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Support Your Local ... DNUG? 160

Akallabeth, the Arch-Lich writes: "New to town, I was trolling around for a LUG or two, and found this. Find your own DNUG here. Now, I can see the need for a support group for .NET users group, as no one really knows what it does. But, an UG founded by for-profit companies? That are Microsoft Certified Partners? With prize givaways listed on the meeting schedule? Something don't smell right. Oh, and they have banner ads too." However genuine or organized, local "support groups" seem like a good idea to me. Maybe we could all go toss a frisbee?
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Support Your Local ... DNUG?

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  • What's the issue ? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tmark ( 230091 ) on Sunday August 18, 2002 @08:51AM (#4092183)
    I don't see the problem. You admit that there's a need for .NET user groups. Who cares that they're run by for-profit groups or by Microsoft partners ? I don't even care if they charge people to use them, since nothing is preventing anyone from starting a "free", more traditional user's group. If there's a need, it's GREAT to see it being served - however it happens. Do you have a problem with Open-source companies charging for their consulting time ?
    • by FortKnox ( 169099 )
      I totally agree. I have a friend that started a DNUG that helps out people trying to learn .NET. And they have a good time, just like I do in my local Java UG.
      Oh, and my company hosts (and hands out prizes, etc..) JUG's. Why? Because we are a J2EE house, and we enjoy having Java developers in the company's building to encourage them to jump in our company and consult J2EE.

      Is that bad, or smart?

      Something important to learn:
      EVERYTHING Microsoft does IS NOT bad! Sure, they've done stuff in the past that you don't like, but it doesn't mean everything they do is wrong.
      • I have to throw my agreance here as well. Was the original poster just a damn moron that can't think past anything Linux to understand these things have been around forever?

        I remember mid80s being a part of a CUG -- Commodore Users Group. This too was sponsored by a commercial entity -- one of the local computer stores. Hell, they didn't even mind other commercial entities as long as they paid their dues (it cost money to run the 2 phonelines for the BBS and the equipment that went with it...ahhh...the days with 9600 was something I wished for).

        At the university I work, there are SEVERAL Windows users groups. There are a few Linux / BSD ones and a few other techie UGs. What the hell is the idea? Its peer based learning and nothing else...other than guys that can sit around and bitch and moan about the shit that pays them money -- heh! I program and support Wind'rs at work because it keeps me employeed...hell, just the maintenance alone would keep me employeed. At home, I use mainly Mac and Linux because I don't want to think about the crap. I encourage EVERYONE to use Windows as it gives us techies job security :-P

        clif
        • I've been using Linux for nearly as long as I have been using windows. Windows (2K) is currently blowing it out of the desktop water on both speed and stability. Ergonomics for the power user is much better than "ease of use" for the new, windows is killing it there too. Linux has yet to bring a UI to the table that is efficient to get work done in. My windows box uses about 40 megs of ram to boot, Linux is closer to 150 using a monolithic kernel design. The only technology with a chance at the desktop would be (maybe) the L4/hurd port and Fresco.
      • Blockquoth the poster:

        EVERYTHING Microsoft does IS NOT bad!

        Of course not. They make, or used to make, pretty decent joysticks...


        In the field of software, they are unequivocably EEEEVIL. :)

        • Only one word

          Xenix.

          They discontinued that OS.
          • Xenix

            Sold it to SCO, actually. And yes, it was their (MS's) first operating system. Then they came out with DOS. Then Windows.

            The trend does not look good...
        • I have a MS mouse and keyboard as well.
        • Banning software to prevent "contributory piracy" is like banning automobiles to prevent "contributory bank robbery"

          I will have to disagree with your .sig. Automobiles are not designed to aid in the commission of crimes - that use is ancillary. KaZaA, WinMX, Grokster, et al, exist for the purpose of aiding in the commission of crime, and any other use is ancillary.

          Your argument is the equivalent of saying Banning deodorant to prevent foul body odor is like banning kitchen knives to prevent murder. Deodorant might have incidental uses, but the frequency of encountering unpleasant BO would inarguably be greater without it, whereas kitchen knives do have other uses, and the murders committed with them are incidental.
          • I don't agree with you at all. P2P software is simply a program that allows you to copy files to and from other people's computers. The fact that the files you trade are illegal is your responsibility, not the software's. I find his .sig appropriate and insightful.
            • P2P software is simply a program that allows you to copy files to and from other people's computers.

