History of Sympathy for Data

“Sympathy for Data” is a software platform which is designed to simplify reuse of code through well defined data exchange formats. In August 2009 Stefan Larsson started writing the first prototype. Stefan has a Ph.D. in control engineering and currently works in the Swedish automotive industry. The prototype was presented to his colleague Krister Johansson, a technical expert in statistics, also working in the Swedish automotive industry. Krister immediately realised the potential of the concept and started to assist in finishing the prototype. All work was done during evenings and weekends.

By December 2009 they were exhausted and came to the insight that it would not be possible to finish the software while still having a day time job. After some discussions on how to proceed they decided to ask for permission from their employer to continue work during work hours under the condition that the ownership of the software was put in a non-profit organisation and was published using an open source license to the public. The employer also saw the potential and accepted the condition. Krister and Stefan continued programming and started preparing for the founding of the non-profit organisation.

Other companies had to be attracted to the organisation for it to work properly. In particular, someone had to take responsibility of the maintenance of the software. In May 2010 Krister and Stefan set up a meeting with a local technical consultancy company whose CEO Krister knew well. They became interested in the concept and in December 2010 the non-profit organisation “System Engineering Software Society” (SysESS) was founded with the initial board consisting of Krister Johansson, Stefan Larsson, Anders Movert, Alexander Busck and Johan Hallnéus.

Anders Movert was the CEO of Combine and Alexander Busck an employee of Combine. Alexander was introduced to the project and became the lead developer at Combine. The pace accelerated and an internal version 0.1 of Sympathy for Data was finished in February 2011.

During spring 2011 Erik der Hagopian also started working on the software as an employee of Combine. During summer the second internal version 0.2 was released. Work continued steadily and Peter Karlsson replaced Anders Movert as CEO for Combine. Anders’ presence within SysESS continued from another company in the energy industry.

In February 2012 internal version 0.3 was finished. It was being used by some of the member companies. A stabilized version 0.4 was later released in September 2012 with additional help of Greger Cronquist who was introduced to the project by Combine.

SysESS and its member companies are now working hard at finishing a version 1.0 which includes many of the concepts planned from the beginning.