I recently attended a gathering of people who have some interests in Linux. I was quite surprised by the big turnout. I believe the organizers themselves did not think there would be such a big interest, because they had booked too small a meeting venue. The room was too small, and in my opinion, their efforts to move aside the tables did little to alleviate the congestion. I guess we all underestimated the level of interest in Linux, unless, perhaps people were there just to check out the level of interest in Linux.
Like I was, as were a few other people who were there. Yes, we were just pretty curious about just how many Linux people, whether they are users themselves or just simply interested, there are in NUS. Despite several people (more than you could count on your fingers) not being students, the remaining number of people were still quite sizable.
I was surprised, because of the general decline of tech-savviness of our students. Never mind that our students can’t program, that’s something we already know for about a decade. But increasingly, we see how lost our students are with IT. A simple instruction to download a file and save it to a certain directory, for example, was too complicated for one student to execute. Another did not know how to open the printer door to clear a paper jam, despite graphic instruction being pasted on the printer.
But back on topic. I guess there is still some decent level of IT literacy amongst at least some of our students. Even if they aren’t Linux users, the fact that they knew enough to know there exists some other operating system than Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7, that they would be interested enough to come to such a meeting, it’s a good start. Sometimes you’d wonder if people still remember MS-DOS, or its “improvements” like DESQview and OS/2.
The sad thing is that I came to understand that this student group, in fact, comprised of just one student member. Everyone else were alumni (i.e. ex-students). That’s for the people who really make up the group (i.e. what I would consider active participation, as opposed to passive audiences like people who came to this gathering to listen).
So I’m wondering, is there not enough interest or perhaps there is no need for such a user group to exist in NUS?