Matthew Craig matthew.t.craig at
Sat Nov 24 19:33:19 GMT 2007

Greetings, Matthew Craig here, co-founder of the Ubuntu Students team.
 I became interested in the idea after talking with Paul Bartell about
the roles students could have in promoting Open Source Software
community groups to their peers.  I am currently a Linux User Group
officer as well as an Ubuntero, and I am extremely enthusiastic about
promoting Free Software within communities.

I have been out of school for several years, and so I have been an
outsider with my attempts to promote LoCos and LUGs to students.  In
the last year, I have talked with dozens and dozens of teachers and
school administrators about promoting local LUGs, LoCos, and OSS
projects to students, yet I never received a positive response.  It is
now my belief that the best way to promote these extra-cirricular
organizations is through peer communications.

When I was twelve, I was introduced to a local computer club.  I had
been enthusiastic about computers since the age of seven or so, but I
always considered it an isolating hobby.  I never felt schools
encouraged my interest in computers outside the classroom, and I did
not find classmates who were pursuing the same interest.  Once I found
myself a member of this local computer club, I finally found other
students who shared the same enthusiasm for computers.  These students
came from schools from all over the city, but together we were able to
work on significant projects.  I was introduced to open source
"bulletin board software", learned how to set up a dial-in computer,
and I organized a project to pass messages between the systems of club
members.  This message-passing service extended all the way across the
state, and it may continue to run today, long after I moved away.

I see the same opportunities for students today.  Ubuntu LoCos, LUGs
and local computer groups offer students a chance to meet other people
with similar interests, to get introduced to new technologies, and to
see how OSS / Free Software is used professionally in their
communities.  Yet there is a problem: How will they learn about these
organizations?  By reading this, you have been lucky enough to have
been introduced already, but there are still many students in your
community who do not yet know.  Just as these students have much to
gain from the groups, the worldwide OSS community has much to gain by
the students' contributions.  It is in all our best interests to
include these enthusiastic students by introducing them to their local
OSS community groups.  My hope is the Ubuntu Students team can have a
role adding new community members who will contribute their own
significant projects, in the future.

More information about the Ubuntu-students mailing list