Homebrew Computer Club

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The Homebrew Computer Club was an early computer hobbyist club in Silicon Valley, which met (under that name) from March 5, 1975 to December 1986. Several very high-profile hackers and IT entrepreneurs emerged from its ranks, including the founders of Apple Inc.



The Homebrew Computer Club was an informal group of electronic enthusiasts and technically-minded hobbyists who gathered to trade parts, circuits, and information pertaining to DIY construction of computing devices.[1] It was started by Gordon French and Fred Moore who met at the Community Computer Center in Menlo Park. They both were interested in maintaining a regular, open forum for people to get together to work on making computers more accessible to everyone.[2] The first meeting was held in March 1975 in Gordon French's garage in Menlo Park, San Mateo County, California, on the occasion of the arrival in the area of the first Altair microcomputer, a unit sent for review by People's Computer Company. Subsequent meetings were held at an auditorium at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center.[3]

After the more-or-less "formal" meetings the participants often reconvened at "The Oasis," a bar and grill on El Camino Real in nearby Menlo Park, recalled years later by a member as "Homebrew's other staging area".[4]

The 1999 made-for-television movie Pirates of Silicon Valley (and the book on which it is based, Fire in the Valley: The Making of the Personal Computer) describes the role the Homebrew Computer Club played in creating the first personal computers, although the movie erroneously placed the meeting in Berkeley and misrepresented the meeting process.

Many of the original members of the Homebrew Computer Club continue to meet (as of 2009), having formed the 6800 Club, named after the Motorola (now Freescale) 6800 microprocessor. Occasionally and variously renamed after the release of the 6800, 6809, and other microprocessors, the group continues to meet monthly in Cupertino, California.

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