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There are few problems for the normal users of Free Open Source Software running on Unix-compatible operating systems, but it is assumed that the computer will have an administrator to oversee its operation. There is plenty of documentation when you know where to find it, plenty of help and university courses for experienced users, but there appears to be very little practical help for new users trying to learn about installing and maintaining their systems.
You may not want to install and configure new and unknown software on your only computer, but you may be interested in joining a practical group with access to hardware that can be used for learning and re-configured without fear of breaking your working system, or you may prefer to attend a more formal course. It should be open to anyone, of any age.
Practical meetings have been organised by the Greater London Linux User Group at the University of Westminster Cavendish Laboratory, close to the BT Tower. The university offers excellent computer laboratory facilities, and runs Computer Science and other courses. The building is between Oxford Circus, Tottenham Court Road, Great Portland Street, and Warren Street stations, within the congestion charge zone, but some meter parking is available in local roads. http://www.gllug.org.uk
Would you be willing and able to help others?
I have been told that the London Borough of Ealing may be able to help if there is sufficient interest, and I have been asked to provide evidence with a list of names and addresses of people who would like to attend. It may be possible to organise some facilities, equipment, and accommodation in a local community centre.
Current courses provided through the Ealing Public Library service are all based on the commercial Microsoft operating systems. I have been told that the council will not allow anything other than Microsoft on their system, despite the fact that they themselves use some free non-Microsoft software such as firefox, and their website runs on apache.
Please contact me if you would be interested in a local project for beginners to show that there is sufficient interest.
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