by S. Lockwood-Childs
(other members should feel free to send corrections/additions, dates are particularly suspect...)
Once upon a time (1997ish?) someone named Paul who lived in Santa Barbara started wishing for a local LUG. This person somehow got into an email conversation with a couple of UCSB students (of which I was one) who also had been wishing for a LUG, and the three of us spread around the announcement that we were trying to start one for Goleta/Santa Barbara area.
The first SBLUG meeting was at UCSB in the Engineering I building. We ended up the first meeting with an election. The other two instigators, Paul and Jeff, volunteered for LUG Secretary and Treasurer respectively. Then the time came for choosing the club president, and nobody volunteered. Roger Endo, a classmate of mine back in undergrad days, pointed out that the other guys who called the meeting were already serving as officers, so it must be my turn to volunteer...
Well, I didn't exactly volunteer, but Roger's nomination was enough to get me elected anyways -- and I wanted a local LUG badly enough that I didn't refuse to serve as president (it was, however, a close call). I have been "SBLUG President" aka "El Presidente" ever since then. Never having convinced anyone else to run against me, SBLUG has gotten out of the habit of holding elections anymore. Note: if anybody wants to run for SBLUG office after attending meetings for a decent amount of time, feel free to request a new election!
We continued to meet in UCSB classrooms during the early days, and hosted our first InstallFest in the spacious Engineering II conference room. A good part of the attendees happened to be UCSB students during that period, a few UCSB staff and faculty, but also plenty of members from the local community. Some members came from as far as the Santa Ynez Valley. During this time Donald Burr volunteered as the SBLUG webmaster, and the SBLUG website enjoyed its golden age of dedicated maintenance -- until around 2004, when Donald switched from student mode to full-time engineer mode and moved to North County in the process.
Eventually, the UCSB era came to an end in about 2003 when the UCSB parking situation became even more attrocious than usual -- the parking lots all around Engineering I were being taken over by building projects, and to add insult to injury they started requiring visitors to buy night-time parking permits for the much farther parking (especially annoying for people lugging around computers to a meeting for hands-on-help). Out of respect for off-campus members, we decided to find a new meeting location. The next meeting place was a computer lab in downtown Santa Barbara, where SBLUG membership started shifting from a UCSB majority to mostly non-UCSB members. After that place closed down, we were hosted at the Goleta Boys/Girls club... until the member who worked there as computer support switched to a different job, and SBLUG needed a new home.
After some frustrating weeks attempting to find a suitable location that had sufficient parking but didn't include fees (SBLUG is a strictly volunteer club that is not interested in enforcing membership dues to pay for room charges), we got lucky at the 2004 Linux World Expo in San Francisco. We ran into Ted Smith from Santa Barbara, who heard our sad story and offered to talk to his employers about hosting SBLUG. Thanks to Ted and Occam Networking (who sells telecomm equipment based on Linux), we have had very comfortable meetings for the last few years, first in their cafeteria room and now in a spacious conferance room at their new location.