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Compatibility woes / deprecation (Miscellaneous)

posted by marcov(R), 14.02.2009, 14:02

> Many programs (and even OSes) are being deprecated these days. Sometimes
> it's due to code cleanup or broken ports, but mostly it just seems to be
> due to chauvinism or laziness on the part of maintainers.

Correct. The Dos people quit, left, and/or no new ones participated. If you are a user, and not a developer, that includes you too.

I've brought it up several times, but the FPC situation is probably applicable in other projects too:

- Before Giulio, FPC had no dos maintainers for a long, long time (say 5-7 years). Nobody contributed a single line of Dos related code, fixed bugs etc. Luckily it was kept somewhat alive, since nearly all FPC devels used Dos earlier. (Some came straight from Amiga or Mac) But just before Guilio emerged, for a lot of them their last real dos use was at least longer than 5-7 years ago.
- However if you had put an illegal "Borland Pascal 7" copy on your website, it would have proven that there were enough Dos Pascal users out there.

Note also that the general state of development in BP7 hasn't significantly progressed since the later nineties. Since Swag died, no new community stepped up.

Summary: The problem is the lack of participating, and a general "clientism" attitude of the Dos users. Something that you can get away with in a majority platform, but not in a minority platform. Being a non-programmer is not an excuse, founding an documentation and archival site/group is a first good step.

> I know time is precious and money doesn't grow on trees

So why don't you simply fix them? They are typically terminated because not enough people work on them, and they have become a burden by people not interested in them?

They have to keep wrestling with 8.3 support, memory limitations, thread support limitations, unicode deficiencies of that one platform _every_ day.

> For some
> reason, everything new is hailed as brilliant and everything old sucks "by
> default" (even when they lauded the old every bit as much when it was
> new).

It is not new versus old per se, but simply "people willing to work", vs "people not willing to work". And apparantly the few last Dos users don't care enough to start an initiative to fix this. Most of them had a tad of clientism over them anyways.

(XP rant skipped, but I don't agree:
- The two comparisons are not equal: Pre sp1 XP had several performance problems and a bad driver situation.
- Most of the so called advantages only worked for the people coming from age-old win98. For the win2000 crowd XP felt pretty much like Vista would feel to the crowd that started with XP crowd later: a minor point upgrade that sucked resources.

> "Essentially, "if it's not broken, don't fix it". (specifically referring
> to the OS)."

Well, that happens? You can still use the old versions. New versions need support (hey "dos-maintainer", I want to implement feature "yyy", does Dos have some way to support that? Hey "dos-maintainer", can you check if the latest changes broke 8.3 support? We are going to build a new release next weekend, will you build the dos release? And then you are only talking passive maintaining, not even actively developing/working around new problems)

> "Take inventory of all your software packages... CD's, floppy's,
> download's, etc. How many say "Windows XP: on them? How much did all
> of that cost?

(just fyi: All software that I'm interested in either runs on plain dos or 2k/XP. I've no win9x specific software at all, and never had any that was not win9x system software which was redundant after migrating from w9x. When I moved to NT (w2k), I mostly cleared out old dos utility programs, partially also because I gave up resistance against LFN)

> Can you affort to throw away 50% of that money (and time and
> detication -- and memories)?"

Is it worth enough to fund broad support for this platform? If so, why don't you do that? OS/2 has been kept somewhat alive for 10 years, same for dos, but no such initiative for w9x has ever sprung up. Most people are glad it is dead. (and in the case of Win ME, they are dancing on the grave). Windows NT/2k has been duplicated by ReactOS, Beos by Haiku, Amiga OS by Morphos, dos by freedos, Unix by linux/bsd/osx whatever. But nobody seems to care a bit about the hybrid platforms win9x and classic macos. Maybe also because they were the most geared to users that only consumed, and not produced.

Somebody has to pick up the bill for the support, either in money or invested time. If the dos/win9x users aren't, who is?


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