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MasFoxPro Petition

Ouch, I really have to come out of my office more often to ensure my integrity is not being called on the carpet. {g}

I have literally been living in a bubble the last four weeks trying to keep my head above water with three new VFP projects, numerous other projects I am working to secure, working on preparing to hire someone, three user group presentations in the last couple of weeks, preparation for the Advisor Summit, all the work we are doing behind the scenes with Southwest Fox 2007, getting one child to determine where she is going to college, moving another one back home, and the normal everyday family life. I barely had time to keep up on forum and blog reading. Heck, I have not even fixed the light fixture in the kitchen and have been eating in the dark for the last three weeks.

So for those who questioned my integrity on “being silent”, you should have called me before jumping to these broad and inaccurate conclusions. Those who really know me, know how much I dislike getting into the political stuff in the Fox Community. I dislike it so much most people think I am naive about certain “problems” in the Fox Community, and certain “problem posters” on various forums. Guilty. I avoid them because the majority of the time it is too negative for me to deal with it. I am of the believe that a positive lifestyle and positive actions lead to positive results and draws positive things toward you. I also believe in the opposite: a negative lifestyle and negative actions lead to negative results and draw negative things toward you.

I am not saying I am completely in the dark on the petition because I received an email on practically every publicly know email address I have announcing it. I just have not had time to really look at the petition in detail. Without knowing the specifics, I know I wish the organizers well and positive results. But as with any legal document, I don’t sign until I understand what I am signing, and I certainly do my homework before backing any cause. I am someone who gets both or all sides of a story.

So I read Doug’s blog entry (Why I Haven’t Signed) and earlier saw Alex’s blog (Developers petition Microsoft to reconsider FoxPro phase) defending their actions to not sign the petition. I headed online to the UniversalThread and the Fox Wiki to do some reading this evening even though I should probably be working on my projects. Ouch. I see a few people are calling out certain MVPs and the other highly visible people in the Fox Community who have not signed the MasFoxPro petition, and are questioning the integrity of these individuals. Ouch.

I can clear up several of the “fact-less accusations”:

  1. Alan Griver (or anyone from Microsoft) did not call me or communicate to me in any form the need to “defend MSFT’s spin”. Microsoft never has asked me to write specific words or say anything on their behalf. Period.
  2. Microsoft did not ask me to not sign the petition. Even if someone had asked me I would not let it guide me one way or the other. Just like someone telling me to sign it will not get me to sign it.
  3. “I assume because they are friends of YAG and Ken Levy and don’t want to jeopardize their relationship with M$FT.” – absolutely not true. First of all, I don’t think signing this petition would hurt any perceived relationship I have with Microsoft. Ken Levy is far removed from the Fox Team these days and is already two jobs off the Fox Team. Why would I care about affecting this relationship? I have known Alan for years. I do not agree with everything Alan says or does. Heck, I don’t agree with everything my wife says or does. This does not mean I don’t speak out when I disagree. In fact, people who really know me know I will tell them exactly what I feel. I also know for a fact that one of the newest VFP MVPs directly called YAG after the announcement and provided a butt reaming (pardon my language here), earful for Alan to listen to. He was announced as an MVP weeks later. Alan does not control the MVPs and is not even ultimately responsible for picking them. Speaking out against Microsoft does not matter. More on this later.
  4. I personally know most of the MVPs and several of them are close friends. I know their integrity and it should not be questioned. Flat out, those that question their integrity do not know them. A lot of them have privately expressed their concerns to Microsoft over the decision to not release VFP 10 . Most people have no idea what the MVPs and others are doing with respect to this decision. Obviously some have been very public about how they feel. It has nothing to do with the petition and has nothing to do with signing or not signing it.

Victor Espina stated on the Fox Wiki in the MasFoxPro topic:

“I think the main point here is: you can agree or not with MaxFoxpro initiative; what Pablo and many of US don’t understand is that you all could spend 1 min adding your signature to the petition even if you think it is pointless. The fact that most of you haven’t signed means that you, as part of VFP community, don’t care about what M$ did, even if they have their reasons or not.”

While I understand Victor’s passion and his desire for VFP development to be continued by Microsoft, I really think his cause and effect are incorrect. There are many reasons one might not sign the petition. I know most, if not all of us care a great deal about Microsoft’s decision to consider VFP feature complete. This inaccurate correlation is way off base.

There is another problem with Victor’s statement: if one thinks the petition is pointless you should still sign it. What? People have called out the integrity of people in the Fox Community on this issue, then tell others to blindly sign a petition they don’t agree with or have not completely read or understand? This is completely hypocritical. I doubt the decision to sign or not to sign for most individuals is even based on one thing. I seriously consider my actions as they impact others on this planet. I try to do things that are positive and things I believe will make a difference. I also take into consideration how I can best use the limited energy and time I have on this planet to make it a better place.

