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System R winds down

Mike Blasgen: ... into Eagle, VSS, all those names, to DB2, to SQL/DS. What happened was, Leonard went to New York, I moved to Washington, D.C., and you saw the staffing curve; the staffing curve started to decline. New projects were started; we can talk about the new projects, but it's sort of beyond the scope. Frank [King] - it was actually a few weeks or so before he left to go back east to get a job himself - had a dinner to commemorate the contributions that everybody made. And I remember, I was sitting at my desk in 18th & K in Washington, D.C., and my phone rang; it was Frank, and he said, "I'd like you to come out to this dinner." And I said, "You mean, it's a spouse thing?" He said, "Yes," and I said, "You mean you're going to pay our way?" And he said, "Well, yes." And so all of us got together, even though I was far away, and had a dinner at La Hacienda, which is on Route 9, between Los Gatos and Saratoga.

Don Chamberlin: That was back in the days when IBM had money.

Mike Blasgen: And it was a very nice event; it was very well done. My guess is, this is probably Brad Wade's work anyway: all of us received this plaque - I think there are three or four of the plaques here today, with different names on them, of people who contributed to the project, showing a "join" - probably a QBE-style join. [laughter]

Don Chamberlin: That tape that we presented at SIGMOD in 1976, showing the Phase Zero prototype, and Brad demonstrating it ... and he's demonstrating it by transferring employees from Evanston to Newburg. That's the Phase Zero database.

C. Mohan: So when was this dinner? Which year?

Don Chamberlin: Must have been in the spring of 1980, I would guess.

Mike Blasgen: Shortly after these movies that you just saw; three months after the tapes that you just saw.

C. Mohan: And that was in December 1979.

Mike Blasgen: This by the way is signed "Don Rosenheim, Lab Director." I ran into Don Rosenheim a week ago at the Los Gatos hardware store; he was shopping. I said, "Hi, Don; I haven't seen you in a long time." He said, "Are you still working?" [laughter] Of course I'm still working. That made me feel old. Anyway, I invited him, actually, to come down, but I didn't forcefully do it. I didn't keep calling him saying, "You've got to come." I told him he could just drop in.

Anyway, that was kind of the formal end of the project, and lots of the people went on to greater and greater things. There were new projects, and Paul McJones had been one of the first to escape the roost. Tom Price escaped. Bob Jolls, eventually realizing that he didn't want to live in California and work for a company that was based in New York, switched and started working for a California-based company. Brad and Don went off to work on text-processing[63]. I don't know what Franco did.

Franco Putzolu: I went to Tandem.

Mike Blasgen: Well, eventually, but what year? Not right away.

Franco Putzolu: Early 1981.

Mike Blasgen: OK, so pretty soon; shortly after Jim left. Jim, of course, went to Tandem. And a few of us stalwarts stayed behind in IBM, like Irv and me and Bruce Lindsay and Raymond Lorie and Pat Selinger. And so that's the end.

Now at this point many things happened. In fact, some of these are happening in parallel, but in the interest of organizing into before and after ... So what I'm going to do is ask Pat Selinger to become the moderator for the rest of the afternoon.

Pat Selinger: Just as a parenthetical remark, Jim left IBM only because I wasn't around to stop him. I had gone into labor that day. That's the only reason you got away.

Mike Blasgen: Actually, I feel the same way, and I've said it many times. I was Jim's first-line manager, and then I became his second-line manager, and the whole time I was in those jobs, he stayed, even though he talked about the fact that it was too far to drive. But he stayed because he liked me so much, and as soon as I left, he said, "Pffft".

Jim Gray: That's right; that's how it was[64].

[63] Paul McJones went to Xerox in late 1976. Tom Price went to IBM Office Products Division, in Austin. Bob Jolls went to Tandem. Don Chamberlin and Brad Wade started the Janus project.

[64] Jim notes: "Just kidding. IBM was moving further south to Sky Ranch. The three hour/day commute from San Francisco was bad and getting worse."

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