2006 WPLUG Election Statement - Vance Kochenderfer

This is a fuller explanation of my candidacy for the WPLUG Board for 2006. If you have any questions, please e-mail me at vkochend@nyx.net.

Personal History

I have been using Linux since 1997 (Slackware 3.2) and have attended WPLUG meetings from early 2004. I've also been an editor of WPLUG's newsletter, The Open Pitt, from June 2004 to the present. Although I'm an engineer, unlike most WPLUG members I do not work in information technology. I use Linux entirely (and exclusively) at home, so I may bring a different perspective than others. I chaired the committee which drafted the bylaws revision adopted in 2005, so I'm very (perhaps more than I want to be!) familiar with them and the reasoning behind them.


The current Board has done an outstanding job as we've made the transition over the past year to the new organizational structure. However, this transition is not yet complete. To truly become a member-run group will require your participation at meetings and in WPLUG's activities.

It is my goal to see membership business meetings occur each month as required by the bylaws. Even when there is no pressing business to transact, these meetings keep the membership informed of and involved in WPLUG's activities.

The current Board has worked very hard to keep WPLUG going over the year - in my opinion, too hard. WPLUG has established committees to spread the load, but these are currently not fully functioning. The Program Committee should handle the core function of scheduling meetings and events and arranging speakers and topics. The Internet Committee should take care of WPLUG's server and maintain the web site and mailing lists. These two committees are so important to WPLUG that they are established in the bylaws, and it is vital that they get up and running semi-autonomously, which will free up the Board considerably.

The other two standing committees established are the Newsletter Committee and Public Relations Committee. While they do not handle core WPLUG functions, they are an important part of the outreach efforts that I'd like to see WPLUG do. Regardless of whether or not you plan to vote for me, I strongly encourage you to become an active participant in whichever of these committees is well-suited to you.


I'd like to see WPLUG do more events like the Demo Day held earlier this year to reach out to less-experienced users. This is not in any way intended to "dumb down" our many technical presentations, but to expand our efforts to make Linux relevant to larger numbers of people. I believe that Linux is usable by nontechnical people - my mother uses it every day - and that WPLUG should be active in the Pittsburgh area to promote and support the wider use of Linux and other Open Source software.

One good vehicle for this would be a Software Freedom Day event. Ultimately, following my thoughts about governance outlined above, it will be up to the membership to decide whether to move in this direction. But I believe it would help fulfill an important part of our objectives.

Thanks for reading, and whether or not you intend to support my candidacy I hope you will cast a vote in this year's election and make your voice heard.

Vance Kochenderfer
October 5, 2006