back to article Delphi RAD tool (remember that?) gets support for Linux desktop apps – again

Texas software house Embarcadero Technologies has said it will license FmxLinux for Delphi, allowing developers to compile desktop applications for 64-bit Linux. FmxLinux is a toolchain for compiling Linux desktop applications using Embarcadero’s Linux compiler for Delphi, which is also part of the RAD Studio bundle. FmxLinux …

  1. guyr

    Communicates with Delphi on Windows?

    "On the Ubuntu side, you have to install an agent which communicates with Delphi on Windows."

    What's this? I took a 15-minute look at Kylix when it came out, and honestly I don't remember anything about it. But this quote has me scratching my head. Am I understanding correctly that to run a Delphi app on Linux, you need to shuttle work over an agent to a process running on Windows? Sounds like the mother of all kludges. I really can't see the niche for this. If you have a staff of experienced Delphi developers, and you want to deploy a bespoke app onto a Linux desktop? But if you also need to have a full Windows running to do the grunt of the work, why bother? Just run the app on that installation of Windows.

    Okay, found this article on the Embarcadero site that explains things:

    http://docwiki.embarcadero.com/RADStudio/Rio/en/Linux_Application_Development

    The agent is only required during development, not deployment. You develop the app on Windows, and cross-compile it for Linux. GUI apps are not supported, only console apps. Meh, very niche market. If you want to run a full app on both Linux and Windows from a single source, several options are available. Java of course, but for native look and feel, WxWidgets gets you there.

    1. LDS Silver badge

      Re: Communicates with Delphi on Windows?

      This article is exactly about now being able to develop GUI application for Linux and no longer only console ones.

      Java is a solution often used under Linux for lack of better alternatives and overcome distro fragmentation issues and compatibility problems, but comes with issues on its own, especially the memory footprint and jre maintenance.

      Qt looks still more used than wxWidgets, but both don't deliver outstanding GUIs.

      1. Richard 12 Silver badge

        Re: Communicates with Delphi on Windows?

        Qt is the "native" framework on KDE, so there is that.

        I've never liked wxWidgets, it's too much like MFC and I always despised that.

      2. guyr

        Re: Communicates with Delphi on Windows?

        "This article is exactly about now being able to develop GUI application for Linux and no longer only console ones."

        Thanks for the correction. I went back and reread this part:

        "FmxLinux was developed by a third party, Eugene Kryukov. It has been licensed under “a long term distribution agreement,” says Embarcadero’s Marco Cantu in the announcement this week." and followed the link to the announcement Makes more sense now. But I also read this on the announcement page: "active subscription to the Enterprise or Architect editions". What's up with Embarcadero? They really like to put the screws to their customers. Less pain-seeking customers can just license FmxLinux directly at a much lower total cost.

  2. AndrueC Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    I'll always have a soft spot for Borland (I was a member of TeamB for a while). After using Delphi for several years I switched to Borland C++ and eventually Borland Builder. The latter gave us compatibility with Delphi's VCL which meant we had drag and drop GUI development when the rest of the world was still struggling with MFC.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I'll always have a soft spot for Borland

      I was a big fan of Turbo Pascal, Turbo C and (gasp) Turbo Prolog.

      I was a student in 3rd world country and still remember when a cousin returned from the US with a copy of Turbo Pascal 4.0 -- a big honkin' manual with maybe one or two floppy disks? I recall it costed something like US$ 90, several times my student's stipend at the time, but money well spent.

      My love started to fade when I decided to upgrade it to Turbo Pascal 5.5 (now with objects!). I called Borland's Bananistan office that told me that shock, horror! My 4.0 copy was an illegal one since it wasn't bought at the Bananistan's branch. I could upgrade if I paid the legalisation fee and then the upgrade fee, total, US$ 180.

      Maybe not Borland's fault, but that pissed me off. And that's why I got a copy from a friend, and started distrusting Borland.

      1. Claverhouse Silver badge

        Re: I'll always have a soft spot for Borland

        These sorts of situations... I reckon flexibility should override legality and a company is best served by purchasing goodwill and a future customer by upgrading it for a more nominal cost, winking away any prior use.

      2. Pirate Dave
        Pirate

        Re: I'll always have a soft spot for Borland

        I remember in the early 90's Borland put out a "Student" version of TP 6 for $50 or so. I already had a sneaker-net copy of regular TP 6 from my college, and used it well and often. I did buy the full version of Delphi (maybe version 3) in the late 90's/early 2000's. Never did get on much with it, but was comparing it to VB 6 at the time, and VB 6 was enough for my simple Windows-programming needs, whereas Delphi had a bit of a learning curve, iirc. Now, as an admin instead of a programmer, everything is Powershell, which if you close one eye and look at it in a mirror, it almost ALMOST looks like a programming language, just don't look too closely or you'll lose your mind.

    2. Erik Schepers

      I remember TeamB. And the rather interesting Inprise period.

      It's a shame to see what's happening to Delphi, ie, being ruined by the beancounters.

