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Informix is a family of relational database management system (RDBMS) products by IBM. It is positioned as IBM’s flagship data server for online transaction processing (OLTP) as well as integrated solutions. IBM acquired the Informix technology in 2001. Roger Sippl and Laura King worked at Cromemco, an early S-100/CP/M company, where they developed a small relational database based on ISAM techniques, as a part of a report-writer software package.
Sippl and King left Cromemco to found Relational Database Systems (RDS) in 1980. Their first product, Marathon, was essentially a 16-bit version of their earlier ISAM work, released on the Onyx operating system, a version of Unix for early ZiLOG microprocessors. At RDS, they turned their attention to the emerging RDBMS market and released their own product as Informix (INFORMation on yunIX) in 1981. It included their own Informer language. It featured the ACE report writer, used to extract data from the database and present it to users for easy reading. It also featured the PERFORM screen form tool, which allowed a user to interactively query and edit the data in the database. The final release of this product was version 3.30 in early 1986.
Through the early 1980s Informix remained a small player, but as Unix and SQL grew in popularity during the mid-1980s, their fortunes changed. By 1986 they had become large enough to float a successful IPO, and changed the company name to Informix Software. The products included INFORMIX-SQL version 2.00 and INFORMIX-4GL 1.00, both of which included the database engine as well as development tools (I4GL for programmers, ISQL for non-programmers)