Czech GNOME LUG nonsuccess

A member of the Czech GNOME community once had a promising idea to strengthen and organize user community in our country (and possibly also counting in people from the neighboring Slovakia) at a common place where interested visitors could find various information on the GNOME Project, and on what could be called as a GNOME software ecosystem, on its developers and, in particular, end users. This all provided in their local language, and considering needs and concerns of the local user group. It was nothing new, after all, we knew about similar local groups that have been very active in, e.g., Asia or Hispanic world.

But contrary to the vital successful ones, the Czech group (or what was meant to be the Czech group) soon showed its limits. I assume that this GNOME LUG attempt failed mainly due to the quantitative factor: in a country with 10 million people, the FLOSS community may be seen as strong and vital enough, probably thanks in part to a distinct tradition of higher technical education (in the country that has been continuously attracting many ICT businesses from 90s on, including those well-known in the FLOSS world), but in the end, it showed that it’s not enough for an enthusiastic individual or a handful of people with interest in a minority software to be able to form an organized group.

Instead of that, Czech and Slovak people who want to read or communicate about FLOSS tend to frequent two or three major Czech FLOSS-oriented websites with a standard set of social networking services. In addition to that, the only viable FLOSS websites beside the major ones are those aimed at “downstream” projects, i.e. distributions, operating systems or productivity software end-user support. This might be a significant drawback for upstream and much more “generic” projects like GNOME in general: users are aware of the distribution they are running, but they don’t know much about exactly what desktop environment they use. Nor they seem to care that much, after all.

So to make long story short, we had (and still have, for what it’s worth) a LUG-supporting website, but we quickly learned that such a website is merely unable to attract its potential users. That being said, for our Czech case, it wasn’t very helpful, either, that the project was planned and realized more or less as a one-man-show, with its primary and sole author not allowing website visitors to actively participate on and contributing to website content, thus making it hardly interactive, making it less like what many call Web 2.0 nowadays.

The author was ultimately able to work on the website for less than a year, from Summer 2008 to April 2009, with the last published news commenting the GNOME 2.26 release. Since then, the website has been dead as in never coming back.