      1. jaypete

        TeamB could be such a mixed bag, though. Some of them were fantastic. But some of them (unfortunately, the most prolific) were utter assholes. Sadly, these seem to be the ones that have made the transition to Stack Overflow as the dominant voices in the Delphi topic...

    3. anothercynic Silver badge

      Ahhh, TeamB... :-)

      That brings back some fond memories... including the borland.delphi newsgroups...

      We had such a good community going there... we all shared the pain whenever the Borland share price tanked and cheered when would go up, and cursed management when Del Yocam changed the name to *gag* *shudder* Inprise.

      So, hi to you!

      1. AndrueC Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: Ahhh, TeamB... :-)

        I think by the time I joined TeamB I'd stopped using Delphi so most of my contributions were on the C++ sections. I probably spent most of my time trying to police .off-topic. I was never as prolific as RudyV, though. Wasn't he also a dentist at the same time?

        1. alcalde

          Re: Ahhh, TeamB... :-)

          He was and still is!

  3. Christian Berger

    Well of course there's Lazarus...

    ... all the advantages of Delphi, but without the proprietary license and with even more supported platforms.

    Ohh and BTW that's without kludges, both the development system and the applications are native for every platform.

  4. NetBlackOps Bronze badge

    As someone who considers pretty much any solution a database, at least from an architectural standpoint, I loved Embarcadero. Even did testing for them for a while. The licensing costs, as with MSDN, are simply out of reach and have been for some time.

  5. karlkarl Silver badge

    I really liked Borland C++ Builder 5 and 6. However Borland Kylix is the program that taught me that proprietary development tools were absolutely unsustainable.

    Around 2012 I had to maintain some old janky database app written in it. Naturally the tool was no longer supported, the license server did not work and the actual tool itself after being cracked (which was quite fun admittedly) did not run on a "modern" distro (RHEL6). There was absolutely no chance to make changes to the code and recompile.

    So I rewrote the damn software using standard open-source tools. Next time I will simply charge for a rewrite immediately if dealing with proprietary gimmicks.

    That said Qt is not proprietary but it has the same problem with MOC. Once that specific version becomes un-maintained it will be a nightmare to maintain Qt apps. Just try compiling a Qt 2-3 app and you'll see what I mean.

    1. joeldillon

      Oddly enough, Kylix was actually a wrapper around Qt, under the hood; obviously carefully set up so you couldn't get to it directly. I think this was before Qt was available under the LGPL, but after it was available under a 'noncommercial use only is free' licence, so I guess it's a matter of opinion whether it was proprietary at the time.

  6. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Lazarus and FreePascal have owned that niche on Linux for so long that they'd struggle to give Delphi away there, even if it were native (which, AFAICR Kylix actually was). But charge those amounts for it?

    1. RMycroft

      I'm quite happy with Lazarus / Free Pascal on Windows and Linux, even the Raspberry Pi.

      1. Pirate Dave
        Pirate

        "I'm quite happy with Lazarus / Free Pascal on Windows and Linux, even the Raspberry Pi."

        It runs on Mac, too. Was one of the first things I went looking for when I got an old Mac to bang around with 3 or 4 years ago. FPK worked fine, Lazarus seemed to struggle on the older hardware.

    2. Robert Halloran

      The idea of running your IDE on one platform and attaching to another for deployment is questionable. Lazarus gives developers a native option, is not dependent on the survival of a particular vendor, and is obviously more affordable. I don't see how this Embarcadero product can remain viable in light of that.

      1. alcalde

        it remains (marginally) viable because of the people who have large code bases that (they believe) they don't have the time/money to rewrite and there are no other vendors so they're held hostage. And then there is the "cult of Delphi" who still believe that automatic memory management is evil, Java is slow, open source is all crap, and Delphi will rise again. Their numbers are dwindling with attrition though.

        Lately the Delphi package manager server went down and has stayed down for weeks, suggesting Embarcadero isn't keen on spending resources on Delphi. That's in addition to the new type inference language feature having broken IDE Intellisense and refactoring for almost a straight year now with no fix. And then EMBT failed to deliver a 64-bit Android tool on time for Google's cut-off regarding 32bit apps, and then failed to have 64-bit ready for a beta, and then finally negotiated an extension "on a case-by-case basis" for Delphi users who officially plead to Google. And they still don't have 64bit OS X support either.

        It's all falling down around users' ears at this point, but there are still some who remain undeterred and tell met brag that Delphi is used for products such as "Nero Burning ROM" so Pascal is alive and well. Sigh.

        1. Jove Bronze badge

          I was under the impression that Lazarus / Free Pascal does not provide full coverage for the features offered by Delphi and that is why many licensees are still using it.

  7. steamnut

    Embarcadero is priced too high for developers .

    I still have a copy of Borland Pascal which I used to develop applications (just called programs back then) in 1983 on grey imported IBM PC's. It was a low cost and fast way to write programs for PC's. I continued to buy and use Borland products including c, c++, Paradox, Quattro, Jbuilder, Prologue and Delphi. All of these products were reasonably priced for small companies like mine. Now, with Embarcadero at the helm, there are no "reasonably priced" products so I don't use them at all. Also, my current systems are all Linux based which, until now, was badly served.

