By Al Fasoldt
Copyright © 1999, The Syracuse Newspapers
Despite all the talk about Linux these days, Central New Yorkers who want to know more first-hand about this better-than-Windows operating system are out of luck. There's no Linux user group in Syracuse.
I expect this to change soon. Before long, Linux fans will either create a splinter group off the hugely successful PC user group in Central New York or they'll form their own group. In the mean time, you can voice your interest in a Linux group by speaking out at meetings of the local PC group. It's the Central New York PC Users Group (CNYPCUG). Find out more about this group on its Web site, http://www.cnypcug.org/.
CNYPCUG isn't a Windows user group, even though most of its efforts are concentrated on Windows -- after all, for the last few years Microsoft has dominated nearly everything in personal computing -- and, fortunately, it hasn't forgotten about Linux. It is hosting a special interest group on Linux on Sept. 23 at 6:30. See the Web site for more information.
The fact that Syracuse does not have a Linux group is odd considering the presence of Linux users groups in Binghamton, Potsdam and Watertown and other places around the state that are all smaller than Syracuse. Syracuse needs an active Linux user group to help new users set up Linux PCs, but it also needs a strong Linux organization to change attitudes at local Internet service providers.
Local ISPs provide software and help for Windows and Mac users but leave Linux users out in the cold. Linux is gaining too fast on the other two operating systems to be ignored by ISPs much longer. (The dumb part of this is that most Internet providers use Linux themselves. It's time they woke up and realized the world at large is about to become a Linux playground, too.)
The Binghamton Linux group is called BLinC. BLinC says it stands for Binghamton University's Linux Community. (No jokes, please. Linux users do know how to create acronyms, even when they are supposed to be read as "BULinC.") BLinC has been around for years and has a Web site at http://anchor.cs.binghamton.edu/linux/.
The Linux group in Rochester has a Web site at http://www.lugor.org/. LUGOR (Linux User Group of Rochester, of course) has a detailed site, with easy-to-find directions to its meeting location.
The Linux group in Potsdam, near the Canadian border, is at Clarkson. Its Web site has an address that is usually messed up in print, so go to http://acmpc.sos.clarkson.edu/ and click on the Linux group's link.