              I agree with you [re: P2P software... simply a program that allows you to copy files to and from other people's computers], but I found his .sig neither insightful nor logical, and it was the logicality of his .sig that I was objecting.

              Incidentally, your .sig is interesting, but the information that it is "verbatim" is useless without an attribution.

              Who said/wrote it, and when?
              • Blockquoth Chasuk:

                Automobiles are not designed to aid in the commission of crimes - that use is ancillary. KaZaA, WinMX, Grokster, et al, exist for the purpose of aiding in the commission of crime, and any other use is ancillary. (From Chasuk's respone [slashdot.org] to my post [slashdot.org], or really, to the .sig in it)

                I disagree, but that's OK, because apparently Chasuk disagrees, too:

                I agree with you [re: P2P software... simply a program that allows you to copy files to and from other people's computers]
                (from Chasuk's response [slashdot.org] to blank_coil [slashdot.org])

                Then, although blank_coil and I seem to be saying the same thing, and although Chasuk has just agreed with blank_coil about the use of P2P software, Chasuk then says,

                but I found his [meaning mine] .sig neither insightful nor logical, and it was the logicality of his .sig that I was objecting.

                which is where I get lost. At this point I would normally say that Chasuk is spending too much of his life reading other people's .sigs, except that it's even more clear that I spend too much of my life responding to other people's responses. :)
                • When I said:

                  I agree with you [re: P2P software... simply a program that allows you to copy files to and from other people's computers],

                  I was agreeing that this was indeed the function of P2P software, in much the same way that I would agree that a pencil is simply an implement which allows one to copy thoughts onto paper.

                  However, the insightful and logicality of the COMPARISON made by the author of the .sig were lacking, for reasons that I have already expressed.
    • by glh ( 14273 )
      For the record, I started a .NET User Group [bestcoding.com] in Northwest Ohio and listed it on DNUG. We are neither for profit or a Microsoft partner, although we do get supported by MS at least in somewhat of an informal way. They've sent us free software, books, and even sponsored events to big conferences (ie, Microsoft TechEd). The main reason I started the group was to promote the learning of .NET programming and having a support group for people to figure out what in the world they are doing with .NET, and share what they have learned. It has been really great. Not to mention there are other perks, like helping out the community (we are going to be doing some non-profit projects), good food, get to meet people in the area, looks good on a resume, etc.

      I think the whole point of a user group is to bring people together and share knowledge. It's really a lot of fun. Not sure why anyone could be upset about this, other than the fact that it is under the "umbrella" of Microsoft technology and this is slashdot :)

      By the way, some of the user groups that you can find through DNUG (it is basically a search portal for UG's) have different goals. When I was at a user group leaders conference last year, I learned that not all the UG leaders shared my same views but for the most part UG's are for the betterment of the community.
    • Exactly. And there've been Netware UGs since forever, often to some degree supported by the local Novell office (if any).

      If the point is mutual support and learning, who gives a flip who (including a company) starts, sponsors, or gives free stuff to the UG? it still benefits the members, which I thought was the whole idea, regardless of what the UG is about.

      Much the same as your other point -- consulting is worth a fee, regardless of whether it's for a free or commercial product.

  • Get your ... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ImaLamer ( 260199 ) <john.lamar@gmail.cMENCKENom minus author> on Sunday August 18, 2002 @08:57AM (#4092204) Homepage Journal
    Get your sandwich boards and banners ready!

    Now that we know the .net people's physical locations we can show up and protest!

    Why protest? Because we don't like anything Microsoft!

    No... really... a better idea would be to show up and hand out slackware and debian CD's.

    • by dj28 ( 212815 )
      "No... really... a better idea would be to show up and hand out slackware and debian CD's."

      And you, my friend, have no life.
      • Yep, your right.

        Although I would be interested in running an IRC network... I only want $50,000/yr for the job.

      • I don't think they'd know what to do with a slackware CD (no CD-KEY, no "Quick-Start Guide")...better to give them lycoris and hope they don't notice that it's not XP.

        Brian
    • ... who thinks it's just sad that the parent post is modded as "Interesting"
  • seems logical (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Morphine007 ( 207082 ) on Sunday August 18, 2002 @08:59AM (#4092209)
    LUGs attract people to Linux... usually just out of shee curiosity... I imagine that Micro$oft et al. are trying to accomplish much the same thing with their DNUG in terms of attracting people to .NET... even if only out of sheer curiosity...I mean, after all, how many install nights has your LUG had??

