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Nominations for 2003 Vaporware Awards 745

spin2cool writes "Wired News is now accepting submissions for its fifth annual Vaporware Awards. These awards "celebrate all those eagerly anticipated gizmos that were put off, put away or quietly put down. And, of course, those that existed merely as a figment of someone's imagination."
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Nominations for 2003 Vaporware Awards

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  • by corebreech ( 469871 ) on Monday December 15, 2003 @11:32AM (#7724701) Journal
    • Re:WMD detector (Score:5, Insightful)

      by edalytical ( 671270 ) on Monday December 15, 2003 @11:42AM (#7724813)
      WMD definitely fall into the category of things "that existed merely as a figment of someone's imagination."
    • by anactofgod ( 68756 ) on Monday December 15, 2003 @04:15PM (#7727644)
      There is a very simple explanation of why Saddam Hussein would have played the games he did with the UN weapon's inspectors and allowed the world to continue to think that he had developed WMD, when in fact he may have had none in any militarily significant quantities.

      Any poker player could recognize the situation he was in. Saddam played what he thought was a very strong hand 12 years previously, anted up in a big way, and was called by US-led coalition forces. Now, he's stuck in the same game, with a much weaker hand, facing a very strong one, and he can't just fold. What would a poker player do? Bluff, of course!

      The most reasonable explanation I have been able to develop was that Saddam was trying to bluff his way out of a untenable situation. He cared not one whit about "bloodying America's nose", or being "seen as a martyr". He only cared about surviving an invasion by the US and maintaining his hold on power, in that order. The best way to survive an invasion is to prevent it from occurring in the first place.

      If I were Saddam in 2001, I too would have postured that I had WMD, and the wherewithal to use them (established many years previously when he gassed his own population and the Iranians), in the hopes that that would change the equation for the US strategic planners. (For recent evidence of the effectiveness of this strategy, I give you North Korea.)

      The facts that
      (1) the Bush administration put our troops on the ground and went ahead with it's plans for invasion and
      (2) Saddam did *not* use WMD in a last ditch defense even when he showed no restraint in the past

      indicates to me that the simplest and most likely explanation is that not only did Iraq NOT have WMD in any militarily significant quantities, but our government knew that to be true, even when they were positing the opposite.

      I have heard every whacked out theory on Saddam and the WMD, and some well thought out, but very convoluted ones, but surprisingly, never ONCE have I heard this very simple bluffing explanation put forth in the media. How can it be that no official "analyst" has thought of it?

  • by Hentai ( 165906 ) on Monday December 15, 2003 @11:33AM (#7724706) Homepage Journal
    Or does anyone even still remember?
    • They do, it's just not funny anymore. :-)
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 15, 2003 @11:51AM (#7724894)
      At this point it's less vaporware and more religion, since it is largely sustained by faith.
    • by Keith Russell ( 4440 ) on Monday December 15, 2003 @12:08PM (#7725062) Journal

      After this long, they should just give 3D Realms the Vladimir And Estragon Lifetime Achievement Award, and drop DNF from the ballot.

    • Half Life 2 (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Manic Miner ( 81246 )
      Half Life 2 is the new DNF..

      Lots of demos's but no shipped product, and a ship date that keeps getting pushed back.. sure everyone loves valve so this will be an un-popular point, but it's begining to look like vaporware...
    • Ahhh yes, the ultimate in vapor/forever ware. I can remember being in a Quake 2 CTF match sometime in December 1998 and someone asking about DNF. At that time, I said "I think its supposed to be out in March 99. I was playing in Stronghold Opposition...damn I wish I had kept a screenshot of me writing that. Absolutely, hilarious. Whoever is bank rolling them needs to shut them down and scuttle the project. Could you given a ton of money, learned C++ and written a game given within five years by yourse
    • by Czernobog ( 588687 ) on Monday December 15, 2003 @12:30PM (#7725314) Journal
      Or. Dude. Nearly Finished.

      Most likely Dude. Never. Forget it....

    • by artemis67 ( 93453 ) on Monday December 15, 2003 @12:32PM (#7725341)
      It's entirely possible that DNF does not even exist as a real project at 3D Realms anymore. Consider that the vaporware state of the game generates a tremendous amount of buzz for the DN brand and for the company. Consider also the grandious vision that is always laid out for the game.

