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The Berkeley Macintosh Users Group (BMUG) was a non-profit Macintosh user group formed by students of the University of California, Berkeley.


BMUG was established in 1984 and was incorporated in 1985 as a non-profit educational organization to support early Macintosh users. By 1988, membership had grown to several thousand members. Weekly meetings at the UC Berkeley campus boasted hundreds of attendees every Thursday.[1] BMUG grew to become the largest Apple user group in the world, with about 12,000 members from over 50 countries in 1996. It became known for its distribution of phonebook-sized newsletters and shareware CD-ROMs.[2][3]


BMUG co-founder Reese M. Jones created a low-cost variant of AppleTalk networking hardware to connect BMUG's computers in Eshleman Hall to the backbone network of the campus. Initially called "BMUGnet", Reese patented it and developed it into PhoneNET.[4][5] Reese then founded Farallon Computing to market hardware developed at Berkeley, such as PhoneNet and MacRecorder.[6]

Rapid growth and decline[]

BMUG eJumper

BMUG's "eJumper" mascot

Though BMUG expanded explosively, the organization's overhead costs became unsustainable by declining membership renewals as Apple Computer and the Macintosh platform struggled for survival in the 1990s. Despite the return of Steve Jobs in 1997, the user group largely failed to follow Apple's swift turnaround and embrace of the Internet. BMUG's main office was closed at the end of March 1999 and continued operations were carried out by volunteers at the BMUG West and South satellites.[7] On August 23, BMUG stopped accepting membership dues and most operations, except the BMUG Online website were suspended by November 10, 1999.[8] Apple stated that it was unable to financially rescue BMUG as other non-profit groups would protest about preferential treatment.[3]

Bankruptcy and legacy[]

BMUG declared bankruptcy and disbanded in 2000. Some former members acquired the assets of the defunct BMUG to keep its "Planet BMUG" bulletin board system running. The BBS evolved into PlanetMUG by early 2003.[9][10] BMUG West continued to hold meetings until March 7, 2016.[11] BMUG South became the Silicon Valley Macintosh User Group.


  1. Introduction to BMUG by Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, Making the Macintosh. Stanford University. 2000-04-20.
  2. About BMUG..., Berkeley Macintosh Users Group. Archived 1996-10-19.
  3. 3.0 3.1 User Group Stands by Its Mac by Matt Richtel, The New York Times. 1998-05-30.
  4. US5003579A: System for connecting computers via telephone lines by Reese M. Jones, Google Patents.
  5. BMUG Lab in UCB Eshleman Hall, 32by32. 1986-03-04.
  6. BMUG and MacRecorder, 32by32. 1985-09-19.
  7. A Letter To All BMUG Members by the Board and Staff of BMUG, Berkeley Macintosh Users Group. 1999. Archived 2000-08-17.
  8. About BMUG, Berkeley Macintosh Users Group. Archived 2000-08-17.
  9. PlanetMUG BBS On The Web, PlanetMUG. Archived 2003-02-06.
  10. About PlanetMUG, PlanetMUG. Accessed 2021-07-03.
  11. BMUGWest. Archived 2016-03-22.

External links[]


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