About Us

The creator of and driving force behind MicroSabio, Jack McGregor, enjoys full responsibility and free reign over all aspects of software development, maintenance, and support—at least on a technical level. jack1At a more practical level, he answers to everyone else, most importantly the developers, resellers and users who rely on our products. He considers himself reasonably competent with several operating systems (Windows, LINUX, UNIX, AIX, HPUX, AMOS) and a few languages (C, AlphaBASIC, Visual Basic, M68, English, French, and Spanish [un poco]). But by far his most important accomplishment is the degree of satisfaction, respect, and in some cases even friendship he has achieved among those aforementioned customers, many of whom, despite their technical brilliance, natural skepticism and fierce independence, have continued to do business with us since the “early days” beginning in 1982. Jack and his wife Mona live in Woodland Hills, California, part of greater Los Angeles.

The books, accounting and various administrative functions at MicroSabio are handled by Mona McGregor. She is the one with whom you must curry favor when seeking credit privileges, and of whom you must live in fear-and who never forgets-if you fail to satisfy your obligations.

The original creator of A-Shell is John Bown. Currently heading up an independent development company, J.B. Computing Technology, Ltd., he now focuses his spare time on bringing new technological capabilities to A-Shell. He lives with his wife and a young programmer-in-training in Cheshire, England.

Ty Griffin, a long-time associate of MicroSabio, handles licensing, documentation and various other admin-type tasks.ty1Ty lives and works at “MicroSabio North” in San Luis Obispo, a small town near the Pacific Coast about halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles.

 

Additional Company Information

As of December 2016

 

Number of active customers (licensees, i.e. end-user sites): Approximately 1500.

Number of employees: Three. Obviously this may be a matter of concern, but we’ve been able to stay small by leveraging the efforts of others through carefully selected third-party modular components (e.g. D-ISAM, PDFX, the controls underlying XTREE and XTEXT, etc.), as well as by entering into cooperative development efforts with some of our more advanced dealers (e.g. The Editor, Leo, The Update Center, EFS, DART, etc.) Although we are committed to the for-profit business model, we will also continue to support the sharing of open-source modules through the A-Shell Shared Open Source Library (“SOSLIB”), which effectively increases the amount of useful software we can make available to the A-Shell community without having to develop it all in-house. Similarly, our support forum increases our ability to provide the kind of support you don’t often see in the software world, again, without having to do it all ourselves. Thus, while MicroSabio is small, it harnesses the resources of the A-Shell Developer Community to provide a level and breadth of service you might except from a much larger company.

Years in business: 2013 marked our 30th anniversary. This is one of the often under-appreciated benefits of staying small: we are able to stay afloat while larger companies get sunk by inclement business and technological weather. It’s also worth noting that many of our customers have been with us over 20 years as well.

Backup/support plan: We have an escrow arrangement with one of our oldest and most capable dealers, Celibec, which consists of them holding a copy of the source which they themselves compile, and sometimes even customize, on several UNIX and Windows platforms. They have agreed to provide all manner of support to A-Shell dealers and end-users, on a commercial request basis. (You can sign on to the agreement if you like, although it probably isn’t necessary since they would be happy to accept your support business as an extension of their own.) We felt that this was a better arrangement than the typical escrow at a lawyer’s office, because in this case, the escrow holder is actually capable of supporting the product, whereas lawyers, notaries, bankers and even customers typically are not. We are working on a similar arrangement with a second dealer, and are open to other such arrangements if you would like something custom.

The future: Our mantra has been and remains continuous improvement with upward compatibility to the extent possible, and the years ahead will be no exceptions. As of December 2016, we are shipping the “stable” version 6.2 and are one year into development of version 6.3, which includes continuing improvements to the graphical user interface and more emphasis on improvements to the development tool set—language extensions, improvements to the editing/compiling environment, better inter-operability with industry standards (web, database, etc.), and general improvements and enhancements to all aspects of A-Shell and related modules.

 

 

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