      Now, why would 3D Realms go and kill all of this excitement and attention by trying to release a game that could never live up to the hype? It would be very anti-climactic and could even kill the franchise. They certainly don't want to release the next Daikatana.

      Also, investors generally don't have bottomless pockets filled with cash. How long can they pour money into a game development team before they start demanding results? Two years? Three years? Five years?

      In the meantime, 3D Realms has released a slew of other DN games, when they should have been working on DNF. Though it may have been a priority at one time, DNF is obviously not a priority right now. Or maybe what started out as DNF was cleverly reworked and released under another title, thinking that it wouldn't live up to the hype (DN: Manhattan Project? Max Payne?).

      Here's my prediction: 3D Realms will continue to be evasive on the subject, and will continue to release DN games... and when one comes along that they feel is worthy of the honor, they will rechristen it as Duke Nukem Forever. But only after they've almost completely exhausted the hype surrounding DNF.
      • Sorry to let facts get in the way of your conspiracy theories, but here goes... :)

        Also, investors generally don't have bottomless pockets filled with cash. How long can they pour money into a game development team before they start demanding results? Two years? Three years? Five years?
        Being an independent developer, 3DRealms can take as long as it wants. :D They have enough cash to go for another five years, easily, even without releasing DN spinoffs. They made $20 million alone, IIRC, licensing the Max
        • Finally, someone that has their facts straight and isn't talking out of their ass!

          Two minor corrections, the total amount earned from Max Payne was $40 million, but that was divided between 3DR and Remedy and I'm not sure which way it was split so you could well be right on 3DR's part. Also, I'm almost positive that Shadow Warrior was developed by an outside company and published under 3DR's name.

          To the parent's parent: Yes, 3DR still is working on DNF, my best friend works has worked there for two years
  • Windows 95 (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 15, 2003 @11:33AM (#7724708)
    I'm still waiting for that bug-free OS we were promised years ago. Should be the vaporware king for years to come.
  • by Raul654 ( 453029 ) on Monday December 15, 2003 @11:33AM (#7724710) Homepage
    Hal 9000 is already 2 years late. Damn Illinois people ;)
  • by eurleif ( 613257 ) on Monday December 15, 2003 @11:34AM (#7724720)
    "And, of course, those that existed merely as a figment of someone's imagination."

    Is that a joke, or can they read minds now? I could come up 1000 things that I planned to create but didn't tell a soul about, could one of them win?
  • Obviously! (Score:5, Funny)

    by djkitsch ( 576853 ) on Monday December 15, 2003 @11:34AM (#7724721)
  • ...are listed here []. Indrema, nice.
    • 10. Indrema: This company cast itself as a slayer of corporate behemoths -- Indrema said it would produce an open-source game console that could beat those from Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo. But the available evidence suggests that, in the company's short life, all it managed to get out the door were a few sorry press releases.

      "If only they would have gotten off their sorry butts and built the stupid device instead of modeling 3-D mockups and obsessing over the developer's kit," said reader Tim Toner, who
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 15, 2003 @11:35AM (#7724725)
    I'm STILL waiting for one of these wonder computers Alan Alda told me about!
  • Windows Longhorn (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Zog The Undeniable ( 632031 ) on Monday December 15, 2003 @11:35AM (#7724734)
    It couldn't be anything else really. Despite a demo by billg, the release date has slipped from 2004 to 2009! [].
    • Re:Windows Longhorn (Score:5, Interesting)

      by UnknowingFool ( 672806 ) on Monday December 15, 2003 @11:41AM (#7724804)
      Doesn't this date push get MS into a lot of legal and PR hotwater? After all, one of the selling points of SA6 was that you could get upgrades every 2 years at a reduced price. If they push it back to 2006, they will dramatically miss their deadline according to the terms of the deal. I'm sure MS wrote enough escape clauses in the agreement to cover their butts so they won't have to fork over any money, but it won't make any of their customers happy. Some of them might start registering complaints to the FTC.
    • by mcSey921 ( 230169 ) <mcsey.ymail@com> on Monday December 15, 2003 @11:50AM (#7724890) Homepage Journal
      2009 is listed as "an outside chance" from some Gartner analyst. 50% 2006, 40% 2007 and an outside chance of 08-09. Not to defend M$, but Gartner Group doesn't make their release schedule.
    • Re:Windows Longhorn (Score:5, Informative)