    • Re:seems logical (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jerdenn ( 86993 )
      I imagine that Micro$oft et al. are trying to accomplish much the same thing with their DNUG in terms of attracting people to .NET...

      Except your missing one key fact. Most of the DNUGs are started by 'regular people' trying to learn .NET, and not started by Microsoft. So yes, while I am sure that Microsoft supports the idea of DNUGs, they are not the driving force that is starting them. It's actually just a bunch of 'geeks' that want to learn about new technology. How's that so different from LUGs?

      -jerdenn
  • by Shoten ( 260439 ) on Sunday August 18, 2002 @08:59AM (#4092211)
    I don't remember anyone making a big stink when US Robotics started Palm User Groups. What's the big deal? It's not like people are being snatched off the street and forced to attend these groups as if they were "political re-education camps." Besides...who else would be better suited to start such groups...Red Hat?? No, maybe Oracle...uh, no...AOL?
    • by Anonymous Coward
      AOL support groups do exist. They're called "Mental Hospitals." Their clientelle suffers from Popupaditis.
      • AOL support groups do exist. They're called "Mental Hospitals." Their clientelle suffers from Popupaditis.

        dictionary.com staffer: "Hey Bob - what the hell's all these hits on 'Popupaditis'...?"

    • I see they have gotten to you too
    • Besides...who else would be better suited to start such groups...Red Hat?? No, maybe Oracle...uh, no...AOL?

      Users.

      MUGs and LUGs are always started by Macintosh and Linux users. Sometimes they're started or sponsored by companies, but only if those companies use and love Macs or Linux. Apple maintains a list of MUGs and has special offers for MUG members, but Apple doesn't start or organize MUGs. I imagine RedHat might have information about LUGs, but RedHat has nothing to do with the LUGs themselves.
      • Ah...but is that how it works out? Do the users pay for the inside information, or the giveaways, or provide for the people who come in to speak? Not at any of the various user groups I've been to. Get real...there are more than just Mac and Linux user groups out there. There are Palm, Microsoft (and sub-user groups for each of their products), Miata, Porsche, Ferrarri, etc. user groups. And they are almost always, in my experience, started by or with the direct help/support of the company that makes the product in question. Linux is a fluke because linux isn't made by any company. But Mac user groups are backed by Apple. And again, I haven't seen anyone complain about that here, have I?
  • Not So Strange (Score:3, Interesting)

    by wsloand ( 176072 ) on Sunday August 18, 2002 @09:06AM (#4092226)
    This doesn't really seem all that strange to me. My mother was a member of DECUS (Digital Equipment Corporation Users Society) in the early 1970s. When I tried to go to their homepage, I was sent to encompassus.com -- encompass is HP's user group.

    There are lots of these out there. Just because it's for profit doesn't mean that it can't have a community behind it.

    Bill
  • by decipher_saint ( 72686 ) on Sunday August 18, 2002 @09:11AM (#4092236)
    I'm a senior developer for the company I work for and I've been using .NET for just over 2 months. Management has it in their heads that they want to move our web-based contract negotiation software to .NET in the next year or so, somehow we have to get everyone up to speed on .NET as fast as possible. DNUG sounds like an ideal way of getting people started.

    "Something don't smell right"
    I hear that bias clogs ones sinus cavities.
    • Yeah, I don't see what the big deal is. There is .NET user group here in Indianapolis.
  • I think we should encourage user groups such as these instead of critisizing them. While the .NET technology is not of the same quality of what comes out of the loins of the Open Source developer community, it is a good start by MS.

    By allowing the free sharing of code and information among MS developers, most of them will see the appeal that the global Open Source developer community offers.

  • The community resource of the open-source community has long been one of the selling points of Linux and BSD. You don't necessarily have to pay for an expensive support contract when you can ask experts on listservs, newsgroups, and irc. I think Microsoft's just trying to eliminate reasons for choosing open source. It's a trend. You don't like proprietary solutions? Portions of .NET are submitted to ECMA to eliminate open source's claim to industry standards. Want a strong advocacy community? Microsoft pays for them. The Borg do nothing but assimilate.
    • Well, if people are eventually driven to the final desperation of flying a loaded airliner into Steve Ballmer, at least it won't be for lack of effort to fight off their constant all-out assault in other ways.

