BLUG: A Brief History of BLUG

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The group started in August 1999 when I was working for Microsoft Ireland in Dublin. I had just finished testing the functionality (or lack thereof) of Visual Studio 6 Service Pack 3 in Italian when I decided that there had to be a better way.

Just then, NT crashed (for the fifth time that day) and I decided that using an abacus and writing tables would be better than this. So, I decided to look into this Linux thing that I'd heard so much about.

I downloaded a few distros (using Microsoft CDs and their burning lab: ain't irony grand?) to burn them onto CD, brought them home and decided to have a go. I soon found that I was using Windows 98 less each day, and was using Linux more. It was a revelation!

Then I came up against a snag. Dammit. I'll not bore you with details, but it involved my obscure video card not working properly. Anyway, having scoured the web looking for an answer, I found one on some server in the States. It was a reply to someone who had posted a question to a LUG mailing list. Then I thought, I wonder is there on of those in Belfast? There must be. To my shock and horror, there was no mention of a Belfast Linux User Group on any of the big Linux sites, and a web search for "Belfast Linux" didn't bring up a lot.

I thought to my self, how am I gonna find easy access to problems? How will I get that damned (insert this weeks broken bit of hardware) working? I decided to port a few messages to some news groups; alt.linux, alt.os.linux, and comp.os.linux.announce, just for starters. I also posted messages to various other web sites about interest in starting a group. This rather bizarre message can still be found on some archives:

"I'd like to join a Linux UG in the North! I don't think there are any, but I might start one if I could find the time. If anyone knows of one let me know?"

A few people replied, then a few more... until I had 20 odd people. It was cool, if a little unexpected. We first met at a pub, as customary with things like this. As I remember, we arranged to meet at the Students Union, which turned out to be closed.. luckily The Bot was open, and we all went there. It was Grand.

We've been meeting fairly irregularily since then. Let's hope we can manage another year!

By Danny Walker
Created: Tue, 24 Oct 2000 23:00:00 +0000