×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

172 comments

glad to see foxpro dead (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18431183)

Finally!

Re:glad to see foxpro dead (5, Funny)

dheera (1003686) | more than 7 years ago | (#18431959)

This is probably a money-making plot on Microsoft's part. They will "open source" it, but then when you read the million pages of fine print, you find out that it isn't open-sourced under GPL, but instead, they'll probably rather put it under one of their own crafted licenses that says that if you modify and redistribute and portions of the code, you must include the string "I like porcupines" and a link to the Microsoft homepage.

And then when someone does redistribute it like other source code (without reading the M$ license), they'll sit quietly for about 3 or 4 years, while this person's redistributed code becomes ever more popular. Eventually, it will become incorporated in digital cameras worldwide, database software that drives the next Google, and your next-generation toaster.

Approximately 1 year after that happens, and $1 billion have been made off the redistributed code, Microsoft will sue for not following the license. They will cite the fact that "I like porcupines" is not in the code and that a link to the Microsoft homepage is not included. They will complain that the lack of a link to Microsoft will have decreased Vista sales by $3 billion (because, naturally, the price of their OS is probably 3 times that of the code in question). They will demand the profits, win the case, and said company will have the option of either paying the legal fees, or being bought out by Microsoft.

On another note, "open source" of itself does not always mean "free to redistribute", it just means you get to view the source.

Re:glad to see foxpro dead (0, Offtopic)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 7 years ago | (#18433457)

"And then when someone does redistribute it like other source code (without reading the M$ license), they'll sit quietly for about 3 or 4 years, while this person's redistributed code becomes ever more popular. Eventually, it will become incorporated in digital cameras worldwide, database software that drives the next Google, and your next-generation toaster."

Well...I doubt that would be a problem in today's world. With great open source databases like postgresql, or for something small and fast, even mysql...why would you even bother to go with the old FoxPro stuff from MS?

I mean...back in its day...it was GREAT!! I cut my first database baby teeth with it for medical research projects. There was nothing else remotely like it for the PC.

But, we've come so far from the early 90's....

Didn't MS just buy FoxPro, to steal the 'jet' engine from it to stick into access (and please don't call THAT a database...what an abomination)? I think they did that, and just pretty much let FP rot after that without a lot of push forward....so, why bother using it when superior open source databases are already out there for the taking...?

Umm, no. (4, Informative)

dudeman2 (88399) | more than 7 years ago | (#18431195)

See first comment in the article by a Microsoftie:

NOTE that the released part is Sedna and NOT VFP nor VFP core elements!

Sedna is a project Microsoft has been working on for the past year or so. Sedna is built using the extensibility model of VFP9 and provides features like better connectivity to SQL Server, integration with parts of the .NET framework, wrappers for Vista APIs to make it easier to write applications that run on Vista machines, as well as better support for VFP data in Visual Studio.
 

Re:Umm, yes (1, Informative)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 7 years ago | (#18431447)

Where does it say that in TFA? This is what I see:

Instead of releasing new versions of FoxPro, Microsoft will release core portions of the FoxPro software to its CodePlex community development site, said Alan Griver, a group manager within the Microsoft Visual Studio team, which leads the FoxPro team.
and then, later:

Meanwhile, Microsoft has been working on "Sedna," which is the code name for the project that takes advantage of enhancements in Visual FoxPro 9.0. The primary goal of Sedna is to expand on the ability of Visual FoxPro-based solutions to better integrate with other Microsoft products and technologies, such as Visual Studio 2005, SQL Server 2005 and Windows Vista.
No, it really looks like Microsoft is open-sourcing VFP, or at least its core components.

Re:Umm, still no (5, Informative)

sweatyboatman (457800) | more than 7 years ago | (#18431859)

The article is vague and misleading. Alan Griver (who heads Microsoft's VFP team has been talking alot on his blog about it). Here's the straight-dope [msdn.com] ...

How about open sourcing the core product too?
We've been asked this for years. That's not going to happen. The main reason is that there is too much intellectual property in the VFP core codebase.


That seems pretty definitive to me.

For clarification: Sedna (the stuff that's going into CodePlex) is not now (nor was it ever intended to be) the next version of Visual Foxpro. It's just a set of VFP-based tools intended to help current VFP developers to make better use of new features in Vista/SQL Server/etc...

Meanwhile, VFP 9 is getting a final service pack and then that's it as far as Microsoft is concerned. There's certainly no plans to open-source the IDE or the VFP engine because, frankly, Microsoft would never do that. Some of the technology (and people) from VFP is going towards the LINQ project, but .NET is still a long way from offering the kind of streamlined data-oriented programming that Foxpro offers.

Re:Umm, still no (1)

Not The Real Me (538784) | more than 7 years ago | (#18433721)

"...There's certainly no plans to open-source the IDE or the VFP engine..."

Microsoft released their free VFP OLEDB driver last year. It pretty much allows all the .NET, VB, Delphi, VC++, etc. developers to write apps that talk to legacy FP/VFP systems without being tied to the VFP IDE or having to have VFP installed. The VFP OLEDB driver seems to be a huge improvement over the older VFP ODBC driver and (for a Microsoft product) has a rather small footprint.

Re:Umm, still no (2, Informative)

killjoe (766577) | more than 7 years ago | (#18433963)

There is an open source project inspired by VFP but based on python. It's called Dabo http://dabodev.com/ [dabodev.com] . Check it out if you are interested in getting on board with something that isn't obselete.

Re:Umm, no. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18432065)

I thought Sedna was an open source Native XML DBMS.

