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Inprise Director Resigns in Merger Protest 117

JohnZed writes, " A press release just came out announcing that a member of Inprise's board of directors, Robert Coates, has resigned in protest over the terms of the pending Corel-Inprise merger. Apparently, all is not going well with Corel's attempts to capture a place in the Linux market. "
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Inprise Director Resigns in Merger Protest

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    UGH, please tell me its because its 5 am! We are talkinga bout shares of INPRISE. The company to be merged is INPRISE. The duty of board of directors is too look out for SHAREHOLDERS NOT LINUX HIPPIES. HE IS DOING HIS JOB AND BRINGS UP VALID CONCERNS. SINCE HE IS A SHAREHOLDER (LIKE ALL OTHER BOARD MEMBERS) HE IS ALSO IN TURN LOOKING OUT FOR HIMSELF. However, this is not _personal_.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    So basically what you are saying is that just because computers have got better it is more acceptable to produce poorly-written code? So by that logic just because the government budget is higher today than it was in the 1970s it is okay for them to waste more money on administration and useless services. You seem to have the mistaken belief that good code == poor applications, which is patently not true, even if it is the philosphy you live by.

    It's people like you who have made Windows what it is today

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Go read the press release again.

    Now read this, in voiceover:

    "I was on the fast track to become Inprise CEO, and I had all kinds of irons in the fire to try and make sure that happened, and now Corel has come along and made all my scheming and office politics a wasted effort, and I'm pissed about it."

    Fits nicely, doesn't it?

  • That's an interesting statement, and one which demonstrates a complete ignorance of compiler technology. Note that Borland's x86 C++/Pascal compiler's code generator is going to be the same on Linux as on Windows. Only a small amount will need to be touched, to do with linker file formats and so on.

    I'd be highly suprised if Borland even dreamt of adding Linux-specific optimisations.

  • I don't see how producing proprietary software counts as contributing to the community. Sure, if they want to do that, I have no problem with that, but to present that as contributing, supporting, helping, or aiding the free software community strikes me as a little odd.
  • I got no dns error for that link, try this [] link instead.
  • Yikes. After reading a few pages of this, my head is reeling.

    Years of complaints about misbehavior by executives in mergers, and then one does the *right* thing, and we all complaint.

    The board of directors are supposed to represent the shareholders. It is generally a Good Thing (tm) for them to have a large enough stake in the company to align their interests with theose of the shareholders. He has over 3 million shares.

    When an offer to buy the company comes, directors are supposed to evaluate whether or not the offer is in the best interests of the shareholders, and find a better deal if they can (or, remain solo if they think the shareholders will do better). THat is *exactly* what he is doing here: saying that the shareholders may be better with a different deal,k and that they should go shopping.

    Finally, there has been motion towards outside directors in recent years--rather than form the whole board from company management, who have their own agenda (keeping their perks & incomes), the outside directors can freely object, and speak *just* from shareholder interests--*particularly* in the case of mergers.

    We've spent the last fifteen or so years trying to create *exactly* this situation, and people are jumping all over him for this. There's even a couple below that think that he's upset because he was scheming to be CEO. Oh my goodness, a CEO (yes, he is CEO of another firm) with expertese in management consulting brought in as an outside director [*gasp*] submitted management suggestions! Why would he do this without ulterior motives???

    Maybe he's right about the deal; maybe he's not. But his role in the system is to make exactly this decision; that's why the Imprise shareholders pay him in the first place.
  • In fact, once you've ported basic libraries, porting other things should be rather easy business. At least, if you've built your app in the Right Way (TM), i.e. each module does his thing. Then you should port widgets, I/O and possibly memory management, and the rest should work.

    The sad fact is that debugging the above things usually takes 80% of time, so it doesn't help much anyway...
  • Are you to say that bad coding practices is *good* because it helps develop code faster? Believe me or not, it doesn't. If you code is bad, you'll spend in debugging all the time you've saved on development, and still will get non-working app. So bad code doesn't make anything faster.

    Good point here is that big code doesn't mean bad code. Moreover, for every good code there will be a bad code that is smaller and work almost the same. "Almost" is the keyoword here.

    As for Delphi4Linux - I'd like to see it. Maybe then I'll take look on it (though I hate pascal anyway, so it won't make me any good :)
  • Ok, back to the real world. Have you worked in the industry are you just a student? Do you know the kind of pressures programmers are under out here?

    Thanks for asking the questions I always wonder about. I've not contributed much to the open source community, being more of a taker than a giver, so I don't presume to speak for them. Whenever I see someone spouting the 'all closed source is bad!' litany though, I wonder what they've really done for open source or if they're just very vocal fanboys.
    Making iDirt 1.82 a safer place, one bug at a time.

  • The obvious solution would be to use WINE in toolkit mode. Not sure how native it looks under Linux (i.e., whether it complies fully with the ICCCM, handles WM hints, and plays nice with KDE/GNOME where appropriate), but since it's open-source, Borland could merge VCL with it, and build from there.

    Given that Corel have done a lot of work with WINE, and have now merged with Borland, that seems like quite a sensible solution.
  • It was mentioned in the slashdot purity test in the last batch of quickies.
  • Since the merger was announced I find myself repeatedly asking why. The best answers I can come up with are 1) to provide a better dB app for Corel Office (better than Paradox?) to make it a complete product. 2) to provide a suite of developer tools.

    On the graphics end they have MS beaten hands down. A good dB app could come in handy, especially one already ported to Unix/Linux. In the end the only real benefit (real enough to endanger shareholder confidence) would be the addition of RAD tools. Corel currently uses VBA, maybe acquiring Delphi will alow them to quit having to play against MS on their turf. Other than that I'm completely baffeled. From a marketing standpoint you have one company suited to businesses and end users and another with products for developers. I just don't see much synergy there unless they completely focus on Linux.

