Nat went to work as an intern at Microsoft in the summer of 1997 to work on the IIS team. Another friend of us (Randy Chapman) that had been responsible for the Linux Java port had been recently hired by Microsoft to work on porting their Java VM to the SPARC architecture and they were looking for SPARC hackers. Randy arranged for me to interview at the Microsoft Internet Explorer team for UNIX team that summer and I flew to Microsoft.
After my interview was over at Microsoft, Randy arranged for me to meet later that day Nat and a couple of other friends from LinuxNet. We met there and had a good time at dinner, when Nat had to go to his first Rave in Seattle, and I had to go to sleep to catch an airplane the next day back to Mexico. Nat being such a happy and fun person to be around was an interesting character to know in real life.
After we met at Microsoft, Nat and I became very good friends.
At the beginning of school year in 1998 I had been to Europe and
had enjoyed a lot my trip to Paris, France. Both Nat
and I were pretty excited about Paris and liked the city
very much. We wanted to spend some time working together in
free software projects while living in Paris, so we began
assembling grandiose plans for moving to Paris by the end of the
summer of 1999 when Nat would be done with his MIT degree.
We started looking for jobs at free software companies that would
allow us to telecommute from Paris. We never found such a
In April 1999, Nat was about to finish school and told me on irc "Lets create a company that would do GNOME work". And so we did (I hope I can recover those IRC logs, because Nat has them somewhere).
We decided to call this company the `International GNOME Support' and we announced this company in the Linux Expo in North Carolina, in 1999. Matt Loper had joined us in the fun, and we were making a press release. The press release was reviewed by Raph Levien who had been kind enough to help us out reviewing our english. Later that day, Nat and Matt returned equipped with around 500 Xerox copies of the announcement, that we handed over at the attendees at the show.
We talked to the guys at AbiSource and we talked to Bob. Bob was the guy that introduced the word `Angel investors' in our vocabulary.
I returned to Mexico, and Nat returned to Boston. We would meet
various times during the following summer to start up the company,
little did we know in what we were getting into. We had no cash,
and not too many contacts. Nat managed to go to various
conferences to present his work or to help with the Free Software
Foundation or to
Nat had picked up the name Hopscotch, which I did not like. The name also had problems because some company owned the trademark for the name, so we had to look for another one. The debate for the name had created so many constraints that we were uncapable of agreeing to the suggestions that the other one did.
Eventually, we came up with two lists of suggestions, and Nat said `Ok, remove the ones you dont hate from my list, and I will do the same to yours'. And we ended up with two empty lists.
So we were in this Evolution kind of mood, and Nat suggested finally `what about Code Helix?' and given our previous frustration, we quickly agreed on it. We later that day figured out that Code Helix would make people think `They do developer tools' (I do not remember what was the thought process that followed here), but we changed the name to `Helix Code'.
We spent months working on a new logo. I had a few ideas, that suffice to say, were downright pathetic (I even have a copy of the logo idea I designed in my computer, but it is so embarassing that I am not going to share it with anyone).
Eventually Tuomas designed the Helix Code "pill", which was a bi-color pill that was split in the middle by a side-picture of a helix, and we went for that. Once that pill was done, Tuomas could start working on the look of our web site.
We had recently hired Larry Ewing to work on Evolution, and he was writing a white paper about GtkHTML, and he got bored and drew the monkey that is now the Helix Code logo.
That monkey quickly got everyone excited and we started using that monkey all over the place. Our business cards got inmediately the logo, and we put it up on our web site.
Tuomas made a yellow button version of the monkey and frame it in a black border. This would become the Helix Code logo.