Open source is not a verb (0)

kbolino (920292) | more than 7 years ago | (#18431265)

Open source is not a verb, dammit. Try "Microsoft to make FoxFro open source" or something like that. Arrgh!

Re:Open source is not a verb (4, Funny)

L. VeGas (580015) | more than 7 years ago | (#18431399)

Don't verb that adjective! It bad's the language.

Excuse me, I have to go full my belly.

Re:Open source is not a verb (1)

EvanED (569694) | more than 7 years ago | (#18432107)

Don't verb that adjective! It bad's the language.

I think it weirds [evanparity.com] .

(BTW, no apostrophe. That bads the language. ;-))

Re:Open source is not a verb (1, Offtopic)

koreth (409849) | more than 7 years ago | (#18431405)

I'm normally a stickler for grammar but verbing [wikipedia.org] is a pretty widely accepted practice in colloquial English.

Re:Open source is not a verb (0, Offtopic)

value_added (719364) | more than 7 years ago | (#18432173)

I'm normally a stickler for grammar but verbing is a pretty widely accepted practice in colloquial English.

Doubleplus insightful!

It's too hard to construct a meaningful phrase when a single word will do, and with so many words in the English language, who has time to learn them all and pick a better alternative? And for for those naysayers and pedants who say this is a recent practice that is accelerating along with rudeness, poor spelling, decreased attention span and comprehension, I say get with the program, buster! If you want to be a team player, then you know that general illiteracy is inevitable. You'll be happier when you stop trying so hard. Language evolves. Everyone knows that. It's your right to make up words use them as you see fit. Don't let those antiquated notions of correctness like grammar, spelling, punctuation, style or coherence get in the way.

Re:Open source is not a verb (0, Offtopic)

koreth (409849) | more than 7 years ago | (#18433203)

A nearly amusing attempt at mocking satire, but it's based on a flawed premise. If you look at the Wikipedia page I provided, you'll see that it's anything but a recent practice. That page cites many instances (including, I might point out, one example from "Hamlet," hardly an incoherent piece of writing!)

It's not even particularly clear to me that it's accelerating. It might look that way but I think it's equally likely that the nouns that were widely verbed in the past are now accepted as pure verbs, so we don't consider them examples of verbing any more. A few examples: "gas," "stock," "mail," and "fuel." Look up the etymology of each of those and you'll see they all started out as nouns. Look them up in the stodgiest modern dictionary you can find and you'll see they are all accepted as verbs now.

I don't believe there's really any good way to measure the amount of verbing that happened in the past, and without that measurement, how can one make any assertion about the practice becoming more frequent? (If you have a reference to any hard numbers, e.g. from historical surveys of literature, that indicate verbing has become more common over time, please prove me wrong.)

Mastery of English (or any other language) means wisely using all the linguistic tools at one's disposal. Verbing is one of them. Like any tool, it can be used well or poorly. But even used poorly, it is not at all the same thing as ignoring well-established rules of grammar, punctuation, or spelling; it is, rather, part of the well-established rules of English grammar.

Re:Open source is not a verb (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18431513)

Neither was Google. When monkeys try to cling to the past we wind up with horrible monstrocities like "debit". Language isn't set in stone, common useage changes things all the time. Deal with it.

Re:Open source is not a verb (1)

civilizedINTENSITY (45686) | more than 7 years ago | (#18431933)

"Open Source" might not be a verb yet, but it will be. Might need to concatenate it down to "opensource", first, though.

Re:Open source is not a verb (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18432355)

Let me grok this.

Microsoft can't open source their own shit? They have to open source some FoxFro thing first?
I've programmed many things before and I've open sourced my projects and bundling wasn't required GPL or LGPL.

In fact, didn't the feds hardball Microsoft for bundling IE with the OS?

I just emailed my buddies to check their opinions, but they haven't acked me yet. Maybe I should text them or IM them.

Microsoft open sourcing is a good thing. No time for them to couch-potato around. Open source is steam-rollering ahead. Either they surf the wave, or they'll be speed-bumped into history.

Or are you commenting they have to google to see if other projects have co-opted their name first?

Oh, oh...well... wasn't that fun ;^) ;^) ;^)

We'll verb it if we want to. (1)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 7 years ago | (#18433455)

Open source is not a verb, dammit. Try "Microsoft to make FoxFro open source" or something like that. Arrgh!

I was under the impression that verbing adjectives was a construction in mainstream American English that is recognized as legitimate even by academics. (Verbing nouns is a legitimate construction in hacker slang, but that's a separate issue.)

However, even if it wasn't, American English does NOT have a regulatory body. It is, and always has been, what the users make of it. Academics must continuously research and document its changes - rather than prescribing it (and using legal power to enforce it) ala the French Academy.

("Standard English", on the other hand, is a construction that an east-coast self-proclaimed elite attempted {with much success} to foist on the rest of the country via the {largely governmentally-supported} school systems, in order to establish their version of the language as that of a ruling class and marginalize the speakers of the other local dialects and pronunciation variants. Fortunately for midwesterners, the advent of broadcast radio led to the standardization of THEIR pronunciation variant by the budding broadcast industry, due to its understandability by the largest population of listeners.)

Woops. Noun phrase. (1)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 7 years ago | (#18433577)

Sorry about the "adjective" part. (I started responding to one of the followup comments and pulled the "verbing an adjective" from there.)

"Open Source" is a noun phrase so verbing it is a proper construction of hacker slang. This seems appropriate, given that the whole open source movement was started by one or more of the original MIT Hackers. Since one of them coined it, and they habitually also used nouns as verbs (and vice-versa), they automatically coined the verb form simultaneously. This makes it proper even in Standard English.

