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New York Linux Scene Journal
Free Software Around New York City


By Jonathan Bober

The New York Linux Scene is a new organization in New York and it comes into a crowded city. NYLXS is tied to no one Free Software group in New York City, but it has ties to all of them. At many Free Software events members of many different groups appear, and many member of NYLXS are members of other Free Software groups as well.

Thus, it does not matter for example, whether a NYLUG or DeLUGE is sponsoring an installfest, or NYLXS is throwing an instalfeast. Members of any organization may be found at any event.

More importantly, there are oftentimes when no one group is big enough to handle an issue, and more are always better. In August of 2001, when Dmitry Sklyarov was imprisoned, members of NYLUG, LXNY, and NYFairuse were quickly mobilized. Personally, I became involved through subscribing to the Free Dmitry mailing list, and soon moved over to NYLUG and NYFairuse for New York specific information. The size of NYLUG made it easy to find and an obvious starting point for many who did not know where to turn, and it allowed a smaller, more local organization such as NYFairuse to mobilize better than it otherwise would have. Now, much DMCA-specific (along with other political issues, of course) discussion and action takes place as a result of collaborative efforts among LXNY, NYLXS, NYFairuse, and others.

Some of the Free Software groups in New York City include:

NYLUG is New York's traditional LUG. It holds monthly meetings, always followed by Stammtisch. From www.nylug.org:

Linuxstammtische - are social gatherings of local Linux, FREEBSD, and other open-source software users at a local brewpub, founded in connection with the first annual Linuxbierwanderung (Linux Beer Hike, August 1999 in Bavaria, August 2000 in England's Lake District). What Is It: Beer (naturlich), good fellowship, and an occasional lesson in the German language. Translated to English, Stammtisch means 'table for regulars.' Consequently, you can generally find nyluggers near the back of The Old Stand (914 3rd Ave. on the corner of 55th Street) after every monthly meeting.

NYLUG meetings generally place at 6:30 PM on the 3rd Wednesday of every month at the IBM headquarters in Midtown and feature guest speakers focusing on Linux. Recent topics/speakers have included Terry Schmit on Wireless Public Networking, Simon Lok on email privacy and key signing (NYLUG also holds GPG/PGP keysignings quite often,) and, in the wake of last year's terrorist attacks, a talk on ?Decentralism Against Terrorism?, by Eric S. Raymond. Also, NYLUG recently held their annual holiday party sponsored by and with a special presentation by AMD.

LXNY is "New York's Free Software Organization." Less traditional than NYLUG, and less Linux-centric, LXNY is for all who have an interest in Free Software, regardless of interest in Linux. Formal meetings often feature speakers, but not necessarily. Recent important topics of interest at meetings have been Dmitry Sklyarov and the DMCA and LXNY's planned upcoming Microsoft Refund Day. Also, LXNY supports GNUbies: The LXNY GNU/Linux/Free OS Beginners Group.

GNUbies is an group for people who are new to Free Software. Mostly Linux based, monthly meetings are address topics in Free Software. Unlike NYLUG or some other groups, which often assume a certain amount of technical knowledge, GNUbies assumes none. Topics are generally geared towards the use and installation of Free Software, and are presented for the newbie who knows nothing. Additionally, meetings can be of interest to more experienced users as well. Meetings are generally on the second Wednesday of every month at the IBM building in midtown.

DeLUGE is the Desktop Linux Users Group for Endusers. The group is meant to focus on the use of desktop Linux and to help people to use Linux for all of the same desktop uses of other Operating Systems. Focus is on applications and enduser software - from office suites to games. The last meeting was on March 6th and featured a presentation on various email clients running under Linux, including Kmail, Pine, Mutt, and Evolution. DeLUGE works for Linux not for the technical guru but for Everyman.

There are many other groups in New York and a good description of them all cannot be contained here. Future journal articles will feature more descriptions of other Free Software groups and will let the reader know what is going on in the Free Software world in New York City. If you wish to have your group listed here send a outline of your group to miker@nylxs.com