[svlug] Guess who has a Linux port of its SQL database?

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Thu Mar 10 10:38:37 PST 2016

Afterthought #2:

Quoting Alan Denney (yosemite at programmer.net):

> In the case of Informix, that's not true.  Although some of us had lobbied
> for (and dabbled with) a Linux port on our own, by the mid-1990s, ports for
> x86 platforms (SCO, AT&T System V/386, Unixware, Solaris on Intel) had been
> offshored, so recent platform-specific expertise was not in house (on this
> side of the planet, anyway).

What's really sad about this is revealed by the timeline.

1981: Informix ('INFORMation on unIX') released by Roger Sippl and
      Laura King's tiny year-old firm Relational Database Systems (RDS).

1985: New product line based on SQL.

1980s: RDS remains small, but slowly grows.

1986:  RDS is finally successful enough to go IPO, under new name
       Informix Corporation.

~late 1980s:  Informix Corporation offshores all x86 development.

Wow, thanks, Sand Hill Road vulture capitalists!  Thanks, then-CEO
Phillip E. White!  You're real pals.

The popular conception is that firms are driven to offshoring when
forced to save money.  In this case, we had a firm that _just_ won the 
NASDAQ grand prize and shaken the money tree hard.  So, flush with cash, 
what do they do?  Start offshoring.  Terrific.

(Crony-capitalist wankers.)

Aside:  Bay Area LUG history produced an amusing rule of thumb in the
middle 1990s:  'Be careful what you let some volunteer call the mailing
list he/she creates for your members, because your LUG will end up being
renamed to whatever that is.'

In early days, there were two poles to the Linux community here in the
Bay Area:  Silicon Valley and San Francisco -- coalescing around what
are now named SVLUG and BALUG, respectively.  Until the rise of LUG
mailing lists in the middle 1990s, the Bay Area's two Linux core areas
hardly ever met or talked.  Not talking is understandable:  No mailing
lists yet.  Not meeting requires mentioning a quirk of the classic San
Francisco mentality.

(Disclaimer:  This is a stereotype in broad strokes.  No, it's not
universally true, so please spare the Edge-Case Theatre.  Danke.)

If your ANSI standard San Franciscans were told about an exciting Linux
event in the South Bay, the spinal-reflex reaction was always 'Wait,
San Jose?  Isn't that somewhere south of Army Street?  Nobody goes

Between about 1985 and 1994, I lived in San Mateo, then from 1994
to 2000 I was a San Franciscan.  _But_ I attended Linux events in both
Silicon Valley and San Francisco, even after moving to the latter --
which was considered a little freaky.

'Hey, isn't that Rick Moen?  What's he doing down here?  I saw him in
San Francisco.'  'Yes, that's Rick.  It's true he's a San Franciscan,
but he also owns a _car_, and uses it to, y'know, drive places.'

Anyway, down here the centre of gravity was Dan Kionka's PC Unix SIG,
also known as Linux SIG, with a core of about 12 usual suspects meeting
monthly at the small reservable side room at the North First Street
Carl's Jr. in north San Jose.  There were lots of ongoing proposals to
rename it to other things, too.

In San Francisco, the centre of gravity was Art Tyde's SF Bay Area Linux
UG, sometimes known as SF-BALUG, sometimes as SF Linux UG, and
occasionally he toyed with using simply BALUG, and there were all kinds
of ongoing proposals to change its name to those or countless other
variations on those.  It met for a group fixed-price dinner and
technical presentation each month in the huge Four Seas Restaurant
upstairs banquet room, in Chinatown.

Suddenly, down in Silicon Valley, Rob Walker starts an unofficial
majordomo mailing list for the Linux community.  Its mailing list name
is 'svlug', a term he invented for it.  'SVLUGer' initially meant
'person who attends Dan Kionka's PC-UNIX SIG and is also an Internet
junkie on the majordomo mailing list.'

Simultaneously in San Francisco, Dave Sifry set up an unofficial
majordomo mailing list for members of Art Tyde's LUG.  He picked the
mailing list name 'balug' for it.

Within a month, Art Tyde's LUG was drawn as if magnetically to the name
'BALUG', and has remained named that since -- and Dan Kionka's LUG in
San Jose was likewise irresistibly drawn to the name 'SVLUG', which has
been fixed as its name ever since.

Majordomo, man.  Must be powerful software.  ;->

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