Ovrimos was built by a company named Altera (no connection with the same-named American company), which
I joined in 1995. The company was making a living by creating custom DOS applications with a proprietary DBMS,
based on a BTree library built by one of the owners. At the time, the competition was mainly Oracle Forms
applications which were crawling like a dying salamander in a tar pit. Altera's applications, on the other hand,
using explicit iterations on BTrees and Spartan DOS UIs, where blazingly fast and appreciated by its customers.
However, in a stroke of genius, or madness, or both, the company decided to move into product
development, and develop the first Greek RDBMS. The owner used to recite a (fictitious?) story
about a big software company and how they developed a revolutinary O.S. using junior newbies fresh
out of school who succeeded because they had no idea that what they were doing was considered extremely
difficult. That was what he was planning to do.
The product was called "Altera SQL Server", at first, but then the American Altera must have
put some pressure on the company, because it was renamed to "Ovrimos" (meaning "brave" in ancient Greek)
and "Ovrimos S.A." was created in the U.S. to represent it.
There were essentially two major releases (2.0 and 2.5) until my departure in December 2000.
I believe the difference between the two was the presence of the DatabaseManager, which was a program
managing database instances, and the incorporation of OpenSSL to enable HTTPS.
I think the Replicator (which transmitted transactions to a
remote, read-only, Ovrimos server) was incorporated into version 3.0, which
was released after my departure and also sported stored procedures and functions in SQL (version 2.5
supported stored procedures through a CGI interface, or written in Scheme).
At the time we started development, apart from myself there was only one senior
programmer in the team, Giorgos Georgopoulos, and one or two complete juniors. Later on, Giorgos left
the company. Miltiadis Kokkonidis joined Altera and
worked on the Database Manager, the OpenSSL integration and a custom Servlet
implementation to embed into Ovrimos (which was finally not incorporated) before he left to
follow post-graduate studies in the U.K.. At some point my friend,
Jiannis Tzikas, joined Altera to work on the Replicator, the ODBC 2.0 driver and the TPC-C testing.
Ovrimos was a group effort, and I hope the few other people involved will also write an account of it
from their own viewpoint. But, as the person having
written (or inherited and maintained) most of the code up until release 2.5, and all of the core components,
I consider Ovrimos my spiritual child. It was a great
school in the technical realm. Of course, it meant I spent five years of my life living in a cave, so
to speak, disconnected from the realities of usual software development in a corporate setting. But it's
an experience that marked me, and I wanted to share it with you.