      by stubear ( 130454 ) on Monday December 15, 2003 @11:56AM (#7724943)
      The Reg, well Gartner really, is full of crap. Nowhere in the article or the Gartner report does it state which version of Longhorn they are referring to and it is highly unlikely that the desktop version of Longhorn will slip that far behind. I'm guessing they are referring to the Server version of Longhorn which is more likely because the Server versions have been slowly slipping behind the desktop releases. 2000 and 2003 Servers were all released after their desktop counterparts (2000 Professional and XP Professional respectively).

      Not only that but these dates keep creeping every time the story is retold. Gartner puts the release of Longhorn (likely the Server version) at mid-2008 at the latest and 2006 at the earliest however The Register states Gartner puts the date as late as 2009 but doesn't mention whether it's early or late 2009. I'd call that highly suspect. The 2009 date The Reg is reporting comes from the end of the article where Gartner suspects that if Longhorn ships in 2007 the EOL for 2000 will get bumped a year but in the event that Longhorn is released in 2008/9 they believe MS will force customers to upgrade to Windows 2003 Server first. Earlier reports about the shipping date of Longhorn had it slipping from late 2005 to early- to mid-2006 then suddenly to no earlier than 2007.

      In the meantime this fails to take into account a number of issues, not least of which is where is the desktop version in all of this? There are far too many if's and way too much on the line for MS to let Longhorn slip beyond 2007 at the latest and with the shape the OS was in during the PDC is it quite likely we will see Longhorn hit the shelves in 2006.
    • 5 years; that's nothing. Duke Nukem Forever is approaching 8. That's older than some /. readers :)
  • by Ralph Wiggam ( 22354 ) * on Monday December 15, 2003 @11:36AM (#7724739) Homepage
    Until Duke Nukem Forever is released or officially canceled, they shouldn't waste their time with Vaporware awards. We know what's going to win.

  • GNU/HURD (Score:5, Interesting)

    by iamdrscience ( 541136 ) on Monday December 15, 2003 @11:37AM (#7724754) Homepage
    Biggest piece of vaporware of all time. However, I'll still put some faith in it on the slim chance that it really has needed and benefitted from being in development for ~20 years. Seriously though, can you think of any other piece of software that's been in development that long and is still largely incomplete?
    • Re:GNU/HURD (Score:5, Interesting)

      by purdue_thor ( 260386 ) on Monday December 15, 2003 @11:51AM (#7724893)
      I second this one! This is a clip from the initial Linux announcement on Usenet by Linus Torvalds back in 1991:

      I can (well, almost) hear you asking yourselves "why?". Hurd will be
      out in a year (or two, or next month, who knows), and I've already got
      minix. This is a program for hackers by a hacker. I've enjouyed doing
      it, and somebody might enjoy looking at it and even modifying it for
      their own needs. It is still small enough to understand, use and
      modify, and I'm looking forward to any comments you might have.

      See what a visionary he was? He knew back in 1991 that GNU/HURD would be the greatest piece of vaporware.
    • Re:GNU/HURD (Score:4, Insightful)

      by starseeker ( 141897 ) on Monday December 15, 2003 @03:08PM (#7726988) Homepage
      "Seriously though, can you think of any other piece of software that's been in development that long and is still largely incomplete?"

      I don't think that's really a fair statement. If you are speaking of ACTIVE development, there has been very little for a long time. The pulse is there - some activity does exist - but not enough to tackle in any kind of reasonable time the production of something like Hurd. And Hurd does actually exist, by the way. You can run it. If you mean a stable, "world conqueroring" Hurd is vaporware, I'll agree with that.

      Gnu/HURD is not likely to ever be a major player for the simple reason it does not have critical mass. BSD and Linux have critical mass, and they are currently the only open source kernels that do. Many more exist, and of those the Hurd is perhaps the most prominent, but it simply doesn't have the mindshare.