  • About an hour after the above was posted it got a +1, funny. Some time later, apparently, another moderator did the same, and while I'm flattered, it wasn't *that* funny and that second mod point could have been put to better use elsewhere.
    If the second moderator never saw the first moderation then please ignore this post as I am spouting nonsense.
    Note to moderators: Don't feel compelled to waste yet another point marking it overrated. I'll try to bear up under the strain of the extra karma :)
  • I have no idea if there really is a high priority submission queue or not, so if there is I've obviously not been invited to be part of "the inner circle" and my sig is a (supposedly) humorous comment on the all-to-human tendency to look down on snobs, until we get the chance to join them, at which point ego averrules ideals.
  • by unitron ( 5733 ) on Wednesday March 08, 2000 @12:29AM (#1218765) Homepage Journal
    Anybody got a buzzword to English dictionary I could borrow?
  • Dephi is a closed source proprierty IDE which Inprise has full controlling power over.

    Yeah, we all know that.

    I don't see how this application fits in in the free software community

    In several ways. First, this isn't necessarily an all-or-nothing game. Just because my OS is open sourced doesn't mean each and every app I run on it has to be. If a commercial product will help me run my business better than the free alternatives, so be it.

    Second, a RAD tool that could produce binaries from the same unmodified source code for both Windows and Linux would be beneficial to EVERYONE, with one notable exception: Microsoft. Just imagine what an impact this could have if there were an easy way to convert a Visual Basic project to a Delphi project.

    If you support open source as much as you do, then wouldn't you say that people moving from Windows to Linux is a good thing? I would. And if a proprietary, closed source RAD tool helps people do it, then I'm all for it.
  • I have to use Visual C++ to code the clients,

    So you admit to using RAD tools yourself. You admit that there are different tools that are appropriate for different jobs in different situations.

    That's all anyone's been trying to convince you of.

    Take a deep breath and relax. Nobody's suggesting we rewrite the Linux kernel in QBasic.

  • You admit that there are different tools that are appropriate for different jobs in different situations.

    No I didn't.

    Well, you should, because it's common sense. You wouldn't want the dentist using a Black & Decker drill to fix your teeth, you wouldn't want a roofer using a pile driver to pound the nails when he shingles your house, and I sure wouldn't want to pay someone to write an app in hand-optimized assembly when it's just a simple little app that's only going to get a couple of minutes use each month.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm all for writing fast, tight, efficient code. I'm also all for getting off work early and actually maintaining a social life. If shaving a quarter meg off of some little programs memory footprint means enough to you to stay at work late and sacrifice your social life, then so be it. It's not worth that much to me.

    If a tool like Delphi or C++ Builder gets me out the door earlier in the day, then I'm going to use it.

    It's good to take pride in your work. It's bad to let that rise to the point of obsession.
  • An AC writes:
    I have to use Visual C++ to code the clients, so I can comment on using RAD tools in a working environment.

    Are you trying to imply that the latter follows from the former? That "Visual" [Ha!] C++ is a RAD tool? That's... just not true.

    And Delphi is even worse than Visual C++ for usability and bloat.
    For "bloat", maybe.

    If a ~250 K executable that does basically nothing -- say, displays "Hello, World!" -- is too "bloated" for you. But you're missing two things:

    • Since the Forms and Controls units have so much of the Win32 API coded into them, your app grows only very slowly as you add functionality to that empty window.
    • you can always code raw-API instead -- IIRC, the do-nothing example from Herbert Schildt's Windows programming book (probably very similar to Petzold's simplest example) compiled to 6.5 K in Delphi 2, and a bit more -- 8 K? 10? -- in Delphi 3.

    And "worse usability" ?!? Come on, man! That's just so way-out-in-the-blue...

    Christian R. Conrad
    MY opinions, not my employer's - Hedengren, Finland.

  • Delphi ships with the source code to the VCL. Study it all you want!
  • by ralphclark ( 11346 ) on Wednesday March 08, 2000 @01:03AM (#1218772) Journal
    Mergers always involve casualties, even at board level. And even among the survivors there will be those for whom things didn't go the way they wanted. I don't expect the market will read *too much* into this little spat as long as Robert Coates shuts up and goes away soon.

    But the charges he is making are certainly interesting. And he appears to be some sort of management consultant, which doesn't fit well with the usual picture of a disgruntled and displaced director forced out and with nowhere else to go.

    If Coates makes a rational case in his upcoming letter, the SEC may be compelled to investigate and that would not be too good for Corel (especially given the recent bad publicity surrounding Mike Cowpland's alleged insider dealing). However unjust it may be, mud sticks.

    However it plays out, if the merger doesn't go through it'll mean yet another disastrous blow to Corel's share price. In that case Corel may find *themselves* ripe for takeover.

    Personally I'd hate to see this happen to Corel but OTOH I can't exactly say I was overjoyed when I the merger was announced. Inprise are already pretty much in bed with the Open Source community and I can't really see how a merger would benefit us. I'd much rather see a diverse market of smaller companies co-operating with each other than a market dominated by a small handful of megacorporations. Megacorporations tend to stuff the customer every opportunity they get; ethics and morals get blown out the window in the name of responsibility to shareholders.

    Consciousness is not what it thinks it is
    Thought exists only as an abstraction
  • I disagree: Most companies have lost out to microsoft in direct competition. However, eventually someone must confront them, the situation as it is is ridiculous. And the previous confrontation I know of (Word vs. Wordperfect) was corel trying to retain its hold on an outdated program fighting against a clearly superior user interface. Now, corel is using a capable approach, and though a lot of changes are necessary (esp. in X/XFree86 and by extension the window managers - but those less so IMHO), they can be made.

