From August 1997 ILUG Cochin has been working for the cause of Freedom by promoting Free Software. Contrary to the hype and glamor, ILUG has been promoting this cause in a truthful, transparent and the most effective manner. ILUG believes its major aim in this regard is Free Software awareness. And therefore the attempt to create this awareness is reflected in all of ILUGs activities. Be it a stall for promotion or a seminar or presentation the core concept of Freedom always exists in the activities of ILUG. And it is because of this concept and strong foundation ILUG has been able to successfully move forward into its 11th year.
The cumulative effort of the millions of supporters and developers throughout the World has helped spread the message of Free Software which is the sole reason for ILUG’s success. ILUG has been able to help hundreds of people regain their freedom and choose the right path and this has triggered a chain reaction propagating our message to the nook and corner of Kerala.
ILUG Cochin was formed in September 1997, when 7 people met at a place in Ernakulam City. The people were invited to for a discussion on a new innovative thing called linux, a new concept. Many of the people were from IT Background, mostly hardware vendors and service technicians either earning a living through it or hobbyists who were also members of other computer clubs. The meeting invitation was through word of mouth and posters at public places.
The success of the first meeting was felt when more than 20 people turned out for the second meeting. The discussions were based on the concept of Linux (as it was way back then).
The Movement strengthens
After a couple of meetings the venue changed to the present location and technical presentations and hacking became the norm. Lengthy meetings from morning to evening were held, with lot of Brainstorming. Most of the people who came for the meetings, were those who were unsuccessful at installing GNU/Linux at their homes. As the Internet was rare and costly, back then, there was no where they could go for help. This brought about a group of people, who began to think differently.
The meetings were initially conducted on the first sunday, which then changed to the second sunday, then the third sunday and finally moved to the fourth sunday. The meetings have been conducted regularly without fail from the first meeting in 1997. This itself can stand proof of the success of ILUG Cochin.
The members who were part of the initial group, had then itself started providing solutions personally to individuals and organizations, thereby making a living.
The first seminar conducted by ILUG Cochin was in 2001 in North Kerala. There were 700 people who attended the seminar. It was organized by a Hardware Vendor.
The initial aim was to bring together people who could share information on their experiences with using free software, especially on solving problems. Since Internet was expensive and rare in those days this was the only way to find solutions to common problems when using Free Software. The group of people who came together to form ILUG Cochin, were from varied fields and had only one agenda, to share knowledge and live in freedom.
As time went on, the number of people attending meetings increased, and the meetings saw lot of brainstorming sessions on several topics relating to Free Software. The meetings were a platform for bringing people from different areas for a common cause of helping others and sharing knowledge. This helped the group grow faster, with more and more people coming to the meetings.
By 2006 ILUG Cochin had started participating in Exhibitions and conducting workshops and demonstrations at different venues. ILUG Cochin Members were also was involved in initiating the adoption of Free Software in IT@School in 2001. ILUG Cochin later participated in meetings and discussions, when Free Software was implemented at IT@School in 2004. The role of the User Group had changed way beyond everyones expectations and now has an assosciated registered legal organization too. Although ILUG Cochin has never been in the spotlight all the time, the presence was felt over the 11 years. Its role from a problem solving group to a place were people can find ways of earning a living with free software has been done with perfection.
ILUG Cochin never compromised on its ideals of Freedom and truth since its inception and this has remained the single driving force behind its success.
ILUG Cochin has the vision to create a Free Society, where individuals have Freedom to work in unison and harmony, without being subjected to the control of companies. ILUG Cochin hopes to do this by spreading the principles of Freedom and Truth which are embodied in the concept of Free Software by the GNU movement.
ILUG Cochins aims to create a society comprising of Students, Teachers and individuals ready to support the cause of using Free Software for their daily needs, for their business and in the industry.
ILUG Cochin will reach its final destination by conducting regular meetings,seminars, demonstrations and workshops and attracting people to free software, provide them with specialized training (with a legal entity) and giving the opportunities to a make living out of free software(especially through community based support centres within kerala). Thus we aim to create a self sustaining community, which will remain free from the clutches of a group or individual.
MailingList, Website and IRC
The first yahoogroups mailing list and website on a free hosting service came up in 1999. Later we got our own mailing list and website in 2000. The IRC Channel was started in 2005.