Rushmore technology anyone? (4, Interesting)

wandazulu (265281) | more than 7 years ago | (#18431297)

Will the Rushmore technology that was so attractive to Microsoft in the first place be included in whatever they release? The way I understand it, Microsoft bought FoxPro from FoxBase to get Rushmore to add to Access 2, and then they wanted to dump FP. Apparently there was such a vocal outcry that they've kept FoxPro going, until now.

I'm curious because I really want to know what made FoxPro the speed demon it's always purported to be. I read somewhere that it was the first dbase-class database program that used bitmap indexes, but that was contradicted by another article from somewhere else.

Reason for speed (1)

Gonoff (88518) | more than 7 years ago | (#18431437)

I was told that one reason that FP was so much faster than access was that the data was separate from the application - as opposed to Access lumping it in one ever growing file.

That wouldn't explain how it was faster than dBase though...

Re:Rushmore technology anyone? (4, Interesting)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 7 years ago | (#18431873)

I'm curious because I really want to know what made FoxPro the speed demon it's always purported to be.

It's not. It may be quick for the common case of a small table (10K lines) on a local drive, but move outside that and it's horrid. FP supports multi-user access by putting the data files on a network drive. If you want to query it, your machine has to read to entire file, throw out the lines it doesn't want, and present the results. My company has about 40 people using the same legacy FP database from a RAID 1+0 system over gigabit ethernet, and it's still hundreds of times slower than running similar queries via SQL to any "real" database.

Let me put it this way: I wrote a program to export our FP tables to tab-delimited text files and then import those into PostgreSQL. This takes about 25 minutes, and we run it hourly - and it's still worth the pain. Reports altered to query PostgreSQL instead of FP typically see speedups of several hundred times, multiple users can run the same reports simultaneously, and you can actually run the reports over a slow link since only the query and resultsets have to traverse the network instead of the whole table.

I know this will come across as flamebait, and I'd normally not say this, but anyone who claims that FoxPro is fast is a hobbyist programmer. It's simply not fast by any imaginable standard other than the trivial case of small files on a single user's drive.

Re:Rushmore technology anyone? (4, Insightful)

k12linux (627320) | more than 7 years ago | (#18432185)

FoxPro IS fast or at least was when I used it last. BUT only if you are retrieving limited datasets that are indexed correctly. If your query can use indexed columns to limit the number of records returned you are ok.

I did the programming on a system which resided on a Netware v4.11 server back around 1993 and it had one table with somewhere around 3 million records. Queries were lightning fast if you didn't match too many rows and the query was optimized to work with your indexes. Queries which couldn't utilize indexes, however, were painfully slow.

Having said all that, however, I can't think of any legitimate reason to use DBASE style databases these days. With free DB servers like MySQL and PostgreSQL why bother?

Re:Rushmore technology anyone? (4, Insightful)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 7 years ago | (#18432395)

Queries were lightning fast if you didn't match too many rows and the query was optimized to work with your indexes.

But even indexed queries pale when compared to a "real" database. Since FP is file based - that is, each client has to read the files directly - even the index files have to be transmitted over the network to do those lightning fast queries. At some point you saturate your NIC, and after that all the processing power, RAM, or fast drives in the world won't make it a millisecond faster.

Compare and contrast with any client/server system, where all those queries are consolidated into one cache shared among all clients, and only the actual requested rows have to be returned. By its inherent architecture, FP simply cannot ever hope to be as fast.

Distributed Processing (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 7 years ago | (#18433895)

Having said all that, however, I can't think of any legitimate reason to use DBASE style databases these days. With free DB servers like MySQL and PostgreSQL why bother?

Local processing. For sticky processing, sometimes you can dump the work onto a user's workstation to relieve the server. A client/server app grabs the raw data from a central RDBMS, and then chomps on it on the local work-station. Think of them as a "local view" of tables.

I've seen processes that used to run locally moved to a web-server, and it got bogged down because all the processing that used to be distributed to work-stations was now forced to one box, the server. However, we got around it by pre-processing some of the data at night to make it easier to digest for this particular app.

Also, as I mentioned elsewhere, FoxPro is generally easier to program cursors with if you need cursor-oriented processing. I find it more friendly than Oracle's cursor language conventions, for example. FoxPro is more "scriptish" in that regard, while Oracle is formal.

It is also easier to break big queries into multiple smaller queries in Xbase (FoxPro's original language). The equivalent in SQL is sometimes a big run-on sentence, a multi-breaded sandwich. (SQL could fix this with app-defined views, but this is not well-supported.)
     

Re:Rushmore technology anyone? (2, Informative)

jjacksonRIAB (1050352) | more than 7 years ago | (#18432465)

It seems like flamebait because this is the second time you posted on how horribly slow it is. To me it seems fairly obvious that Microsoft allowed Foxpro to stagnate because they did not want it to compete with their other offerings - typical buy out the operation, take core technologies, and watch it die slowly hitjob. Every limitation of Foxpro is attributable to such stagnation, nevertheless while it may not be suited for enterprise development, I think it is very well suited for small business use. The problem IMO with foxpro is it is a victim of its own success. It worked very well and was very easy for RAD, but it didn't scale well to enterprise level. As far as money is concerned it maps to the curve of "we're beyond Access but can't yet afford SQL Server" fairly well. If you think Foxpro is bad try working for a company that has enterprise level demands on one stage and a fileserver full to the brim with terabytes of uncompacted Access databases on another. At least with foxpro it would be easier for the people who use Access to step away from editing the data by hand like they think they should be doing. I would not venture to compare Foxpro to something like Oracle or SQL Server, but more to Access - against which it wins quite handily feature-wise, and as far as .NET is concerned I often find Foxpro to be the faster at database access.

