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Slashdot has a story about using competing development teams to find the best solution. This reminded me of the HP-BASIC or “Rocky Mountain Basic” project.

The story I heard, in the late '80s when I was working on testing in the Loveland Instrument Division of HP on their port of RMB to Unix, was that HP was looking to create a BASIC variant, and they set up two teams, one in Colorado and one on the east coast. These variants were Rocky Mountain Basic and East Coast Basic.

The developers were given some time to work on their visions, and then presentations were set up to allow a choice between them to be made. Once released, RMB was generally considered to be a pretty great dialect. I programmed in RMB early on, while I was also learning Pascal, and found that RMB was much less panful than the other BASICs I had dealt with, like Microsoft's.

I also remember a meeting where our manager asked a bunch of us for suggestions on what to call the port to HP-UX, and we were pretty much all in favor of “RMB/UX” or “BASIC/UX”. But our manager dropped the bomb “It can't have a slash in it.” I remember everyone being pretty annoyed at that. But, in looking at the RMB wikipedia page, it looks like the slash won out in the long run.

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