    Finally, I don't think microsoft is really unbeatable - and my aims are clearly not Corels but Linux's. So, if this looks subjective: look again, it is.
  • Apparently, all is not going well with Corel's attempts to capture a place in the Linux market

    What has a disagreement between an employee of a merged company and the purchaser have to do with Corel's entry into the Linux market? Answer: nothing. This is FUD, pure and simple, and it pains me greatly to see such a thing coming from a Slashdot editor. You should be ashamed of yourself, Hemos.

    For my part, I think Corel deserves all the support they can get; they are a valuable member of the Linux community; they have already contributed a great deal, and I fully expect them to contribute a great deal more; and we ***now can hope for a much more timely release of Delphi on Linux***.
  • At least, if you've built your app in the Right Way (TM), i.e. each module does his thing.

    Actually, that's probably what's going to make the VCL port the most painful - Microsoft provided code (in comctrl and friends) to handle drawing and managing standard widgets, so the substantial majority of the graphical components are just very thin wrappers around the Win32 API. Now they're going to have to take those wrapper components and make them act like Win32 without having Win32 behind them.

  • by Gery ( 13478 )
    Mergers are deseases these days.

    The main problems are that in 60 % of the cases, they fail. There is a rule, that 1 + 1 should be 3 after a year. It seems that if they fail, they merger again and nobody will see that they failed...

  • As a long-time user of products from both companies (and currently a very small stock-holder in both) I have to laugh at your poor knowledge of history. Corel has done some very good things with WordPerfect and the rest of the suite. Unlike Borland (which abandoned Paradox because they were in love with Delphi), Corel has shown a commitment to the products that it has in it's stable. Now I realize that neither company has a stellar performance in this regard, but it depends upon how far back you look. I think Corel has done quite well in the time since they purchased WordPerfect, etc.

    Personally, I'm excited about this merger. I don't know about the values involved, but I'm looking at the combined products and talents. Because they have almost no overlap, there isn't any waste in the product lines that needs to be jetisoned. I think it's a little strange that they are just painting this as a "Linux Powerhouse" strategy since they do more than just Linux, but bottom line I believe they will do much better together than separately. Given some of the deals that Corel has been making lately, I've really been puzzled by the drift in stock performance of both companies - but I learned when Corel jumped from $10 to $40 overnight (at the time of the RH IPO) that the stock market does a lot that makes no sense!
  • by robinjo ( 15698 ) on Wednesday March 08, 2000 @02:04AM (#1218778)

    As several people have already asked about Delphi for Linux, I'd like to give a pointer to Lazarus []. It's a project that is aiming to create a free Delphi for Linux. Medigo was another project but it apparently died while Lazarus is moving faster than ever.

    Lazarus uses the Free Pascal Compiler [] which is already a great pascal compiler. It's semanticly compatible with Turbo Pascal 7.0 but it also contains a lot of Delphi extenstions like long strings. The Lazarus team is writing all the class libraries and an editor.

    At the moment lots of classes are done but they could use some help with remaining classes and the editor. Check out their home page and have a look.

  • We souldn't push away closed source per-say.
    Every system I have used excluding one had available source software (Not nessisarly open or totally open).

    Commertal software has to compeate with available alternitives. Left to themselfs commertal software companys won't produce quality software. Unless someone injects quality software into the market the software on the market will stink...

    This is pritty much what happend with Windows...

    On Linux there is a huge base of free software. Any given comertal title must beat that. Failing that commertal titles will not surivive in the Linux market.
    With Windows if you don't play by Microsofts rules... you are toast...
    We should welcome comertal develupers over to Linux. We shouldn't shun them.. if they fail to produce high quality software.. there is allways open sourse.... With Linux comertal titles will allways take a back seat to open source...
  • I have been very concerned about the merger of Inprise and Corel ever since the announcement. Inprise is by far the more valuable of the two companies, and has many valuable products that I have used; specifically, Visibroker and JBuilder. I have used other Borland/Inprise tools in the past, particularly Delphi and Borland C++.

    Corel, on the other hand, has a long history of purchasing the industry's leftovers (such as WordPerfect) and essentially doing nothing with them. I am well aware of Corel Linux, but after purchasing a copy, I found it did not install on any of the current machines I had access to (specifically problems with the video drivers) that other distributions (Red Hat, SuSE) had no problems with. I have never been impressed with Corel quality, and I fear for the negative technical impact the merger will have on Inprise.

    I want to use Borland/Inprise tools, and I'm willing and happy to purchase them for both Windows and Unix/Linux platforms. But if the merger is completed, I will have to seriously consider other vendors. I will not stay with the combined companies.
  • by JohnZed ( 20191 ) on Wednesday March 08, 2000 @07:21AM (#1218781)

    If you're really interested in the details of this merger, check out" [] for an in-depth description of why this is such a bad deal.

    If I had to summarize my own views, I'd say the key thing is that it totally undervalues Inprise. Did you know that Inprise has $250 million in actual cash on hands and 0 outstanding debt? But this merger, right now, values it at under $500 million TOTAL. Sure, a year ago the company was bleeding money and nobody wanted to touch it. But now it's breaking even and has a solid long-term plan to be the best, serious provider of cross-platform development tools. As a developer who has to use Windows and Linux (and would LOVE a good Linux RAD tool), I think that's a pretty decent plan.

    Top that off with the fact that Corel and Inprise are targetting totally different, non-overlapping audiences (beginning users vs. professional developers), and it really makes me wonder who the hell thought of this deal anyways. --JRZ

  • C. Robert Coates wanted to turn Inprise/Borland into another Internet based service provider - but Borland's real strength is in Development tools.

    Sure, this merger might not "results in substantially higher prices for Inprise shareholders", but compared to turning Borland into YADP (Yet Another Developer Portal), it is great for the developers (and I'm a Delphi developer, and so my opionion does count for something here)

    I'm not totally convinced that Corel is a good partner, but Borland has been doing good things lately (Kylix, Open Sourcing Interbase), and I'm prepared to wait and see.