Re:Rushmore technology anyone? (1)

An ominous Cow art (320322) | more than 7 years ago | (#18432487)

I'm not sure what your problem could be. I'm not going to demean your skills by calling you a 'hobbyist' or anything; I'm not here to start a flamewar.

My company has a large application written in VFP, used by quite a few people simultaneously, multiuser over gigabit ethernet, all DBFs on a central server, and performance is quite reasonable. That includes running reports against the data (and some tables have a million+ records in them). I don't doubt that there are faster solutions out there, but our application evolved with the language - it started out as a dBase II application that got converted to Foxbase and then through all the various versions to the current one, so we've learned our way around every quirk and bottleneck in the language. And we've had the same 3 core developers the whole time, so we know the language, the application and the data inside and out. (well, except for me; I was away from it for 5 years or so and forgot a lot :-))

Your idea of exporting to a faster DBMS is a nifty one, though. I don't know whether in our sitiuation there'd be any great benefit, but I'll mention it to the other developers.

Re:Rushmore technology anyone? (1)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 7 years ago | (#18432735)

My company has a large application written in VFP, used by quite a few people simultaneously, multiuser over gigabit ethernet, all DBFs on a central server, and performance is quite reasonable.

I'm (fortunately) not directly responsible for supporting it, but I knew the people who are and I trust that they've tried everything. Maybe it's just a different usage pattern that's.

I was brought in a few years ago to rewrite the quickly-written ASP website with something more extensible and maintainable. For various reasons, we went with Zope on FreeBSD. The original idea was to write a Windows-based proxy, where the webserver would pass it requests, it would execute the query, and then return the results. This worked perfectly (and is still in use today), except that we learned early on that you can only run one SQL query at a time per machine. This evolved into a load-balanced farm of VMWare images, each running a copy of Win2K and the database proxy.

Dear God, how I hated that thing. The PostgreSQL solution eventually grew from the need to be able to run more than one query at a time. It basically had to grow nodes linearly with the number of simultaneous visitors we hoped to support. After a while, we simply couldn't scale the proxy farm behemoth to match the load that many simultaneous web visitors would place upon it.

I don't remember what gave me the idea to use PostgreSQL as a frontend to the FoxPro table files, but it's been absolutely blissful. We've also started migrating to native PostgreSQL tables for new development, with the eventual goal of only using FoxPro for the application layer. At that point, we can start replacing parts of it with components written in more favored languages until it eventually disappears.

Re:Rushmore technology anyone? (1)

An ominous Cow art (320322) | more than 7 years ago | (#18433899)

Yes, probably different usage patterns. Reporting tends to be rare-ish and mostly done as part of a nighttime batch process for us, for example. Probably because it did tend to drag down the network back in the arcnet and 1MB ethernet days, for the reasons you previously mentioned... Back in the day, though, nothing else in its price range could touch FB/FP/VFP for speed and usability.

I certainly don't deny that 'the day' is over by now. I regularly find myself cursing VFP's lack of programming features. It would be a massive undertaking to reimplement our code in something more modern, but maybe the news that MS won't be further developing it might be the impetus needed to finally get us to move on. I'm partial to Python+wx+{MySQL|PostgreSQL} :-).

Re:Rushmore technology anyone? (2, Informative)

nogginthenog (582552) | more than 7 years ago | (#18433999)

If you want to query it, your machine has to read to entire file, throw out the lines it doesn't want, and present the results
That is incorrect. FoxPro only reads only the data it needs.

I know this will come across as flamebait, and I'd normally not say this, but anyone who claims that FoxPro is fast is a hobbyist programmer. It's simply not fast by any imaginable standard other than the trivial case of small files on a single user's drive.
Another lie. I've written FoxPro apps that are used in 100+ multiuser environments with multi gigabytes of data. Fast as hell.

I'm not saying it's better that client-server but to say FoxPro is slow is wrong. You can write crap applications in any language you know.

Re:Rushmore technology anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18432059)

I got the same impression: Rushmore cached a bit array of the query result, so that further refining of the query could use the results of the prior query, instead of running from scratch.

But there's got to be more to it than that, because that's a pretty obvious application (ie: I doubt the patent would stand). My belief is that they wanted to kill their only real competitor - at the time, dBase was already dead in the market.

Re:Rushmore technology anyone? (3, Interesting)

mplemmons (155099) | more than 7 years ago | (#18433481)

Yup, Visual Foxpro was fast as hell, although IMO the speed topped out around version 3. And not just fast on rinky-dink tables, as long as they were reasonably indexed. Stick the server component of a c/s solution on the same server as where the data resides, and performance was great for tables having over 1M records. It was a good on the "back end" of web servers, for example.

More than speed though, I enjoyed the data-centric programming language. It was a joy to use and a bunch of functionality could be smashed into just a few lines of code. I miss it.

I think the real reason for it's demise is that it was cutting into the per-seat profits of SQL Server. Throw a VFP application on a file server and it was available to a bunch of users for free. We still use a server-based app where I work that is run several thousand times per month, trouble-free.

Foxpro (-1, Flamebait)

wumpus188 (657540) | more than 7 years ago | (#18431309)

I hope nobody will get the idea of picking up the source and continue development... Foxpro, please die, finally.

