How it all started
This project was started in June 2003, when I had trouble running DFT (Drive Fitness Test) on a floppyless machine. I emailed IBM technical support and asked them if it was possible to boot DFT from a CD, and the answer I got was "no".
Not one to give up so easily, I tried burning DFT to a bootable CD using Nero, but for some reason that didn't work too. After some research on the Net, I discovered isolinux and memdisk, and successfully ran DFT using the combo. I was fired up from the success, and assembled a few DOS diagnostic programs to form the first release of the UBCD (Ultimate Boot CD).
The project had its first brush with fame a couple of weeks after the first release when Lockergnome mentioned it in their newsletter. Within a few hours, the download frenzy was sucking up so much bandwidth that my hosting bill started to run into hundreds of dollars. I had to remove the download immediately, but luckily, offers of mirrors started to pour in and the download links were back up in no time.
Since then, the UBCD has grown from a puny 17MB (V1.0) to near 60MB now (V2.4). Users continue to suggest new tools to add to the CD on a daily basis, and the most difficult task now is how to control and organize the utilities that go into each new release of the CD. In addition, parts of the project have now moved to SourceForge, and a couple more people have joined in the development of this project (See Acknowledgements).
I have no other "vision" for the project except one: that the UBCD shall remain accessible and convenient to use. As such, I have resisted suggestions of creating a master program that will create the UBCD ISO image dynamically. I have also resisted graphical splash screens and nice menu cursors that will complicate the boot scripts. Mind you, these are extremely cool things to do. But for me, the UBCD should be as convenient as downloading an ISO image and burning it to the CD. And it should remain accessible for interested users without much programming background to customize and modify.
For the foreseeable future, I see my role in the project as analogous to the editor of the magazine. And hopefully, users will contain to see the UBCD as a "magazine" with content worth reading/using.