Chicago PHP First Met in 2000, Not 1997

Downtown Chicago

For many years, I’ve been claiming that Chicago PHP is the oldest, continuous-running PHP user group. This single fact hinged on a page that, for many years, was hosted at as a historical reference. On this page, it stated:

The first meeting of the Midwest PHP User’s Group (MPUG) will be held at:

Saturday, February 26th, 1997, 1 pm CST
Ignition State

I’ve been passing along this information over the years to various members of the community. Most recent, I published it in an InfoWorld article reflecting on PHP at 20 years. However, today this fact was called into question and debunked because John Long happened to link to an old mailing list post from 2000.

In the post dated February 26, 2000, Richard Lynch says:

The first Chicago PHP User’s Group, CHIPHPUG, [CHIF pug] meeting went very well!

It was originally announced as MPUG, but even I didn’t really like that name: It was just convenient. :-)

After seeing this, I assumed the year must have been wrong. I thought maybe Grokbase had a bug, but then John pointed to the same post on After this, I did some more exploring only to find a post dated February 23, 2000, where the “very first Midwest PHP User’s Group meeting” was announced.

The language used in the post was very similar to that found on the historical page; it’s missing the year.

The very first Midwest PHP User’s Group meeting is definitely “on”:

Saturday, February 26th, 1 pm CST
Ignition State

This post also links to, a page on Richard’s domain. I looked up this page on the Internet Archive to find that it is identical to the historical reference page that used to be hosted at, with one exception. The year 1997 was erringly added to the historical reference page.

To confirm, I found the very first Internet Archive capture for, where it identifies the first meeting of the Chicago PHP user group as Saturday, February 26, 2000. It turns out February 26, 1997, was a Wednesday, while the historical reference page identified it as a Saturday, further proof the year was wrong.

I’m sorry for all the confusion I might have caused, and now that we know the truth, it’s time to find out which group really is the oldest, continuous-running PHP user group.