Freedom Fighters Wanted

The following was first published at 10/98, but is still relevant.

History will undoubtedly record the end of the cold war and the spread of freedom and democracy across the globe as the most profound event of the final decade of the nineteenth century.  Part of that story has been the emergence of the internet and the internet's role in securing and maintaining political and economic freedom for people everywhere.  Owned by no person, corporation or government, the internet has given voice to all, and has emerged as the watchdog of freedom, liberty and justice for all of humankind.  Given the importance of that role, it is comforting to know that the internet itself was built on that mantel of freedom. However, just like the communist regimes that ruled over the newly freed people of Eastern Europe, the free and open technologies that built the internet have their own totalitarian enemy.  Just as dictators everywhere seek to control the means of production, the Microsoft corporation has thrown down the gauntlet in its quest to own the technical standards that run the internet.  Because of the importance of the net, and the dangers inherent in Microsoft's ambitions, the battle to keep the internet free will be the biggest story in not only the computer industry, but also the world, for at least the first decade of the next millennium.

The battle will be the story of the largest, smartest, richest, and most powerful corporation in the world being undone by the cooperative efforts of thousands of free spirited, independent hackers, spread across the globe, paid by no one, but fighting for all.  As it unfolds before our eyes, it is the tale of a technology rebellion, spreading like wild fire, through the still-free internet.  It is the Open Source software movement.  It will make legends of both the hackers who wrote the code, and the freedom fighters who installed it. It will shatter the most dominant monopoly in history, because it must.  Freedom cannot lose.  It is too important.

One need only consider the American Revolution, the Tienamen Square Massacre, or the student's revolution unfolding today in Indonesia to recognize that many great revolutions of history have been led by volunteer armies, students and intellectuals, and that nothing is guaranteed.  The Open Source revolution is no different.  The contributions of students among the genius hackers who built the internet and wrote the Open Source Code that runs it are legend.  Thousands of people have selflessly donated millions of hours to build the Open Source operating systems, server software, applications and tools that made the internet possible.  But all of that can be lost if Microsoft is allowed to leverage its ownership of the proprietary windows operating system to take control of technical standards which run the internet.  Since Microsoft has declared that this is exactly what it intends to do, the only defense for freedom is to have Microsoft lose its monopoly on the desktop.

The real hero's in the war to keep the internet free will be the foot soldiers, the freedom fighters, who pry the desktop from Microsoft's grip.  Pay for this volunteer army will be meager or non-existent, and Microsoft will try its best to kill them.  In the face of Microsoft's propaganda machine, they will take ground an inch at a time, installing Open Source Software on computers one by one.  There will be the high school kid who learns how to put Linux on his dad's computer and then installs it at school to teach his friends.  The college student who teaches his friends, and then installs it in the whole dorm.  The system administrator of the University who partitions the drives on every windows machine running, and installs Linux.  But most important in this war will be the real Linux Army; the local Linux User's Groups.

We invite you to join this army, to be a hero, to wage war in this greatest fight for freedom.  We urge you to become highly skilled at making it simple for people to transition to Open Source software.  We implore you to install Linux on every machine you can, and load them with Open Source applications.  We're counting on you to teach people how to use Open Source systems.  While you're perfecting your skills as a freedom fighter, send us your resume.  We want to hire people like you.

We're in the business of making Open Source software as easy for people to use as possible.  Our pre installed PC's and servers are set up to be so simple our grandmother can use them;-)  Installing systems for our friends, we learned that the best way to put Linux on an old Windows machine is to install a second drive.  This is especially true if its going to take a little while to wean them from their old software.  We experimented a little, and figured out that by pre configuring the drive, we could make a tricky technical chore simple enough for some pretty non-technical people.  We thought this was especially important since so many of our non-technical friends were fed up with the Microsoft Corporation and wanted to run Open Source software, but couldn't justify buying a new computer.  So, to provide the simplest Open Source Solution for the largest number of people who couldn't afford a second computer, we decided to market hard drives, on a nation-wide basis, pre configured to the customer's existing computer.  Our experience has taught us that most non-technical people can get a a second drive up and running by themselves in about forty five minutes just with our simple installation instructions and disk.    In our shop, we've pulled the cover, installed our pre configured hard drive, and had Linux up and running in as little as twelve minutes!  Even if you've done it a thousand times before, try installing a dual boot from a CD that quick!  We've unfortunately learned many folks will simply quit trying to partition their existing drive before they get it right, unless someone is right there helping.  To move the most people to Linux, we are trying to fill that niche.  Still, even with our drives, some folks still need a little hand holding and we can't be everywhere at once.  So sometimes when a mail order customer needs a hand putting in a hard drive, its helped a lot if we've been able to refer them to our friends.  If you already helping people get Linux up and running, and wouldn't mind installing our pre configured hard drives at your next installfest, (we save you a lot of time) drop us a line.  We've got some really nice folks to send your way.

Linux User Groups
If your group isn't listed here and would like to be, drop us a line!

United States     Canada
Alabama  Alaska Arizona Arkansas California Colorado Connecticut Delaware Florida Georgia Hawaii Idaho Illinois Indiana Iowa Kansas Kentucky Louisiana Maine Maryland Massachusetts Michigan Minnesota Mississippi Missouri Montana Nebraska Nevada New Hampshire New Jersey New Mexico New York North Carolina North Dakota  Ohio Oklahoma Oregon Pennsylvania Rhode Island  South Carolina  South Dakota  Tennessee Texas Utah  Vermont Virginia Washington Washington, D.C.  West Virginia  Wisconsin Wyoming


South Alabama Linux Users Group, Mobile, Alabama
Linux Users of North Alabama (LUNA), Huntsville, Alabama


Alaska Linux Users Group (AKLUG)
Susitna Linux User Group (S.L.U.G.)


