Friday, February 10, 2006

Lie to Me, and Tell Me Everything will be Alright

Until just a couple days ago, it has been an absolute no-no to state concerns that maybe, just maybe, Borland management wasn't all that interested in the IDE products anymore. Any such comment in public (such as in the non-tech newsgroup) was greeted with calls to tar-and-farher you as a pessimist-defeatist who just wanted to badmouth Delphi - even if your comments were out of care and genuine concern for Delphi.

Two days ago then it made "snap", and the official line changed (and, as a loyal and faithful Borland ^H^H^H^H^H^H^H Delphi user, you better adopt the new party line, asap): Borland announced that it indeed is planning to sell Delphi (and all the other non-vapor-ware "IDE" products). And of course the very same Borlanders, and very same newsgroup regulars that were readying the tar pit for you just a few days ago, are now doing the "happy dance" and proclaiming that Borland dropping off it's IDE business to whoever might be stupid enough to buy it is the best thing since sliced bread for Delphi. What's more, it's actually en vogue to bash Borland management, now.

So, is everyone happy? Of course not. It's quite obvious to anyone with even a remote bit of business sense that this leaves the future for Delphi & Co quite uncertain and bleak, since at this time no-one knows who might buy the product line, or as a matter of fact, what their intentions with it might be. For all we know, the products could be bought by someone who wants to simply milk them for the last drop of cash and let them die. Or take them into completely new directions. Or just get rid of them altogether. Or buy the line just to get their hands on - say - JBuilder and drop the rest.

But, you might have expected, any mentioning of such concerns in the newsgroups will of course be brandmarked as defeatist pessimism again. After all, the tar pit is still hot, so why not make use of it.

The Borlanders on the newsgroup are quick to ascertain that - of course - the Borland board of directors has no intention of just selling the IDE division to the highest bidder. Oh no! A board of directors looking out only for the interestes of the shareholder and maximum profit? - That's unheard of! Well, maybe not unheard of, but certainly Borland wouldn't do that; we can trust them*. How dare anyone even entertain such an idea? No, the board of directors' main goal - we are being told - is the interest of the Delphi customers, to find a buyer that will "stay true to Delphi". Of course.

Yeah right. For anyone who believes that is going to happen, i have - as the saying goes - this bridge in Brooklyn that you might be interested in...

So, in summary, while everything changed in Borland two days ago, nothing has changed. The rosy sunglasses are still up. We're still pretending everything will be alright (even it's yet again a slightly different alright then just a few days earlier, and a quite contradictory one at that), as we did the last umpteen times when Borland turned around and said "Oh, you know what? You were right when you complained the last few months. We lied to you. Thru our teeth. But we've seen the light now. We're doing what's best for you, now. Trust us. Would we lie to you?




(*Wait a minute. didn't you just finally come out and say the Borland board does not care about Delphi, have not for a long time, and that for this reason you're happy they are finally selling Delphi? And now you say we should trust them to care for Delphi enough to sell it to Mister Right? And what do you mean by "never mind i'm not making any sense; just trust me, you goddamn pessimist!"?)

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Wake up and Smell the Coffee, Delphites

There's a lot of buzz lately about Borland, Delphi and the lack of future of the latter. Most recently, Lino from CodeFez has just posted a piece titled To Delphi or Not to Delphi about how Delphi should be split off into a separate company, because it's just not feasible for Borland to succeed with Delphi.

The reasoning is that, while Borland would of course love to please it's customers with high quality releases, you see, they just don't have the resources for it. 3-digit millions of dollar in the bank just don;t cut it. The Delphi community would be best served, Lino argues (as others have in the weeks before), by spinning off Delphi into a separate private company, with Borland owning most of the shares. That way Borland could "get some serious revenue back while still allowing all expenses to be paid for by the private Delphi company".

Hmm. Let's think about that for a moment. Right now Delphi is doing crappy, because Borland cannot afford to pour resources into it [what it can do, though, shrink down the team to half the size after each release, to make room for a $500k raise in the CEOs salary. That's no problem], and because on top of that, a lot of the profits made from Delphi sales (assuming such sales exist for Delphi 2005) are skimmed off off the Delphi unit into ALM, SDO and other TLAs that nobody, not even the Borland employees directly involved with them, can properly define in a way that another human being could comprehend. So to fix that, we're going to spin off Delphi into a separate company that not only will have to live (pay salaries, office space, hardware, marketing and what not) on what little profits Delphi drives in on its own, but will also send a good chunks of earnings back to mother Borland. Yeah. That sounds like fine plan to me.

Question: Assuming Delphi is actually quite the cash cow it is sometimes (when it pleases the person presenting the argument) made out to be, and only has too little resources because Borland skims the all off - why on earth would Borland be so stupid to spin it off and give up a considerable chunk of that revenue (and if they don't, what is going to improve)? On the other hand, if Delphi is not bringing enough return to actually make it's continued development feasible (as, again, it is often made out to be, sometimes even by the same people) - but instead needs injections from other Borland branches to live - how could it ever survive on it's own? Either way you look at it, it doesn't make sense; the onlt reason to spin off Delphi would be a "lose the worthless garbage" reaction.

But is spinning Delphi off or not really the important issue?

It's funny that for a society so bent on capitalism as the highest form of existence, it seems the majority of people seem to grasp so little about how that system works and how their involvement in it plays into the big picture. It seems that most people still think that Borland is that nice childhood friend that's only out to please them in equal relationship. After all, why else would Borland have those nice people with (Borland) tags in the newsgroups, chatting with them as their peers? Fact is, that mutual reationship is fiction. The only relationship between you and Borland is when you fork over your 3k for Delphi 200x and they hand over 4 disks of buggy software, sending you packing if you dare to complain.