    Thank goodness for Lazarus which does all I want for little money (I do send donations). It is going to be interesting to see how well this "new" Delphi will fare in the Linux space. I think that it is too little too late.

    With Python, Kivy, QT, Lazarus etc already well established (and low cost), in the Linux space we don't need Delphi now.

    Despite the recent emails and phone calls from Embarcadero asking me why I am no longer a Delphi user (answer is always "too expensive" - even for upgrades), I think than Linux, with Python and Lazarus, are not going to be displaced anytime soon.

    1. LDS Silver badge

      Re: Embarcadero is priced too high for developers .

      It's even more expensive because beyond the product price you are basically forced to buy their expensive yearly maintenance package as well, a la Oracle, or you get no patches.

      Recently they also stop you re-installing old perpetual license (if you hit the activation limit) you bought unless you buy actual product maintenance.

      Basically, Embarcadero is reduced to exploit its actual customer base that has a too large investment in Delphi code to be able to move it to port it to something else quickly and cheaply enough.

      Ironically, they moved most development to East Europe to reduce costs.

      1. Erik Schepers

        Re: Embarcadero is priced too high for developers .

        The whole "you need a maintenance contract if you want to use the product you already paid for" thing happened to me. So here I am, stuck with an expensive piece of software (Delphi 2009 Professional) I can no longer use.

        Needless to say, there is no chance in hell that greedy lot at Embarcadero / Idera / Or whoever owns Delphi at the time of writing will ever see any of my money again.

    2. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

      Re: Embarcadero is priced too high for developers .

      What Embarcadero seem to overlook is that there are many developers such as myself who are not writing off-the-shelf apps like Skype (which was I believe originally written using Delphi). Therefore the profit that can be made is not magnified by thousands of users as it has to be tailored to the handful of companies that I'm writing for. Yes I have heard of software reuse, but those chunks of reusable code still need to be glued together and then tested to meet the specific demands of each end client, even if I am building something similar.

      So the cost of sale of a project I write needs to factor in the cost of those regular Embarcadero upgrades and maintenance charges (if taken), which is not sustainable in my usage. I am still supporting code dating back pre-millennium in some cases and annual maintenance charges would not be well-received if many years pass and no support or changes are required (read that sentence again: Delphi is damn robust - this is one of the reasons developers like it).

      It must be remembered that each upgrade involves making sure that software can be re-compiled from version to version. Thankfully this is rarely an issue with Delphi, unless third-party components are being used which is likely to be the biggest headache. Biggest issue I can recall is to do with ANSI string-handling, which is well-documented on the boards.

      I understand where Embarcadero are coming from: new devices need to be incorporated into the mix, and they need to keep the product fresh, but many developers are not interested in any of that baggage until they have a customer who wants you to migrate your software into that particular device.

      If they were to licence upgrades and support according to the "modules" actually being used then I would have less problem putting my hand in my pocket. FWIW I'm using XE3 at the moment (with IBObjects, which I heartily recommend).

      1. katrinab Silver badge

        Re: Embarcadero is priced too high for developers .

        The Skype developers didn’t have much money before they sold out to E-Bay and later Microsoft. That’s the situation for most startups when they are at the stage where they are deciding which tools they should use to implement their idea. And once the money does start coming in, that means they have a working product, and they aren’t going to rewrite it.

      2. LDS Silver badge

        "many developers such as myself who are not writing off-the-shelf apps "

        Embarcadero wasn't able to cope with the evolution of the PC market. When they made TP and the first version of Delphi, basically MS/DOS and Windows meant desktop PCs only. The landscape was filled with local databases like dbBase (and clones) and then Access.

        From the late 1990s the PC market became far larger because hardware supported also powerful enough servers on x86. RDBMS started to replace fully shared files databases. Soon, you also get open source ones like MySQL or Postgres.

        You could now also need to write server-side applications, not only desktop ones. And then the Internet boomed.

        But Delphi looked unable to cope with this changes. The SKU are still the same of twenty-five years ago. The Pro only allows for local databases. You need the Enterprise to target RDBMS - even the "lower end" ones, as if only the larger companies still run them. The Architect contains tools that are replaced every year - and you're a fool if you start to rely on them.

        Server-side development - what would have justified a more expensive "Enterprise" version - was stubbornly ignored for a long time (even the Windows service implementation was stuck to NT4-era APIs well past 2015), and security a joke. They added iOS/Android apps development, but their framework, like Java Swing, wholly draws the GUI (lately some native components can be used). That's also what happens now under Linux. You'll need something alike "styles" to get the native look.

        With web applications shrinking the need of desktop GUI applications, their market shrunk a lot. Embarcadero though the solution was increasing the prices, and try to move actual customers to more expensive versions through license changes, instead of understanding the need of deep changes and aligning its offer to the new landscape.

        I do believe there is still a lucrative niche for desktop applications development, especially in Windows, but Embarcadero is working hard to squeeze customers, and those who can are forced to alternatives.