    I think you will find that most people who are complaining about the merger don't care about quality software, just about their stock portfolio.

    That suck for people like me who just want the best tools for the job - which Borland has always been good at making.

  • I think you are missing the point. If you have a look at the stock performance of Corel and Inprise you will see that all does not seem to be well. The tech sector is booming and Corel and Inprise are both losing big percentages on a daily basis. Inprise @ 8.5 off from a high of 20 a few months ago; Corel @ 13.25 down from 44 in December. Meanwhile the Nasdaq has gone up about 25%.....hmmm that looks like a bad sign to me.

    Check out the Yahoo Inprise Msg Board [] for some indication of how some investors feel. This has nothing to do with Corels entry into the Linux market or FUD as you propose, it has everything to do with a proposed merger that might not be in the best interest of Inprise.
  • by Matt2000 ( 29624 ) on Wednesday March 08, 2000 @12:18AM (#1218784) Homepage
    It's my take here that Mr. Coates' motives in this could be very personal. The article states that he owns 3,005,440 shares of Inprise and if Corel's previous acquisition record is to be applied here then those shares could be worth very little in a year or two.

    Corel has a strong history of losing to Microsoft in any area in which it decides to go head to head. Probably Mr. Coates believes that his, and his company's interests are best served not in a turf war with Microsoft, but by servicing both camps with much needed multi platform development tools (Borland) and application architechtures (Visigenic). [] - Funny
  • Presumably he got a lot of those shares by way of being on the board, and the reason companies do this is to help ensure that the board member's interests are aligned with those of the shareholders. However, where he got the shares from is unimportant.. what's important is that he is doing the right thing for the Inprise shareholders - the fact that he happens to be a major shareholder is really somewhat irrelevant.

    Inprise certainly has much greater growth potential and share price appreciation potential on it's own than a combined Corel-Inprise would. Look for Corel's P/E ration to sink from its current 50-60 to a more normal 20-30... the absurd Linux premiums are disappearing, and companies like RedHat, VA Linux and Corel are all sinking to normal business valuations.

    IMO, Inprise as a stand alone company with excellent technology is way better positioned to grow as a boutique Linux tools specialist, than Corel is likely to succeed in using Linux to pull it out of it's mismanaged Windows past.
  • It was my understanding that while there is a larger minumum size if you use any visual components, Delphi code is NOT 50% larger than any other compiler. Sure, a 1MB gcc'd app might be 1.5MB if done in Delphi, but a 20MB gcc'd app would still be 20.5MB in Delphi.

    Also, I guarantee you that a 1.5MB "bloated" Delphi app is going to run faster than a TCL/Tk app, which has to load an interpreter anyhow.

    What it all comes down to is this;
    Do you want a 100% hand coded app that runs screeming fast but you have to spend a ton of time debugging why it segfaults when you open a popup menu
    Do you want to use a good RAD tool to plop down a GUI that just works with no headaches and spend your valuable time working on the backend and still get an app that runs fast?

    Dephi not open? Valid argument, but it's a personal argument. As long as you can write Open Source Software(TM) with Delphi, I'm not so bugged that it's not GPL'd.

    ((Posting trouble. Apologies if this is a repeat))
  • Dephi is a closed source proprierty IDE which Inprise has full controlling power over.
    There is no standardization commitee, no competitors. It was designed for Windows.
    I don't see how this application fits in in the
    free software community. The only reason I might
    understand is if your boss orders you to continue develop some windows program, and you could do it under unix, and then just recompile it under windows when it's complete.
  • How can a missing RAD alone keep someone off creating gui-applications?
    I think the word RAD is a buzzword. Sure, you can place out a button a few seconds faster in VB than QT, but how much time of the overall project-time does that account for? 2% ?
    (And then, VB and CB++4, (delphi?), don't have layoutmanagers for resolution independent widget-placement).
    I would like a poll on /. asking what's our preferred development environment, an IDE or "the usual collection" (emacs+gcc+gdb).
  • I was talking about QT and such, and QT is far more sofisticated than delphi. I would never see MFC, win32, or X programming as an alternative. Sure, I'd prefer Delphi to MFC, but that's because MFC sucks all the way to the M$-bank. Have you ever tried QT yourself?
  • By promoting this closed source proprierty "RAD", you accept the possibility of losing everything, if say, w2k makes your application non-functioning, and inprise stops development of delphi and throws their source in the trash-can.
  • Note that he resigned on February 6, before the Board even voted on the merger.
  • No, MS never saw any code.
  • by NavySpy ( 39494 ) on Wednesday March 08, 2000 @03:57AM (#1218793) Homepage
    Del Yocam left the company because he was driving it into the ground. There was no "protest". His $40,000 couch was in the hall after he left as a symbol.

    MS "invested" is Borland as a settlement to a lawsuit. It wasn't a willing transaction, and they only have non-voting stock.

  • If by poorly written code, you mean code that isn't as optimized as it can be, then yes, by all means. This is not the 70s anymore. Any software engineer will tell you that writing software is always a compromise between many goals. Speed is nowhere near as important as it was say 10-30 years ago. Neither is size. The software industry seems to understand this, and you do not.
    This is a borderline subject - you have to balance a lot of things to produce a successful product; Speed *is* important, but (apart from in games) not as important as other factors such as reliability, ease of use and maintainability of code (and if you *don't* think this last one is important, you haven't ever developed anything past the hand-in-to-tutor stage; if you are lucky, it is some other fool cursing your name. If you are unlucky, it is you at 2am scratching your head and wondering why altering A stops B from working)

    That said, there is little or no justification for sloppy programming in the "if it doesn't work, buy a faster computer" style - it is a marketing issue, rather than a technical one; back in the 80s, software that wouldn't run on the "base" machine just didn't sell - you couldn't rely on your customer base having the expensive upgrades and gadgets that would make your program shine above it's competition without effort; you had to do it the hard way, by writing better code.....

