Garrett Fitzgerald: Mas FoxPro

Garrett Fitzgerald blogs Mas FoxPro: “In view of Microsoft’s decision to abandon future development of Visual FoxPro, there is a movement afoot to ask MS to open-source the product, so the community can take it forward. If you’d like to see this happen, one thing you can do is sign the petition that PortalFox is running.”

It’s an admirable notion, but just because Microsoft doesn’t want to continue development, doesn’t mean they are willing to turn their tools over to a potential competitor. That would be altruistic.

There’s no doubt the software contains all sorts of embarrassing comments, perhaps undocumented calls to APIs Microsoft doesn’t want others to know about or use and probably some ugly work-arounds. It would be very educational to read the source and understand some of the obscure behaviors of FoxPro: where the phantom record really hides, how “Workarea Zero” works and why Error 14 reports Error while reporting Error 14, but I’m afraid the final journey of Visual FoxPro code will resemble the final scene in Indiana Jones, with the crate of source code wheeled back into the misty distances…

UPDATE… ComputerWorld covers the petition with an article that covers the history of FoxPro better than any other I’ve ever read in the trade press. This is the best press FoxPro has gotten since PC Magazine gave it the Editor’s Choice award, and that was some time ago.

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2 Responses to Garrett Fitzgerald: Mas FoxPro

  1. bill_mcgonigle April 10, 2007 at 6:14 pm #

    This insightful quote from the article basically says it all:

    FoxPro, though wildly popular, became a burden and an opportunity cost for Microsoft. “Every time Microsoft sold a copy of FoxPro, I think Bill Gates thought about all the money they were losing from not being able to sell a copy of SQL Server,” Cully said.

    I doubt the source will ever see the light of day outside Microsoft but maybe this will push folks to an open-source foxpro-compatible product.

  2. SarekOfVulcan April 12, 2007 at 10:35 am #

    Yeah, that’s kind of why I didn’t comment further beyond linking to the petition.

    I suspect that FPU26 could be released with minimal embarrasment, though, and could provide a reasonable starting point for a new project.

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