        FreePascal/Lazarus can work, but you may not have available some great libraries like Developer Express and a few others that help a lot to deliver good complex applications - and they add to the costs as well.

        Moreover today rarely you deliver a complex application using a single tool - often there is the need to deliver a server, a web application, a desktop one, mobe ones, several utilities, etc. Your budget needs to take into account all of that. If a single tool costs too much, and can deliver only a small subset of what you need, it can't usually justify its price.

        1. MarkMLl
          Meh

          Re: "many developers such as myself who are not writing off-the-shelf apps "

          I think it's worth commenting that early versions of Turbo Pascal- you remember, with the "treat this like a book" licence- not only installed on multiple operating systems (CP/M-80, CP/M-86, MS-DOS) but could also be customised for different keyboard and screen types. Now that is obviously far removed from the pixel-perfect positioning and prettification that is de rigeur in current desktop application programs, but the unavoidable conclusion is that somebody took their eye off the ball and screwed up badly.

          And my understanding is that the person at the helm when Borland decided that it was better off concentrating on large corporates and didn't need goodwill from small users later resurfaced handling developer relations for IBM's OS/2.

        2. jaypete

          Re: "many developers such as myself who are not writing off-the-shelf apps "

          Delphi has had a messy history and plenty of missteps, but this comment is full of mistakes.

          Starting with one of the most important ones first: 'The Pro only allows for local databases. You need the Enterprise to target RDBMS - even the "lower end" ones, as if only the larger companies still run them.'

          This is categorically wrong. How do I know this? I've been using Delphi Pro to do MSSQL work for two decades. Typically, the Enterprise ones contain some proprietary DB connection components, but we've never used them. The ODBC, OLE DB and native SQL drivers have always been just fine for us, combined with the ADO components. I'm sure you don't love one or more parts of that, but it's definitely not true that you need anything but Pro. And if you did want to use the free edition, there are plenty of 3rd-party database components that will let you connect to whatever you want.

          As far as them not changing SKUs in forever: again, you could not be more wrong. They changed SKUs back and forth left and right - too much, in my opinion. They were always trying new things. Their problem has always been that the number of users has done nothing but remain stable(ish) or gown down. They can't really offer a lower price and stay in business, because even if they priced their best product at $100, they'd never get enough users.

          As far as Architect containing tools that change every year, that's definitely an exaggeration. Yes, they do change, but their main competition left is MS, and they're the king of flighty software. When I went to make the switch for new projects to Visual Studio/C#, I found that complete disarray of MS when it came to WinForms or WPF and Entity Framework, LINQ, and ADO.Net. It's just about impossible to even get MS to tell you which thing THEY want you to use and won't abandon next. Even before this round, we've all went through that with numerous MS Flavor of the Years. Yet we used Delphi and more or less ignored that. Delphi was way more reliable when it came to shifting technologies.

          Finally, slightly pedantic, but you keep saying "Embarcadero." That makes me really not trust any of your observations. Embarcadero is a company that existed for 15 years before they bought CodeGear (then owners of Delphi) in 2008. And CodeGear was just a division of Borland that was spun off in 2006. Almost the entirety of Delphi not managing to keep its market share is on Borland's shoulders. So when you say "Embarcadero did this" or "Embarcadero did that", it makes me raise and eyebrow and question your credibility. It's like saying "Google created the first major video sharing platform" because Google later bought YouTube. Just doesn't make sense.

          1. 9Rune5 Silver badge

            Re: "many developers such as myself who are not writing off-the-shelf apps "

            I found that complete disarray of MS when it came to WinForms or WPF and Entity Framework, LINQ, and ADO.Net.

            WPF is newer and has advanced binding support. If you really want to make a traditional windows client app in this day and age, then WPF is your best bet. (Where I work we are abandoning our Windows client software because we cannot figure out a good way of distributing them. Certain larger corporations and government agencies have very strict and fscked up deployment regimes. They basically do not want anyone to distribute software at their users -- even though they pay for said software -- "Click once" might help I guess, but....)

            As for the data access layer: Entity Framework allows you to perform LINQ queries on ADO.net datasources. There is "Linq-to-sql", but that looks fairly abandoned. EF.Core is in active development and even has its own github repository.

            MS are in the middle of a transition from traditional Windows-only .Net to multiplatform .Net Core. Now that has caused some disturbances in certain areas (e.g. suddenly an upgraded nuget package will cause your build server to throw warnings because somebody switched to a different format for the debug symbols that the old .Net platform tools don't support properly yet), but I suspect those issues will be sorted out sooner rather than later.

            That said, there are some language features of Borland Delphi that I still miss. Delphi's set operators were quite useful at times. The speed of its single-pass compiler was very impressive. The integrated debugger was fast and intuitive. Compared to WinForms, the VCL was a work of pure genius (I wish I could find Chuck Jazdzewski's blog entry about why generating code to construct a form is such a bad idea).

