[Lazarus-other] [Lazarus] Some information please

Marco van de Voort marcov at stack.nl
Tue Jul 6 12:00:11 CEST 2010

On Mon, Jul 05, 2010 at 04:18:45PM +0000, Mark Morgan Lloyd wrote:
> > It seems that I'm atypical, since even on the job I don't  use Delphi
> > for db related purposes.  (this small CRM thingy excluded)
> I've got quite a lot of database-related stuff, but far more interesting 
> are the areas where a database (e.g. Sqlite or SleepyCat) is embedded in 
> an application where you wouldn't normally expect it (e.g SVN).

Don't have those either. We are thinking about adding a database for logging
results, but due to the sheer size of the data, and my experience in those
magnitudes, we will probably be looking for some SCADA partner for that.
> > for it) while this conflict doesn't exist for Embarcadero<->Codegear.
> > 
> > The objective of Embarcadero seems two fold. Earning money, and some synergy
> > due to the bundling of retail channels.
> In the case of JPI Clarion had a critical interest in the tools since 
> they not only used the compilers but- if I am remembering things 
> correctly- embedded the compiler backend in their own tools.

Yes, and the team that could handle it.

> I'm 
> assuming (perhaps wrongly) that Embarcadero has similar reliance, and 
> that both companies concluded that it would be a disaster if somebody 
> else grabbed the technology.

Not that I know. Afaik they simple hoped to gain a market for their
databasetools, while they bought an essentially profitable business, so it
was not too big a financial drain.

So I think they bought more the channel (to customers) than the assets.

> It's worth noting that a few other companies relied heavily on the
> TopSpeed tools, for example Psion (early PDAs) for whom (again IIRC) there
> were some special hacks in the linker.

I know there was some use in circles around Philips Medical too (startups).
I was approached 2 or three times about helping out with installs and doing
quick assesments of code (like how dos dependant it was).

> > The Delphi decline is IMHO threefold: (in this order)
> > - Microsoft and Sun's multibillion development tools effots (with Codegear
> >  being more a tens of miilions magnitude company)
> Interesting to add IBM/Eclipse to this. I think that Lazarus competes 
> with Java at least as much as it competes with Delphi.

Competition with Java is mainly at the educational level. As far as I can
see, in companies, Java is mostly beholden beholden to the multinationals.

And lazarus for now doesn't really have much chance there, an occasional
skunkworks excluded. You need to be really big profile to get through to
those decision makers.
> > - Has gradually losts its foothold in education over the years. Partially
> >   due to natural causes, partially because of neglect.
> Article in the NYT this morning where various people are commenting that 
> MS has similarly lost its foothold- all the interesting startups are 
> based on "free" technology.

"Interesting startups" are always using stuff that is "hot". It's the nature
of startups, specially ones that are perceived as creative. I usually ignore
such messages, since such new trends are as likely to fail as to succeed.

> > - the longtime neglect by Borland, due to financial mismanagement (siphoning
> >   profits to the ALM stuff) and failed .NET adventures.
> ALM was doomed from the start, 

I think the whole ALM vision was a desperate attempt of Borland to get some
status as prefered vendor with a couple of multinationals, and then build
on that.

I can't seriously imagine that they really thought this was one of those
enterprise technologies that gets pushed downmarket to middle and small
biz. Maybe some downspeced parts, but not the whole shebang, and not against
enterprise prices.

> but with .NET Borland was "damned if they 
> did and damned if they didn't": if fewer compiler vendors had signed up 
> for it then MS might have felt under more pressure to make it succeed.

Well yes. There is a touch of hindsight there. It probably was a conflict to
the safe exploitation of a year-on-year decreasing business that might face
a sharp edge down if .NET really took off, and the prospect of taking a risk
and conquering a new market.  But I think that is exactly what happened, the
risky option was chosen by default (we have to do something, and what MS
does is the next big thing), and not on merits for Borland's situation.

Added to that , maybe Borland saw the trend coming that a large portion of
users would stop autoupgrading after D6/D7 coming. 

Some observations (opinions which I mostly collected from discussions on
Borland forums, and general IT press at the time):

First, there was the mistaken assumption that .NET would conquer all. All
the press said this, the "visionaries" in the fora reiterated this time and
time again and there was never much critique on this.  Even though
.NET was an instant hit, there was never much discussion if it would stop at
60%, 90% or 99% of the market. 

Second, (and I then already warned for exactly what has happened) a win of
.NET is not necessarily a win for everybody that jumps on the .NET bandwagon. 
MS, as platform host would come certainly come out on top.

Added to that was the fact that MS didn't really push the multiplatform
agenda of .NET.  There were no big partners to push this, no compatibility
framework, just a not production ready side-project (Rotor).  

If this was panned out more, the independant ISV's role there would have
been much larger, since MS was unlikely to do more than token support for
those, and the independant toolchain makers could build a case around
multiplatform .NET support.  However the big partner that would have laid
down the missing infrastructure for this was missing.  (Novell/Mono came
only into view much later and never was MS partner in a way visible to
developers, except in press releases)

Third, the big hit of .NET is mainly the serverside part (ASP.NET). Not
surprising for a Java copy, since that is a Java stronghold too. Borland
went for clientside .NET, that is way less succesful. Clientside .NET didn't
fail altogether, but was definitely second rate, and fragmented (Delphi.NET,
winforms 1/2, now WPF, which then got spun into a RIA thing etc)

Fourth, Delphi.NET was a compromise from the start, to not startle the users
with compatibility breaks or multiple paralel toolchains (the Kylix/CLX
fiasco was still fresh).  However it was clear that Delphi.NET was a
transition horse only.  The native <-> .NET dual strategy couldn't be
prolonged indefinitely.  And when the hordes fail to migrate, this was not
something Borland could keep up for long.  Worse, they knew sooner or later
they had to tell their Delphi.NET users to do a second painful migration
from the transition horse to whatever .NET only product they had planned
(never heard details about this btw, which scares me.  No Prism doesn't

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