Tuesday, February 03, 2009

OMG where did the time go?

While writing the previous entry concerning building transactional applications I came across that HP paper by Nigel Edwards. That sent shivers down my spine because I can recall Nigel sharing the office with Stuart and I for months while he got to grips with Arjuna. We were both still doing our PhDs and also in the throws of making the first code release of Arjuna to the world. Here's the announcement for Release 2 (it would appear that our first release predates the web!):

Arjuna (Distr Prog System)

What: Release 2 of Arjuna Distributed Programming System
From: arjuna@newcastle.ac.uk (Arjuna Project)
Date: Mon, 17 May 1993 12:37:34 GMT

We are pleased to announce the availability of a new version
of Arjuna: a programming system for reliable distributed computing,
and the Arjuna mailing list.

The software and the manual for the Arjuna system can be
obtained by anonymous ftp: arjuna.ncl.ac.uk (

Arjuna System

This beta release of ArjunaPR2.0 fixes all known bugs present
in ArjunaPR1.2B that have been reported to us or that we have found,
and contains only minimal information about how to use the new features
provided. This release should be compilable with the following

AT&T Cfront Release 2.1, on SunOS 4.1.x,
(using Sun supplied lex and yacc).
AT&T Cfront Release 3.0.1, on SunOS 4.1.x and Solaris 2.1,
(using Sun supplied lex and yacc).
GCC versions 2.1, 2.2.2, on SunOS 4.1.x,
(using flex(v2.3.x) and bison).
Patched GCC version 2.3.3 on SunOS 4.1.x and Solaris 2.1,
(using flex(v2.3.x) and bison).
Sun C++ 2.1, on SunOs 4.1.x,
(using Sun's lex++ and yacc++).
HP C++ (B2402 A.02.34), HP-UX 8.07,
(using HP supplied lex and yacc or lex++ and yacc++).

The major new features are:

- Faster object store.
- Support for replicated objects.
- Memory resident object store.
- Support for ANSAware (not available via ftp)

Arjuna supports nested atomic actions (atomic transactions) for
controlling operations on objects (instances of C++ classes), which can
potentially be persistent. Arjuna has been implemented in C++ to run on
stock platforms (Unix on SUNs, HPs etc). The software available
includes a C++ stub generator which hides much of the details of
client-server based programming, plus a system programmer's manual
containing details of how to install Arjuna and use it to build
fault-tolerant distributed applications. The software and the manual
can be obtained by anonymous ftp: arjuna.ncl.ac.uk (

Several enhancements and ports on various distributed
computing platforms are in progress. We would be pleased to hear from
researchers and teachers interested in using Arjuna. The programmer's
manual contains the e-mail addresses for sending your comments and
problem reports.

ANSAware version of Arjuna

The ANSAware version of Arjuna is available from:

Architecture Projects Management Limited
Poseidon House
Castle Park Phone +44 223 323010
Cambridge Fax +44 223 359779
CB3 0RD Internet apm@ansa.co.uk
United Kingdom UUCP ...uknet!ansa!apm

Arjuna Mailing List

To enable us to help people using Arjuna, an electronic mail list has
been setup. You can join the Arjuna mailing list by sending an e-mail
message to "mailbase@mailbase.ac.uk" containing:

join arjuna

For example : join arjuna John Smith

Mail messages can then be sent to "arjuna@mailbase.ac.uk", for

Arjuna Project Team
The Department of Computing Science,
The University,
Newcastle upon Tyne.
NE1 7RU, UK.

The work we did with Nigel still seems so fresh in my mind and yet it is so long ago.

Then I also remembered the work on Stabilis that some of our Brazilian PhD students did a few years later. We'd always talked about how the programming model we had in Arjuna was good for building complex applications (and Nigel's work agreed with that), but it took us all by surprise when they presented Stabilis: here was the largest and most complex system (a full relational database) built entirely on Arjuna! This was an impressive demonstration of what was possible with what we'd spent the last 6 years working on.

Definitely a time to reminisce!


Eric D. Schabell said...

Wow, also love the release message, classic!

Mark Little said...

Yes, this was pre-open source. We really were shooting in the dark.

Graeme Dixon said...

Sounds like good stuff -- where can I buy a copy?

Anonymous said...

Good memories - seems like yesterday doesn't it! When I first saw the title of the post I thought you were making a statement on the Object Management Group :)

Mark Little said...

Graeme, you don't have to buy a copy you get one for free since you co-started it all :-)!

Mark Little said...

Hi Dave. Yes, I know. But this is 21st century speak apparently ;-)