[nycbug-talk] Student's / College's Interest in NYCBUG / NYBSDCon '08

Tim A. techneck at goldenpath.org
Tue Apr 15 10:43:49 EDT 2008

> I'm delighted that you are doing this, I'm a sysadmin at Baruch College and
> I think you are absolutely right about the working class community college
> students. Its those very students I try to hire as part-time sysadmins. It
> would be hard press to find any FreeBSD/Linux students at Baruch, but count
> me in on spreading the word. My colleague tried to host NYCBSDCon here, but
> it was a hard sell.

I don't think it's fair to expect to find "FreeBSD/Linux students" in 
abundance. Usually, it's something specific someone wants to accomplish 
that leads them to experiment with it. For example, I initially wanted 
to learn how to use my old computer as a general purpose sever for web / 
mail / ftp. I downloaded and installed FreeBSD and started playing 
around. From there, the sky's the limit.
In general, you have a mix of (probably pretty confused) people with 
only a vague idea of something trivial (but new and exciting to them) 
that they want to do.

Building a lasting awareness and appreciation for the BSDs on campuses, 
I think, is not an effort focused on students so much as on faculty, the 
administration, and curriculum... permanent / long-term fixtures.
While it may be the student body you want to reach, focusing your 
efforts there is largely wasted due to the nature of your audience and 
its frequent turn over.

It's not something we can reasonably expect to accomplish over the 
course of a semester or two by posting some fliers. The focus has to be 
on building lasting relationships, expanding the user base and knowledge 

I've also shifted focus in attitude. While in college, I did the "hard 
sell" approach to the max, and frankly it's counter productive. It 
implies we have some hidden motive, some personal gain. Honestly, it's 
"take it or leave it". From an academic perspective, for example, I 
think the value of http://www.freebsd.org/doc/ speaks for itself. And if 
who I'm talking to can't see that, I'm probably talking to the wrong person.

More information about the talk mailing list