Sticking with Progress...

As the publishers of LJ, SSC is committed to the use of the Linux operating system throughout our offices. Many of SSC's operations revolve around our Progress database server which still ran, until recently, on a difficult-to-maintain At&T SVR4 486 tied into our Linux network. In this column we outline how we made the conversion to an ELF-based Linux system running the
Lydia Speaks

I've been using the Progress database since April 1994. SSC was a much smaller company when I started, and my job description included a wide range of responsibilities from shipping and order entry to accounts receivable and marketing. I have been in a position to regularly use most, if not all, of the end user capacities of the database. As a user, I waited with bated breath for the transition of the database from AT&T SVR4 Unix to Linux. I was involved in the testing phases of the new database, but I've been around long enough to know that a transition this massive usually does not go smoothly. Phil Hughes, publisher of Linux Journal and chief pesterment of SSC, prepared us all for a bumpy ride by announcing repeatedly that Peter and our systems administrator, Liem Banneman, would be working all night on the transition. I was prepared to believe him.

By 5 pm Wednesday night, we had all cleared out our home directories on the computer that was home to the SVR4 version of Progress. I came in the next morning ready to find Peter and Liem bleary-eyed and cranky. I telnet-ed to the computer with the SCO version of Progress installed and settled down to what I thought would be a long day of bugs. I was overjoyed to discover that everything worked! In fact, the database functioned almost exactly the same as before, with a few pleasant exceptions. Under SVR4, vi worked very poorly. New users often were left with the impression that they were hitting capital letters accidentally at the command line or that vi was just “weird”. Whole lines would repeat erratically, or the cursor would not really be where it appeared to be. Under Linux, this problem went away. Certain time-consuming database operations, like global key searches, are faster under Linux; having the same home directory files accessible on all computers is also an advantage. Formerly, we would have to rcp files to have them on the SVR4 system and our personal workstations, which was a mild annoyance.

For most purposes, the database looked and acted at 8 am on Thursday just as it had at 5 pm on Wednesday. To date, we have not experienced any database crashes, neither have we discovered any bugs that could be traced to Linux. In all cases, bugs could be traced to SCO Progress itself or to temporary bugs at the programmer's level.

SCO Progress running under Linux works.

Peter Struijk ( has been SSC's programmer-analyst since August 1995, and knows more about SSC's database than could possible be good for anyone. He's originally from the Netherlands, and studied computer science at Delft University, but was lured away by a smart and gorgeous woman from seattle, where they are now happily married.

Lydia McIntosh Kinata A secret Mac user and graphic artist, Lydia McIntosh Kinata (yup, that's my middle name) is a die-hard DOS hater, but had not used Linux or Unix until she came to work for SSC. She started as customer service and shipping goddess, and has moved on to a position as Director of Marketing's personal slave. Lydia has used the Progress database for over two years.