Our April LUG meeting will be at 6:00pm on Thursday, April 14th at Rasmussen College! Come out and we will discuss the past 18 years and strategize about the future!
Rock River Linux Users Group has finally come of age. We have been going strong for 18 years and my hope is that we can continue for a few more! Below you will see a few thoughts and observations that I’ve accumulated during our time together.
I have always tried to find ways to improve the technical climate in Rockford. I realized over 18 years ago that while Rockford had a significant technology presence the one area that was very poorly represented was what would come to be known as the Linux and Open Source Software movement. In my professional life I had introduced Linux in significant ways to engineering and IT organizations around the city, but still felt it wasn’t enough. We needed to expose more people to this area of technology that few had experienced at the time; but how?
Rock River Linux Users Group (RRLug) was the answer to this complex question. Since its inception, RRLug has been a labor of love. There have been times that juggling family, work, RRLug logistics, and presentations have proven stressful. Many more times though, I’ve seen the positive difference made by a united group who cared. RRLug accepts everyone and only sees people, never labels! I’ve watched many people positively change their lives once they started down the path presented through out membership and meetings. Technology is infectious and RRLug provided the right climate to foster this technical creativity. Our city has benefited, but our membership has benefited even more. Friendships were formed, contacts were made, and we grew.
Rockford and the surrounding area continues to lose technology and people in spite of some of our new technology companies. Many of our membership over the years have left the area in pursuit of bigger dreams still based around the idea of Linux and Open Source. Others have sadly passed on! Know that no matter where you are in this world or the next we will miss you all.
I look back and can’t help but be proud of what we’ve accomplished. On a personal note, one of my proudest moments came a couple of years ago when I got to hear one of our former members speak at a technical conference to an auditorium filled with 500 people! I had no idea which direction they would go when they joined us while still in high school, but I know RRLug had a hand in setting this direction. It reminded that it really doesn’t take much encouragement to help people believe in reaching their dreams!
Over 18 years I have made friends with the most unique group of personalities I’ve ever had the honor of knowing. We were united in a common goal which led to many friendships going even beyond Linux. I’ve needed help at times, picked up the phone and help would appear. It didn’t matter whether it was a need to have someone lead a group meeting, give a presentation or two, or even try to rescue me on a cold drizzly night when the car stalled! Help would arrive!
So I would like to thank everyone who has ever participated with the Rock River Linux Users Group. It has been quite a ride so far and one that has seen Linux rise to the prominence that we suspected all those years ago. You are truly a unique group of individuals who have all helped make the world a better place. Be Proud!
For now and forever, all my best!