Subject Open Letter
Author Jim Starkey
For those you who don't know me, I was the original founder of
InterBase. I started the company, designed and wrote the first
version of the product, and presided over company's first seven
years. In 1984, the founders and employees of InterBase sold
the company to Ashton-Tate, comfortable with their assurances
that InterBase would continue with a tradition of technical
excellence, strong customer support, and a loyalty to its
customer base. I am also the husband of Ann Harrison, president
of the fledging company attempting the rebirth of InterBase.

Over the years Ann and I stayed involved with InterBase, first
informally with our friends and colleagues in the InterBase
community, and latter on the various InterBase lists. About
a year and a half ago, I came to the reluctant conclusion that
because of the gross incompetence of Borland management, I
could not in good conscience encourage people to continue
with the product. Ann disagreed and stayed on the list.

Last December, Borland shut down InterBase. Word leaked out,
and the ensuing outrage forced Borland to reconsider the
decision. A number of trial balloons were released using
both my and Ann's names without consultation or permission.
Borland then announced their plans to open-source the product.
Ann agreed to lead the new company, putting together a strong
management team, stabilizing the remnants of Borland's InterBase
group, and convincing you, the customers, that InterBase would
live and thrive.

That was February. Today is July 14. The deal hasn't closed,
version 6 has not been released, and the source code has not
been opened. Deal after deal has been lost. Potential investors
have been turned away. Important customers have drifted away as
Borland's lawyers missed deadline after deadline.

Monday, July 17, Cobalt Networks has scheduled a major announcement,
which was to include InterBase version 6. But InterBase, still
the property of Borland, has not been released. Dale Fuller,
president of Inprise/Borland, promised to release InterBase to
Cobalt. Dale then turned the issued over to his lawyers, who
have refused permission to release the product.

Unless Borland agrees to release version 6 binaries to Cobalt
today, July 14, the Cobalt deal is probably dead. If the Cobalt
deal dies, the Borland/InterBase deal may die with it. In any
case, if the Borland/InterBase deal does not close by July 24,
the deal will be dead. The future of the product will be Dale
Fuller, not Ann, Paul, and Matt. I will not be involved in
any capacity.

If you value your investment in InterBase, if you wish continued
InterBase support, if want development of InterBase to continue,
I urge you to communicate your feelings to Dale Fuller, Inprise
CEO, today. Try phone, e-mail, whatever. If you can't reach
Dale, explain it to whomever you can find within Borland. Explain
that Cobalt is essential to InterBase, that Cobalt has been
promised product any number of times. Explain that Dale Fuller
promised to release the code. Explain that Dale Fuller, once
again, is hiding behind his lawyers. Explain what InterBase
means to you. And explain exactly what happens to your business
if InterBase dies for the want of a signed release.

Jim Starkey