  • All Delphi does is make programs five times the size they could be if programmers weren't so lazy.

    Ok, back to the real world. Have you worked in the industry are you just a student? Do you know the kind of pressures programmers are under out here? I know of one time that my ass was saved by RAD. I was given 48 hours to design, implement and put into production an fairly complex invoicing solution. There is no way I could have gotten it up and running that quickly without RAD help.

    I'm sorry, your worship, but RAD does have a place. Yes, VB,Delphi, etc are not perfect, but then again neither is linux. It really nice you want to live in your ivory tower an not be touched by the concerns of the common people, but the things we do effect people.

    Sometimes we have to get off our high horse a look at the real world. If you don't like it, don't use it. That's all, it's really not that hard. In the open source world, you are _free_ not to use it, or to _take_ it and port it to a language _you_ think is proper(like jazilla). That's the nature of the beast.

  • by Jay Maynard ( 54798 ) on Wednesday March 08, 2000 @09:05AM (#1218796) Homepage
    My point exactly.

    Huh?! Unless you're seriously advocating that a 300K program-in-development that doesn't do anything approaching what the user wants is somehow better than a 1.5 MB program that does, you missed my point entirely. My point is more about development leadtimes than about code size.

    I'm estimating that the same program, coded with vi and make and done the old-fashioned way, would come out somewhere around a megabyte of finished executable. Okkay, the Delphi program is 50% bigger. Big, fat, hairy deal. The version coded the old-fashioned way would take about 10 times as long to develop and debug. In the world of business, where people expect their computers to actually do useful work, that tradeoff is a no-brainer.

    Without a RAD tool, Linux will never make it out of the server room and onto people's desktops, for it's completely unsuitable as an applications platform. People following the One True Linux Way as you advocate it will get run over by others who beat them to market with bigger, slower, but running code.

    I care as much about Linux as you claim to. However, to me, Linux has the potential to replace Windows in many more roles than just Web and file servers. To compete in those spaces, it must have comparable capabilities, and Delphi brings a very important set of those capabilities to the Linux world. Market acceptance is much, much more important then ideological purity if the goal is to have Linux be accepted as widely as Windows.

  • by Jay Maynard ( 54798 ) on Thursday March 09, 2000 @09:12AM (#1218797) Homepage
    I think the word RAD is a buzzword. Sure, you can place out a button a few seconds faster in VB than QT, but how much time of the overall project-time does that account for? 2% ?

    The real beauty of a RAD environment such as Delphi is that it removes the need to explicitly code the standard boilerplate that has to be done every time you add a user interface control to an application, and the message handlers, and control blocks, and on and on and on...Anyone who's written a Windows (or OS/2 PM, or X, or other stuff) app the old-fashioned way will be amazed at how much time you spend working on the problem to be solved, rather than in the tedious low-level stuff, in a RAD environment.
  • by Jay Maynard ( 54798 ) on Friday March 10, 2000 @12:08AM (#1218798) Homepage
    Have you ever tried QT yourself?

    No, I haven't. I guess the central question is: How much time do you spend writing code that does the real work of your application, and how much time do you spend writing code that handles the mechanics of the user interface? My experience with Delphi on the payroll project is that nearly 95% of my time is spent on writing the application, not the mechanics. Can Qt achieve that?
  • by Jay Maynard ( 54798 ) on Wednesday March 08, 2000 @01:14AM (#1218799) Homepage
    Who would want to code using the Delphi or C++ Builder environments? Even for a Windows application their interface sucks, and the underlying code base isn't much better. It supports a vast, bloated and confused class structure which encourages the creation of slow, windy programs. Why do we need software like this when we have tools like vi and make already part of Linux?
    Have you ever developed a serious application with Delphi? I have and am, a large, very customized payroll system for a company with extremely nonstandard payroll requirements. (Their chart of accounts is over 70,000 long, and 95% of that is payroll for 450 employees.) It would have taken me 10 times as long to develop this program in a non-RAD environment. Yes, the program is larger than it would be if I'd used more traditional development tools...but I'd still be developing early functionality, instead of getting ready to hand them a feature-complete version. What's better, a program that they can use that has a 1.5 MB load module, or a 300K load module that they can't use to get real work done?
  • Exactly how I read it too. His line about this whole plan he just submitted and his future vision for the company, make it sound like he wants to be the CEO. Maybe he was already upset that he wasn't the goto guy when Yocum left in the first place, and this was just the proverbial straw.
  • The article states that he owns 3,005,440 shares of Inprise and if Corel's previous acquisition record is to be applied here then those shares could be worth very little in a year or two.

    Like for example Graphon, that Corel swapped its jbridge technology for a 20% stake when the company was worth $5.50/share and today (about a year later) it is likely to hit $30/share. I don't think he will be complaining if Corel gets him a 400+% return on his investment. (full disclosure: I am a very happy Corel and Graphon shareholder)

  • by Old Wolf ( 56093 ) on Wednesday March 08, 2000 @02:53AM (#1218803)
    This is typical of why Linux is so backwards in the global market. Your attitude may be appropriate for writing applications on a 1Mb 386, but these days computers have power.

    "In the Linux world it is not acceptable to have this extra 1.3 MB of redundant code just to save yourself some effort. "

    Not acceptable to you perhaps. I accept this because I realize that a 1.3Mb file size doesn't make a hell of a lot of difference, but the fact that I have this great functional application *now* rather than 2 years down the track, does make a difference.

    "True Linux coders understand the need for small, tightly coded applicaions and will therefore eschew Delphi as being an evil Windows tool not suitable for Linux coding."

    I think you mean "True 1970s coders".