Re:Foxpro (2, Interesting)

An ominous Cow art (320322) | more than 7 years ago | (#18431553)

I've been programming in various versions of FP since 1989 or so (FoxBase+). Since the language is built around the idea of manipulating tables, doing so is incredibly easy compared to the awful hoops you have to jump through in more modern or general purpose languages (Java, perl, python, C/C++).

That said, it feels very dated working in VFP. Especially with things like arrays, which are horribly crippled compared to the equivalent in perl or python. VFP's OO-ness isn't all it could be, either. I'd hoped the 'open source' part of the announcement would mean someone (maybe I?) would be able to add associative arrays to the language, but there is some confusion about whether VFP itself or some derivative called 'Sedna' is actually being open sourced. I need to find out more.

If only all orphaned software would go this route (4, Insightful)

davidwr (791652) | more than 7 years ago | (#18431319)

I wish all companies would open-source or at least make available free-as-in-beer their obsolete-and-non-competing products. If they can't make it free, then make it $1.

Except for games, which have a commercial nostalgia market, most software over 10-15 years old wouldn't be commercially viable even if it did run on the latest operating systems.

I for one would love to fire up Windows 3.1 with a 15 year old copy of Microsoft Word and print to my Postscript printer, just to see how fast it is on my modern PC.

Re:If only all orphaned software would go this rou (3, Insightful)

swerk (675797) | more than 7 years ago | (#18431605)

I heartily agree. I've been bitten many times by abandoned software, Animator Pro on DOS had a sort-of spiritual successor in Animator Studio, but it died there, lost between Windows 3.1 and 95. Blender was nearly lost to a similar fate; fortunately enough money was raised to buy out the source and release it under the GPL.

Being at the software vendor's mercy for an application's longevity sucks hard, and it's one of the reasons I've been embracing Free and open software so passionately. As long as anyone still cares, the program will live on. Good software shouldn't die. That said, anything related to FoxPro can and should be erased from existance as soon as possible as far as I'm concerned, but surely somebody's happy about this, so good for them.

Re:If only all orphaned software would go this rou (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18431675)

It would be really cool!!

Re:If only all orphaned software would go this rou (1)

Tokimasa (1011677) | more than 7 years ago | (#18431717)

I totally agree. I would love to get my hands on old software that just isn't viable. I realize that some things can't be open-sourced, especially if some components are still in use. But there's no reason not to make downloads of ISOs or the installation files available for free or low costs ($5).

Re:If only all orphaned software would go this rou (1)

EvanED (569694) | more than 7 years ago | (#18431997)

I for one would love to fire up Windows 3.1 with a 15 year old copy of Microsoft Word and print to my Postscript printer, just to see how fast it is on my modern PC.

Amusingly enough, if you run DOS on a virtual machine, it will peg your CPU even when sitting there at a prompt. If you run, say, Windows Server 2003 in a VM, CPU usage hovers around 10% when idle.

I assume there's some busy wait loop in DOS somewhere. One of my friends created a binary patch for Civ2 so that it would call yield or sleep or something like that instead of busy waiting so it would stop eating his CPU.

Re:If only all orphaned software would go this rou (1)

morcego (260031) | more than 7 years ago | (#18432421)

Amusingly enough, if you run DOS on a virtual machine, it will peg your CPU even when sitting there at a prompt. If you run, say, Windows Server 2003 in a VM, CPU usage hovers around 10% when idle.

I assume there's some busy wait loop in DOS somewhere.


Try DOSIDLE: http://www.vmware.com/software/dosidle210.zip [vmware.com]

Re:If only all orphaned software would go this rou (1)

justthinkit (954982) | more than 7 years ago | (#18434107)

That link didn't work for me [404'd at vmware.com].

A HREF="http://ftp.bspu.unibel.by/pub/HardWare/COOLE RS/DOSidle/">This one did.

How's that relate to Jet? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18431355)

I might be able to feign some interest if they'd open source Jet (db used by Exchange)...

Re:How's that relate to Jet? (1)

Zaiff Urgulbunger (591514) | more than 7 years ago | (#18431451)

Are you sure Exchange uses Jet?

Re:How's that relate to Jet? (1)

andrewtheadminguy (1053346) | more than 7 years ago | (#18431697)

They've been saying that they're going to make Exchange SQL-based for who knows how long. But yes, without a doubt, Exchange is currently Jet-based.

Let's hope for Exchange 13.

Re:How's that relate to Jet? (1)

dedazo (737510) | more than 7 years ago | (#18432329)

I think you're confusing "JET Blue" (ESE) with the file-based Jet RDBMS engine introduced by Microsoft Access in the 90s. Exchange uses the former, as do many of the new Windows client apps that shipped with Vista, though the API has been available for a while.

ESE might be based on Jet or it might be a superset of it or whatever, but I don't think they're the same thing.

Re:How's that relate to Jet? (1)

Zaiff Urgulbunger (591514) | more than 7 years ago | (#18432827)

Aahhhhh -- that'd probably explain it!

I can't claim to really know much about either Access or Exchange, but I do seem to recall that Exchange (2000 anyway) did have some kind of transaction logging to allow atomic commits and backups whilst the system live. And I might be being mean to Access, but I thought did basically nothing in this respect!

Re:How's that relate to Jet? (2, Informative)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 7 years ago | (#18431677)

I know Access uses JET, but I haven't run across anything saying Exchange uses it... If they did, I could use eseutil to fix this stupid broken Access mdb I was just told about today instead of the not-working jetcomp.exe tool.

Apparently ESE stands for Extensible Storage Engine as well...so I'm gonna have to say Exchange doesn't use JET.

