London Meeting - 07/08/2002

Byron Schlemmer me at
Thu Aug 8 00:25:50 BST 2002

Well folks,

I certainly enjoyed the meeting tonight. And it was sure nice to meet
all the faces. Once again a big thank you to Imagination for hosting the
meeting, the enviroment and snacks/beer was superb (Thanks Debbie!).
Also thanks to Nik Clayton and anyone else involved in organising this
event. :)

The biggest gripe to come to light from the meeting, seems to me, to be
the website ( The fundamental part of any
community is communication. And as I see it the UK FreeBSD User Group
community has two primary methods of communication, the website and the
mailing list. Well thanks to the hardwork from Joe (and others) the
mailing list is working great.

Now for the website. It seems some gentleman (Sorry I forget names, very
bad with names) put some effort into this a while but seemed to get no
real constructive support. I am able and willing to try and help fix the
situation. The following were suggested (and some of my own making)
additions to the site :

	. and events log/calendar

		As far as I can see we do already have minimal functionality
		here. But I belive the intention was to embelish this a little
		(add pictures, downloads of the presentations) and to keep it
	    more current.

	. jobs list

		How about a section where

			a) we can try to bring companies/people together for
			   fulltime positions. (I am currently working on a similar
			   solution for something in my own time. This can be made
			   incredibly complex, but I'm thinking something simple to
			   begin with)

			b) we can bring together smaller/once off jobs. For example,
			   List member A, knows company B who is looking for 3 days
			   work to fix X, out of hours or not. I also noticed a number
		       of folks seem to have consulting companies. What do your
		       clients do when you go on holiday?  Possibly we could
			   have some way to link Member A with Member C, who just needs
			   to do off hours remote emergency monitory. You get my drift.

	. a list of FreeBSD support companies and what they specialise in

	. a list of UK companies that use FreeBSD

		User comes to site, registers that his company uses FreeBSD, in
	    XYZ role etc. There was mention that FreeBSD tends to live in
	    the shadows, well this might just help highlight the fact, yes
		FreeBSD does live in the shadows of a multitude of companies server

	. links

		There are a few currently on the site, but how about adding a
	    few to some local FreeBSD points of interest? I'm sure there
		must be some?

	. improved knowledge base

		The mailing list is already quite a good source of ansers to
		problems. But perhaps here we could add things like the slides
		from presentations. Or add common UK centric problems and
		solutions here?

	. polls

		Well due to the number or surveys we had during the meeting
		perhaps we can add a weekly poll the the site?

	. web stats

		A nice to have, but probably moot. Hmm perhaps Nik could do
		something with graphviz here as his presentation hinted at :)

Well those are some suggestions. Some of them might be silly or even
redundant. Perhaps there are some more out there? No doubt there will be
some discussions about this.

I am willing to help. I can spare a few hours over the weekends and a
few here and there on week nights. Who do I speak to?

The biggest problem I see here is not creating the site, but keeping it
up to date. This is really where community pressure should come in to
support this. It really would be a shame to do lots of work and then
have it gather cobwebs. :)

Also, most of the site seems to be static. Any technologies advised to
make the site a bit more dynamic. I'm personally all for Perl + DB/Xml.
But what about something like slashcode? Any other ideas? What are the
server enviroment constraints?

Anyway folks, I hope I've not rambled on to much.


	- byron

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