Where did Araxi Come From and Other Prinergy Trivia?

by admin on May 14, 2009

Fubar guy asks why the volume name on the servers are called Araxi.

Glad to oblige and answer that question, as well as adding other bits of Prinergy trivia. The original development team of Prinergy was made up of Jim Firstbrook (Project Engineer), Stan Coleman (Project Manager), and Dave Kauffman (Product Manager) waaaaay back in the mid-nineties. Jim and Stan were assigned to the project exclusively, while D.K. had other responsibilities (like Platemaster, the workflow that was the precursor to Prinergy).

Okay, so one day Jim and Stan go out to a restaurant in Whistler called Araxi. And that's what they named the project.

(Editor's note: Above statement is inaccurate. See comments for notes from Dave Kauffman)

"It was David Kauffman who picked the code name Araxi after a fantastic meal there in 1995 with his wife on a ski holiday. The irony is that a few weeks later we hired Jim Firstbrook who actually knew the owners - Jack and his Greek wife Araxi. True story. Stan cannot be blamed for any of this."

- David Kauffman

Then they went back to work and start bringing developers onto the project and writing specs and all that good stuff. Some of the work involved was bringing on the Heidelberg development team who contributed to the trapper and color management engine, as well as to process plan editor and other GUI stuff. And then the marketing guys started to work on what the name should be for the product that was going to come out of the "Araxi" project.

Now, you would think it would be simple just to assign a name to the product, but its not. When AGFA's Apogee came out and wasn't the big success that everybody wanted it to be, it quickly acquired the name "Apology." I worked on a product called "Prescript" which did not work exactly as expected and in the prepress rooms of our customer, it quickly acquired another name which...um..I don't need to mention here.

Anyhow, Araxi went through a whole bunch of names in the development cycle. My favorite ex-name was "Metro." As a joke, I suggested "Orgasm." There was a (brief) campaign to name it Tojo after the famous sushi restaurant in Vancouver but Tojo was also an infamous Japanese general in WWII so that name definitely wouldn't play well in certain parts of the US.

In the meantime, while all the name wrangling was going on, the engineers weren't going to subsitute "araxi" in the code base until they were pretty darn sure that the name was going to stick. By the time everybody settled on the name "Prinergy," the "araxi" string was so embedded in the code (like with the naming of the volume shares) that it was decided that it was too much work to swap out "Araxi" with Prinergy.

Other Prinergy Trivia that you may or may not care about?

Was there ever an Easter egg in Prinergy?

Yes and no.  In Prinergy one, embedded in the Java workshop was a picture of a backwards-facing cement truck that was a souvenir of the first beta (RRD something, I forget the exact location). The only problem was that the developer who supposedly buried the Easter egg wouldn't tell anybody how to trigger it. Which leads to the question, was there ever really an Easter egg or did the developer just say there was one to get the applications engineers off his back? (Editor's note: See comments for more info on this)

Is it true that the first version of Prinergy was not going to support spot colors?

True. There was a huge fight over that. But then the first version of Apogee didn't support spot colors and the public reaction was so negative that the engineering team put it in.

What was the first thing printed off a Prinergy system?

An auction of OJ belongings after he got his pants sued off in civil court. I kid you not. Typecraft was the printer, down in California.

That's all I can remember for now. I may update this in the future, over a few beers.


Laurens May 14, 2009 at 12:37 pm

Apogee never ‘acquired’ the name ‘Apology’. Some marketing manager from Creo or Scitex or where-ever came up with that name and tried to make it popular but it never caught on in the market. Printers don’t waste time playing the stupid games that some marketing nitwits from vendors seem to find so amusing. I remember one of our marketing people called Brisque ‘Be Risk’ which was just as stupid.

Come on DJ, don’t tell me you believe the marketing blabla that they fed to you…

Dave Kauffman May 14, 2009 at 9:54 pm

a few corrections deej,

It was me who picked the code name Araxi after a fantastic meal there in 1995 with my wife on a ski holiday. The irony is that a few weeks later we hired Jim Firstbrook who actually knew the owners – Jack and his Greek wife Araxi. True story. Stan cannot be blamed for any of this.

The easter egg was put in by Joe Gnocato I believe, and is a backwards cement truck because we were spending a lot of time in Wisconsin and that was the only place we saw them weird lookin’ thangs. They have the skinny end of the mixer over the front of the cab. I think they were made by Oshkosh trucks. None of us can remember how to trigger the easter egg anymore.

Some of this in now on the Prinergy Wikipedia page.

Allan Larson May 15, 2009 at 5:45 am

If you enter saturdaynightfever in the submit file area of PrintConsole, a disco ball appears as the lights dim and the animation of the plate continues.
There were two other animations that didn’t make it in. One had an earthquake and another had the electrical cord starting on fire, spreading up towards the Trendsetter and eventually turning it on fire. Created by animation whiz kid Dylan now at Google.

April was the 10th anniversary of the public launch of Prinergy in San Francisco at the W Hotel. Barry Quart greeted the worldwide press in at least 8 languages.

Estimated numbers of prepress users worldwide using Prinergy in production is well over 40,000. Many of them still using ARAXI ARAXI in a pinch.

Jay Zipursky May 15, 2009 at 9:47 am

Actually, I think it was me who put in that easter egg. I’m happy to give credit to Joe, though, as it was maybe the lamest easter egg ever. 🙂 I think we were too busy adding real features.

It was triggered in the about box by clicking on the ‘e’ in Prinergy while holding down about 4 keys – I think ctrl+alt+shift+e. I might be missing one.

However, you could always skip that and just open the .jar file with WinZip and extract the two .jpg images of cement trucks.

FubarGuy May 18, 2009 at 1:26 pm

Great read! It’s funny how this weird little questions come up between prepress operators, when we’re stuck in a dark, claustrophobic room for 8-10-12+ hours a day with each other. Thanks for filling us in, I shall now venture forth with my newly acquired (factual no less) information & impress the rest of The Herd. Thanks guys!

Alan Chiu May 20, 2009 at 11:33 pm

Re: Tojo – it was actually one of the brainstormed code names for the project after Araxi (trying to stick to the restaurant theme). It was quickly rejected for the reason you cited.

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