Re:How's that relate to Jet? (2, Informative)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 7 years ago | (#18431761)

Further comments, apparently ESE was meant to succeed the Access JET, but that didn't happen.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extensible_Storage_En gine [wikipedia.org]

So it's apparently a flavor of JET...but different.

I could "see" them opening JET Red (Access) in about 10 years, because there are no plans to make it 64 bit, but not JET Blue (ESE/Exchange). That'd open up Exchange and MS wouldn't want to do that.

License (2, Insightful)

MrWGW (964175) | more than 7 years ago | (#18431397)

I don't suppose anyone knows what open source license the software in question was released under? I looked in the article, without success.

Shared Source (4, Informative)

argent (18001) | more than 7 years ago | (#18431747)

That was the first question that came to mind for me, too.

The relevant part of the actual announcement on Microsoft's site [microsoft.com] reads "To reiterate, today we are announcing that we are not planning on releasing a VFP 10 and will be releasing the completed Sedna work on CodePlex at no charge. The components written as part of Sedna will be placed in the community for further enhancement as part of our shared source initiative. You can expect to see the Sedna code on CodePlex sometime before the end of summer 2007."

Shared Source [microsoft.com] is not Open Source.

Re:Shared Source (1)

MrWGW (964175) | more than 7 years ago | (#18431835)

Interesting. So I guess the story was inaccurate in calling this "open source." I myself was highly perplexed at the though of Microsoft opening up anything significant like that. In this instance though, it looks like a logical move by Microsoft to increase interest in one of its more underperforming products by moving it to a shared source license.

what's next? (0, Flamebait)

starbuckr0x (1073378) | more than 7 years ago | (#18431551)

FoxPro? Who still uses FoxPro?! What ancient MS product is next?... OOOOooo, please let it be MS Works! Maybe we can then prove it really is an oxymoron!

Re:what's next? (1)

vertinox (846076) | more than 7 years ago | (#18431901)

I used to work for for a FoxPro developer back in 2001.

It was rather a fun and useful software and a whole lot nicer to work with than say MS Access at the time if you were developing your own database software.

I even got to attend a developers conference with them (I did training for them and support) and there were plenty of people that did Fox Pro.

However, they did have a contingency plan to switch all their products to MS SQL based solutions which I don't know how that went since I left the company.

It had its quirks, but I could see a lot of in house DB companies still using the product.

Re:what's next? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18432009)

don't suppose your employer's initials were DC, were they? if so, that SQL transition left a bit to be desired, like the product itself.

Re:what's next? (1)

jdbartlett (941012) | more than 7 years ago | (#18432263)

I had a brief stint at a small company producing bespoke accounting solutions for Pegasus Opera, a VFP-based package. Its briefness was due to dwindling demand... Since then, I've moved to the US, and if I ever happen to mention either Fox Pro or Pegasus, I get "Huh? The what-what?"

Re:what's next? (1)

iPaul (559200) | more than 7 years ago | (#18431939)

I've come accross one instance of a FoxPro app that the owner wanted to re-write as a web app. It would really help open up solutions for people with existing FP apps that need to migrate them to something, anything else.

Re:what's next? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18432211)

Actually, the computer at the store where I work is a DOS 386 that runs Foxpro to track orders and sales, with a sneakernet connection to a WinNT 486 downstairs. It's very retro. I found a 1200 bps modem tucked behind it while tidying up one day.

So basically, very rare small businesses. But I think the main draw would be for people who wanted to read old files.

Re:what's next? (1)

Ced_Ex (789138) | more than 7 years ago | (#18432283)

*raises hand*

FoxPro for DOS 2.6

But it's not my choice! Stupid application still works like a charm. Whoever wrote it back in '92 did a pretty decent job overall. New enhancements are written by me grudgingly. A re-write is in the pipes, so I'll be looking forward to turning it into a web app and be done with it.

(XBase was cool!) Re:what's next? (3, Insightful)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 7 years ago | (#18432431)

FoxPro? Who still uses FoxPro?! What ancient MS product is next?...

Although they never got their GUI conventions right, the XBase language was outstanding for ad-hoc and small-scale data chomping. You can tell it was invented by people who had to deal with data and tables all day long.

Unlike MS-Access, there was an easy path to ad-hoc manipulations and script writing. In MS-Access the language world and mouse world are too distinct. Xbase allows a more incrimental, integrated approach.

And unlike SQL, it easily allows one to do cursor-oriented manipulation and see intermediate results. Sometimes cursoring around is easier than bulk, declaritive queries that SQL gives you. Newer dialects of XBase incorporated SQL to allow one to use whichever is best for a task. (However, index dictionaries were never standardized across dialects.)

I used to do all kinds of table-oriented stuff in XBase, like store programming code or expressions in the tables. Think of it as Design Patterns where you can easily query, search, and print the patterns rather than dig thru linear code. It was also easy to generate tables programatically. Meta-programming was a snap. Data dictionaries could drive a lot of the app, even the GUI.

The newer stuff tends to put bulky API's between you and the data, which slows one down. There is no such fense in Xbase (usually a good thing for productivity, but it does have its downsides if you are not careful and not used to it.)

Ah, the good ol' days. -Tablizer-
       

Re:(XBase was cool!) Re:what's next? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18433419)

You can thank NASA for this, ultimately: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/JPLDIS [wikipedia.org]

(I worked at JPL in the late 70's/early 80's, was part of a team that moved JPLDIS from the UNIVAC 1108's to UNIVAC 1100/80 machines).

