Why & How

Why did we build Babelfish?

Simple. We support businesses with proprietary software, hardware, and services. Been doing it since 1978. In that time we have provided thousands of specialized computers to businesses all over the country and enjoy an unusual degree of customer loyalty. We built Babelfish to keep those customers productive, happy, and in business, as many of those businesses had become heavily reliant on one of our "legacy" pieces of software, technically obsolete yet emminently practical and still fully functional and relevant. That software runs in DOS, which hasn't existed natively in a Windows operating system for many years. We have since developed newer, web-based software to which they can migrate that does much of what our original software does, but still a significant number of our clients wanted or needed new machines, but not the disruption commonly associated with the transition to new Operating Systems and business software, in terms of both time and money.

It was with this goal that we began seriously testing and building computers focused on using virtual OS technologies.

Virtual machines have existed for many years, but ask anyone who ever used one and they'll tell you that they were slow and clunky, unreliable, incomplete, and frustrating. I do believe that over the years we bought every piece of OS emulation software that was ever released, but none offered the transparency and performance we were seeking.

So we built Babelfish for our customers. To keep them happy and working. Productive and contented. By all accounts, we succeeded.


We have come to a point in the short history of computing when hardware technology has finally caught up with this OS emulation technology. Not only does OS emulation work, it finally works with the speed and agility that moves it significantly past practical. To all but the most jaded, the speed at which a properly configured "VM" running on a Babelfish machine presents an older Operating System and the applications running within it is simply shocking.

There is more than one offering in the OS emulation world, but our testing always revealed shortcomings in their feature set, many of which are necessary to today's modern, networked business. But finally, a friend from academia recommended we try VMWare.

Initial testing showed great promise, but as testing went on and became increasingly rigorous, where the other offerings would begin to show their weakness, the more reliable VMWare proved to be. The more challenging the problem, the more it proved it's mettle. In over three years of imposing the heaviest burdens we could provide, VMWare has handled it all. Our hats are off to them for their ongoing attention to detail and dedication to providing a quality product.

With VMWare running on one of our premium Babelfish machines we are able to run multiple instances of every version of Windows ever released. We routinely run Fedora Linux alongside or multiple versions of Windows, all without a hiccup, all at the same time, all on a single machine. Although we haven't tried it (yet), it is our belief that we could run a Commodore 64 alongside an Apple II, alongside multiple instances of Windows, with Linux and Novell thrown in for good measure, have them communicating with each other (those that will) in a civilized, orderly fashion, just like a room full of computers on a well-managed network. It's enough to make a grown geek weep with joy.

What does that mean to the average business user? It means that after migration to a Babelfish computer, the software that you paid thousands of dollars for years ago is still viable even after you've been told it won't work on any newer equipment, and in fact works faster than it ever did . Your networked printers and devices become more stable, and your other obsolete peripherals get a similar life-extension. That dot-matrix, parallel port connected printer that you have used for years on your old Pentium II running Windows 95 to print multi-sheet forms and you don't think is ever going to die? Keep right on using it. Its' utility won't be going away any time soon. In fact, the way we configure Babelfish, it smooths out many of the more common business network problems most familiar to those who have to fix them. It means that you can run the newest applications, both online and off, exploit the newest technologies in the marketplace, and do it alongside your oldest legacy applications.

Why buy a Babelfish when emulation software is readily available to the public?

Why buy a house when there's a lumber store right up the street?

The main reason is that our success didn't come without cost. Successful business deployment required thousands of hours of hardware, driver and configuration research, testing, trial and error. To bring the Babelfish concept into a state that was acceptable for successful mass-deployment required what was most likely an unhealthy, obsessive amount of focus on the concept.

Could you build and configure your own Babel-like machine? Probably. We did it, you or your computer guy (if he's one of the good ones) might be able to as well. But be aware, the time you will spend simply configuring a machine to have something close to the abilities of the Babelfish will be daunting. However, we *might* be able to provide some assistance when you get mired in a dark corner of configuration purgatory. Heaven knows we were stuck in that dark corner many times ourselves. And the hours spent trying to figure out how you got your machine into the state it will probably be in will cost you more than just buying a Babelfish. But in the bottom-line end analysis, we have a machine that simply works. It will perform its tasks with great speed, elegance and agility, and will consistently run anything you can throw at it. And it's been a gratifying journey out of the muck. Our customers pretty much sum it up:

"We are successfully operating all of our old data storage software right alongside the latest, newest versions of our accounting and word processing programs".

"I can’t fully express the joy of implementing new hardware and software and not having to retrain a single employee."

"...refreshing that in a world where new operating systems are totally engineered to NOT work with older programs and platforms... your company has come up with the exact opposite: A SYSTEM TO RUN EVERYTHING".

We will happily put you in touch with some of our Babelfish customers, but remember, they're busy doing business. Just ask them one simple question. Would they do it again?

We eagerly await your call.

copyright 2013, Burrowes Consulting