The fox that Microsoft wants to make disappear

For a few days, due to a job change, I have been meddling (slowly and painfully) in the world of desktop application development, also called Win32 applications.

Getting started in a new work environment is not easy (at least for me) and if, in addition to that, one must learn to use a programming language with which one is not familiar, the question becomes a bit more complex. Let's say that luckily it is a language related to others that I know because it is a product of my quasi-monopoly favorite: I'm learning to program in Microsoft Visual Fox Pro.

Red fox

What can be said about this language? A summary from Wikipedia

Visual FoxPro is an object-oriented and procedural programming language, a Database Management System or Database Management System (DBMS), and from version 7.0, a relational database administrator system.

Traducción: It's a product stable and powerful from Microsoft. It seems strange, but it is.

Reading, looking for examples and doing some research on this language, I find out that the latest version of Visual FoxPro, 9.0, was released by Microsoft on December 17, 2004 and that, my dear friends, is the uLast version that we will see of FoxPro at least from Microsoft What happened, that these good people decided to leave their product lying on the side of the road? Simple: they couldn't integrate it to the megaproject that came after and that today is generating immense benefits, the .NET platform

And what happened to all those people who programmed in FoxPro and the companies that used it? They had to make an important decision: migrate to a powerful and similar language (let's say C #) and take advantage of the benefits of .NET or ... continue using FoxPro. We are not going to discuss here the costs, disruptions, planning and time that a migration from one paradigm to another takes, just imagine what it would be like to train hundreds of developers, review what has been done and consider future work on a constantly evolving platform. A task that, seen broadly, worries, just thinking about carrying it out is scary.

But let's go back to all those companies and developers who did not want to migrate to .NET and they stayed with FoxPro. What is the future for them? A language that en 2014 it was left without support from Microsoft, and when I say no support I mean exactly that. Microsoft does not continue in any way with the product. In recent years, and due to constant complaints from the vast communities of programmers who are reluctant to leave this language for its versatility, updates and improvements to the product were released in the form of service packs, but not much beyond that. These developer communities that I mention continue day by day generating improvements and code in the form of addons for this language in the hope of keeping it alive, strengthening it and that, if it were up to Microsoft, they would kick under the rug in the hope of never seeing it again.


Seen like this, I get the impression that Microsoft cared absolutely nothing a huge number of FoxPro users who for many years brought the company an interesting monetary return. But (and this is the best part of the story) with a unexpected knock-on effect Mainly due to constant pressure from these developer communities, Microsoft makes a revealing comment: the same day that they announce that they will no longer support or will be new versions of FoxPro, they also announce that some portions of the Visual FoxPro DBMS core will be released under an open source license, the database management system so that users and programmers can continue to improve and provide support.

They read well: in the same sentence I included Microsoft, liberate and open source. Amazing.

They do well? Are they wrong? Isn't it strange that these good people release such important code just for the good of the community? I am very happy for all those developers who want to study the code, improve it and put it at the service of others; although we could also think of it in the following way: so much power in the hands of the wrong people would do the job Microsoft couldn't do, hurt FoxPro and wipe it out of the picture once and for all.

In conclusion, and although many will not like what I say, I prefer to wait to see the released code and then celebrate it. It is missing for 2014, and from now until then so many things can happen ...

They are an evil corporation, yes, but how clever these Microsoft guys: Either way, they got rid of their own fox.

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  1.   f sources said

    There is something that does not add up to me, and that is that people complain about this, as if they do not know what kind of people they are dealing with. And this time not for being Microsoft, but for being a closed and very closed code, with sale of licenses.

    It seems to me a truism that if Microsoft does not want to continue with a product because it seems like a drag, to throw it away. And on the other hand, you can see the "XP syndrome" in people who complain and in your article:

    Translation: it is a stable and powerful product from Microsoft. It seems strange, but it is.

    Sure, a product that was last released in 2004 is quite likely to be stable.

    Suddenly it seems that Microsoft is a kind of state from which things can be demanded. I am sure that Microsoft has not violated any of the rules that it imposed when these people bought the software.

    Microsoft sells you the Software, nothing more and if they get mad at selling it, that is part of their business and it is completely legitimate. I think it's commendable that people want him released, it's a great idea but getting angry and demanding and demanding the company I think has done nothing wrong, not this time.

    This is the risk of proprietary software in general, that if the company wants to, the software does not remain in time.

    And by the way, between now and 2014 they have plenty of time to migrate.

    The other thing is the release of the code, it is so long that it is highly probable that several of the companies that use FoxPro today will not use it anymore. And that those who remain with free software do not have access to everything (it is not going to be GPL or anything like that, not even the entire code and perhaps it is not even legal to create a new separate version).

    I do not see in this a nod to the real Open Source.

    I really believe that Microsoft is entitled to do what it wants with its software, that's how people buy it.

  2.   Corrupt Byte said

    I remember that the guys at Sun Microsystems had the same problem when releasing Java, they were afraid that the forks would damage the image and the overall performance of the platform. I don't know about Fox Pro, but I suppose C # and SQL would easily replace it.

