|Where have all the Sun User
by Zsolt Kerekes,
When we first published this directory in 1992, Sun User
Groups were at the height of their powers. They published magazines. They ran
events. They really mattered. Since then, they have mostly gone bust or
collapsed from user apathy. So most of the information which used to be listed
on this page has become obsolete. You can see how many there used to be by
this link for the 1999 version of the Sun User Group directory.
did they disappear? There are several possible reasons...
- the web provided pretty much the same kind of information about Sun
products and support issues, which were previously the remit of user groups.
There was no need to pay money to belong to a user group, when
other sources of
SPARC info could provide this information quicker, and free.
- Sun found that focus groups were a much more effective way of getting
feedback from users, and so scaled down its financial support for user groups
which mainly consisted of a skewed sample of academics and other people who were
not representative of the business and commercial users in the fastest growing
strategic markets for SPARC.
- the Sun compatible market became so large, that there was no longer a need
for unfocused users groups, which tried to do everything (often badly). SPARC
products were everywhere, and if you needed specialised
independent repair and
maintenance services, there were plenty of commercial organizations out
there which could help you.
- Sun User Group's were typically run by committes which might take as much
as 6 months to make simple decisions which a commercial company would get done
in 5 minutes. When your overheads are being paid by someone else, and there's no
pressure to get things done, the organization just becomes a talking shop... and
the web has millions of those, which don't ask Sun for a handout...
Am I right?
Am I being fair? If you know of any live Sun User Groups, just let me know.
During the last 6 years, this offer has been open on this special user group
page, which hardly ever got visited by anyone. So I've zapped all the dead
links, and I think that proves my point...
- Nowadays manufacturers and resellers can use much more sophisticated
techniques based on CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software and
training. They can do this from their own web sites, and they don't need
intermediaries to interfere with the communication process.