      I'll tell you why Hurd is still a good thing though. Imagine this - the foobared US legal system makes free Linux impossible in the US. What then? Contribute to BSD, where SCO can grab all our hard work and turn it against us? Nope. GNU Hurd will rise in such a case. It is fundamentally a conceptual jump beyond Unix, and SCO cannot possibly establish any claim. If they monkey with it they will tangle directly with the FSF, and frankly that might be worth it just for the entertainment of seeing the FSF fully roused.

      If SCO wins, GNU Hurd will become the new center of GPL kernel development. The direction to head is quite clear - complete the port to L4, flesh it out, clean it up, and introduce the world to a real world OS that is a generation beyond Unix or Windows. The potential has always been there, but the difficulty of implimenting something fundamentally new was what allowed Linux into first place. With the proper incentive, like smacking SCO across the face, GNU Hurd development could take a quantum leap. That is why it is good to have around, even if it isn't doing anything important right now. It is a second string to our bow, and greased up and pulled taught it could shoot a mean arrow.
  • by Numeric ( 22250 ) on Monday December 15, 2003 @11:37AM (#7724756) Homepage Journal
    Didnt Gates or Ballmer promise that?
  • Clue Ware (Score:5, Funny)

    by phrostie ( 121428 ) on Monday December 15, 2003 @11:37AM (#7724758)
    i vote for infringing code by SCOG
  • The Phantom (Score:3, Insightful)

    by wobedraggled ( 549225 ) on Monday December 15, 2003 @11:37AM (#7724763) Homepage
    Nuff said...
  • Doom 3? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by anethema ( 99553 ) on Monday December 15, 2003 @11:39AM (#7724783) Homepage
    How far back has the release date for doom 3 slipped? "When its done" seems to have become "When you're all too old to care". I really hope this doesnt become another DNF.
    • Re:Doom 3? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by sheetsda ( 230887 )
      The rumor (well, I don't know if its rumor, I fairly sure John Carmack himself said it) is that Microsoft offered id a truckload of money to sit on Doom3 until an XBox port was done.
    • Re:Doom 3? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by *weasel ( 174362 ) on Monday December 15, 2003 @11:51AM (#7724895)
      one might wonder if id's unspoken business plan is to let Carmack create the greatest engine possible, and then just polish the art until consumers have rigs fast enough to run it.

      I remember quake 3 going through a similar statis period of about a year between playable and release. and quake3 didn't even have a 'single player game experience'.

      but if doom3 had already been released, all you'd hear is moaning about how high the system requirements are. what good would it do them to burn out their product inertia because no-one can play it?

      i'd also guess carmack's time is much more profitably spent adding flexibility to the new engine to increase its appeal to licensees; and supporting the q3 engine licensees, than trying to optimize doom3 until they do release.

      There is simply a wall at which the game won't run well enough on enough machines to warrant a release. And it's right next to the wall at which the time spent optimizing the engine results in less performance gain than the upgrade rate of the gaming market.
      • Re:Doom 3? (Score:3, Informative)

        by selderrr ( 523988 )
        There's one big difference between Quake3 and Doom3 : competition.

        Back in the Q3 days, there was only 1major competitor to ID, which was Epic's unreal engine. Other games were based on the Q2 engine, or had another customer base (TombRaider fon instance was rarely compared to ID games)
        Today, things are very different with Unreal2 engine, HalfLife2, Blizzard having a serous engine, ...

        I don't thing they can pull our Doom3 string as long they did with Q3
    • Re:Doom 3? (Score:3, Informative)

      by rsmith-mac ( 639075 )
      Realisiticly speaking, there has only been 1 date ever mentioned: 2003 - it was on banners advertising Doom 3 at E3 2002. It has been in development for a while, but id has never said anything besides 2003(and no one has resonably expected it before that), so it has only slipped 1 time.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 15, 2003 @11:40AM (#7724790)
    The SCO infringing code!
    • by MuParadigm ( 687680 ) <> on Monday December 15, 2003 @07:29PM (#7729632) Homepage Journal

      While I agree with many that Duke Nuke'em Forever, and Doom III, must be on the list of this year's Best Vaporware, and disagree the Longhorn should be on it since Longhorn wasn't promised for this year, the absolute number 1 piece of vaporware for the must be:

      SCO License for IP in Linux

      I mean, come on. SCO hasn't only promised repeatedly that it would be *required* for businesses running Linux, but they've threatened to *sue* any Linux using business that didn't buy one.