  3.   Nacho said

    I am with Ffuentes in everything he says. MS is not exactly a marvel of a company, but as a business practice it is perfectly legal.
    It reminds me of when they made the change to the msn server and those of linux were complaining ... Damn, let's use another client, look there will be few ...

    There you also see the GNU syndrome, accustomed to it, we do not realize that there are companies that sell the product and that product is closed.


  4.   Marcelo said

    We'll see. Every time I have it clearer: those of Microsoft are great sons of a thousand whores. And yes, it is true that "legally" they can do whatever comes out of their scrotum with their products, but morally and ethically they are pitiful. They are disgusting! They shit on the people who fed them for years!
    The morally correct thing to do in such a case would be that if they are no longer interested in the program, release it COMPLETELY and not just "on the hook." But it would be asking the elm for pears. Microsoft is like the dog in the manger: "It neither eats nor lets eat." Honestly, they deserve to melt; for being greedy, for being selfish, and FOR SONS OF BITCH !.

  5.   3rn3st0 said

    I started programming with XBase languages ​​back in 92, I used Nantucket Clipper (1) in its Summer 87 versions and then 5.01. Then when Windows 95 appeared, it turned out that the applications began to have compatibility problems, so it was necessary to change the platform. I started using FoxPro 2 (still owned by Fox Software) then VFP (2) (which was part of the VisualStudio 6.0 Suite). The truth is that I fell in love with the product which does not mean that I have not looked for alternatives. I have used Harbor, [x] Harbor and am following up on a product called Dabo.

    The problem is that M $ does not use a tool that can easily unseat products like VB.NET, FVP is designed from its origins to handle relational databases. Its BD engine is one of the most powerful and is compatible with countless BDs. On top of that, the 100 quintillion MB of RunTime garbage is not required to run or machines with processors like NASA's for applications to run, something that happens in .NET

    Much to the dismay of the VFP developer community, M $ is going to put the product aside and, as they said, f sources M $ can do whatever he wants, it's not the first time. We just have to look for other alternatives and send the people of Redmon to the same place where they are sending one of the few products of that company that are worth it.

    NOTE to f sources: VFP version 9 was stable since its first release. VFP 9 was released in 2004, but FoxPro is more than 23 years old, is version 9 stable? Stable FoxPro!
    (1) This language was bought by the monster Computer Associates, and then simply discarded. Clipper was an extremely powerful language for its time and implemented (outside of C ++) a very robust OOP philosophy.
    (2) Like Clipper, FoxPro was acquired by a monster. Although they improved it, in the end M $ decided on that disgusting thing called .NET.

  6.   Joshua said

    Microsoft, the least it could do is free the fox ... Not part of it ... It will not do it because if it does it, it will surely become an incomparable language ... It is more likely that they see it running successfully on Linux ... It's a shame it disappears ... I learned to program in VFP6, and the truth is that I think it is the best there is for SMEs ... because of the way it works on its database.

  7.   wizarddevil said

    I disagree with sources and all those who agree with him because we pay our money and we continue to give a lot of money to these microsoft gentlemen, therefore we are their clients and we have every right to claim and demand, I I am a programmer and my clients obviously demand that they pay me, so it is not rude to demand it is our full right, and visual fox has fed me for years, but in that crap neither java nor .net, I program in languages serious like cy pascal.

  8.   Carlos torricos said

    great of the microsoft for limiting ourselves to the programming of visual fox I will change to linux a stable rigid and safe operating system not trucho windows that gives headaches to a lot they go to hell microsoft units

  9.   Victor Godoy said

    As always Don money is the one that predominates, 20 years with a master's degree in engineering are useless, if Don money gets in the way, the balance leans towards the one who has the money, this is how the world moves and we cannot do much more, and Regarding the subject of vfp9, I know very stable systems that have been working for more than 20 years and continue to work, because the one who developed it was astute enough to foresee many things, mental clarity, creativity and ingenuity are qualities that They have always accompanied good developers, so we combine vfp9 with c, without naming more and I don't see that it can't be done, standard and precision database, very useful to give business solutions, I don't know what else they want.

  10.   oscar said

    The question today in 2014 would be: until what version of the Microsoft operating system will the applications developed in Visual FoxPro 9.0 run? today, for example, the applications run even in versions of windows 8.1.

  11.   John gotti said

    According to this colleague … It is fully functional in Windows 10… Greetings!

  12.   Claudius GB said

    The rapidity in the development of prototypes and specific applications is what has made me a faithful addict to the fox, the question I frequently ask myself is which product has these characteristics and at the same time allows an acceptably fast migration for functioning applications, some with more than 20 years.

    1.    anonymous said

      Fox Pro is a language with many features that seem unmatched for any desktop application and handling of native and foreign databases, since I learned to program it, it never left me bad with any client, I have tested it on MAC and Linux with Wine servers virtual, with VPN and the truth nothing runs like a Fox.
      Visual Foxpro has what others do, so the only thing I can say is that Microsoft has had to remove it from the .NET platform for purely commercial reasons because Fox could well give it the weapons that Visual Basic gave it, but since it is not a product, the Which he believed from his origins does not want to give him the place that Fox really deserves, on many occasions it usually happens that "generally you love your own children more than those of others."
      This is one of those cases.