
(or other members for that matter)  want to bitch about lack of
attendance at meetings - then that is an obvious clue there is
something wrong that is not getting people out.

I've actively participated in, organized, and ran a wide range of
sucessful focused interest groups/clubs/organizations from Square
Dance clubs, to campus computer and electronics clubs, to MacIntosh
users groups, to unix users groups, to international technical
conference groups. Groups need to decide what they want to be, IE
who it wants to serve and at what level, then make informed rational
choices about communications, speakers, and forums to generate
participation from the target communities. If NCLUG wants to remain
the small interpersonal clique group that it seems to have stabilized
as that's fine.  There are dozens of other focus group clubs with
similar charters, from 4WD groups to quilting clubs - all share a
common theme of interpersonal politics that resists inclusion and
growth that would destroy the status quo, and limits there effective
reach and integration into the community.

When I came to NCLUG back in 1988 sometime, I was looking for a more
community active group to replace the three groups I left behind in
the SF bay area MacSef (a MacIntosh developers and consultants group),
UniOps/SVNet (a 3,500 member professional interest group centered
around Unix hardware and software technologies - mostly a technical
forum with strong personal network ties useful for both consulting
and full-time job searches that I started and ran for more than 6
years with most monthly meeting packing an 850 seat auditorium), 
and a home brew computer club losely tied (shared membership with)
an IEEE Computer chapter. This area has more than a strong enough
technical professional base with CSU, HP/Agilent, dozens of hightech
firms, and plenty of commuters to IBM, Seagate, StorageTek, and
hundreds of firms to the south 30-45 minutes.

MacSEF was not that different from NCLUG, small close knit group
with just a little larger (about 50 active people as the core group,
70% seasoned professionals, 30% geeks in training). Leadership was
closely held, with some significant politics, NIH, and roughness.

The first year of UniOps was myself and Walter Zintz. Walter was
into staging international technology conferences, which I helped
him do several annual UNIX conference in the Japan Center in
San Franciso pre formation of /usr/group (later UNIForum). In between
the 3,000 head conferences, I ran the Bay Area group as Uniops
with monthly meetings in the 300-400 range and a membership of about
2K professionals and semi-professionals. Later, when Walter got out
of the UNIX conference business, I moved the group farther south
(which changes it's membership a bit) and re-formed as the Silicon
Valley Network (SVNet for short, and where net referred to personal
networking, not internet). While we remained probably about 60% UNIX
focused, I specifically changed the charter of the group and actively
solicited speakers to represent a wider range of technology interests
which allowed integration of several smaller less focused groups
centered around MacInotoshes and electrical engineering hardware
development spanning the entire technology product cycles - especially
the business side of the problem. A number of scouts for VC's started
being regulars, both as presentors and as a floor resource which vastly
improved the networking dynamics in the group.

The home brew club was really fun, spanning a wide range of hardware
and software interestes ... which is why I proposed last year maybe
spinning up such a group as a side to NCLUG. It would be a great
forum to get involved in possibly robotics (battlebots, and sponser
a team) or do some follow on projects regarding soft core cpus that
support linux (there are several alread on the net). It has a different
focus than the hacker's society ... a strong target of working toward
a mutual goal(s), rather than strictly a place to hang out while
working on individual projects. My current projects in my home lab
are PC104 sided reconfigurable computing stuff (the kind of stuff the
wearable guys play with) and my new "home" computer - a 1,000 node
super computer being built from surplus ebay parts. I sent pre-prototype
or proof of concept prototype PCB out for fab on both projects this week.
I'll have maybe $200 in fab for the 32 PC104 FPGA cards (4 boards
with 8 cards each - a few dollars a piece). As a group in the Bay Area
we would share setup costs on 4 and 6 layer boards, making production
quality home computer project cheap and easy with a little help from
your friends. I have several thousand dollars in the parts for the
supercomputer, and a couple thousand more to go before it get's built
during the next year - primary goal for it is to do some personal research
leading to a PhD in the next few years.

If there are other hardware/software geeks out there, I'm still interested
in starting a local home brew computer group, or maybe a battlebot team.

Since NCLUG has different goals, it might be worth forming a broader
technical professional group similar to SVNet - maybe NCNet (Northern
Colorado Network) that targets a broad range of technical professionals
in the area - and search out speakers to give research and industry level
talks on computing, electronics, networking, and technology business
issues. With 3,000-4,000 high end technical professionals local, and
another 1-2K students and industry related professionals it shouldn't
be too hard to attract quality speakers that would make a 200-300 head
count group stable and successful. Maybe pushing the talks back an hour
in the evening, to make it easier to bring in folks from Wy, and Denver
which would triple the potential audience size.

I can talk - and have talked on a wide range of technical and business
issues relating to the server and UNIX industry. I'm not the greatest
speaker on the planet, but I have generally managed to give talks that
pretty well satisfy most mixed skill groups I have presented too. With
a dozen or two large conference talks (5k heads), several dozen seminar
sized talks, and being a regular invited speaker at my old university,
I'm not a newbie at it either. It's actually a fun diversion from my
normal research and design work.

What I have offered verbally on a regular basis, and in writing to the
list earlier this year was:

        From jbass Wed Apr 24 15:10:49 2002
        To: nclug at
        Subject: Re: [NCLUG] speakers/topics needed

        Hi Matt,

        I have about 20hrs of lecture talks on performance engineering topics.
        Includes real world examples spanning a number of architectures over
        the last 30 years that I'm always willing to share. Much of it is from
        an in-house class I used to teach, guest lectures in Computer Science
        classes, and industry conference talks in the 1980's and 1990's.  Almost
        all of it applies to Linux hosted systems, and other UNIX like systems
        in use today. I also have some interesting studies and talks on network
        engineering to vary the mix.

        Most of the talks were written targeted at a mixed audience of design
        engineers and non-technical managers to help describe why certain design
        choices frequently used by the organizations are effective recipes to fail
        once deployed in the field. Most end users, IT staff, managers, and
        design engineers will walk away from the talks with food for thought
        toward evaluating real world software, hardware, and architecture driven
        performance problems they face every day.

        I used to use some of the talks as fill when I ran the Bay Area Unix Users
        group during the 1980's ... which was a much more technical group than NCLUG.
        They were always a hit with the mostly heavy weight cross architecture UNIX
        geeks, but also a number of less technical unix users too. The series is a
        bit more core engineering targeted than the hands on focus in your call for
        talks below, but given the nature of the NCLUG membership might be a good
        fit anyway. Would be happy to do an intro talk, with follow-on's as requested.

        have fun,
        John Bass

Matt and the rest of the NCLUG crew are certainly free to match speakers to the
group ... and accept/reject outside help offers as they see fit.


More information about the NCLUG mailing list