User group downturn?

Michael Torrie torriem at
Sat Dec 1 20:12:19 MST 2012

On 12/01/2012 04:54 PM, Dave Smith wrote:
> I've been thinking a lot lately about the downturn in user group meeting attendance and mailing list participation over the last few years. Today I graphed Plug's mailing list activity from 2005 to present (messages per month), and noticed a startling coincidence.
> Is this causal or merely correlated? Did other groups see a similar downturn in mailing list usage?

I've seen a downturn on a lot of lists I'm on.  This is for several reasons:

- Linux is mature now, and things just work, so there's less of a
novelty in running Linux, and possibly less help needed.
- Windows and OS X aren't too bad, so serious Linux hobby usership is in
- People are moving to other mediums.  Such as web forums, IRC, Twitter.

As for the meeting attendance, I think many of us on the list no longer
live in Utah, and the list helps us keep in touch a bit.

Back when I started using Linux, Mac OS was really weak, and Windows,
well, it was horrible.  And they were all quirky and hard to use.  I
remember OS/2 config.sys (shudder).  So Linux wasn't really that hard to
master, and it provided a stability that none of the other systems could
match.  Now, Windows actually works for most people, and Mac OS is
extremely popular.  In fact many of us on this list have switch to Mac,
while using the Unixy aspect of Mac OS, to satisfy our needs.

I also noticed towards the end of my time at BYU that finding good
student help for system administration was virtually impossible.  Even
finding decent web developers was a challenge.  I don't know why, and
don't know if it's related to your group participation downturn.

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