[ubuntu-uk] What aren't we doing? What should we be doing?

gazz pmgazz at gmx.co.uk
Fri Jun 24 12:51:45 UTC 2011

On Fri, 2011-06-24 at 12:53 +0100, Alan Bell wrote:

> I would certainly want to support individuals who want to do that type 
> of thing as a small local business venture. Get yourself on the 
> marketplace and go for it:
> http://webapps.ubuntu.com/marketplace/europe/
> I think we should get the UK bit of the marketplace app exposed on the 
> ubuntu-uk.org website.
> Alan.
> On 24/06/11 12:12, scoundrel50a wrote:
> > What about paid immediate support for those like myself that have no 
> > other forms of support available. Windows has a immediate paid support 
> > for problems, where they can connect to your computer and fix what 
> > ever your problem is. I am not sure what Windows charges now, as I 
> > havent had to look, but when I last looked a couple of years ago it 
> > was £45, whether they could fix it or not.
> >
> > John
> >

Well, I bottom post cos some people seem to feel strongly about it -
but, actually, I prefer top-posting because otherwise I have to keep
scrolling down in the preview window just to see if I'm interested to
open it and read it all ;)  
Back to the main topic: 
We do a certain amount of paid support for VCOs but not usually for
individuals. We work with the Councils for Voluntary Service in East
London to provide training for non-profits in re-using their existing
computers with Ubuntu and FOSS - this is taking off really well and
we've achieved a lot of 'buzz' for Ubuntu and FOSS generally last year.
We monitor what we do and the outcomes for various funders and have
stats. We also have photos of various of the advocacy events and
training sessions we do.  

We now run an Ubuntu LTSP server for a health-related social enterprise
and are piloting a couple of Ubuntu PCs in one of the Councils for
Voluntary Service in East London (which, by the way, once a few bugs in
10.04 were worked around gives no trouble at all). We're also working
with a youth organisation who're considering moving across to Ubuntu and
they'll probably contract us to look after it if they do. We were
working with 3 more organisations last year but they all went bust in
the cuts. We haven't found a market for paid Ubuntu services on any kind
of scale among local communities and non-profits and this can only get
worse as no-one has any money now - what they really need right now is
to be able to look after their own kit. It's probably different in
communities where most people are working in well-paid jobs but around
here, no! So we've come at it another way . . . 

We run monthly "FOSS Friday" sessions where volunteers help people
install and manage Ubuntu as well as the software which runs on Ubuntu
(by the way, we can never get enough skilled volunteers for this - the
next one is 1 July, 12 noon till 7pm near Tower Bridge - register to
volunteer here: http://fossbox.org.uk/blog/?p=661 ). As I said in a
recent post, we're also looking at how skilled volunteers who aren't in
London could participate over TeamViewer or something - but I'd need to
work out how to manage this properly among the controlled chaos of
running the people who're in the room already!  

Last year, we did an Ubuntu install-fest for SFD at our workshop, this
year we're working on a women's advocacy network with OK Computers in
Manchester and of running Ubuntu-centred, women-friendly SFD events in
Manc and London. We'll be launching the network in the next few weeks
and we'll send out more details. 

This year we're also developing a 'Self-Sufficient IT' programme for
non-profits which is a basic Ubuntu desktop maintenance course for
beginners (which includes stuff about the kind of software non-profits
need to use on Ubuntu) - participants can continue to come to the FOSS
Fridays as long as they need help when they get stuck. I'll also build
in how individuals can get help from Ubuntu-UK into this course. We're
selling this package to the Councils for Voluntary Service - but we've
lost a lot in the funding cuts so we'll probably be extending paid
services and training to individuals who have well-paid jobs! If this
takes off, we'll look at doing a course about basic Ubuntu servers for
non-profits in the following year. We thought about doing the Ubuntu LPI
course, but it's not really what non-profits want so we'll probably
tailor something ourselves. 

I'm also looking into getting a small bit of funding to write up the
research and advocacy we did with non-profits over the past 3 years into
a guide for other advocates working with non-profits and other

I don't have much time left over to contribute as much as I'd like to
Ubuntu-UK but I'm happy if anything we're doing can help with the LoCo's
plans for the future? 

I do think that people need face-to-face help and the LUG format doesn't
work for most non-techies - and especially for women. Anxiety about who
they'll turn to if it goes wrong is a big barrier for most people when
thinking about adopting Ubuntu. We've been working on developing models
that provide this for 'human beings' ;)  I do think that creating 'buzz'
at local levels is the best way to get Ubuntu out there on a


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