      There was a time when Microsoft had to _struggle_ to appease user groups- MUGs, for instance, Mac user groups. The fact that now they can just sort of mass produce them is no sign of a healthy computing environment. It does illustrate that Microsoft are getting disturbingly good at orchestrating every factor of public life that touches them, but that's no blessing either.

      They're not doing it to be nice.

  • by wowbagger ( 69688 ) on Sunday August 18, 2002 @09:29AM (#4092274) Homepage Journal
    Many of the comments have been of the form "$OtherCompany has created UGs for $OtherProduct, so what's the big deal?" And I agree, if that is all this is, then more power to them.

    However, given Microsoft's long history of AstroTurfing, I think folks are right to be suspicious of this - is this real grassroots support or is this manicured AstroTurf?

    Remember, real grass gets weeds, Astroturf doesn't. If these are REAL UG's, then there will be plenty of "Hey, this (doesn't work | sucks | is too hard)" type complaints, both in the meetings and on the web sites. If this is AstroTurf, then it will be all smiles and roses and drink the KoolAid, and Microsoft will point to these pseudo-UGs and say "See all the support you get from the user community? Just like Open Source!"
    • My original title had been "Stupid M$ Tricks: .NET Astroturf campaign"

      Blurb copy aside, this is exactly my concern.

      Looking at the Toronto DNUG site, you see a picture gallery (deliberately sloppily coded, IMHO) of people sitting in rows of chairs, watching powerpoint presentations by people with PR-smiles on their faces. The images convey a marketing atmosphere in the meeting(s).

      Also, consider that the listed founders are companies, not individuals. That means that the companies are paying someone to spend company time thinking about and building the UG. It isn't a hobby or interest anymore, it has become a job someone does. Now, add to that the fact that all the founding companies are M$ partners (or trainers). Starting to see the money stream here?

      Another item: giveaways. Sure, LUGS often hand out mugs, CDs, and the like in raffles or to everyone who passes the door. But, these items don't have a store sticker price of up to four full integers. That's a lot of candy to wave around beconing people to "just turn up".

      Banner Ads. Why would a UG need them? I use Linux, so I went looking for a LUG. I use M$ products, and in my early days I got around with casual user groups (BBS clubs mostly) to learn them. Generally, people have an interest or are already using a product when they are looking for UGs. Using banner ads is an effort to raise awareness of their existance to those who have not desired to seek them out.

      The money stream, the marketing of the UG's existance, and my own observations (lack of open floor questions, incapacity to answer questions that were presented) attending some M$ functions recently make a strong arguement (to me) of DNUG being astroturf.

      Why is this important? It is inappropriate to equate DNUGs with LUGs, and I believe this is going to happen. We need to be ready for it, to educate the boardroom when decision time comes. I believe what is happening here is deceptive.

      I will be attending the next DNUG. If they are going to be useful, great, but I fear it will be a rerun of a past PR presentation complete with handouts of .NET Visual Studio.

    • Besides the fact that counts of UG membership does not figure in any way in determining .NET's mind-/market-share, you are seriously underestimating the ability of the tech community to decide for itself what is and is not useful to them. If there is a need for a 'REAL UG' (as you put it), and if these Microsoft-partner-run-UGs don't satisfy the real need, then I 'REAL' UGs will doubtless spring up to satisfy that need, and the shill UGs will consequently wither.

      The people who would belong to UGs and who make .NET-relevant decisions aren't so stupid as to believe that a large UG count means ANYTHING. An astute might wonder exactly WHY so many people might NEED to belong to a UG. People who use and need support aren't going to be fooled into thinking that "pseudo-UGs" == real support.

      I also doubt that any UG is going to be able to give away enough stuff that users are going to waste their time attending.

      Give people some credit.

    • Whenever I read stuff like this I am reminded that most Slashdotters are fairly young and have little idea of what has been common practice for decades in the computer industry. Microsoft has had user groups for most of their products for years in fact the there's a link to finding local Microsoft user groups [microsoft.com] right of the MSDN front page [microsoft.com].

      In fact you don't have to take my word for it or that of MSDN, why not just Google for 'Microsoft "user group"' [google.com] see how many thousand hits come back.

      ObLegalDisclaimer: I work for Microsoft but this post represents my opinions and does not necessarily reflect the thoughts, opinions, strategies or plans of my employer
    • Why don't you go to the user group meetings and find out for yourself?