            1. jaypete

              Re: "many developers such as myself who are not writing off-the-shelf apps "

              Yeah, I eventually settled on WPF. It was a headache, but more powerful. And it seems like MS was stealthily abandoning WinForms. Oh, and I left out UWP, their other aborted framework (which targetted desktop and phone/surface).

              As long as I've been a programmer, MS has been in a transition of some sort. That's their modus operandi. They were google before their was google - "Hey, check out my great new framework that will solve everything? What, that old stuff? No, we're done with that." Next year, same story, different framework. The best thing about Delphi was skipping almost all of that. You just stuck with the VCL, for year after year. Stability is way more conducive to good programs than The Hot New Thing.

              C# as a language isn't so bad. I think it's probably the best landing place for an ex-Delphi coder. Which isn't surprising, considering it was designed by the head designer of Object Pascal. And there's plenty of stuff in it I wish was in Delphi (especialy since I still have to spend most my time in Delphi 2007). C syntax is gross, and Pascal is the best, but I'm flexible enough that I got over that.

        3. anothercynic Silver badge

          Re: "many developers such as myself who are not writing off-the-shelf apps "

          Sorry but that's bollocks. With Delphi Pro you could do RDBMS stuff, the difference was that you didn't get all the nice database drivers with Standard (you got Interbase, which was a Borland product). With Enterprise you got those, plus some data studio stuff and some middleware bits.

          And to blame Embarcadero is being lazy. Blame Yocam and his ilk who bet the farm on CORBA and the enterprise, renamed the company from a well-known 'Borland' to Inprise and then gave the two fingers to small independents who didn't do enterprise development. When they *eventually* changed back to Borland, the damage was mostly already done, and the spinout to Codegear (which eventually was bought and absorbed by Embarcadero) didn't help matters.

          *sigh*

    3. druck Silver badge
      Stop

      Re: Embarcadero is priced too high for developers .

      Two and a half to neigh on three grand for basically a 17 year old copy of Delphi for Linux which is x86-64 only. The heat here today is certainly getting to me, but surely I can not have just read that.

  8. Jove Bronze badge

    A good indication of the market ...

    ... if a vendor can package and charge license fees for Linux Desktop tooling.

    It would be interesting to know what basis this decision was made on; Customer demand or analysis of the market potential.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: A good indication of the market ...

      ... if a vendor can package and charge license fees for Linux Desktop tooling.

      But can they get customers for it?

      I suspect the only ones who'll bite are mugginses in manglement who have a long history of overseeing development on Windows and have finally decided that Linux might be mportant but don't actually know anything about it and would never in a month of Sundays think of asking their staff.

      1. Jove Bronze badge

        Re: A good indication of the market ...

        Have you ever worked in a software business?

        Such purchase decisions would not be made without Engineering/Lead Developers/Technical Architects etc having the reviewed requirements and available alternatives.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: A good indication of the market ...

          "Have you ever worked in a software business?"

          Yes. I find it difficult to recognise your halcyon state of affairs.

          I've had the experience of being forced by a dedicated VAX/VMS & mainframe oriented manglement to migrate to a new version of the target RDBMS engine on VMS - none of this strange Unix nonsense, thank you. It didn't go well, corrupting indexes several times a day when it met real life. We ended back on a bigger and better Unix box.

          1. Jove Bronze badge

            Re: A good indication of the market ...

            Ah; so your work experience is with script-kiddie businesses, and not in software-engineering industry. As I thought.

            1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

              Re: A good indication of the market ...

              "Ah; so your work experience is with script-kiddie businesses"

              I suppose you're right. I always considered VMS to be script-kiddie stuff. And those mainframes...

              It's astonishing how one of the biggest UK plcs managed to survive with that stuff.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Have you ever worked in a software business?

          Are those you've mentioned hiring?

          The ones I know avoid asking engineers even the time of day. And I bet some are already thinking "Hey, I remember Borland -- they made nice tools, like Turbo Basic, Quatto, Clipper, I missed that! Let's move on that direction" (backwards).

          1. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

            Re: Clipper?

            That was a Nantucket product, was taken over by Computer Associates..

            You might be thinking of that abomination known as Dbase4 which was written by Ashton Tate. We had the 5.25" floppy media. Forget how many disks it was, enough to give you RSI loading them. The thing that made me laugh (through gritted teeth at the time) was that the first disk appeared to do nothing more than load an animated DBase4 logo onto the screen with a request to feed it disk number two. I seem to remember we didn't have enough memory to load that first disk first time we tried...

            Clipper was good at what it did: compiling dbase code into an exe, but I hated the seemingly inconsistent variable scoping that the authors seemed to think was good for flexibility. Then there was macro expansion...

          2. Jove Bronze badge

            Re: Have you ever worked in a software business?

            I suggest you are disgruntled and have no experience in working in a software engineering business. Move on and find a better work place.

            1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

              Re: Have you ever worked in a software business?

              "I suggest you are disgruntled"

              Far from it. I did very nicely from that experience. I'd been body-shopped in there but then left, largely to go to another system-integrator with in theory, less of a commute (that was a whole other tale). However by the time the first client had learned the error of there ways I happened to bump into one of their guys in the tube station (so much for having escaped the commute into London) who promptly asked if I'd be interested in coming back as an employee which worked out very well in several respects.

