Quipu Database

In 1994 a small group of Internet enthusiasts founded an Internet provider as a local non-profit organization in Karlsruhe, Germany. The INKA, as it was called, grew to more then 1700 users on its peak in the summer of 1999.

I was one of the founding members and since then I have been doing things off and on for the INKA. One of the things I have been responsible for is the database "Quipu", so called after the knotted strings used by the old Incas for accounting and as a mnemonic aid. (The picture on the right depicts an Inca with such a quipu.)

The database keeps track of all users, host names, IP numbers, passwords, accounting data and much more. It has evolved over time from a small home-brew system written by Frederik Ramm to a complex PostgreSQL database with dozens of tables and thousands of entries. In the winter of 1998/1999 I setup the whole database again from scratch and designed and wrote a new web interface. Actually there are two interfaces, one for the secretary and admins which is very powerful and one for the user, where he can change a few settings himself. You can look at some example web pages of the admin interface.

This looks all very quaint today, but there was a time when that was state of the art...