      The few meetings I have been to had around 200 people, some of the early ones were closer to 500-600. None of these people were paid to be there, they all just came because they were interested in learning more about .Net. I don't see that as astroturfing.

      Is astroturfing posting a big story on slashdot about a March on the San Francisco city hall to support Linux, but then not posting any of the stories which said only 10 people showed up?
      • You go to Microsoft meetings, sheldon? Neat.

        Do you chant? :)

      • Also, if the UG is astroturf (which we should probably be noting as a Trademark of whoever invented it :) -- well, then likely it wouldn't have any good info, and would fall apart as people lost interest. UGs thrive or not depending on their usefulness to the people attending, who otherwise would find better things to do with their time.

        It follows that if it's attracting people regularly, they must be getting some real value from it.

        In that vein -- M$ learned the hard way that offering a "seminar" which is really a pep rally (ie. lots of rah-rah, no real info) goes over real poorly with the IT community, and attendence drops like a stone. After a year or so of pep rallies (which led to many scathing remarks on the "evaluation" sheets), they've learned better and have started to offer real info again.

    • Actually, there's an international ring of .NET user groups called INETA [ineta.org], which MS helps out a lot. However, having presented at a few INETA meetings, I can assure you that it is not a Gestapo user group ("Take the dissenter and dispose of him")...there are plenty of people who talk about various things they don't like, things they want to change, and I've even been present when someone was presenting on Mono. So these tend to be real UG's...not even MS has the power to oversee every single UG that has anything to do with their technologies.
  • We have product give-away door prizes at our local Linux Users Group. Next month the give-away is Yellow Dog Linux CDs.
  • JUGs (Score:2, Informative)

    by jeffy124 ( 453342 )
    There are also Java User Groups going up all over as well, and have been for several years. I'm not sure if they were founded by Sun or are funded by them, but Sun does have a website [sun.com] listing info about them, and it seems there are currently 954 of them.
  • Actually... (Score:4, Funny)

    by wirefarm ( 18470 ) <`ten.cdmm' `ta' `mij'> on Sunday August 18, 2002 @09:38AM (#4092291) Homepage
    Actually they're 12-Step programs...

    Picture a dozen people on folding chairs in a church basement. A guy stands up.
    Guy: "Hi, I'm Larry. I'm a dot net user..."
    Group: "Hi Larry!"

    Sorry -that just popped into my head when I saw that it was a DNUG - I figured it was for people who wanted to stop using it.

    Forgive me, it's late here...

    Cheers,
    Jim
  • I'm sure if you poke around, you will find plenty of LUG's that are held in the offices of folks who have a vested interest in selling Linux. And you know what? That's not a bad thing! It's a definite win-win; the firm builds up good will with it's core market, and the Linux community gets a place to meet.

    Sure, ther presentations are going to be slanted toward ".NET good, everything else bad". And there's nothing wrong with that! Any rational consumer is going to expect a slant at ANY user group. It's not "astroturfing" or propaganda, it's giving the people what they want! You aren't going to see "How XP Saved My Life" at at a LUG, either.

    If the sponsor does not organize well and provide good content, the members are free to vote with their feet; and almost certainly will.

    Bringing likeminded geeks together is a good thing. (As long as there is adequate ventilation!)Would you have the same reaction to say, IBM sponsoring a LUG?

    • Would you have the same reaction to say, IBM sponsoring a LUG?

      If IBM sponsored a LUG, it would be because IBM's employees are Linux users. They would not promote any IBM product exclusively. It would work like any other company-sponsored UG.

      An ISP I used to work for hosted PLUG [phoenix.az.us]'s meetings for a few months. The company was not promoting anything, they were simply letting PLUG use their facilities and network connection. Of course, this creates goodwill towards the ISP among PLUG members, which brings the company more money.
  • Something smells bad? .Net? Add banners?

    Get'em all, from Slashdot too :-) [bulmalug.net]:

  • this is the way of the world. get out of your linux controlled closet. when I worked for an now out of date Unix provider (next) we were encouraged to form UGs in our various areas.
  • Maybe if there are enough people in Microsoft's .NET user groups, they'll actually be able to discover:

    • What exactly .NET actually is, and
    • If you can actually do anything with it.

    Then again, looking at the list of possible topics for future meetings [dnug.net] for the Toronto DNUG, that might be being too optimistic.

