Subject RE: [IB-Architect] Open Letter
Author Claudio Valderrama C.
Dear Inprise management people:

Running a medium company is no joke and nobody ask you to make miracles.
However, we have seen enough Interbase woes and rumours. Please, try to stop
this circus soon.

Thanks to God you decided to let Cobalt Networks ship their products with
Interbase. But certainly the extension of the Interbase license up to the
next year produces any kind of paranoid conjectures about the future of

As an user of Borland products since the first versions of Turbo Pascal and
"classic" Borland C++ and ODAPI (now the dying BDE), I'm used to your
tradition of dropping products (Turbo Prolog, OBX or whatever other name it
had that I don't remember, Intrabuilder, etc.) and let us in the dust, with
a broken product and a gun in the drawer. And I should be so silly that I
still rely on Borland. Throughout the world, developers like me and VARs
face the challenge of suggesting Borland products against the obvious
preference of companies for Microsoft products. In exchange, we get fuzzy
press articles and a weak promise from Borland's CEO that Interbase issues
*might* be resolved in a few weeks more. If you want all of us developers to
migrate to Microsoft or Oracle or IBM, just tell us and we will understand!

Don't you find ironic that you had too much hurry to meet Delphi 4's
timeline and indeed you were in time but with a buggy product that needed 3
patches to be productive, whereas now, you're facing Interbase, a
ready-to-go product that is tied by intricate legal issues? When the secret
plan to kill Interbase had its final stage on December 17 last year, Anders
Ohlsson made me laugh with his statement that "we won't stop Interbase".
Borland said the same four years ago, "we won't kill OWL" and a few months
after, one of the best C++ commercial libraries (OWL) was buried without
explanations, forever.

I always have had the naive impression that Borland was ran by the CEO but
it seems that it's being ran by the lawyers. They take all the time they
want and they decide on strategic issues. Simply incredible. I'm starting to
think that there's an error in the latest beta license for Interbase and
that instead of year 2001, it should be year 2010. While lawyers are
responsible of saving the company with carefully worded documents, almost
all of them are really ignorant on SW issues and more even on Open Source
initiatives, including the ones that work for SW companies.

You have used and abused the fact that the community relies heavily on Jim
Starkey, Ann Harrison and Paul Beach to build confidence on veteran
Interbase users and also on newcomers that are informed that the Interbase
creator is involved in the future of the product. The first Borland
announcement about turning Interbase open source made the shares to
skyrocket. But if you attempt a second announcement with a fake release date
or continue treating us like children that need candy to stay quiet, I'm
sure the stock will go down this time. Simply put, we the developers are
tired of waiting and there are end-user customers waiting behind us. You are
defeating a natural technological and monetary chain with your delays. You
are hurting the credibility of small and medium SW companies that trusted
your June, 30 timeline for kinobi to be released and that now they find
unable to deliver their products based on kinobi. You are hurting Borland's
prestige, already damaged with the Corel fiasco. Each time we need to answer
and calm down our customers' fears about the viability of Borland and you
seem to not care.

Excuse me if I used offensive words. English is not my native language. But
even so, I think that Bill Gates deserves to be even richer than he is:
Microsoft may produce mediocre SW, but they don't kick their loyal and
long-time customers as Borland uses to behave.


Claudio Valderrama C.
Ingeniero en Informática - Consultor independiente

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Jim Starkey [mailto:jas@...]
> Sent: Viernes 14 de Julio de 2000 12:09
> To:
> 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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