    "If people start to program their applicaions under Delphi it will be the start of a slippery slope, the end of which will see Linux becoming a Windows clone."

    You would deny Linux the huge range of applications that Windows has (and in fact, as we all know, one of the major reasons Linux does not have as wide usage as Windows is because it doesn't have the application base) merely because you don't like code bloat?
    You could label any OS with a GUI and lots of code a "Windows clone". You seem to do this, and decide you would rather be crippled than risk that someone might apply this name. Oh dear..

  • I read the press release, then I read it again.
    I got exactly two lines out of it:

    "...substantially higher prices for Inprise shareholders..."
    "Mr. Coates currently owns 3,005,440 shares of Inprise Corporation..."

    Can you say "I'm making a profit, or I ain't playing?"

  • I have to agree with SurfsUp.
    Corel is down because it had a "Linux" spike a few months ago that drove it up into the freaky, netherworld of insane stock prices. It's just coming down to reality as are all that had a "Linux" spike.
    I also don't think that Corel's only product is Linux, so saying that that its Linux is the albatrose (for sale) around their neck is not founded either.
  • I have been a slashdot reader and Linux user for the past 1.5 yrs. New, but not too new. I didn't used to give Linus a bath or anything. I am a programmer and yes I have released code under the GPL. (All talk and no action makes Jack a hypocrite.)
    My observations of slashdotters, and the Linux community in that period has been that many have a problem seeing and understanding those in the non-community, which is basically the entire world.
    The rest of the world does not like screwing around with Perl, OS's , IP stacks, or anything else that we find so enjoyable. Most are interested in having their computers run properly so that can get their report written and go home.
    Of the Windows developers I know and or work with, all have long since left multiedit and the like text editors behind. For them to move to Linux, they need to have somthing similar, and all the IDE's I've looked at for Linux aren't there. The only one I know that has a built in GUI builder is KDE Studio. (I would be interested in any others if they are out there.) There is no RAD. If you ask a Linux and VB person to create a treeview menu, Mr. VB is gonna win in a race.
    N's comment and several below are baffling to me. The rest of the world doesn't care about standarization commitees or whether it was designed for windows.
    Delphi is a tool that is desparately needed for Linux, open preferably or closed if necessary.
    Maybe some in the community want to keep it closed to anyone except those that follow all of our rules. If so then Delphi on Linux would be bad. It would bring in a large group of people from the outside, and increase the number of apps, open and closed. I am not one that thinks this is bad.
    How can you be against more options in Linux?
  • that they don't royally screw this merger up!

    As a long-time Delphi developer, I'll be incredibly annoyed if they don't continue to improve what I think is the best Windows development tool out there.

    At the same time, I'm hoping and waiting for Kylix (Delphi for Linux) to hit the streets. It'll be nice to have modern development tools for Linux. For some more info about Kylix, check this link out []

    Borland's development tools are awesome. I just hope Corel doesn't manage to screw it up.

  • You make it sound like it has slipped on a release schedule. It hasn't. Borprise is not usiually specific with release dates far in advance. All that they are saying at this time is that the work is going great, and it will be out this year. There have been some early demos already.

    Good software takes time.
  • Delphi would be a huge contribution to the community.

    One of the largest things holding linux back in not tech centric companies is the lack of a RAD. Alot of services companies (insurance companies, book stores, buisness devisions of retailers etc.) will not use linux because much of their internal development requires insane fast turnarounds of pretty gui custom apps. As an example, there's an app we use that reads your login, uses it to autheticate you off a database, waits for your input then goes back to that database to pull up forms and other matching data then dynamically generates partially or completely filled out service and order forms in pdf format and feeds it back to the user for inspection and printing. This app was built from existing components in about a day by one developer using visual basic. The gui is kinda ameturish, but it's pretty and everything works as expected, sure the program is redardedly slow and you need runtime libraries but it went through its entire development cycle in less than a week.

    Thats not something you can currently do on Linux. Not the app itself but the end to end development time. Tools like VB, Delphi, Centura, and Java to an extent, are vital to non-tech companies that do inhouse development.

    Having Delphi on Linux would upon that market, which is far larger than the tech market, up to opensource. The exposure alone is more than worth the drawbacks.

  • by dsplat ( 73054 ) on Wednesday March 08, 2000 @04:22AM (#1218810)
    This quote from the press release summarizes it nicely:

    Mr. Coates says he will oppose the merger unless it results in substantially higher prices for Inprise shareholders and/or can be shown by Inprise's CEO to clearly benefit Inprise's customers. "Corel has a great Linux distribution, and I wish them the best in their battle against Microsoft. I would like to see the two companies form some type of alliance, perhaps like the one Inprise just announced with TurboLinux."

    He is acting in the interests of the shareholders of Inprise to the best of his ability and knowledge. Clearly he wants to work with Corel. And the fact that he is resigning now rather than immediately after the mreger plans were announced says to me that this is over the details of the merger deal itself rather than the whole idea of merging. Let's see how Inprise and Corel react to the news.
  • So basically what you are saying is that just because computers have got better it is more acceptable to produce poorly-written code?

    If by poorly written code, you mean code that isn't as optimized as it can be, then yes, by all means. This is not the 70s anymore. Any software engineer will tell you that writing software is always a compromise between many goals. Speed is no where near as important as it was say 10-30 years ago. Neither is size. The software industry seems to understand this, and you do not.

    Ever wonder why it took NOW before Unix got decent desktop enviroments and applications that people can use (eg. lots of GUI options). It's cause of 'bloated' GTK+ and QT, that make it much easier to write applications. And 'bloated' technologies like KOM/OpenParts/Bonobo are making things even easier.
    You can't do everything, and there's no point spending 5 years developing something with gcc & vi that could not do half the job that spending 1 year one year on Delphi could do.
  • Thanks a lot for the details.
    One more thing, just to satisfy my curiosity : did Microsoft at any time have access to VisiBroker or IAS source code?
  • by Krollekop ( 86346 ) on Wednesday March 08, 2000 @12:56AM (#1218813)
    Mr. Coates is not the first one to resign from Inprise's Big Board. You'll remember that not so long ago, Chairman and CEO Dell Yocam left the company [], probably in protest against to the Microsoft-Inprise deal [].

