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AberMUD, pronounced /ˈæbərmʌd/, was the first popular open source MUD, named after the town in which it was written, Aberystwyth. The first version was written in B by Alan Cox, Richard Acott, Jim Finnis, and Leon Thrane based at University of Wales, Aberystwyth for an old Honeywell mainframe and opened in 1987.[1][2]

Alan Cox had played the University of Essex MUD1 written by Roy Trubshaw and Richard Bartle, and the gameplay was heavily influenced by MUD1.[3]

In late 1988 AberMUD was ported to C by Alan Cox so it could run on UNIX at Southampton University's Maths machines.[4] This version was named AberMUD2.[5]

In early 1989 there were three instances of AberMUD running in the UK, the Southampton one, one at Leeds University and a third at the IBM PC User Group in London, ran by Ian Smith. In January 1989 Michael Lawrie sent a licenced copy of AberMUD3 to Vijay Subramaniam and Bill Wisner, both American Essex MIST players.[6] Bill Wisner subsequently spread AberMUD around the world.[7]

AberMUD3 was renamed to AberMUD II by Rich Salz in February 1989 after he cleaned up the source code and ported it to UNIX.[8]

In 1991, Alan Cox wrote AberMUD IV (unrelated to AberMUD 4) and then AberMUD V, which was also used, with graphical extensions, in the Elvira game by Horror Soft, a trading name of Adventure Soft. AberMUD V was later released under the GNU GPL.

AberMUD4 was improved by Alf Salte and Gjermund "Nicknack" Sørseth to create Dirt. Their May 1993 final release of Dirt 3.1.2 is used by most of the remaining AberMUD games on the internet.[9]

Notable AberMUDs include Northern Lights and Infinity. About twenty AberMUDs remain in operation, but even as of 2008, they have few players.[10] However, AberMUD's legacy lives on in the three major codebases it inspired: TinyMUD, LPMud and DikuMUD.[11]

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