Fit the Fourth

“Uh, Amin,” I say to my roommate, “why are you using Cyber411?”

“Oh! Uh … what's the you-are-ell again?” he asks.

Sigh. My very own roommate using an outdated version of my metasearch engine. At least I still think it's an outdated version. As I'm waiting for Amin to type in the URL, I look at the page he's using. Odd, I think. It looks like our engine. What's going on?

I dash back to the Computer Room to Linus, my Linux 2.0.32 box and start an investigation on this rather disturbing (to me) state of affairs. A quick check of the page shows that they aren't pointing to my engine, but to theirs.

Ah, so they finally found someone to rewrite the library, I thought.

Background. When Cyber Networks left our company, they took the Java version as well as the rewrite I did in C. My partner Chuck and I discussed whether we should also give him the source code to the CGI library we used (which I wrote); there wasn't much to discuss. We owned the library and there was never a formal contract signed about the C version. We did, however, leave him with the compiled library and the header files so he could still develop and link his version, although he was stuck with using SGIs. That was part of the reason why I rewrote the engine again.

Checking, the first thing I noticed was that the new engine at Cyber411 was running under Linux and not the SGI that it used to. Odd, again I thought. Our client bought an SGI to ensure that his site would run fast. Guess Linux is good enough for him now.

Some more checking around (it's amazing what one can find when one kind of pokes around a website) showed that contrary to what I thought, their new engine was a rewrite, this time in C and C++. Hmmm, guess they couldn't find someone who could rewrite the library.

Also, it seems that their Java version is no longer around either. They did license that version to one company, but from what I heard, the Java version just didn't work out. Too slow or something like that. Ce' lest vie and all that.

Meanwhile, development on GeoFind continues along, with some neat new features. More on this later …

September 1, 1999 Update: It's amazing how outdated these links can get. The original website ( now just forwards to their new site at and the original intent of the link (which was to show the contents of their /cgi-bin/ directory) is no longer valid. More updates as I investigate this rather interesting turn of events.