Subject Re: [IB-Architect] Open Letter
Author Olivier Mascia
Mons, Belgium,
July 14, 2000

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The story continues !
What's this Cobalt Networks issue ?
Pardon my ignorance, but I do not know them.
And never read about them since the 'black' december.

I have delayed 3 times the release of a major upgrade (full-rewrite indeed)
of our ERP line to patiently wait for Interbase 6 to get released. We talk
of about 1,200 customers sites to be upgraded within the 9 to 12 monthes
from our release. Those are spreaded in Belgium, Luxemburg, France,
Netherlands, and some in the U.S.A. and in Czech Republic.

Nothing on earth and anywhere else in the known universe allowed me to even
fear that the open-sourcing of Interbase 6 could fail. Everything that got
said, written about it since january/february confirmed the project was in
good shape. The invaluable opportunity to be allowed to rely our business
and our customer's businesses on a strong, powerfull, open-source database
product has been recognized as such by all our customer base, who was polled
about that in April 2000.

Once again the sky tumbles, the earth quakes, and once again I'm
disappointed by Borland / Inprise. It is my feeling that there is an
incredible problem of basic competence within the top-level management of
Inprise/Borland. Always hiding behind 'lawyers' issues is just infantile
management. If there is a problem, dear Mr Fuller, please solve it quickly.
That's what CEOs are paid for, afterall ! Or am I from another planet ? All
of this makes me think of a kid hiding behind his/her mother instead of
facing the difficulty and move ahead in the life.

[ I know my words are not pleasant, may sound rude, may be personal direct
public attack... and that's what they are anyway. Now, if some 'kid' wants
to sue me : please go on. ]

This said, what precise actions can we all take to help this deal finally
succeed ? I can write to Mr Fuller. I can email him. I can express my
opinions in numerous newsgroups, email lists. I can spread the word within
multiple of my own customers in Europe who are direct or indirect big
investors in Inprise/Borland. But then ?

Do we have at least the exact email addresses needed to reach the various
people closely concerned by this ? Are there other kind of actions we could
take to help ?

Can we get more information about Cobalt Networks in order to better
appreciate the importance (on which I have no doubt) of the this deal ?

Jim, Ann, and all others who I can't cite because lack of bits in this
email, I really understand your disappointment facing the way things evolve.
And I share the feeling, believe me. But please, after so much work from all
of you, let's not abandon too quickly ! We survived a storm in
december/january. We're all stronger to handle this one now.

Trully, I do not know what to say more for now... I need to relax first.

Olivier Mascia T.I.P. Group SA
Director, Chief Software Architect +32 65 401111

----- Original Message -----
From: "Jim Starkey" <jas@...>
To: <>
Sent: Friday, July 14, 2000 6:09 PM
Subject: [IB-Architect] Open Letter

| 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
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