    --Dave

  • I assume you're in Toronto because you linked to a Toronto DNUG. In that case, what you were looking for is the TLUG [linux.ca].
  • after DNUG's there will be the Palladium Users Groups, which will have many members the first meeting but few if any the second meeting after all of them are arrested for copyright violations for trying to listen to their MP3's while programming.

    D'OH!!!
  • Back in my bad old days as a SQL Server admin, I saw an ad for a "SQL Server User Group" meeting. It was at the Microsoft local office, which didn't surprise me. Less than an equal exchange of ideas, it was more a talk on a specific topic related to SQL Server. It was catered and they had some giveaways.

    Technically, it wasn't too great. My experience with Microsoft is that they give technical seminars on their products based on how they're supposed to work, rather than how they really work. Case in point: we asked about a specific memory allocation feature in SQL Server 7 that a number of the 20 or so people in the room couldn't get to work the way it was supposed to work. Well, he kept saying, "The official Microsoft position is that it works as designed." Finally, after some great amount of poressure from everyone in the room he said, "Okay, I'm going to cover my Microsoft badge and say yes, it has a lot of problems. Now I'll uncover my badge and say it works as designed."

    Overall, though, it was a good presentation on a little-used feature of SQL Server. We also, inadvertently, found out why it was little-used. The best part was, by far, the ability to network with other SQL Sever admins from other companies and compare notes on strategies and work-arounds. All products have bugs and work-arounds; the problem is that Microsoft staunchly refuses to acknowledge them in their official literature. That's why there are independant support forums (like the excellent http://www.swynk.com) to deal with them.

    So the user groups are a good idea-- even if (or especially if) they don't exactly fit Microsoft's vision of what they want them to accomplish.

  • 1. Why the logo is look like hebrew writing?
    2. why DNUG in Malaysia operated by microsoft employee Ramesh Rajandran t-ramesr_at_microsoft.com
  • I'm all against "Microsoft" crap in general okay? I think it's scary what they do as a corporation and that they act without conscience. I think the U.S. Department of Justice is really dragging their feet and with the help of other governmental agencies, will simply get away with their criminal behavior.

    That is my preface opinion of Microsoft.

    That said, I have to defend their 'free speech' rights and rights to assemble. Sure, it's "unpopular speech" but unpopular is based on which circle you find yourself in the middle of, not any universal moral code.

    Furthermore, I dislike MOST "UG's" because they too closely resemble "church services." I've visited a few LUG meetings and the only thing missing were there random "ahmen brother!" responses from the audience. Slashdot is smelling of the same disease right now.

    Let them do their DNUG. It's in everyone's best interest that freedom of speech and assembly be preserved. Respect the rights of others or you will surely find your own in jeopardy.
    • Blockquoth the poster:

      Furthermore, I dislike MOST "UG's" because they too closely resemble "church services." I've visited a few LUG meetings and the only thing missing were there random "ahmen brother!" responses from the audience. Slashdot is smelling of the same disease right now.

      This is one of those repeated truths that don't stand up under scrutiny. At the time I reached this comment, there were 10 listed before it. (I read +1, highest first -- so these are the things the "slashdot community" rates OK.) Of them, one was just a joke with no editorial spin. Another was a joke about picketing plus a suggestion of counter-freebying. The other eight were all, "There's really nothing wrong with sponsored UGs and get off Microsoft's back".


      So much for the vaunted slashdot herd mentality. Or rather, the herd mentality that "Linus is always good. Microsoft is always bad". Indeed, reading this thread, a newcomer might very well wonder if this is a pro-MS group...

  • I don't see any...

    Oh wait... damn mozilla. Bannerblind is filtering them out again.

    ObOntopicQuestion: Shoud we have a DGUG (Dot Gnu Users Group) then?

  • I thought I saw DUNG -- and I thought to myself "Now THAT is M$!" -- damn dyslexia...
  • John C. Dvorak had an article [pcmag.com] on this topic in the latest PC Magazine. He argues that it makes sense for companies like MS to support UGs and that companies that do not support UGs do so at their peril.

    This is a good read for those criticizing MS for supporting UGs.

  • Oh, and they have banner ads too
    Sounds like something you would see on the top of your page right now. Banner ads on slashdot? Oh my! I guess slashdot could be considered a SLUG. Slashdot Linux Users Group...
  • well they might not be too fussed... but it works well for me ;)
  • Computer software or systems user groups have been around for a long time. There were often strong connections between the user groups and the company the groups.

