Internet User Group At Belfast

Belfast Linux is a group of people from Belfast and the surrounding area, with a common interest in the GNU/Linux operating system. In short, it is called BLUG – Belfast Linux User Group. Meetings are held approximately once a month, and the group has a high volume mailing list where all things about Linux are discussed.

A large group of members meet approximately once a month for informal chats on all things Linux, and other such subjects like open source technology. Previous meetings have included chats from Rasterman, and many have included talks from group members on a diverse range of subjects.

It often happens that after a meeting has taken place, some if not all of the group will head to a local bar to get langered. If you like the sound of this, subscribe to the mailing list or watch the front page for meeting announcements. Recently the group is managed through the meetup group at http://www.meetup.com/belfast-lug/.

The Beginning

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

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

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

Then he came up against a snag. Not much about details but it involved his obscure video card not working properly. Anyway, having scoured the web looking for an answer, he found one on some server in the States. It was a reply to someone who had posted a question to a Linux user group mailing list. Then he thought, is there one of those in Belfast? There must be. To his 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.

He thought to himself, “How can I find easy access to problems? How will I get that damned (insert this broken bit of hardware) working?” He decided to port a few messages to some news groups; alt.linux, alt.os.linux, and comp.os.linux.announce, just for starters. He also posted messages to various other web sites about interest in starting a group.

A few people replied, then a few more… until they had 20 odd people. It was cool, if a little unexpected. They first met at a pub, as customary with things like this.  The first meeting was arranged at the Students Union, which turned out to be closed. Luckily, The Bot was open, and they all went there. It was Grand.

The Current

Recently the group is managed through the meetup group at http://www.meetup.com/belfast-lug/. It often happens that after a meeting has taken place, some if not all of the group will head to a local bar to get langered. If you like the sound of this, visit the meetup page and subscribe to the mailing list or watch the front page for meeting announcements.