Various Linux user groups took booths at the Linux Expo this week, staking out their territory in the manner of Monty Python's Judean People's Front and the People's Front of Judea.
Only in the Linux world, there is no animosity between the various groups. "They are more socially oriented," said the person manning the desk of the Greater London Linux User Group, referring to the London Linux User Group. "They tend to meet up and go to the brewery, whereas we have a technology talk first and then go to the brewery."
The Greater London Linux User Group (GLLUG) spokesman, who preferred to be known as Ivan the Terrible, pointed out that his organisation also maintains a large number of mailing lists.
Over at the stand of the London User Group (Lonix), representative Bill Boughton agreed with Ivan the Terrible's distinction between the two organisations. "We usually meet the first week of each month in central London," he said. "Always in a pub." Boughton backed up the fact noting that the Lonix organiser had not yet turned up. "He arrived five minutes before the end of the show yesterday," said Boughton, "and then went straight to the pub."
In a nearby corner was the Judean Popular People's Front -- the altogether more serious UK Unix User Group which, among other things, organises the Linux Developers' Conference. Unlike the other groups, UKUUG charges a membership subscription that ranges from £20 plus VAT for students to £170 plus VAT for corporate membership. For this, members get access to technical meetings, one-day tutorials and workshops.
LLUG meetings are usually bi-monthly gatherings where interested parties can bring along equipment to set up and find help with problems such as installation, or just show off what they are up to.
"There are no formalities to attending a GLLUG meeting, no subscription, age restrictions or entry fees, you can just turn up on the day," says the GLLUG Web site. "We welcome and encourage all Linux users, from new and inexperienced users to hardened IT professionals and gurus."
And not to be outdone in the drinking stakes by Lonix, GLLUG also has unofficial pub meetings most Saturdays. Details are distributed on the mailing lists.
Lonix, meanwhile, appears unashamedly focused on drinking and networking. "Members come from many areas and a great deal come from companies that are situated in London that opt to use Linux solutions," says its Web site. "This is quite useful if you are looking for work. There are also many students and other people from academic backgrounds, including lecturers who either use Linux at home or University."