              "and have no experience in working in a software engineering business."

              One of those irregular verbs:

              I am a software engineer, you are a programmer, he/she is a script kiddie.

              "Move on and find a better work place."

              Indeed. It's called retirement even if the first decade was combined with freelancing.

              1. Jove Bronze badge

                Re: Have you ever worked in a software business?

                So what the heck are you moaning about?

        3. MarkMLl
          Meh

          Re: A good indication of the market ...

          Doesn't seem to stop corporates buying Oracle products, which AIUI are regularly presented to senior management over the heads of their technical staff.

          1. Jove Bronze badge

            Re: A good indication of the market ...

            "AIUI" - That pretty much explains your stance.

            Do you not think that Senior DBAs will have good reason for continuing with Oracle were necessary? Are you also not aware that many organisations have been shifting to alternatives, or that Oracle's revenues have been taking a hit for a number of years?

        4. Afernie

          Re: A good indication of the market ...

          "Such purchase decisions would not be made without Engineering/Lead Developers/Technical Architects etc having the reviewed requirements and available alternatives."

          So... you seriously believe companies don't make massively stupid purchase decisions with no input from the technical side of the business?

          Last week I was at a company-wide meeting where it was casually mentioned that our customer services team would be moving to a new CRM system. Ink was on paper, but no member of the IT department from the top down had been told it was happening, literally the first we'd heard of it.

          When you have the right mix of the wrong people, it happens all the time.

          1. Jove Bronze badge

            Re: A good indication of the market ...

            I have no doubt that specific businesses will have different approaches, but my experience is of businesses that go about these decisions in the right way, not those that are heading for trouble.

      2. LDS Silver badge

        Re: A good indication of the market ...

        Their target market are old Delphi graybeards who are desperately trying to cling on it because they never learnt to use something different.

        1. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

          Re: old Delphi graybeards

          Depends what type of software you're writing. At present I'm heavily involved with a customer integrating accounts, stock control and food safety information together to enable them to run their business effectively.

          Why migrate to something else when Delphi does everything that is needed, in a robust fashion?

          Things such as emailing (sending and parsing), web page generation and EDI are all built-in to the structure of the system I've written for them. Components to port the app to smart-phones, access Open Street mapping and to connect to social media are available if I need them, but no, not at the moment.

          1. LDS Silver badge

            Re: old Delphi graybeards

            I didn't say Delphi is a bad product. I used it myself for over twenty years, and I still think it could be a great tool to develop Windows desktop applications quickly. And I like Pascal a lot. My last Delphi application, written first in 1998, was replaced last year after twenty years of service - the customer, who also bought the code many years ago, decided it became to risky and decided to port it to other tools.

            I'm just saying that now Embarcadero business model is not getting more developers on board, it's now exploiting people that for many reasons don't want, or can't move, with ever increasing prices. Call it the Oracle/CA/MicroFocus business model, and I am afraid Idera adopted it too.

            Many licenses changes in the past and now aimed exactly at that aim - some were recalled when outrage was too big, as when they tried to forbid database development with the "Professional" version.

            Moreover, I don't look at the price only - I look at the price/features ratio. There could be good reasons to pay some thousand of dollars a development tool it those are repaid in faster development time and increased quality. I don't think actual Embarcadero prices are justified by both.

            Still, due to my past experience, I know many graybeards who simply can't move past it, and attempt to use it when it really it's not the right tool. I met two a few weeks ago, who asked me if they could avoid to interface with Apache and write their own web server in Delphi....

            1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

              Re: old Delphi graybeards

              "I'm just saying that now Embarcadero business model is not getting more developers on board, it's now exploiting people that for many reasons don't want, or can't move"

              This is the old CA model, isn't it.

            2. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

              Re: write their own web server in Delphi....

              Well we both know that Indy gives that ability... and if it is with the intent to integrate simple web server functionality into a much larger package it would of course be viable (oh dear that marks me out as a gre/aybeard!). It is the security aspect that would worry me though.

              Which reminds me... the one thing that majorly irritates me about Delphi is the Webbrowser component. It is a shame that there is not something better out there.

              A common need for software devs is to interface with other packages, such as Apache, as mentioned, and I'm sure many devs using other dev tools hook into Outlook to be able to send emails. How many devs use MAPI to send emails? To my mind this is a hideous way to do things, bearing in mind the variability of Outlook and its recent desire to nanny users as to whether something should be taking control of Outlook, plus the need to have Outlook installed and configured on that pc. Indy to the rescue with Dephi. Ditto with spreadsheets and documents. My customers don't *need* MS Office, or even Adobe Reader on their system, which to me is quite a progressive philosophy.

              1. LDS Silver badge

                "It is the security aspect that would worry me though."

                Exactly. We weren't talking of some HTTP interface to monitor a server component, with very limited access and mostly reporting some data. It was something requiring far more security.

