Kushal Das

FOSS and life. Kushal Das talks here.

The grassroot and getting new people

This blog entry is a continuation of Soumya’s entry.

When I started Linux User Group of Durgapur (dgplug) , the main idea was very simple , learn and teach others. By saying teach others I meant teach your fellow class mates or juniors or sometimes the seniors also. Soumya started working with me almost from the beginning. After I came to Bangalore for job , he took all charges in Durgapur. He tried to get few juniors to whom we could give the batons for the coming years. But suddenly we are feeling that those guys also left the collage sooner than we expected.

It is always good to see people working on the upstream projects, but for that completely forgetting the base is not good as I think. Our motto is “Learn yourself and teach others” but they made it “learn and don’t teach others”.

Maintaining a LUG from 2000km apart is not easy. I had to spent a lot on my phone bill to do so as Internet is not an option for most of my lug guys. I used to call them and explained over phone different technical stuffs. Again I started doing so as the local guys are not at all interested in helping peers. Basic rule is still same: give them software, tell them how to install , tell them to how to use them. Being a Fedora Ambassador I believe that is helping me to make a larger user-base. I got few more people into Ambassador project and thought they will keep the good things going. But it seems they are only using that identity while asking leaves from the collage authority :(

In the same time I had opposite kind of experiences too. Ramu , who is a colleague of mine is doing nice work. Today Prashad is also agreed to join the team :)

For me getting new users is more important than new developers as if users grow, the developers will grow automatically (my personal opinion). In last night I am being able to help a new dgplug member to successfully using IRC, Inkscape (as she is an artist), python and create a new blog for her. Today I found she went to her other friends and then introduced them to the same technologies and they are on to it. It is always fun to see them playing with these new tools :)

But the whole thing sometimes looks like an educational institute, new people -> they learn -> they get jobs -> they forget about the institute !!

We will keep trying to get new people, tell them the nice things from the Free Software World. I am going to West Bengal in March to visit my doctor as the right arm is not in good shape (I can not feel anything in few parts of it). During my staying I will try to spend as much time as I can with these new comers, will try to spread the message that dgplug is just not another website or just few people, it is a personal relationship which help us in every ways of life………

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