Berkeley Macintosh Users Group

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Berkeley Macintosh Users Group (BMUG) is a Macintosh User Group, founded in September 1984 by U.C. Berkeley students including Reese Jones,[1] Raines Cohen[2] and Bernt Wahl[3] to share knowledge of graphical computing, primarily the Apple Macintosh.

The group had more than 13,000 members at its peak in 1993, with associated BBSs in Boston and Tokyo, and was the largest independent computer users' group in the world at the time.[citation needed] Some notable members include: John Draper (Captain Crunch), Hassanal Bolkiah (Sultan of Brunei), and Eric Brewer (Inktomi founder).

One of the early successes for the group was BMUGNet, a variant of Apple's LocalTalk system which used standard telephone wires to connect Macintosh computers together in a local area network. Wiring plans were initially published in the Fall 1985 BMUG Newsletter, but members could purchase adapters assembled by the group. Co-founder Reese Jones branched the production off as the commercial business Farallon Computing in 1986, renaming the product PhoneNet.[4]

BMUG was famous for lively meetings, "We are in the business of giving away information" motto, "BMUG Awards", its great MacWorld Expo get-togethers, CD and book publishing, 400+ page biannual "newsletters" akin to the Whole Earth Catalog, and one of the largest shareware collections for Macintosh Public domain software sold to members and customers on floppy disks.

BMUG hosted an enthusiastic weekly Thursday night meeting with questions and answers, and software demonstrations by vendors, followed at the end by a raffle. Notable speakers included: Steve Jobs, Guy Kawasaki, Ted Nelson, Heidi Roizen, Andy Hertzfeld, Bill Atkinson, Jean-Louis Gassée, Marc Benioff, Melinda Ann French (Gates) and Bill Gates.

It also held Special Interest Groups (SIGs) on Basic Mac, Troubleshooting, ClarisWorks (integrated word processing, drawing, painting, spreadsheet, database and telecommunications), FileMakerPro relational databases, graphics, video, music, the Internet, programming and mathematics. Branch groups held general meetings in outlying areas, including San Francisco, Cupertino and Tokyo.

The group would meet for dinner and conversation after the meetings, usually at a Chinese restaurant in downtown Berkeley—a tradition kept up even after the weekly meetings stopped, and still continuing at least through 2013.[citation needed]

BMUG declared bankruptcy in 2000. Branch groups of the organisation have continued on their own:

  • the San Francisco branch continues as BMUGWest[5]
  • the South Bay group continues as Silicon Valley MUG[6]
  • the Mac refurbishing project was reformed into Access2Technology,[7] which has since shuttered.
  • Members purchased the group's online presence (the BMUG BBS) and have kept it running as PlanetMUG,[8] in conjunction with The BostonBBS[9] (formerly the Boston Computer Society's Mac BBS).


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