An Introduction to the TeX Users Group (TUG)
Guest article by Jim Hefferon
Users groups for TeX have been around since 1980. I'm the Vice President of the original one, the TeX Users Group (TUG) and John asked me to write a bit about it. (There are many users groups for TeX, associated with different languages and countries, but we all work together and have much the same goals so I'll stick to TUG since I know it the best.)
TUG is a not-for-profit organization that works for the interests of TeX users. If you use any TeX-related programs, including TeX, LaTeX, ConTeXt, Metafont, MetaPost, Texinfo, etc., then TUG has helped you.
One way that TUG has helped you is by supporting the development of TeX Live, a comprehensive TeX system with binaries for most flavors of Unix including GNU/Linux, and also Windows. It contains all the major TeX-related programs, macro packages, and fonts that are free software, including support for many languages around the world. You may well have TeX Live on your computer, perhaps in the form of MacTeX for MacOSX.
TUG has also helped you by supporting many other anchors of the TeX community, including the primary nodes of the Comprehensive TeX Archive Network (CTAN), the central repository for TeX packages and programs. The TeX and LaTeX packages that you use are distributed to you from CTAN.
TUG holds conferences, including an annual conference, that bring TeX users together in a friendly setting to learn practical techniques, helpful hints, and the latest news in the TeX world through workshops, talks, and informal gatherings. This year's annual conference is at the University of Tokyo, Komaba, Tokyo, on Oct. 23-26, 2013.
TUG has a journal TUGboat, published three times a year, which contains articles spanning the range from elementary to quite advanced, covering all aspects of the TeX world.
Looking to the future, TUG supports the next generation of software through the TeX Development Fund that aids the growth of TeX-related technical projects, and the Libre Font Fund that provides support for development of free (libre) fonts and related software.
Also looking to the future, TUG sponsors an online journal aimed at beginning to intermediate level users. The PracTeX Journal focuses on practical and user-related short articles that solve problems.
TUG has many other activities that help you. I hope you will consider supporting this work by joining TUG or your local users group. There are many membership benefits, one of which is that it is a nice group of people doing good things.
Editor's note: Thanks to Jim for introducing TUG -- at writeLaTeX we use the TeX Live distribution of LaTeX supported by TUG, and are very grateful to them for the efforts they put in to supporting LaTeX & all its variants.