GCN at 25: Database shift

[IMGCAP(1)]Back in May 1990, when most government technology bosses were still called directors of information resources management ' Henry Philcox had recently been named the IRS' first chief information officer ' Ashton-Tate pretty much owned the database management field. In a GCN Product Preference Survey of MS-DOS database management systems, three-quarters of federal officials polled said they used or supported Ashton-Tate's dBase III Plus, and half had access to dBase IV.

But in terms of user preference, tastes were beginning to shift. Oracle's Professional Oracle was winning friends for its reliability and features, while the big winner in the survey was Borland International's Paradox, which got the highest marks for satisfaction in eight of 12 categories.

So what ever became of Paradox? The answer to that can be summed up in two words: Microsoft Windows. Corporate ups, downs and acquisitions affected Borland and Paradox, but the advent of Windows, which required a new programming approach, and, later, products such as Microsoft Access probably did as much as anything to reduce its footprint. Copies are still around, and it has faithful users, but its glory days in government are long past.


  • senior center (vuqarali/Shutterstock.com)

    Bmore Responsive: Home-grown emergency response coordination 

    Working with the local Code for America brigade, Baltimore’s Health Department built a new contact management system that saves hundreds of hours when checking in on senior care centers during emergencies.

  • man checking phone in the dark (Maridav/Shutterstock.com)

    AI-based ‘listening’ helps VA monitor vets’ mental health

    To better monitor veterans’ mental health, especially during the pandemic, the Department of Veterans Affairs is relying on data and artificial intelligence-based analytics.

Stay Connected