If it ain’t broken don’t fix it

Yet another worthless blog… by Uberto Barbini

Gpl Delphi!

Posted by Uberto Barbini on May 10, 2008

This is my plea to Embarcadero for Delphi future.

I’m not asking to release everything under GPL, only to release VCL and the as much as possible of the IDE under a dual license schema.

What is the biggest single problem for Delphi wide adoption today? In my opinion the lack of community. When I started to using Delphi, (Delphi 1.0 in 1995) there was a huge community from Turbo Pascal days, now that community of young passionate future developers has grow in professionals that spread the word of Delphi in every company they worked.

But if I look now to the main Italian Delphi newsgroups, they are frequented mostly by professionals, with everyday problems to solve. And that’s ok, but where is the future in this?

The words GPL has still a little of its marketing magic (and a very cheap one), so maybe it can attract again the kids, as I was in 1995 (ouch this hurts!).

I don’t think that in 2008 any serious firm could consider using a GPL product with the idea of breaking the license. And if they were ready to do it they surely won’t pay any license whatever.

As things are now, Delphi could have a not so bad future as niche product, but IMHO this is the only way to revive to ancient glorious days.

For a different opinion and much more details about the acquisition, I keep an eye on Marco Cantu’s Blog.


2 Responses to “Gpl Delphi!”

  1. tk said

    do you think the lack of community is caused by not having the Delphi as a GPL project? Do you think Lazarus beats Delphi now?

    I think this is more about technology and how it attracts developers. It doesn’t care who creates this technology. In it’s times, Delphi has been the only technology that made it possible to create Windows applications in a very fast way using an easy to use visual designer. This was the technology, although maybe the idea with properties etc. came from VB.

    Now this technology is widely spread and new technologies have been created like .NET. Java wins through it’s “compile once run everywhere” as I see it. Further there is the strange cult of curly braced languages. I don’t know why but I’ve seen it everywhere. People just don’t like Pascal because it is not C-like and thus “for children”. Delphi slept for many years. No new technology arrived within the IDE.

    So for Object Pascal and Delphi, there has to be very much effort to be done to attract new developers now. A blazingly fast cross platform compiler (there is one for Win32) and attractive visual component sets could be the deal. I do not understand .NET but I’ve heard it is better in many cases. So for a RTL of tomorrow it is a task of competition with .NET and making it equal or even better in those cases. “Simply” making an own technology and not waste an enormous manpower to support all the newest M$ technologies.

    Now got rid of Borland (if it really were the leaders of this company who considered their Delphi to be an outsider), It might be the new course for Codegear. They see themselves the largest independent developer of programming tools now. I think and hope they do not waste manpower and bring new technologies into their development tools, including Delphi. They know Delphi the best, they have a roadmap created at Borland’s time. I hope they will accellerate now under Embarcadero. Envolve more manpower and bring new technologies into Delphi. By doing this, the community will grow definitely. Object Pascal is the most readable programming language, that’s why I like it – so if these technologies are very productive, the community will skyrocket for sure.


  2. I agree that GPL is not sufficient to create a community, Lazarus is a technical masterpiece but it’s absolutely “uncool”.
    Moreover I worked on the porting of IstantObjects to Lazarus and it was a pain in the ass because of the semi-compatibility with Delphi.
    I dunno if things are changed now.

    On the other hand, it’s hard to create a young community on a product that in average costs something like 1000 bucks.

    Also having FOSS applications written with in on SF and GC, another thing that Lazarus lacks completely, could create a vicious circle.

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