CERES 4GL is a computer language written in pure C originally meant to run on MS-DOS(Tm). It syntax borrows heavily from COBOL and FORTRAN. Its main developers were Brian Summers, Enzo Pompa and Marcello Pompa, all living in South Africa.

The language's history is obscure and convoluted. Back in 1981, a small software house headed by the late Brian Summers, started a language call Generex. This was a practical extraction and reporting language written to run on ICL mainframes. Generex enjoyed reasonable success, fading into obscurity when the personal computer came long. Armed with ideas gleaned from the Generex experience Mr. Summers headed of the the United States of America. Brian, what can I say, he was a fantastic salesman. He managed to sell Easytrieve Plus for PC to the Easytrieve guys. Those were the mainframe days, and Easytrieve was everywhere, so much so that there wasn't as single mainframe left to sell it to!

A little context... Brian is your average maverick. He sold a product to a company when all he had was a pretty printed box and an imported HP lug-gable PC from Germany. Through sheer bloody mindedness and awesome amounts of talent, Enzo and Marcello managed to hack the language together in a hotel room in Boston.

When the product passed QA and Introdell(tm) was paid in dollars, Brian had the vision of writing a business language with proper screen handling for the PC. Brian plowed all the cash they had back into Introdell and started development of the CERES language. The name stayed. CERES was actually Series 1 - prototype. Thousands of lines of very tight C code was constructed and in a space of four years, the language was written. CERES version 1.A.0 release. Damn, did this thing have bugs. With time, the language grew and became very stable, one problem, the sale of the language to a big bucks international computer company never came.

A South African software house bought Introdell and funded the first port to UNIX. On UNIX the language finally came into its own. Ports to SYS V Release 4(SVR4), Xenix and SCO followed. When TCP/IP exploded onto the scene, network extensions were added. The coupe de grace was the Linux port. Done on a slackware box, running kernel 1.2.13, with terrible fcntl() support. Most of this work was done by Dr. Alex Harin, a genius.

With Linux and millions of lines of code in CERES hauling data across most of Africa south of the equator, it became a legend.

The language is still maintained. The latest release is 4.B.4, with version 5.A.0 due shortly.

May the legend of CERES live on now that it is facing obsolescence....