Since this document is meant as a guide not only to maintaining and growing LUGs but also to founding them, it would be well before we go much further to determine what LUGs there are.
There are several lists of LUGs available on the Web. If you want to found a local LUG, one of the first things to do is to determine where the nearest LUG is. Your best bet may be to join a LUG that is already established in your area rather than founding a new one.
As of the mid-1997, there are LUGs in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and 26 other countries, including India, Russia, and most of Western and Eastern Europe.
Note: the biggest untapped computing market on the planet, China, does not yet appear to have a LUG, and India, the second most populous country on the planet, has only a few.
It appears that the GLUE list is more comprehensive for American LUGs, while the LUG List Project offers more comprehensive international coverage.
While the lists of LUGs on the Web are well-maintained, it is likely that they do not list every LUG. In addition to consulting these lists, I suggest, if you are considering founding a LUG, that you post a short message asking about the existence of a local LUG to comp.os.linux.announce, comp.os.linux.misc, or an appropriate regional Usenet hierarchy. If there isn't a LUG already in your area, then posting mesages to these groups will alert potential members of your plans.
If you plan to found a local LUG, you should carefully balance convenience against solidarity. In other words, if there is a LUG in your metropolitan area, but on the other side of the city, it may be better to start a new group for the sake of convenience. But it may be better to join the pre-existing group for the sake of unity and solidarity. Greater numbers almost always means greater power, influence, and efficiency. While it might be nice to have two groups of 100 members each, there are certain advantages to one group of 200 members. Of course if you live in a small town or village, any group is better than no group at all.
The point is that starting a LUG is an arduous undertaking, and one that ought to be entered into with all the relevant facts, and with some appreciation of the effect on other groups.
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