May 18 Mtg & HLUG Survey Findings / Way Forward


This is my original post to the mailing list about te results of our recent HLUG survey. Please post any further thoughts or ideas below

Hi everyone

We had a good meeting last night with 7 people turning up. Lots and lots of interesting discussions mainly from the results of the Survey I posted recently. These point to a number of ways forward that we wish to take to get the LUG more active again:-

Regarding the Survey the take away points were as follows:-
We had 31 responses of which 18 were full and another 13 were deemed ‘incomplete’. A really good number. All survey responses were taken into account.

What can we do to get more people coming to meetings?

The largest number of responses to the survey came from people who either never come to meetings & events or not very often. This is good to see more interaction as we are very keen as a group to welcome as many people to the meetings as possible. We cannot cater for everyone’s particular interests as there is such a wide variation in abilities, interests, and particular individuals need but we will try to cater for as many as we can :wink:
There were a mix of responses but most people who don’t come along is because of other commitments or being busy on the day that events are normally held (ie Wednesdays)
We decided that as this is something quite easy to change that we will have varied event days to make it easier for folk who cannot attend on Wednesdays normally. One response suggested earlier meetings on 4-6pm or Sat. Mornings but I suspect we would have even less people able to attend at these times. But we will have meetings and events on different days of the week, and I will try provide lots of notice beforehand.

Newbie Considerations Quite a number of responses showed the need for many more Linux newbie topics such as ‘Interested in general computing, replacing windows or mac with linux full time’ and ‘How to load photo’s from Ipads, mobiles and camera’s, using Linux: which are the easier to use softwares/app’s’.
We’re keen to help Linux newcomers and I always remember how different Linux felt when I first started using it. Because of this we will shortly start holding a series of Workshops and normal Meetings targetted at new Linux users. Further details below:-

Events Types Many people would like to keep having normal monthly meetings with more folks wanting more workshop style events too. I am very keen to have more Workshop events. Please bear in mind though that these workshop events do take much more organisation in terms of booking a room, publicising and getting a speaker, preparing a presentation etc, etc which is why its sometimes difficult to get them arranged. If we get more people getting involved this does make things easier to share the work involved more widely.
There was some interest too for a more social events. Because of this we agreed to have a Summer BBQ one Sunday evening before the School holidays probably at George’s house where there is lots of space.

In terms of where meetings should be held, Hereford was by far the most popular choice with the North of the county as runner up. Therefore we will keep running most events in Hereford and occasionally elsewhere.

Topics - I asked what type of topics group members would like to see. These ranged from Installing software: manipulating software: loading photo’s - how to: what software to use as a starter… to 3D printing in open source areas and overlapping in maker communities. May be simple side of Android phones, ROMs etc. Home or local clouds or meshes.
One other interesting comment was ‘Personally I’m less fussed about specific topics - it’s the social aspect and application/effect of technologies across all areas of life that interests me.’. I would also agree with this. Certainly lots of good suggestions and ideas.

LUG Communications
The questions concerning how we should communicate as a group and a mixed response but with broadly similar numbers for keeping the mailing list and using a new ‘Discourse’ style web forum. Because of this I will prepare a Discourse style forum that we can play with and try out, and depending on feedback we can either keep it, or continue with the mailing list. One thing that is clear which one respondent said is ‘that we should maintain just one main mode of communication’ which I wholeheartedly agree with. I believe the Discourse forum also has a Chat module which may fulfill some of the other thoughts made in the group.

So to Summarise

  • Varied meeting nights, a summer BBQ on a Sunday evening with plenty of notice
  • Wider selection of newbie friendly topics for new Workshops/Meetings. We won’t be giving up the more techie talks but the newbies have spoken !
  • I will put together a Discuss type web forum as a test to see if we prefer to Mailman.
  • Keep meetings in Hereford with some in the North of the county too.

We then discussed a few topics in the May HLUG that folk would like to present on :- These include:-

  • WINE - We had a request for help on using WINE - This was thought to be a good topic.
  • Raspberry Pi demo battery powered with solar power display - Tim to present
  • Beginners Linux - setting up, working with printers etc. Workshop Leominster Grange Court?
  • Getting images off phones and using Gimp -
  • Desktop flavours. Linux Distros … - Julian
  • Must arrange a group outing to the Makers club which is held in Bromyard every Tuesday. George has been a couple of times and can help here.
  • So lots talked about and lots to plan :wink:

  • Desktop flavours. Linux Distros
    I’ve never understood an interest in the desktop. For most of us all that matters is that we have one which we notice fleetingly, in passing, when a slow app is loading. Personally, I run Firefox as a start up item booting straight into a browser. When I have an existential crisis, because there is no desktop, deleting ~/.config/dconf/user usually does the trick


Perhaps but you must accept that the wide variet and styles availabl with Linux is so useful whether you want lots of functionality and bling or something austere that runs fast on older hardware ?/


WINE - yes, please. Even more urgent for me now as the recent big update trashed my only Win desktop PC and I have a fair bit of specialist software that has no apparent Linux equivalent. My efforts with WINE have been inconsistent.
Most that is available come as as a Ubuntu install and as I use open SUSE (I tried and did not get on well with Ubuntu - perhaps I should try the current version) I have to handle all the dependencies; same with the Pi. There is probably a way around that too; I must try harder to come to meetings. Wednesday is normally free, but with activities on three evenings already it gets difficult.
Well done all for keeping it going and for the new Forum.


maybe try out a virtual machine, virtualbox and vmware player are quite easy to use. i occasionally run a virtual XP to use some software that isn’t available on linux.

maybe a short workshop on VMs?


So do I but software moves on and many of the available versions will no longer install on XP


are these essential features or just extras built into the software?


the problem is many linux users like to dabble and the desktop gives them lots to play with. in the unix/linux world i have only ever used: whatever came with SunOS, NeWS, motif and xfce.