    At that time, Microsoft invested more than $100 millions in Inprise, and that really scared the hell out of me. Like many Java-CORBA developers, I was not too happy to hear that Microsoft - the DCOM protagonist - had just gained access to one of the top CORBA product: VisiBroker.

    Now I'm a bit more at ease because we've got two opposite and strong politics:

    1. Corel-Inprise with Corel LINUX, VisiBroker and IAS, WordPerfect, J/CBuilder;
    2. Microsoft-Inprise with Windows, DCOM/DNA/MTS, MSOffice and Visual Studio.

    Now, I really can not understand why Microsoft invested in Inprise. It is the most aggressive competitor they had for long. And I wish them all the best...

  • Senior R&D Engineer []

    Senior engineering position responsible for research and development of the Delphi compiler for Linux. Will work with the entire team to to deliver future versions of Delphi for Windows and Linux.

    Would've posted earlier but wanted to apply first ...

  • Yeah, I was looking at the Lazarus stuff earlier and was impressed by how far they'd got porting the VCL. On the other hand Borland are also writing a native Linux compiler, which I'd assume will include all of the opimization tricks which make most commercial compilers superior to free ones. Coding this will probably take as long, and I doubt the Free Pascal Compiler will ever produce as tight code as the Kylix one (unless Borland comapletely cock it up).

  • Yes, I'm aware that compilers are largely OS-independent seeing as all of the OS-specific code is contained within the libraries. However from the Project Kylix press release here [], I read the following:

    Plans are for Project Kylix to be powered by a new high-speed native C/C++/Delphi compiler for Linux ...

    That's the reason I made that statement.

  • They're also porting C++ Builder to Linux so you don't have to dirty your hands with the evil of Pascal ;) There's a press release here [].

  • Okay the base classes aren't exactly OS-specific but it's more the classes from TComponent downwards that'll take the time. They are generally just wrappers around direct Win32 API calls and so they'll have to have all of their private methods altered to work under Linux. If there are any functional differences between the Win32 and Linux APIs here then this will also add to the coding time.

  • by spiralx ( 97066 ) on Wednesday March 08, 2000 @12:56AM (#1218819)

    Have you ever looked through the entire class hierarchy of the VCL Deplhi uses? If you start at the base class TObject and work down through TPersistant, TComponent, TStream and all of the rest you'd realise that there is a huge amount of work just porting the library across so that it works with Linux rather than the Win32 API.

    And that's not even counting the effort required to port the IDE, standard libraries, compiler, debugger, profiler etc. etc. A full RAD tool is a very large program.

  • FPC lacks interfaces.

    Interfaces are one of the best things since sliced bread.

    I am tracking FPC, but I do not touch it.
  • Have *you* looked at TObject, TPersistent, TComponent, TStream?

    These are hardly platform-dependent.

    I agree that a "full RAD tool is a very large program", and that's why Borland are in the unique position to produce that RAD tool: Only *they* have the skills to get it done properly.
  • Brilliant idea!

    Linux-specific optimisations over the Windows-specific optimisations - errr, wait.

    Which Windows-specific optimisations?
    Which possible Linux-specific optimisations?
  • If you start somewhere around TWinControl and look particularly at everything on the Win32 tab - sure.

    The rest? Well, the VCL is a *very nice* encapsulation of the Windows API, meaning that probably Borland will be able to retain a relatively static interface in the VCL to quite a lot of controls.

    Obviously porting the VCL does take effort and time, but thanks to a largely defined interface (something that is costly enough to do), it's "only" an implementation issue.
  • A long time ago in an industry far away, Borland (aka Inprise) had great desires and plans to grow into a big industry player and prevent Microsoft from dominating the market. From my perspective, it bordered on obsession; Borland acquired and chased partners they felt were necessary to extend their competition front into as many sectors as they felt Microsoft had control.

    Microsoft ate their lunch. Borland overexpanded and loss the market for their core business (developer tools) to Microsoft while barely competing in the new sectors.

    After hemorrhaging money for a while, they started getting their act together, collapsing back on their original markets and expanding into enterprise services.

    In comes Linux, with a glimmer of hope of putting Microsoft in its place. Linux represents a level playing field, ripe for domination by the commercial entity smart enough to get in quickly and build experience and loyalty. It's like starting over for Borland, with a fresh chance to take a wack at Microsoft. But, is the Corel merger really a good business decision, one that will really position Inprise for the long haul, or is it the rebirth of the "gotta get Microsoft" mentality that spawned the overexpansion strategy that hurt them before?

    Looks to me like Coates may be seeing some of the latter, which forced his move. Reading his letter, he advocates a much more prudent set of relationships; the sort of play-the-field-while -we're-young approach. Seems like that might be one that manages risk, and the bottom line, better.
  • Corels stock is in a what seems a freefall getting really low now. I'm glad I threw it out a while ago. Maybe I buy some in the future when they are really low just before there office 2000 is released. If you're planning to ride the linux stockhype try SuSe it will go on the stockmarket monday

  • Hey, is Inprise ever going to release Delphi for Linux. It seems like I recall they announced that quite a while ago. Boy, the platform sure could use a RAD tool like that. But it doesn't really seem like Inprise is all THAT committed to Linux. They're sorta just on the other side of the fence from Metroworks...

    I can't believe what a deal this is. Get paid to surf the web. []
  • All this commitment to *Linux* I would much rather see commitment to OpenSource so I can have native versions of Delphi running on platform XYZ..