      Not only has the license not materialized, they're *still* threatening to sue someone who doesn't buy it within 90 days. Yep, you read that right, they're threatening to sue someone who hasn't bought a license that they don't sell. Oh, they won't say who it will be yet either. Vaporsuit, vaporinfringement, vaporinfringer, vaporlicense: VAPORWARE!

      The absolute King of Vapor for the year 2003. No contest.

  • by Shivetya ( 243324 ) on Monday December 15, 2003 @11:42AM (#7724810) Homepage Journal
    Like MOO3 which I believe a few of the 2002 Vaporware lists. Quicksilver and Atari managed to mangle a very well know TBS name. They even managed to forget to support it, having disappeared after mid-July.
  • by smartin ( 942 ) on Monday December 15, 2003 @11:44AM (#7724831)
    Nuff said.
  • Nanotechnology (Score:4, Insightful)

    by kautilya ( 727754 ) on Monday December 15, 2003 @11:46AM (#7724845)
    Refer to a random nanotechnology source. Pick a random word with nano (as in nanobot, nanomotor, nanogear etc) as its prefix. It will certainly qualify.
  • by chrysrobyn ( 106763 ) * on Monday December 15, 2003 @11:46AM (#7724857)

    Does anybody else remember the day when NT stood for "Not There" instead of "New Technology?

    • Actually:
      Finally, it was time to start writing some code. "We checked the first code pieces in around mid-December 1988," Lucovsky said, "and had a very basic system kind of booting on a simulator of the Intel i860 (which was codenamed "N-Ten") by January." In fact, this is where NT actually got its name, Lucovsky revealed, adding that the "new technology" moniker was added after the fact in a rare spurt of product marketing by the original NT team members. "Originally, we were targeting NT to the Intel i8
  • by HaloZero ( 610207 ) <protodeka&gmail,com> on Monday December 15, 2003 @11:49AM (#7724881) Homepage
    You guys just wait. You rag on DNF for five years straight, while 3D Realms is probably kicking asses left and right in the dev for it. They'll bust out in 2008 with a game that brings the house down, and all of you will be just blown away.

    Of course, then we have to live through the ...fallout... of 'After vaporware, Duke Nukems you!'
  • Latex3 (Score:4, Interesting)

    by poszi ( 698272 ) on Monday December 15, 2003 @11:49AM (#7724882)
    IIRC this project started 10 years ago project page> [].

    Maybe the reason it has not materialized yet is that Latex2e works just fine.

  • Wired list from 2000 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by image ( 13487 ) on Monday December 15, 2003 @12:01PM (#7724995) Homepage
    Out of curiosity I reviewed Wired's list from 2000 [] to see what came of the products that were mere vapor three years ago.
    • Tribes 2 -- released, and rather successful, a good game overall
    • Wireless Web Pads -- tablet PC's are now commerically available
    • Bluetooth -- now shipping in just about everything from cell phones to headsets to laptops
    • Silicon Film's Electronic Film System -- not sure about this particular case, but there are digital film backs available for 35mm cameras, I believe
    • Warcraft III -- released and went on to become a hugely popular game on Blizzards, has an expansion or two as well
    • Intel's Itanium chips -- shipping and people are deploying them in real-world, large-scale installations
    • A New Linux kernel -- they were talking about 2.4, and 2.6 is now just around the corner
    • Black and White -- shipped. and while a bit overrated, a decent game
    • Duke Nukem Forever -- ha.
    • Mac OS X -- now at version 10.3.1, it is perhaps the best desktop operating system ever built

    So, after three years, only one of the top 10 vaporware products from 2000 failed to materialize. In fact, most of them went on to become successes as well.

  • Hope is alive (Score:3, Interesting)

    by LeoDV ( 653216 ) on Monday December 15, 2003 @12:08PM (#7725066) Journal
    If you look at the Vaporware Awards of 2001 [], the #2 item on the list is Warcraft III, which did indeed make it to the shelves, to critical acclaim and record sales... Could 2003's vaporware be 2004's hit product? Let's hope so.

