The Mid Hudson Valley Linux and Open Source Users Group was founded in 2003, with our first meeting in March of 2003. While the idea for the group had been around since 2002, it took many attempts to get a reasonable space to meet.
MHVLUG is an informal organization, that is first and foremost about making a constructive, sharing, and welcoming community. If you've spent any time in Open Source you'll realize that community matters, a lot, and the right community is key to getting anything done. MHVLUG has a leadership team which does a lot of the heavy lifting, but our tennent is to be open. Our quarterly leadership meetings are open to anyone interested. If you are interested in helping out, just step forward, and we'll find a way to make it happen.
MHVLUG promotes the use and education of open technologies. Open takes many forms.
Open Source Operating Systems
The group actively promotes the use of Linux as an alternative operating system to MacOS or MS Windows. You can run Linux on any standard PC or Mac hardware via one of the many popular Linux distributions out there such as Ubuntu, Fedora, and OpenSuse. While Linux still only accounts for a small percentage of Desktop systems, it runs much of the server infrastructure of the Internet, and is showing up in all kinds of new places, like Mobile Phones, DVD players, TVs, and other embedded devices.
We try to devote a number of lectures each year to using Linux at a more basic level, or understanding what Linux can do for you. This might be at either a desktop user perspective, or a server administrator one.
Open Source Software
There is a lot of open source software out there besides Linux, much of which runs on Microsoft window and/or Mac OS. Exploring and promoting these open alternatives is something that fits within the scope of the group.
Many lectures will look at open source technology that can help you in your every day life. Be that webbrowsers, document editors, email, chat, image manipulation, software development, you name it.
We also like to promote the development of new open source software. Many of our members are involved directly in open source development, and we highlight those projects whenever we get a chance.
Software is great, but some times people like to get their hands dirty with hardware. Fortunately the availability of open or modifiable hardware has become a reality over the past couple of years. Many of our members experiment quite a bit on the open and hackable hardware side of the fence.
We've done talks on home CNC devices (run by Linux), and replacing the firmware on wireless routers or mp3 players to make your devices do more of what you want. We have an annual open hardware showcase in July.
While a bit new for us, the open government initiatives over the last year have been great in openning up raw data to citizens. Most of these efforts have been made possible due to large scale use of Open Source in government, changing both the technology and the culture. In 2010 we're hoping to get more awareness on this new area of openness that we are seeing.
And sometimes just because it's cool...
There are a myriad of internet technologies which aren't always directly open in the traditional sense, but are often built on top of Linux and other open source tech. As cloud computing becomes a more regular part of people's day to day lives we like to get those discusions flowing as well. Many members do webdevelopment, and the latest tech and trends there is often based on open source stacks.
If you are interested in any of these topics, I encourage you to join our mailing lists and see when topics of interest are coming to mhvlug events.