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Setting up a Legend Users Group

Report of meeting 31/01/96 at Windhill Vicarage
The meeting was convened to discuss the formation of a `Legend Users Group' and was attended by eleven Legend users and two representatives of Legend Internet as follows:

From Legend:

Nigel Wadsworth
Harri Nyman

Legend Users:

The Revd Geoff Percival
Chris Wright
Robert Lawson
Carl Smith
Daniel Davison
Mike Banahan
Conrad Edwards
Peter Moulding
Simeon Davison
Joseph Dillon
Nigel York

Liquid refreshment was provided by Legend

The session was introduced by Geoff Percival who explained the purpose of the meeting and described the discussions that had led up to the meeting.

There was no formal agenda, but he posed the questions:

Do we want a User Group?
What format should it take?

There was swift agreement that a User Group was a good idea - and that meetings should normally be held close to purveyors of ale and curry.

Nigel Wadsworth spoke briefly of Legend's progress since its official launch in September 1995. In addition to its corporate customers there are now some 300 dial-up subscribers, of whom about half are probably 'home' users.

Legend have recently ordered an increase in the bandwidth of their link to the London-based Linx backbone from 64k to 256k and are currently prioritising their further development. In particular he commented on the short loss of service on the previous day and said that providing the extra bandwidth was more significant than, say, installing generators to cope with infrequent black-outs. Another development under discussion includes a new backbone link, probably to the Continent that would further improve the reliability of the system.

Legend are an unusual Service Provider in that their site comprises their own network of systems. This means that they are able to provide a new `box' to host a User Group server that will not compromise the essential security of other user's data. This extra UNIX server should be available online by the end of February. The intention is that the server would be available for non-commercial purposes only, and be largely maintained by the User Group itself.

Geoff spoke of various Voluntary and Charitable organisations who would also be keen to use the facilities of such a server. He said that the core functions of such a system would be to provide Web space, to give a site for FTP transfers and, in the future, a facility for serving mail lists.

Nigel agreed that the system that was to be installed would be easily capable of handling the amount of use that could be anticipated.

A potential problem concerning CGI scripts was raised. It was swiftly accepted that, as these executable scripts were potentially very risky to the server (a badly - or maliciously - written script could reformat the hard disc!), no user would be allowed to write his own. A pool of `official' checked scripts could, however, be provided for members to use in their own Web pages.

More practical details were then discussed.

It was agreed that the User Group would need to elect an executive and that among them should be a small group of technically able members who would administer the User Group server.

It was agreed that there would need to be a levy to cover the running costs - five pounds per annum was a figure mentioned (but not discussed or agreed upon).

Following discussion as to whether shareware writers would be able to use the space, it was agreed that the User Group would need to compile a charter and an Acceptable Use Policy. The User Group executive, with responsibilities to both the users and to Legend, would need to police the use of the server. It was axiomatic that all member of the User Group would be subscribers to Legend.

In order to preserve the separate integrity of Legend and the User Group, Nigel proposed registering a separate domain name. It was strongly felt, however, that the domain name should reflect the ties between Legend and the User Group and that the generosity of Legend should be recognised in this way. The suggestion of received universal acclaim. The activities of the executive were discussed.

In addition to the technical work needed to maintain the server, members would be needed to help to support new users. They would also have a crucial role in keeping the executive committee's feet firmly on the ground. It was seen as being crucial that the User Group was easily accessible to all Legend subscribers and that it did not turn into a clique for technical whiz kids.

The format of meetings was discussed briefly. It was suggested that they begin with a lecture or talk from some competent speaker. This could be followed with a social gathering on licensed premises.

It was finally agreed that a working party be set up. This group will normally meet electronically via a mailing list administered by Geoff Percival.

The first task for the Working Party is to enable a wide discussion and agreement of a suitable name for the group. LUG (Legend User Group) was thought to lack a little charisma! Discussion of this will be enabled particularly through Local Chat, but the importance of using Email was stressed, particularly for those who do not spend significant time sifting through newsgroups.

As well as a name, a suitable constitution is to be drawn up. Geoff Percival has experience of this and will undertake that task.

Once the Working Party have completed their task, an inaugural meeting will be called at which the constitution will be adopted and the officers and executive will be elected.

The meeting ended, coffee was served and those present spent some time chatting with each other before departing homeward.

Chris Wright

Geoff Percival
Last Updated - 01/02/96 24:00:00

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