Affiliate News

Okc Forum Builds on UNIX Services in Oklahoma

Okc Forum, the UniForum affiliate group in Oklahoma City, is a home for "systems analysts, network administrators, and a whole gamut from hackers to VARs and everything in between," reports David Drexler, Okc Forum president.

The organization formed about three years ago when a group of "quite a few heavy duty UNIX hackers" split off from another Oklahoma user's group. "In the '90s it sort of evolved into a business-oriented thing for VARs and people who were selling UNIX," Drexler notes. "Now we've evolved back to a more techie group, trying to keep a balance between people who are interested in selling UNIX and people who use it to make a living as information services professionals-programmers, students, librarians, teachers, and people who are hobbyists and just like to play." Some join just for the Internet access that comes with membership, although the annual membership fee of $75, $50 for students, is designed to encourage participation in meetings as well. Membership has recently increased to between 45 and 50, Drexler reports.

Okc Forum meets on the third Tuesday of each month from 7 to 9 p.m. at Casady School in the northern part of the city. Product demonstrations are a part of the meetings. The last meeting featured a demonstration of Linux, the UNIX version for Intel-based PCs that was invented by Linus Torvalds, a University of Helsinki student, and is available free on bulletin boards. The presentation included "what it's good for, and why you might want to get rid of DOS and Windows on your machine at home and run Linux," Drexler says. The November meeting was to include a presentation by a headhunter on trends in the industry, including a list of current openings. Plans for next year include discussions on various new technologies.

Besides the meetings and free login to the Internet-connected host, the group offers a lending library consisting of books, CD-ROMs and video tapes. A hard-copy newsletter is now under development. "We're in the process of getting that ramped up now and I expect we'll have one out by the first of the year," Drexler says. "We're also pushing hard to develop a Linux special interest group (SIG). There's quite a lot of interest in that in the community. We're in the process of putting together a machine fondly called the Club Hub, for people who run Linux and want to experiment with TCP/IP over modems but not have to pay some Internet service provider an arm and a leg to do it. This machine will sit at a member's house with three or phone lines connected and anybody who wants to experiment with TCP/IP can dial up, connect to it and internetwork with each other."

Okc Forum is also developing a continuing series of UNIX classes for people who want to learn the basics. The classes, to be held once a week, are "especially for those want to run a Linux system at home. Maybe they're coming from a DOS background and they've played with Linux a little but don't know anything about systems administration. It's going to start off with just the raw basics and proceed into more advanced topics." If someone misses a class, they will be able to log into the Okc Forum bulletin board to review the chapter and ask questions on-line.

For further information: contact David Drexler, president, at (405) 947-8868(voice) or