June 2007


Jun 18, 2007: 4. The Borland Saga (issue: CodeGear)



I haven't looked at Delphi - with some exceptions: I did use it when other tools failed - for five years, but a week ago I reinstalled an old Delphi, and indeed I got a few days later mail from CodeGear to invite me to a Delphi forum.

What is CodeGear? Very briefly, and wholly apart from management-changes and legalities, it seems to come to this:

Borland := Inprise := Borland := CodeGear.

That is:

Initially, and long ago, Borland was a firm where excellent compilers, program-editors etc. were written, and that sold them for fair prices, and usually also with decent documentation. (Code without good documentation tends to be a waste of one's time and efforts, however clever.)

Then there was an internal management-change; Borland became Inprise; and this entity produced many fancy advertisements in computer-monthlies I read. (I can't tell you much more, since I gave up on Borland then and wasn't interested in Inprise.)

Somehow this didn't work out as expected (renamings or restylings of succesful companies seem to be the usual result of new incompetent top management, and indeed hardly ever seem to work out decently and profitably), and somehow Inprise became ... Borland again, but a Borland in some trouble that I know little about, that probably was financial, since the new Borland tried to sell its old programming division, even though that used to be the foundation of its successes.

Very recently, Borland became CodeGear, or sold itself to part of itself and renamed that part to CodeGear. (This also is not very clear. The website has a rider under the capitalized "CODEGEAR" namely "From Borland". And everything seems to be copyrighted by "Borland Software Corporation". But I admit all of this is legal stuff, that doesn't interest me, as long as it doesn't stand in the way of good affordable software.)

And it is thus that I recently got mail from CodeGear after installing an old Delphi from Borland and agreeing that I might be mailed.

Well... I really do hope they manage to survive and become like the old Borland: Excellent coding stuff, fair prices, and good documentation. It is true that personally I am much in favour of open source, but it is also true that it is important that Microsoft doesn't get to be a complete monopolist in the compiler- and IDE-market, and also true and fair that there ought to be room for closed source compilers, IDEs etc., if only for the commercial market that wants the best, the latest and the fastest, and can afford to pay for it, and typically is not interested in what makes it work as long as it works.

Anyway - I had great respect for Borland when I used their software (I bought Turbo Pascal and Turbo Prolog from them, for example, before the Inprise-days, and Pascal Toolboxes), because then it seemed to be a decent company with excellent software, fair prices, good documentation, and little baloney or cant in its public stances. (A little cant tends to unavoidable, alas, if one wants to be popular. Mundus vult decipi, and tends to like the tasty and fanciful more than the true and rational.)

Let's hope CodeGear can emulate that fine example from the days of yore, and produce great, affordable and well-documented programming tools, without too much cant or baloney in its efforts to keep its public contented.

Maarten Maartensz


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