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Summary Excavation of ancient code
Category process
License Apache License
Owner(s) jrobbins


This project seeks to enlighten and encourage software developers to strive for improved professional software development practices.


The name "Tigris.org" comes from the river Tigris. The valley between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers was the location of one of the world's earliest civilizations. The idea is that many software developers are in the process of changing from a very ad-hoc (hunter-gatherer) process to one that is more professional and repeatable (a farming culture).

The analogy is that source code is like water. You need water for life: one cannot start a farm in the desert. But, you need more than water: there is plenty of water in an ocean or lake, but that is not the best place to build a city. Ancient cities were almost always built on rivers that brought fresh water and fertile silt, took awaysewage, and provided transportation. Likewise, source code itself is not enough: establishing a successful software development culture requires many tools that influence the team's behavior.

The rivers can also symbolize traditions of thought: one river represents open source, the other represents traditional software engineering. The Tigris.org logo is in the shape of a "T", but it also depicts the meeting of these two rivers. Open source has the advantage of encouraging many ideas to be proposed and allowing individuals to determine their own direction and affect the direction of projects by scratching their own itches. Tradional software engineering focuses on repeatability, scaling up to large projects, and management of cost, schedule, and risks.

Latest Developments

  • It turns our that the Sumerians were themselves software developers. A recent excavation of an ancient "cube farm" has turned up some very interesting artifacts. Tour the dig.
  • Please discuss the dig on the dev mailing list: dev@dig.tigris.org