Wake up and smell the coffee: Borland isn't worried pleasing the "Delphi Lovers" as Lino calls them. Borland, as a capitalist company (not to mention a public company) in a capitalist system couldn't care less about them.What Borland cares about (and as true capitalist entity should care about) is it's shareholders. Do not make the mistake of thinking that if dropping computing business altogether right now and going into selling canned fruits would mean a $.50 rise in share value and a few-hundred-k-a-year of bonus to the CEO Borland would even hesitate for a split-second and think Oh, but what about those poor Delphi users that depend on our products?. Of course switching to SDO - whatever that is - seems a lot more practical then switching to canned fruits, after all you can keep using your existing hardware and office buildings. But whatever pleases the stock market.

So does that mean Borland wouldn't spin off Delphi into a separate company? No, of course not. They might just do that. Actually the fact that here's so much talk about it lately might even mean it's in the plans and some of the talkers know more then they can admit. But make no mistake: If Delphi will be spun off into "The Delphi Company", it will not happen to please the Delphi Lovers - it will happen to generate the maximum revenue stream to Borland shareholders. The "Delphi Lover" will not have any part in the equation.

And why should it? That's what capitalism is all about. if you don't get it, you must have dozed off during your 12th grade American Economy course... get a copy of The Capital and catch up.

Monday, May 31, 2004

Antitrust

Random selection from my DVD library provided Antitrust (2001) as the movie for tonight.

It's a very fun movie. Nice score. Nice cast. And it's of course utterly pathetic in it's try to propagate Open Source and vilify Micros...eh...Nurv as the one big evil software corporation. But just Nurv. All the others are good, and Sun's Scott McNealy - who we see handing some price to one of the protagonists in one scene - isn't a bad greedy monopolis as Bill...i mean...Gary Winston (awesomely played by Tim Robbins). Of course not. He's not just out to reap the benefits of what open source is laying in his lap. No Sir. The world is just so much easier if it's black and white.

What ticks me off about Open Source Freaks (aka Penguins) is that they take a perfectly great and honorable concept (yes, the big bad C word), and just utterly and completey fail to understand it. Thinking they can apply it to just one nice market (and software, of all things). Right to basic needs for living, nourishment and health care? Fuck that. We love america and we love capitalism. But sourcecode! Hey, that has to be free for everyone. What kind of world would we be living in, otherwise?

Thursday, May 20, 2004

Enterprise

James Robertson just complained about Enterprise and mentioned that "the original Star Trek did better in those situations". Very very true, and actually the reason i stopped watching Enterprise mid-Season 3 after the umpteenth dialog that went "i hate the Xindi as much as the next guy...".

Original Star Trek (as in, pre-Enterprise) tried to raise issues and bring balanced views on current political issues - Enterprise in comparison felt like a cheap and unquestioning advertisement for the american "War on Terror", including but not limited to the token race we're being taught to hate unconditionally (whether Xindi on Enterprise or Arabs/"Islamists" in the real world).

It used to be that Star Trek stood for enlightened views and a world without racism, not for propagating it. But it seems that just as the show is placed closer to the present time than previous Star Trek series, so have the creators and writers become stuck in the 20th century, far far behind Gene Roddenberry. Sad, but true. (Interestingly, the same tendencies tend to shimmer thru in selected episodes of the otherwise excellent The Dead Zone, which is also in the hands of Michael Pillar. Coincidence?)

Here's to hoping that the franchise will recover from the mistake that was Enterprise, and the future will treat us to more gems like TNG or DS9.

That said, i fully agree with you on being sad to see the Buffyverse leave the screen (though i have yet to see the final Angel episode; later tonight ;-). It will be dearly missed, and few (if any) worthy replacements seem to be on the horizon...

Don't Leave Home Without It

This one would start to come in handy more and more, lately...

Thanx to Smalltalk Tidbits, Industry Rants for the link!

Sunday, May 16, 2004

Borland Product Activation

It's rant time.

While preparing a new beta build of our upcoming poduct, it hits me that a good idea might be to bring the Borland C#Builder project files that we include with the installer up to date. So i fire up C#B, which i thankfully didn't have to touch in months, and what happens? Any guesses? Yes, our friend the "Registration Wizard" pops up to make my day. Just when i started to miss that friendly little guy.

Reluctantly, i cancel it, figuring since i activated C#B ca 378 times before, i might get away with it this time, but no luck: i get a friendly message from the License Manager that "No valid license information" can found.

Ok, running the registration Wizard again. Digging out my "Licensed Software.xls" file. Copy/pasting the serial number. Sending... "Your community account cannot be found". Double-checking 3 times. No avail. No C#Builder for me, today :-(

Go figure.

Luckily, using C#Builder doesn't matter to me that much, so opening the .bdsproj in notepad and adjusting it there will do. But imagine those poor fellows that actually rely on it to develop...

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Welcome/Test

Welcome to the dwarfland.

As with all blogs, over time this one will be filled with random rants and ramblings that no-body wants to know about, really.

It might also - once in a while - impose upon you unwanted words of wisdom from whatever work is keeping me busy at the moment, recommendations for movies you won't like anyway or complaints about the state of the world in general and lack of - say - namespace support in Delphi 8.

Currently reading: Chomsky: Hegemony or Survival, West: Object Thinking.