After months of work going through 20 years worth of documents, I'm happy to say that I finally completed the OPCUG's history page. To view it, please go to the OPCUG web page at opcug.ca, and click on the "History" button in the left frame.

The Group can be proud of its history; created soon after the release of the PC by IBM, it has seen the evolution of the computer, operating systems, modems, the internet, and so many other things.

If you go through the history page you will see how those changes affected the Group.

The need to communicate resulted the in the rental of a Bulletin Board System (BBS), but with the reduction of the cost of computer and software, we decided to invest about $8000 to setup our own BBS in 1988. It grew rapidly over the years and at one point had 6 dial-in lines attached. In 1997 we went one step further and became part of the internet.

In the early years, before the internet, members were craving software and the software library was the answer that the club provided; during the year 1987 we sold $9255 worth of disks containing freeware and shareware, surpassing the membership revenues of $6400 (Jan 1988). Gradually, though, with the introduction of the larger BBS and the internet, members started to look elsewhere.

The club was not always well though; in Feb 1997 after a gradual and serious decline of the membership, the club seriously questioned its future, and decided to form an "OPCUG Core Strategy Development Committee" to study what should be done to improve the situation and what direction it should take in the future. A few months later, in Oct 1997, the committee released a report that that recommended, among other things, the creation of a web site, an email system including a mailing list, use of the PUB as a file and bulletin repository and the establishment of a permanent connection to the internet. A survey indicated that 90% of the member had access to the Internet, but the committee recommended maintaining the dial-up access at the same time. This questioning injected a new life into the Group and many improvements.

The club had also some crisis. For example in Dec 1989, the elections were contested; this resulted in hotly debated proposed constitution in Jun 1990 and finally an adoption in Sep 1990.

There have been a lot of people that helped as directors in the everyday activities, over a hundred in fact, and I have tried to list them all in the history page, under the BOD link. There are also many other people and organisations that contributed in one way or another, and the names of many of them can be found on the "Friends" and "Honour Roll" web pages of the Group.

The Group has seen some big events also, for example the release of DOS 6 that attracted the largest crowd ever in Mar 1993.

Many clubs in the area have come and gone, but the OPCUG is still there and strong with over 150 members, meetings from a wide variety of presenters 10 months of the years, and a very active board of directors.

But, the history page is not perfect, I'm sure it has errors, omission, missing actors, grammar and spelling errors, and so on. Not being there for most of the events, often I had to guess the meaning of what I read, sometime I had to choose between conflicting description, other times I had to cross correlate partial info to try to find out what happened, and on top of all of that, I added my own bias. It's not perfect, and that's where all the actors of the club during those 20 years are invited to help me to improve the history page. We have a copy of almost all the newsletters, but there are some missing Board of Director meeting minutes, so if you happen to have copies of any of the missing ones, I would be interested in obtaining copies. You can find the minutes in area 59 - Text - OPCUG - BOD Minutes, or at http://opcug.ca/code/html-list+files?frames=n&area=59.

My main source of information for the history page were the minutes of the Board of Director meetings, but there is so much more that the actors could tell us, please don't hesitate to tell us your stories by posting them into the "History" conference area of the PUB or emailing them to history@opcug.ca (after subscribing once with "subscribe history"; in the body of a message to listserve@opcug.ca).

I hope you will enjoy the OPCUG's history page.

Happy 20th anniversary and long life to the OPCUG!

Truly yours,

Jocelyn Doire.