    NO flame wars please.. I like FreeBSD and I would love to be able to run this stuff native mode. Emulation is nice and its only laughed at me a couple of times.

    Everyone says commitment to Linux and its a mindset thing. I want commitment to OpenSource or commitment to *nix Platforms!

    By Accepting just support for Linux we are limiting ourselves in the same ways we wish to be free.

    I realize it is a huge step to just come out and support what im asking versus x86 only Linux binaries but it just needs to be somewhere in the thought process.

    Jeremy Allen

  • In order for Linux to be successful beyond its existing niche as a server platform, there has to be a way for organizations to migrate their existing applications and data, and continue to inter-operate with the large, mostly M$ installed base. This is why compatibility with M$ Office products are so critical for StarOffice and Applix. The prospect of Delphi for Linux (Kylix), and perhaps C++Builder for Linux is that it gives organizations one less excuse NOT to use Linux. Enabling that migration path is absolutely critical to increasing the use of Linux and establishing it as a viable long-term solution for businesses. Kernel hackers may consider it a point of pride to use vi, gdb, and make files, but a far larger group of developers wants their cozy IDE. This reminds me of how early fans of a band will desert it when it achieves success because they've "sold out."
  • ... but the work of porting it has already begun. The Free Pascal Compiler [] comes standard with most non-graphical VCL components (called the FCL: Free Component Library).

    The Kassandra Component Library [] and the Lazarus Component Library [] are both works in progress to create the graphical components (as much toolkit independent as possible, for example KCL both works with GTK and native Win32).

  • It's this link [] you mean. Also check out Kassandra [].

    It's funny that of all Delphi stuff you mention long strings, because that's one of the things that isn't properly implemnted yet :) Ansistring OTOH do work fine already.

  • It depends. The FPU code FPC generates is much (and I really mean *much*) faster than Delphi's (or almost anything else out there, seriously!).

    "Normal" code (integer calculations etc.) is less efficient in general, but it's getting better. If you want to see for yourself, get the development compiler with new optimizations enabled from the development [] page (the "optcomplinux.tar.gz" archive). Note that you have to install it over a release version. Compile your code with -OG3p3 and/or -OG3p3r.

    What FPC still lacks is an instruction scheduler, but with the current crop of processors with huge reordering buffers and tons of renaming registers this doesn't matter anymore as much as in the days of the Pentium (on the 80x86 front at least).

  • Coates' motives are either very hypocritical or naive, then. They (Inprise/Borland) got mowed-over by Microsoft just as badly as Corel did.

    Now that Inprise signed over their dBase technology to MS, they think they have no longer have a target on their back?

    Think again. Microsoft wants to own the enterprise solution market with their development tools. If they succeed in this, then they finaly own the server market and can dominate the Internet.

    Corel is, in fact, in a safer position than Inprise. MUCH. MS does not (and doesn't know how to) compete very much across desktop platforms. But they are constantly waging war with Unix, Java and now Linux in the server space (a recent MS developer seminar I went to conforms this in spades-- almost 100% FUD about *nix and Java).

    As a result, Inprise development/DB tools will be up against FrontPage, InterDev, SQL Server 7, COM and the whole "MS-DNA" assault. Also, price is not a huge factor in the serverspace.

    Corel, OTOH, will have steady income from people who desire a top-notch Office suite in their Linux/Unix environment, esp. when the Corel solution is cheaper, easier to install and more stable than MS' offering. This software will sell like hotcakes in many crucial areas, including the far east.
  • Since Microsoft owns part of Inprise, do they get a piece of Corel when the purchase is complete?
  • Uh that isn't a personal motive. He is looking out for his shareholders.

    I think that it is a personal motive, having over 3 million shares you qualify as a major share holder.......

    Grtz, Jeroen

  • > However one of the main reasons we all love Linux is that there is none of the bloat that typifies Windows applications.
    > In the Linux world it is not acceptable to have this extra 1.3 MB of redundant code just to save yourself some effort.

    none of the bloat ? You must be kidding

    Check the amount of memory used for the average X11 application (say xclock, xload or xterm).

    Or think about the number of 'scripts' out there. For something often simple, you drag a whole bash/perl/tcl or python interpreter in memory.

    Or pretend that emacs is not bloated. Starting it use 3184Kb of real memory.

    Real reason why I won't use delphi is because it is not free (like in freedom). I would hate to be screwed the day when they decide to stop releasing it. Other can use it if they want, I don't mind, but I will not develop skills based on proprietary software anymore because almost every proprietary environment for which I developed skill disapeard a few years later (or suffered of a market-driven strategy and things that were not broken have been 'fixed')


  • you must be old like my grampa... Sure it uses up gas, but it's easier. Why would you want Linux to only be availible for computer geeks (I'm one). There's no reason why it shouldn't be easy to use for windows users. If you don't like the corel distro, don't install it. But don't complain about it allowing less computer literate users access to linux. Large companies don't harm to open source community either. If you are worried about them ripping you off with a closed source "extra features", don't buy it, then start an open source project which adds those same features (if you want them). btw, vi sux (personally opinion of course)
  • It doesn't matter if it gives linux a bad name because people like you, who know how to use linux the proper way won't use the distro. People like my mom will use the distro to give her an environment she understands, she doesn't have the time to learn how to use linux efficiently.

    Anyways, my point is, is that people like my mom using linux doesn't hurt you at all (it hurts microsoft though) because you can choose not to use bloated code, or emacs or whatever you want. And the addition of these bloated programs won't cause fewer efficient programs to be made.

    BTW I'd rather use the KDE notepad than either emacs or vi. I want to see an editor with the same functionality as Visual Studio (don't yell please, my poor ears).

"I prefer the blunted cudgels of the followers of the Serpent God." -- Sean Doran the Younger