Re:(XBase was cool!) Re:what's next? (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 7 years ago | (#18434007)

You can thank NASA for this, ultimately: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/JPLDIS [wikipedia.org]

But JPLDIS was heavily influenced by a commercial product called RETREIVE. But I could neither confirm this nor find descriptions of RETREIVE. Appearently JPL basically re-created the same kind of thing, but with different verb names. Thus, the original credit probably goes to RETREIVE, although JPLDIS influenced the popularity of it.

If this happened these days, the company would sue the arse off of JPL.

Codeplex? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18431585)

I wasn't aware of that web site, let's get some MS-hostile GPL projects on the go :-)

Shoot me now. (0)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 7 years ago | (#18431653)

I hate FoxPro. It's ugly, it's slow, it's ancient, and it doesn't play nicely with, well, anything. My company has spent the last few years migrating to a decent, modern solution with PostgreSQL and Python. My biggest hope is that they're actually releasing it through their proprietary "shared source" license and not a real F/OSS license, because I honestly want this to die once and for all.

BTW, yes, you read that right: FoxPro is glacially slow. Its proponents will swear up and down that it's the fastest database environment in the world, but the reality is that it's only fast at running FoxPro code. Port a FP program to pretty much any other language+RDBMS system, and actually write it in that combination's native idiom (that is, don't translate FP to Java line for line), and you'll leave it in the dust.

Your Comment is Incoherent (2, Insightful)

sweatyboatman (457800) | more than 7 years ago | (#18432251)

FoxPro is glacially slow. Its proponents will swear up and down that it's the fastest database environment in the world, but the reality is that it's only fast at running FoxPro code.


It's only fast at running code in it's own language? You don't say! I'd be pretty impressed at any language that could run code written in another language.

Perhaps what you meant to say was that Foxpro is only fast when dealing with data. In that case you are correct. I wouldn't write a protein-folding program in Foxpro, because, well, that would be stupid. But there's no language in the world that works with data as well as FP.

Fortunately for you, though, Microsoft is not really making anything of significance open-source. Though Foxpro's death will only be assured when they turn out the lights in 2015.

Re:Your Comment is Incoherent (1)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 7 years ago | (#18432531)

It's only fast at running code in it's own language? You don't say!

I do say. It's not a fast database. It's not a particularly nice programming environment. It has little support for any kind of ACID goodness, and then only in the very newest release (which isn't completely backward compatible with its predecessors). No, it's true that the only thing FoxPro is particularly good at is running FoxPro code. Unless you have legacy FP applications to support, it has absolutely nothing to offer.

But there's no language in the world that works with data as well as FP.

...except, well, any other language. It is hopelessly ancient and restrictive compared to pretty much any modern system. VB.Net and SQL Server? Better, faster, and easier. PHP and MySQL? Better, faster, and easier. Python and PostgreSQL? Infinitely better, much faster, and far easier. Frankly, I can't really think of another database for sale today that I wouldn't rather use.

Your Comment is Still Incoherent (1)

sweatyboatman (457800) | more than 7 years ago | (#18432939)

You seem to not understand that saying that Foxpro is only good at running Foxpro code makes no sense. .NET is only good at running .NET code. And Python is only good at running Python code.

The mistake you're making is that you look at VFP and you see a DBMS package that's forcing you to program in Foxpro. You have it backwards. VFP's DBMS system is an extra bonus (especially if you're at a company that doesn't have the resources or the need for a SQL Server/PostgreSQL database).

Yes, all the BDMS systems you mentioned in your post are better in a myriad of ways than VFP. And Python, C#, what-have-you are more modern programming languages (though in this discussion that's besides the point). But PostgreSQL isn't a programming language and Python isn't a database language. Whereas VFP is both.

Have you considered using PostgreSQL with a VFP front-end (I'm going to assume that you're involved your company's upgrade)? Well, of course you haven't. Because Python is totally badass! And besides, you don't really know anything about Foxpro and don't want to learn. So it would be a waste of time for you. Which is fine. Go with what you know. But IMO if three years ago your company had decided to go with a Postgre+VFP they would have been done with their upgrade two years ago, instead of still thunking away at a "decent, modern solution".

Re:Your Comment is Still Incoherent (1)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 7 years ago | (#18433181)

You seem to not understand that saying that Foxpro is only good at running Foxpro code makes no sense.

It was a literary device aimed at native English speakers, and I apologize for any confusion it might have caused.

But PostgreSQL isn't a programming language and Python isn't a database language. Whereas VFP is both.

The key distinction is that Python isn't a crappy database - it doesn't pretend to be one at all - and PostgreSQL isn't a crappy programming language - it doesn't even try. Combining an awful language with an awful data backend doesn't magically make it good.

Have you considered using PostgreSQL with a VFP front-end (I'm going to assume that you're involved your company's upgrade)?

That's exactly what we're doing in the cases where migrating to a supported language isn't an immediate option. We're doing essentially all new development in other languages and phasing out the legacy codebase as time permits.

And besides, you don't really know anything about Foxpro and don't want to learn.

I'm not the only programmer here, and "legacy application" implies that someone wrote it in the first place. Those people are still here and still very good at FoxPro. The problem is that FoxPro isn't very good to them.

But IMO if three years ago your company had decided to go with a Postgre+VFP they would have been done with their upgrade two years ago, instead of still thunking away at a "decent, modern solution".

I can agree with that. On the other hand, we'd still be running on a programming platform that is officially, probably irreversibly, dead. If we're going to migrate at all, we're going to move to something a little more future-proof.