                And they weren't even talking about the TidHTTP component - they were talking about writing it almost from scratch using some code got heaven knows from - because "this way it is easier to debug". People in they late forties/fifties, not juniors on their first job.

                Unluckily many very skilled Delphi developers I knew moved away from it years ago.

                1. MarkMLl

                  Re: "It is the security aspect that would worry me though."

                  "...easier to debug": that is of course an interesting point, since neither Delphi nor Lazarus/FPC are entirely happy when debugging an app split out into DLLs on account of the large amount of memory management (strings passed as parameters etc.) behind the scenes.

              2. jaypete

                Re: write their own web server in Delphi....

                There is something better out there! Give the chromium embedded browser components a look-see. Might be what you want.

            3. TheRegUser

              Re: old Delphi graybeards

              "...who asked me if they could avoid to interface with Apache and write their own web server in Delphi..."

              Those graybeards probably did not know much about their own tool. There are tons of libraries that implement web servers in Object Pascal. Of course managing secure session is a maintenance problem but one can easily hide from that by using reverse proxy approach.

              Btw I am one of graybeards (old fart will be more correct as I shave). But I also do software in whole bunch of other languages.

          2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: old Delphi graybeards

            There's a lot of snobbery involved in attitudes to Delphi.

            My last client had used it a lot. When I left they seemed to be recruiting an ever-growing team rewriting the application for their flagship contract in C++. They eventually lost the contract and no longer exist.

            1. Jove Bronze badge

              Re: old Delphi graybeards

              I've seen that sort of design desiccation and subsequent collapse before as well; usually due to over optimistic assumptions about re-implementing long-life code bases by development teams either not sufficiently familiar with the replacement technology or with the product itself. Mission creep has also been a factor in such crashes as well.

  9. Marco van de Voort

    next gen dialect

    Afaik the former serverside Linux option was based on the so called nextgen modification of the original dialect that is used on the mobile platform offerings. As it originates in the Mac world, it borrows heavily from Objective C and misses many original language features.

    The original Kylix WAS a full dialect version, but I can't seem to find what this thing uses.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: next gen dialect

      IFAICR Kylix failed to make it past the days of Linux 2.4 - certainly the version I had wouldn't run on 2.6.

      Subsequently there was a free cross-compiler and a commercial one. The free one was limited; I tried it on a library and it complained about syntax errors which was odd because it would compile in Delphi. I can't remember what the commercial one was called but maybe this is it.

      1. Marco van de Voort

        Re: next gen dialect

        I don't remind version details any more, but the last one could be made to run quite long using LD_PRELOAD tricks (adding a runner script that set them). People kept them running way past 2010, and pretty much only the mobile wave made them reconsider.

        I never really used it. I didn't need the commercial finishing touch for my internal use/server apps, and Free Pascal/Lazarus was more comfortable, and more importantly progressing and supported.

        I still use Delphi though on Windows for my core applications, mostly because of more convenient debugging.

        Small apps, utils and cmdline work (including a sizable part of the testing) all work with FPC/Lazarus.

  10. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    Embacadero drove me away

    With their very silly verging on downright stupid licensing server model. It made working offline next to impossible.

    Then their costs. You need Enterprise edition to get database access. Madness.

    Went to Lazarus and not looked back. Sure it has its faults but it is free and is free and runs on more platforms and is free.

    I've been writing Pascal since 1980 so it is second nature for me and in its original form, Delphi was brilliant but... having to pay an arm and a leg just to get DB access is stupid and the pay almost the same amont again when a new version comes out meant that I just stopped using it.

    Lazarus is where it is at for me. I run it on times a week mostly on CentOS.

    1. Mike_in_Oz

      Re: Embacadero drove me away

      Used to program in TurboPascal/Delphi a lot. Scientific applications mostly, usually with graphics. Bought several versions from TP3 onwards. Then discovered Lazarus and Linux. What a pleasure. Same code compiles on both Windows and Linux with few or no tweaks. Drag n drop to build user interface. Develop on Linux, compile on Windows when ready, or vice versa. Fast native binary execution. Distribute simple executable to colleagues and students without requiring hundreds of megabytes of dependencies (Python I'm talking to you...). Still bemused when colleagues struggle for hours to code a simple GUI using Python....

  11. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    What a flashback to the old days of DOS and Borland...

  12. Camilla Smythe

    Had a chat with....

    Someone selling VB and my head melted as they took me through the various options and price points. Had a chat with someone selling Delphi (IV) and was told £49.95 so I bought Delphi.

  13. lsces

    Builder6 apps still run fine ...

    Prior to all of my main applications becoming browser based, everything was written in Builder6 and despite a couple of substantial payments to Embarcadero for later versions of the development platform, those parts have never been successfully moved to anything newer. They are still running quite happily live in the field, although they do need a 32 bit version of Windows to run. However that is probably more for the parallel port access that the programs use for external control then specifically the software. Perhaps it is now time to recode the remaining modules, but Embarcadero is the last place I'd start these days ... no way I can justify the cost even if it had worked ...

