Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Visual FoxPro Sedna goes Open Source - VFP lives on

As most of you know by now, the Microsoft VFP team announced that Sedna, the next release of extensions to Visual Foxpro 9.0 will be released by the end of Summer (Northern) 2007. The annnoucement also confirms what we in the Fox community knew for a year or more, i.e. that there will be no release of Visual FoxPro 10.

Some people I talked to feel shocked and surprised by this announcement. This shouldn't be so. Look at it this way, FoxPro is a mature product with a great set of features. It does the job well and does it fast. What features could Microsoft add to this great platform that would justify the amount of money they would have to spend to create a new version, test it and release it? There is no set of features that could add that much more value to what we already have.

On the other hand, the very good news in my view, is that Microsoft has agreed to release Sedna and all its extensions as a free product. I'll say it again. Free, at no cost to you whatsoever, ready to download! This, plus all the community enhancements in projects like SednaX (at Codeplex.com) make FoxPro an even greater value.

Yes, VFP 9.0 SP2 is on track to be released later this year (also free). Official Microsoft support runs until 2015. There are thousands and thousands of FoxPro apps running out there, many of them still in old versions like VFP 6.0 or even FP Windows, and yes, FP DOS 2.6! This goes to show you that the Fox will live for many many years to come.

The MVP Program, and FoxPro support forums and newsgroups, let alone blogs, will continue to exist as long as there is a community and a need.

By the time official support expires FoxPro would be 23 years old in Microsoft plus almost 10 years before that, in one form or another! What other piece of commercial software, with the exception maybe of Flight Simulator, has had such a successful run?

Let's rejoice, the Fox will live on for years to come.