A few months ago in June I attended the UK Open Source Awards in Edinburgh, and got to chatting with a number of people there, including Ashley from SalesAgility SuiteCRM who was delivering a talk on why we need more Open Source in schools, and what groups are working to make that happen. I asked her if there were any meetup groups that were specifically geared towards discussing Open Source matters, and neither of us could come up with any for Glasgow, Stirling or Edinburgh, aside from perhaps each one's local Linux User Groups, and even then, these don't solely or necessarily focus on the topic of Open Source themselves.
So I went about setting up a meetup just about that - talk about Open Source and Free Software, the principle itself, and the topics around them. It's all well and good that Linux is Open Source, that AOSP is Open Source, that Mozilla is Open Source, etc, etc. But what about talking about its licenses, its adoption, its relevance... its difficulties, its funding models? What about all these nearly "meta" topics around openness and user freedom preservation? We called it the "Scotland Open Source Users Meetup" with the aim in part to get members across the Scottish tech scenes including Edinburgh and Glasgow, as well as Stirling, Dundee and Aberdeen, so as to provide a central location for all Open Source enthusiasts to discover eachothers' events.
In August we hosted our first meetup - amidst the existing chaos that are the Edinburgh summer festivals - around how to fund Open Source projects (the notes for which are on the website). It had a modest turnout, around 10 people, and the large CodeBase meeting room did feel a little overkill, but it was productive and we got through quite a number of questions for the Guided Conversation format.
It's taken some time to get around to it - partially because of a suddenly busy life schedule, and partly because I have been doing too many meetups recently (I also run two other technical meetups, and am proactively involved in a couple of language based ones) - but I've managed to put together the next Scotland Open Source Users Meetup : a discussion of Free/Open Source licenses and about the adoption of software using libraries and software with such licenses.
After this I'll have to aim for January for a new session. The search for topics and speakers continues...