Phoenix Linux User's Group
Yuma Area Linux Users Group (LUG)


Any groups in Arkansas, please drop us a line!


Bay Area Linux User's Group (BALUG)
Berkeley Linux Users Group
City College of San Francisco Linux Users Group (CCSFLUG)
Delta Linux User Group
Furry Linux Users Group
Inland Empire Linux Users
Kernel Panic Linux User's Group
Orange County Linux Users Group
The San Grabriel Valley Linux Users' Group
San Francisco PC Users Group Linux SIG
Santa Clarita Linux User's Group
Santa Cruz Linux User Group
Silicon Valley Linux User Group
Simi/Conejo Linux User Group


Boulder Linux User's Group
Colorado Linux Users & Enthusiasts
North Colorado Linux User Group


Connecticut Free Unix Group (CFUG)
Eastern Connecticut Linux Users Group


Linux User Group at the University of Delaware


University of Central Florida Linux User Group
Emerald Coast Linux Users Group
Everyone's Linux Users Group (ELUG)
Florida Linux Users, Gainesville, Florida
Fort Walton Beach Linux Users Group
Jacksonville Linux Users Group (JaxLUG)
Northwest Florida Linux Users Group
Palm Beach County LUG
Peanuts Linux User Group (PLUG)
The Suncoast Linux Users Group (affectionately known as SLUG)


Atlanta Linux Enthusiasts (ALE)
Dublin Georgia Linux Users Group (DUGALUG)
Linux Users Group of Emory (LUGE)
University of Georgia Linux User Group (CHUGALUG)


Linux Users AnonymoUs (LUAU)


Linux in Boise club (LiBc)


Linux Users of Central Illinois
Chicagoland Linux Users Group
ISUnix (Illinois State University)
Motorola Linux User Group (MotLUG)
Scott Air Force Base Linux Users Group (SLUG)
The Southern Illinois Linux Users Group in (or, more properly, around) Carbondale, Illinois
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Linux Users' Group


Indiana Linux Users Consortium (InLUC)
Indiana Linux User Consortium (INLUC) are there 2?
Michiana Linux Users Group
Purdue University Linux Users Group
Rose-Hulman Users of Linux (RHUL)
Tux at Indiana State University South East


Central Iowa Linux User Group
Iowa Linux Users Group


Air Capital Linux Users Group
Kansas UNIX & Linux Users Association (KULUA)


S+LUG, Louisville
Western Kentucky University Linux User Group (WKU-Linux)


Louisiana Linux User's Group


Acadia General Linux Center (AGLC)
MainE Linux User's Group


The Penguin Club, Linux Users Group of Southern Maryland
University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) Linux Users Group
The University of Maryland Linux User Group (UMLUG)
The UMBC Linux Users Group
Washington DC Linux User Group


Boston Linux and Unix
Cape Cod Linux User Group
Western Massachusetts Linux-Unix User's Group (WeMaLU)
Worcester Linux Users' Group
WPI Linux Association
University of Massachusetts Linux User Group


Metro Detroit Linux Users Group
Washtenaw Linux Users Group


Mankato Area Linux Users Group (MALUG)
St Cloud Area Linux Users Group (SCALUG)
The Twin Cities Linux Users Group


Any groups in Mississippi, please drop us a line!


St. Louis Unix Users Group


Any groups in Montana, please drop us a line!


Bellevue Linux Users Group


Any groups in Nevada, please drop us a line!

New Hampshire

Greater New Hampshire Linux User's Group

New Jersey

Rutgers Linux Users Group

New Mexico

Free Unix Users of New Mexico (FUUNM)

New York


North Carolina

Triad Linux Users Group
Piedmont Linux Users Group (PLUG)

North Dakota

Any groups in North Dakota, please drop us a line!


Cincinnati GNU/Linux Users Group
Cleveland Linux Users Group
COLUG (Central Ohio Linux Users Group)
OSU Free Operating Systems Users Group


TCS Linux Sig
Stillwater Linux Users Group (SLUG)


Portland Linux Users Group


Philadelphia Area Linux Users Group
Western Pennsylvania LUG (wplug)

Rhode Island

Any groups in Rhode Island, please drop us a line!

South Carolina

Any groups in South Carolina, please drop us a line!

South Dakota

SiouxLand Linux Users Group


Group of Linux Users in Memphis (GOLUM)
Nashville Linux Users Group


GNU Generation Computer Group of Corpus Christi
Houston Linux User Group
Houston UNIX Users Group
LUUGNUTS : Lubbock Unix Users Group
North Texas Linux Users Group


Provo Linux Users Group
Salt Lake Linux User Group (SLLUG)


Any groups in Vermont, please drop us a line!


BRLUG - Blue Ridge Linux User's Group
Linux Users' Group of Virginia Tech (VTLUG)


Kitsap Peninsula Linux Users Group
Puget Sound Linux Users
Microsoft Linux Users Group

Washington, D.C.

Washington DC Linux User Group

West Virginia

Any groups in West Virginia, please drop us a line!


Green Bay Linux Users Group
Madison Linux Users Group
Milwaukee Linux Users Group


Any groups in Wyoming, please drop us a line!


Ottawa Carleton Linux Users Group
SLUG is a Linux users group on the Scarborough , Ontario Canada
Victoria Linux Users Group
Edmonton Linux Users' Group
The Hamilton Linux Users' Group

Copyright 1998 FreedomPC