[plug] What would encourage membership of PLUG?

Bret Busby bret at busby.net
Thu Feb 18 11:43:42 WST 2010

On Thu, 18 Feb 2010, Tim White wrote:

> Date: Thu, 18 Feb 2010 09:31:23 +0800
> From: Tim White <weirdit at gmail.com>
> Reply-To: plug at plug.org.au
> To: plug <plug at plug.org.au>
> Subject: [plug] What would encourage membership of PLUG?
> My wife and I were talking about PLUG after our failed AGM last week. She 
> wanted to know what are the benefits of joining PLUG and why would anyone 
> bother?
> Well, here is what the website says.
> *Benefits of joining:*
>   * Being a PLUG member entitles you to borrow CDs and books from the
>     PLUG library <http://www.plug.org.au/resources/library>.
>   * You get an account on the club's computers (kettle.plug.org.au and
>     spark.plug.org.au), including web space for your own web pages and
>     an e-mail address @plug.org.au. (See our terms and conditions
>     <http://www.plug.org.au/resources/shell-account> for shell access.)
>   * Free coffee (or other drink) with a kebab at Plaka Café in
>     Northbridge.
>   * PLUG members get a 10% discount at Linux IT
>     <http://www.linuxit.com.au/>.
>   * You also get spiffy card with a penguin on it.
> So my question is, what more could we offer as a group, for paid members, 
> that would encourage membership? It's not expensive, a year's membership 
> costs $10 (full membership) or $5 (concession). So what would stop people 
> from being paid members?
> On a technical side of things, I know with the new server, when it is 
> running, we hope to be running Xen, so we can have a number of Virtual 
> Machines available for people to play with. Is this something that would be 
> attractive to members? On the webserver currently, for less than a $1 a 
> month, you get more hosting space than most cheap hosts give you for $10 a 
> month. (Having said that, it's not an invitation to start hosting large 
> websites with lots of traffic, as all our traffic is kindly donated to us and 
> we wouldn't want to cost our host large amounts in traffic, but I think WAIX 
> traffic is generally acceptable if larger quantities than non-WAIX).
> Anyway, I just thought I'd put this out to the sleeping list, and encourage 
> some discussion about it.
> What would you want PLUG to offer paid members, that would encourage your 
> membership?
> Thanks
> Tim


One thing, as previously mentioned, would be more central meeting 

When PLUG met at the Perth Technical College (or whatever it is now 
named), and then, later, at Technology Park in Bentley, those were two 
good, relatively central locations, and, we attended, and would have 
rejoined - there was some query about membership fees, that was not 
clarified (when it was at the institution "formerly known as" Perth 
Technical College), but, as the membership fees appear to have not 
increased since then, the $10 annual full membership fee, is 
sufficiently low to make the original query obsolete.

Also, when regular monthly workshops were held at the UCC, it was 
reasonably central and convenient (the lugging of equipment, up the 
tower, was not too difficult, and, most people now, have moved toward 
portable computers, such as "laptops", "notebooks", and, the new toys - 

When it all moved out to Christchurch, at Claremont, we decided, that it 
was then, too far, and, too inconvenient, to travel.

So, relocation, back to more central premises, could, I suggest, help 
increase attendance and participation, at PLUG events.

Another thing to seriously consider, is the implementation of 
virtualisation of meetings, so that people can virtually attend meetings 
and seminars, via the use of applications like Ekiga, which, I believe, 
should be able to enable virtual meetings, in the same way as 

I had suggested that for the AGM, but, as far as I am aware, nothing 
really came of it (it could have made the AGM more of a success, if it 
had been implemented?).

Without knowing now, who is now involved in PLUG, and what are their 
areas of expertise, PLUG used to include Linux guru's of different 
applications of Linux (including such people as David Campbell, who was 
known to have written the Linux drivers for the parallel port things, 
like the Iomega "Zip Drives"), Christian Payne, who was a security guru, 
others who were Debian guru's (like Matt Kemner, and Christian), and, 
ISP people, so, depending on who is now involved in PLUG, and, where 
their skills lie, there should be someone in PLUG, who can set up a 
working group to implement virtualisation of meetings and seminars, to 
supplement (rather than replace, for locals) physical attendance at such 

Another, and, unrelated, organisation of which I am a member, is, in the 
next month or so, to hold an electronic AGM (that they have named an 
"eAGM", no doubt, to be fashionable), and, if PLUG is able to set up, 
organise, and, operate, meetings, using video-conferencing Linux 
software, such as Ekiga (or, it appears, Skype also runs on Linux), it 
could be a good way to increase participation (and, calls for assistance 
in the testing - "Hey people - we are trying out this new idea, to 
facilitate meetings using video-conferencing software; any offers to 
help us, in the testing phase, by virtual attendance at meetings - all 
you would need, is a Linux-compatible webcam, and Linux running <Ekiga, 
or whatever required software>, and, the willingness to use the time and 
make the input, would be appreciated", could also facilitate increased 
participation in both the project, and, in PLUG itself) in PLUG, and, 
could help to publicise PLUG, by promoting both the project, and, the 
resultant facility (for use by other organisations, to facilitate 
increased participation, in meetings, and, in the organisations in 

And, that could also facilitate increased publicity for, and, use of, 

A question or two - when as the last "Installfest"? How often are they 

Just a few thoughts...

Bret Busby
West Australia

"So once you do know what the question actually is,
  you'll know what the answer means."
- Deep Thought,
   Chapter 28 of Book 1 of
   "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy:
   A Trilogy In Four Parts",
   written by Douglas Adams,
   published by Pan Books, 1992


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