    1. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

      Re: parallel port access

      Did you use AsyncPro for that?

      I did an ordering utility for a food takeaway company a long, long time ago. Struggling to think how I captured the CallerId strings now.

    2. jaypete

      Re: Builder6 apps still run fine ...

      We still have a very large program written in Delphi 2007 that runs just peachy. Okay, not peachy but that's because it's spaghetti code by this point with all the features that' have been bolted on it. But it's not the fault of Delphi but of the codebase. And it's the reason it hasn't been ported to any later version, when they made the Great String Shift. Just too much work and no funding available to do the proper thing and re-implement it. And yes, it's stuck in 32bit but that's not really been much of an issue as plenty of the client's other apps are as well.

      Delphi developers are some of the people who hate Delphi the most (we deal with its problems daily). But we're also realistic about it. Even for its flaws, it has some major benefits. Skipping out on DLL hell and .Net growing pains have been a huge productivity booster.

  14. Trey Pattillo

    Dropped Delphi on v6

    moved completely to Lazarus.

    Then in 2014 found Code Typhon.

    The toolbar hangs off a 36" monitor, some 160 tabs in all and has it all, SCADA, graphics, audio [synthesizer], ActiveX, Chromium support, Fortes Report, Google APIs.

    32/64 and Linux

  15. JulieM

    No, thank you

    There are plenty of Open Source programming languages and toolkits available natively on Linux. What do we need proprietary ones with onerous licensing requirements for?

  16. MarkMLl
    Coat

    Pascal is a bit of a pariah as far as languages go, but I tend to justify its use- where suitable- by pointing out that as implemented in Delphi (and in Lazarus, with the Free Pascal Compiler as its code generator) it is basically the final expression of what were known in the 80s and 90s as "4GLs"- in fact one might even call it the last one.

    Lazarus does have the advantage that it is distributed as source and can fairly easily be rebuilt if an up-to-date binary for a particular platform is unavailable, which is particularly useful with CPUs which have multiple subarchitectures such as ARM. It also gives it a fair chance of "just working" on a platform which the core developers can't easily test, for example in the past I've relied on the fact that FPC can generate SPARC code and Lazarus supports Solaris (for x86-64) to build it without too much of a problem for Solaris on SPARC.

    While FPC's support for multiple CPUs and OSes is superb, the one unfortunate thing is that Lazarus can't support alternative languages. Having something as mature and flexible as the Lazarus IDE working with a decent C++ backend would be an unbeatable combination.

    MarkMLl

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Buggy Delphi a big issue when looking at the cost of purchase and maintenance subscription

    For historical reasons we are forced to use Delphi at work. The language itself (excluding bugs) is okay but as well as being costly the IDE is buggy, or at least is for large projects - crashes, freezes, intellisense/codesight not working or displaying incorrect information, parallel library failures etc. About every 6 years they seem to have a 'stable' version (I'm hoping the next one comes out soon). Focus appears to be very much on adding new features rather than fixing bugs. Even when you do their job for them and provide patches to library code they drag their heals including it. The new High DPI support is partial and they don't even use it in their own IDE which is not High DPI aware.

    On the stupid front:

    If you log a bug and Embarcadero can't reproduce it they mark it as fixed in the next release!!!!

    On the plus side,

    1) At least they do provide the source for their libraries so you can fix many non IDE issues yourself if you have the required skill and you're willing to dig deep enough into their code.

    2) There is a third party developer that for many years has been providing binary patches (for free) to the IDE that I'm guessing virtually every Delphi developer installed, recently Embarcadero finally engaged with him and included a number of the patches in 10.3, probably prompted by the fact that it looked like he was stopping providing them for new Delphi versions.

  18. Frogfather

    A former Kylix user writes

    I still have a P4 with a working copy of Kylix 3 cluttering up my flat. It was in continuous use from 2003 til 2012 and despite being adapted for Linux by nailing Delphi 5 to a wineserver it actually worked pretty well. Now coding in Java I occasionally yearn for the days of no dependencies whatsoever and near instantaneous compile time. However as most of the other posts here note, the only likely market for Embarcadero's products these days given their high price, is maintaining legacy code. My last employer's core product was in Delphi though they were actively trying to transition to C# and Angular. I wonder how many genuinely new projects are written in Delphi. My guess would be not very many. Meanwhile I really should get rid of that old P4...

  19. trevorde Silver badge

    Ahhh, memories

    Used Delphi, Kylix and C++ Builder back in the day and they were *streets* ahead of Visual Basic and Visual C++. Worked on a short term contract just recently and used C++ Builder again, after a 20 year break. It was like catching up with an old girlfriend - still looking good after all this time, and you still would.

  20. jms222

    Kylix in use here

    Still maintain, or rather a colleague maintains an application for astronomy. The machine is a PIII and runs Redhat Shrike.

    1. Frogfather

      Re: Kylix in use here

      If you want a backup copy and are anywhere near Scotland mine runs MandrakeLinux 10 (i think) on a P4. Free for the taking away. I still have the big poster with all the classes listed on it too!

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