Why is it DB2?

OK, I work for IBM, so in theory I could get a colleague to answer this question. However, asking at the Straight Dope is quicker and more reliable. Why is IBM’s database called DB2? Was there a DB1, and if so what happened to it?

I had always assumed that IMS was IBM’s first widely-used database, thus making it “DB1” after the fact.

As Earl said.

Note that the coding references generally refer to IMS as DL/I: Data Language: I (I as Roman numeral 1),

Aaaaarrrrgh - I am getting OLD. My firist assumption was that thiso qustion was about Dbase2, Dbase 3, but those were Aston-Tate, no IBM (?) so I think I am in a time warp.


You mean Ashton Tate, named after George Tate and his parrot.

There was a relational database before DB2 called System-R. I studied System-R at university in about 1982. DB2 was built on its foundations. There are some details here

I just figured the “2” was some standard IBM naming convention. DB2, OS2, etc.

OOPS, yes, I spelled it wrongly - well, told you my memory is going. :frowning: But would it ber a terrible thread hijack to ask abbout the parrot?

George Tate wanted a cool name for his company but his business partner was Wayne Ratliff (the techo). They thought Ratliff Tate sounded lousy so used Ashton, the name of Tate’s pet parrot.

IBM’s first commercial RDBMS was called SQL/DS. It was based on System R. I’ve always assumed that DB2 got its name from being the second commercial relational database from IBM.

OP has been more or less answered, but can I just donate my 2 cents’ worth. Having wasted more years of my life than is right* in the software industry, let me add that the naming of software sometimes follows some sort of logical scheme, but usually doesn’t. Companies often give their new s’ware baby any name that sounds OK and is legally available and protect-able, and the final choice is likely to have as much to do with marketing trends and the whims of the company director’s mistress as with rationality. I worked for a company that had a NAME / 2 product when there had never been a NAME / 1, and I wasn’t the only one. ‘2’ was just deemed to have a better ring to it.

*The right number of years for any thinking, hopeful human being to work in the software industry is none.

Just to muddy the waters, I worked with a different database product called DB4, that came out before DB2.

Cripes, I am old.