    Unless we're talking about the infringing SCO code. ;)
  • SCO Linux (Score:5, Funny)

    by Treacle Treatment ( 681828 ) on Monday December 15, 2003 @12:12PM (#7725097)

    I nominate SCO Linux binary-only lisenced code. The only product supposedly on the market that no one has bought, no one knows what's in it, or why they should even purchase it.
  • by Pathetic Coward ( 33033 ) on Monday December 15, 2003 @12:32PM (#7725344)
    that has been "six months away" for the last three years.
  • My movie (Score:5, Funny)

    by WebMasterJoe ( 253077 ) < minus distro> on Monday December 15, 2003 @01:06PM (#7725689) Homepage Journal
    I'm still waiting for History of the World: Part II. See! Hitler on Ice! Jews in Space!

    Now I'm just beginning to think they're never going to release that one. Stupid media censorship.
  • Consumer electronics (Score:4, Interesting)

    by swb ( 14022 ) on Monday December 15, 2003 @01:11PM (#7725743)
    I don't know if anyone actually promised these but:

    OLED TVs
    HD Tivo
    Widespread HD adoption

    The latter is *almost* here, in that I can get Discovery, a couple of the locals, HBO and Showtime in HD on my local cable system, but I wouldn't call a whopping 6-7 channels and a manditory paid installation a symptom of "widespread adoption".
  • by AlienRelics ( 582327 ) on Monday December 15, 2003 @01:19PM (#7725848)
    Said to be coming for decades, haven't seen it yet.
  • by howlatthemoon ( 718490 ) on Monday December 15, 2003 @02:05PM (#7726346)
    But the last change I can find on their web site [] was a link to the 2002 vaporware awards. You know it's bad when a company cites a vaporware articles about their product as product press. Maybe it is time to shut the web site down, huh?
  • by mykepredko ( 40154 ) on Monday December 15, 2003 @02:37PM (#7726659) Homepage
    You Decide:

    The original article: [] along with [], =7885 [] and =7885 [].

    Be nice if my daughter was on the same OS as her old man.


  • by drix ( 4602 ) on Monday December 15, 2003 @02:55PM (#7726857) Homepage
    When was the last time you saw a Segway zooming around town? (If ever.) I seem to remember Jeff Bezos or someone saying it would "change the way cities are built. []" Funny, as luck you have it I happen to be in a city right as I'm typing this, and that whole "roads" things looks pretty much the same as it has since the Romans. In fact the only time I've ever seen a Segway was some Fed zooming around on one at the airport, which offers insight into how Kamen et al. plan to ulimately make money off this turkey: sell it to the only buyer [] in the world with enough money and enough stupidity to be willing.
  • by paganizer ( 566360 ) <.moc.liamtoh. .ta. .1evorgeht.> on Monday December 15, 2003 @03:05PM (#7726960) Homepage Journal
    Ubisoft (don't copy your game CD's! No Backups!) has been working on Harpoon4 since I believe '99; Don't really care since I discovered Harpoon2 plays great on VirtualPC.
    Matrix Games Steel Panthers:Moderna was supposed to be SP:WAW updated for the modern age; considering that it was to be free, like SP:WAW, I can't complain a whole lot.

  • by argStyopa ( 232550 ) on Monday December 15, 2003 @03:14PM (#7727055) Journal
    Teamfortress 2

    First hint was as an expansion for HL.
    Then as a standalone.
    Then an expansion for HL/CS
    Then a standalone.
    I believe the latest incarnation is as a standalone, running the HL2 engine.

    It's been so long, I don't even REMEMBER if I pre-ordered it via - but that was when it was a $30 expansion. Do they still have my ticket? Did I pay? I truly don't remember.
  • by jonniesmokes ( 323978 ) on Monday December 15, 2003 @05:02PM (#7728120)
    I can't tell you how many times I've called a company and they direct me to a lame ass digital receptionist.

    Voice recognition was supposed to be the next big thing, but it doesn't work.

Loose bits sink chips.