    Digital, IBM, and others used to give the source of EOL's software to their user groups to distribute. Company sales reps would demonstrate new product releases or use user groups as customer feedback groups.

    Corporations want that kind of support, involvement, and buy-in from their user base and it is worth a fair amount of financial support to user groups to get it.
    • You say 'financial support' but your examples of contributions - which from my limited experience are accurate - are not monetary.

      Most UGs get intangible support. When I ran a group for Stratus [stratus.com] users we never got a cent from the vendor, but they might buy sandwiches for the odd meeting if they were feeling generous.

      It's a grey area, but users will quickly desert if it goes all promotional and they can't air their grievances.
  • I guess they are called "teams" :)

    Leto (ivo at distributed dot net)

    • You know, that's the first thing I came up with when I tried to figure out what DNUG stood for. I think they should go with .NUG instead. Pronounced dot-nug. Then everyone would know what they were. 'Cause things that start with a dot are kewl. Or something. Nothing says "I probably don't understand the Internet, but I want you to think I do" quite like beginning your name with a dot.
  • And the FPs'll be trying to deal with M$ (and M$'s habit of co-opting, folding, melding or simply stealing [plenty of evidence and M$ losses in court to that effect,] the competition's app.s, changing the OS specs [when the FPs can even get them,]) and trying desperately to become rich as Creosus themselves in an era when the world has come to see software for what software really is: overhead.

    Software for profit is a mug's game and they're hurtin'. They NEED (ab)user's groups.
  • Let's see, I go to a Java User's Group that was started by a for-profit company and still hosts the meeting.

    IBM, BEA, et al come in and give away free goodies.

    Sun supports and advertises the Java User Groups, and provides ways to find them.

    But I guess you think it's okay because it's NOT Microsoft.
  • God, I saw this and thought it said "DUNG"! Of course, now that I know what it's about I still see DUNG.
  • Yes, lets play frisbee, over there in the meltroom, where I will MELT YOU INTO FLUID!

    Courtesy of Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Episode 6, "Space Conflict from Beyond Pluto". Watch Cartoon Network at 11:45 p.m. (or catch the entire Adult Swim block Sunday night!)
  • Sounds to suspiciously like the above subject, I think I'll save my sinuses trouble and avoid the meetings...
  • I have my threshold set to 3, and as I write this there are 9 comments - 1 "Funny" and 8 that are saying in one way or another "Big Deal."

    Come on, imagine what it must be like to be a Slashdot editor. It's a hard job trying to stir up controversy day-in and day-out. Then to post something like that and see everyone respond "oh, big deal" must break their hearts!

    So here, timothy, this one if for you:

    Yeah, how dare Micro$oft do this! User groups were founded in the spirit of helping people learn things that they could do with their computer without influence of commercialism (except when hardware and software vendors would be invited to give talks). They're just trying to suck people into .NET where the only thing they'll learn is how to adopt Micro$oft technology. Maybe we should form anti-support groups where we can get together and talk about ways in which we can sqash the competition (competition == Micro$oft if you haven't been paying attention) by using laws and contracts!

    (I can't believe I just wasted 10 minutes writing that when I know it will be modded down as troll)

    Them vs. Us is a pointless game to play. You're better off smoking crack. At least you'll meet interesting people.

  • He apparently doesn't remember the 80s. :-)

    There have been user groups for computers since computers first started selling to the public. There is nothing even vaguely sinister about this. And it was very common for the manufacturer of a given computer to support user groups. They are free training and advocacy... what intelligent manufacturer wouldn't?

    Users loved them, because there were usually classes and other people having similar problems... it was a way to be social and learn all at the same time. And back when you could buy several different sorts of computer, it also gave you some emotional comfort... here were other people in the same boat you were in, either sinking or swimming along with you.

    They're not that common anymore because of the computing monoculture we have, but .NET is different enough from the mainstream that new user groups might well be useful. Lo and behold, they are springing from the woodwork. It is exceptionally unlikely that this is a plot... there ARE people in the world who like Microsoft, you know, and manufacturer support of user groups just makes basic sense.

  • In early 1996, I founded the Los Angeles Java Users' group [lajug.org]. Volunteers quickly donated free web space, several venues for monthly meetings, and a majordomo server.