Status of "intellectual property" (2, Interesting)

burnin1965 (535071) | more than 7 years ago | (#18431743)

It would be nice to see Microsoft start to open source (that is with a GPL or equivelant license) at least some of their products. But why FoxPro? This is the same software package which got Microsoft into trouble [foxprohistory.org] over copyrights. I believe all the "intellectual property" issues surrounding FoxPro have long been settled, am I right?

burnin

Crazy (2, Funny)

N8F8 (4562) | more than 7 years ago | (#18431777)

Between FoxPro and VB it just amazes me that any company can afford to repeatedly crap on it's customers and still survive.

Take Note! (2, Interesting)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 7 years ago | (#18431801)

Take note, Microsoft has (to appearances, at least, while waiting to see if they provide everything necessary to compile up and run the current FP release) done something good here. Would that all other software companies follow suit with orphaned software.

Re:Take Note! (1)

iPaul (559200) | more than 7 years ago | (#18431863)

Good question. I sometimes wonder what companies are hoping to get out of sitting on a piece of software for years, loosing the source code, and just preventing anyone from getting any use out of it? I actually had an opportunity to convert a fox-pro app to a web app, but the guy that had the app was insane and I would rather swallow my own tongue than deal with him.

such great news... (1)

fattmatt (1042156) | more than 7 years ago | (#18432207)

I suppose the 3 users of FoxPro are totally gonna be stoked on this...

Re:such great news... (1)

trongey (21550) | more than 7 years ago | (#18433849)

I suppose the 3 users of FoxPro are totally gonna be stoked on this...

They would, but all three of them died in a freak accident last week. Details are still fuzzy, but it apparently involved COBOL and Turbo Basic.

2 gig tablesize limit (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18432245)

One of Foxpro's biggest limitations is the 2 gig limit...
hopefully the open source community will be quick to address this

What about Bob? (2, Funny)

RonMcMahon (544607) | more than 7 years ago | (#18432253)

I guess there is still hope that they will FINALLY open up the code to Bob! I can hardly wait! I'm dizzy with excitement over how I can apply this awesome technology and UI breakthrough in my Vista apps!

A Brilliant Move? (1)

Ngarrang (1023425) | more than 7 years ago | (#18432287)

Micro$oft has stated in the past that if someone is going to pirate an OS, they would prefer it Windows, on the premise that the pirate (Arrrrrr!) could be converted into a paying user. Or at the minimum, allow Micro$oft to count the person as a user to tout how dominant their products.

So, we have here a product that Micro$oft already had other versions of, and wishes to no longer spend money on. Sooooo, is this yet another way of keeping the world on Micro$oft software? By making the source available, you suddenly allow old installations an excuse not to migrate to a more current DBMS. Legions of open-source programmers will flock to enhance and expand an old, dead product. In a strange way, this is a smart move on Micro$oft's part. They can only benefit from this move.

Irrelevant (2, Interesting)

DaMattster (977781) | more than 7 years ago | (#18432501)

Unfortunately, I would have to say Microsoft's actions are largely irrelevant. FoxPro was fantastic in its hay day but it is a bygone technology. I am not terribly familiar with FoxPro but I would wager, in its present inception, that it does not scale nearly as well as SQL. If the license is GPL or BSD, it could find a new lease on life in UNIX, FreeBSD, and Linux. I could see FoxPro being adapted as an LDAP backend or a configuration backend. But much beyond that, Microsoft is open sourcing FoxPro because there is little or no threat posed as the technology is, as the tag line points out, abandonware.

Please don't be to harsh when you mod me for this speculation: What if Microsoft open sources this product with a different goal in mind? For instance, maybe M$ is curious to see what new ideas become of their abandonware? Perhaps, the community might give it a new lease on life and re-develop a market for it? Should that happen M$ could close the source again, if the license is not GPL, LGPL, or BSD. Just my thoughts anyway

which "open source"? (1)

nanosquid (1074949) | more than 7 years ago | (#18432665)

Companies like Microsoft and Sun are fond of calling things "open source" that really aren't open source in the usual sense. So, which license is this going to be?

(Apologies if this in TFA, but I didn't see it.)

Re:which "open source"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18433109)

Say what. Microsoft hasn't, as far as I know, open sourced anything of significance (they are not open sourcing Foxpro either - and even if they were it would only be because the product is actually dead). Sun, on the other hand, have gradually been releasing pretty much all their software under an open source agreement of one kind or another including Java, Solaris, Netbeans, OpenOffice, Apache Tomcat. Really not in the same league at all.

you're right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18433677)

Really not in the same league at all.

Microsoft has largely ignored the open source community until now. Sun has open sourced some stuff when it suited their business interests, and in other areas has actively attempted to disrupt open source efforts, sometimes with almost-free licenses, sometimes with licenses calculated to cause dissent and incompatibilities among open source projects.

So, you're right, they are not in the same league. I'm just not sure which of the two leagues is worse. Frankly, at this point, I'd wish both of them would just go away and leave open source alone rather than trying to "help". We need Sun's help even less than we need Microsoft's.

And so it goes... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18433087)

Another steaming pile o' (sh)it goes down, MS needing new 'products' to lure people to. Everything in Fox Pro is so badly designed that I experience physical discomfort when using it. The main idea with most M$ products is 'any idiot can program/administer computers/networks'.

Cold (1)

kahrytan (913147) | more than 7 years ago | (#18433873)


  I think Hell just froze over and a pig flew by my window. Why is Microsoft doing this? Perhaps to sponge off OSS developers then turn around and close source it.

WWMSOSN? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18434123)

i hope they open source "Windows for Workgroups - 3.11" next. nothing says, "We're serious about open source!" better then releasing such cutting edge, technically relevant pieces of software. i certainly will feel free to read and use their code, without fear of future patent litigation. i mean, come on, it's Microsoft.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...