    We have never collected or spent money and have had speakers from nearly every major vendor (Microsoft, twice, even -- I'm sure they're still regretting it) as well as many presentations from members of the group.

    By far our best-attended meeting was a recent visit from the JBoss group.

    I have seen other groups of this sort die quickly simply because they were following a more closed model, or were attempting to collect dues, or impose a particular vision on the members.

    Only time will tell if .NET is a powerful conceptual framework upon which good open-source solutions can be built, or if it is just another lockin tool for our friends in Redmond. When I want to take a measurement of this, I'm sure the most enjoyable way will be to show up at a DNUG or two and keep my eyes and ears open.

  • How can people mock things, without knowing what they are mocking? Usually this never stands, but because its Microsoft it's ok? C'mon, if you dont know what .NET does, you should take 2 minutes and figure it out.

    There's thousands of people developing applications for .NET at this moment.
  • by Wakko Warner ( 324 ) on Sunday August 18, 2002 @06:05PM (#4094206) Homepage Journal
    If Microsoft is giving away free nugs, I'm signed up.

    I hear the stuff they grow up in that part of the country is pretty dank.

    - A.P.
  • by q-soe ( 466472 )
    There have been user groups since before linux existed....

    I have belonged or belong to Progress user Groups (PUG), Windows NT User Groupsd, Windows 2000 user groups, (these actually supported by MS), Mac user groups, Unix user groups (SCO used to have some good ones) and many many others.

    user groups are not just the preserve of Linux or OSS - this is a sorry indictment on the age of Slashdot Staffers and not worthy of a front page post - so what is there is a .Net user group - if there are users then why not ?

    Please post some actual news and insight instead of this ok.
  • It's not necessarily about the idea of a user group, it is moreover the idea of deception. I would not mind a Microsoft supported User Group as long as Microsoft states that they have a supported a User Group. It is the idea of group scams, like smokers coalitions by the tobacco companies, or the lumber industry protection groups supported by the lumber industry. These were not formed by concerned, empathetic, sympathetic, or caring people but by money and then presented as a user group in such a way that people would assume that there is grass root support for things like that. It is a matter of tricky Hill & Knowlton style marketting, not a matter of personal freedom or rights.
  • Just to make this clear. DNUG is not associated with MS. Developed it by myself 1.5 years ago, in a couple days, to learn about web services. I host it on my poor mans server out of my apartment, with the only motivation for profit being to help me and a friend find work. A number of groups have used it as a starting point before they set up their own web site. It was cool over a year ago, but now it is DUNG as somebody else pointed out. The idea is still cool, but my implementation has aged as a chunk of .NET best practices have emerged. The only code updates I have done since then has been to migrate it from beta 1 to release, and to fix bugs that people point out. Have found other stuff more interesting to work on: brains-N-brawn.com [brains-n-brawn.com]. I believe the preferred MS user group site is ineta.org [ineta.org]. Working on a new dev article now, that has a chance of making an appearance on this board in a couple weeks. Later
  • I am one of the leaders for the Dallas .NET Users Group (http://ddnug.net). We would never have been able to get on our feet were it not for the 'Commercial' companies that sponsored the group. Our number one goal is to make the user group free to all members. We have pizza and drinks at each meeting, and facilities provided by the same corporate sponsors that got us up and running. We provide advertising space to our sponsors in return for their donations. We allow a brief 'marketing' explanation at the beginning of a meeting for the sponsors to get their money's worth. I have not heard one member complain about the way we run the group so far. Either this is because they are happy with our structure, or their mouths are too full of sponsor provided pizza to comment.
  • by Bilbo ( 7015 ) on Sunday August 18, 2002 @10:51PM (#4095127) Homepage
    First time I saw the acronym, I thought it stood for, "Does Not Use GNU"! Of course, the group would be backed by the full support of Microsoft.

    (When do they start handing out the free MS goodies?)

  • Coool!! (Score:1, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    ANYONE can create a group! I created my very own, right here [dnug.net].

    Click the "Create a group" and have some fun.
  • seen how many DNUGs there are that say either ".NET Sucks" or "Linux Rulz." Man, do people have nothing better to do or what? Who cares if they setup DNUGs? It's not like you are forced to go and they strap you into a chair and play Microsoft promo movies while your eyes are taped open! Although....I prob shouldn't give them any ideas.

Don't get suckered in by the comments -- they can be terribly misleading. Debug only code. -- Dave Storer

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