To further prove I am not afraid to call out Microsoft on poor decisions I provide three very recent examples:

  1. When Microsoft announced SQL Server 2000 and MSDE 2
    0o0 were not supported on Windows Vista, I contacted Milind Lele and asked him to put me in contact with the SQL Server team. I spent hours via email explaining to the SQL Server team why I thought this was a horrible decision and how it hurts vertical market applications relying on the Microsoft vision of SQL Server everywhere.
  2. I am currently in an email exchange with Microsoft Vice-president S. Somasegar with respect to his quote in ComputerWorld about VB6 and VFP developers:
    “Change is always a little hard. It’s hard to hear that you have to go and learn something else. Some of these transitions have been smooth, others not so smooth. We want to be mindful that when transitions occur, there is a good reason and real customer benefit to them.”

    Soma is a brilliant man, who in my opinion is not making a living working as an independent consultant or as an IT person, and is out of touch with reality when it comes to the investment of learning something new. It has nothing to do with learning something new as VFP developers have been doing this for decades. It has to do with making money, serving clients, using the proper technologies to solve real-world problems, AND keeping up with the rapid pace of change in our industry. I don’t know many careers outside of computers where you have to revamp it every 12-18 months.

  3. I have been telling my customers not to move forward with Vista because it is not ready for prime time when even Microsoft’e own products (Visual Studio 2005, SQL Server 2005, and many others) were not working and were not patched to work when the OS was shipped to consumers in January. Third-party drivers are still not available for common hardware (not the direct fault of Microsoft). The new security features break most applications (not the fault of Microsoft directly). I think Vista is causing more trouble for businesses than it is helping today. I also think it will get better with time. It is just not ready for my clients and my team.

Being an open-minded person I understand both sides of the issues here and fully respect those who have signed the petition and those who have not. I have not decided what I am going to do yet. I can tell you I will consider it when I have time to address it and understand all the ramifications and benefits. I am sure it will be a topic of conversation next week at the Advisor Summit.

In the mean time I am still focused on the things I can control and the positive impacts I can make on the future of Visual FoxPro and the Fox Community:

  1. Organizing Southwest Fox 2007 (and hopefully for many years to come)
  2. VFPX Administrator, Project Manager, and developer
  3. Working on Sedna and testing SP2/Sedna before they ship this summer
  4. Developing VFP apps for my customers daily
  5. Answering as many questions as I can in various FoxPro forums
  6. Presenting at as many conferences as I can afford the time
  7. Presenting at as many user groups as I can fit in each year
  8. Mentoring VFP developers (I currently help 10 other developers directly on a regular basis)

Actions speak louder than words.

I certainly do not question the energy expended by those creating the petition and those promoting it. I applaud their dedication and current and future contributions to the Fox Community. I just wish those who are dabbling on the dark side of this issue would spend less time calling people out and questioning their integrity, and direct this seemingly endless energy into a positive project for the future of Visual FoxPro.

It is my belief and is something I predicted a little less than two years ago: someone will build another FoxPro clone, just like Fox Software did to kick the snot out of dBASE back in the 1980s. I said this not long after the VFP Roadmap was announced and feel with the recent Microsoft announcements that the market is primed for alternatives. We are seeing some public work from companies like etecnologia and their VFPCompiler for .NET, and even some rumblings from the old dBASE now owned by a company known as dataBased Intelligence, Inc. I am certain other projects are in the works.

Who knows what the future holds, but I know one thing for certain, a positive outlook and set of actions will
lead to a more positive outcome.

5 Responses to “MasFoxPro Petition”

  1. April 30th, 2007 at 10:04 | #1

    As I’ve written on the VFUG List Server, I want it documented somewhere within the Fox community that I want VFP development to continue at MS. I don’t want MS to think that VFP is going out with a whimper where they can say only a handful of people protested, so our decision at MS to stop VFP development is the tight one.

    On Vista troubles, here’s a link I saw just this morning that highlights an area that I have used very successfully because I explore and click/right-mouse click anything and everything in a newer product:

    [Vista] Is there an XP emulation in Vista?

    VFP Rocks! I wish MS chose to continue to rock with VFP as well.

  2. Marty Cantwell
    May 1st, 2007 at 01:14 | #2

    One of the things I’ve always appreciated about you Rick, is that you do have an exceptionally positive outlook on everything. We could all learn an important lesson from you here…

    An old joke I know states the Reciprocal Law of Expectations as:
    “Negative Expectations Yield Negative Results”
    “Positive Expectations Yield Negative Results”

    Perhaps we should consider a different tact. We could call it the “Correctly-Balanced Reciprocal Law of Expectations” which could be stated as:
    “Negative Expectations should usually be discarded
    “Positive Expectations Can Always Yield Positive Results”

  3. May 1st, 2007 at 08:31 | #3


    It is true that by signing the Letter to the Microsoft Executives you are asking for development to continue at Microsoft, but you also are asking for alternatives such as VFP getting open sourced or worked on by a third-party company as alternatives. It is not cut and dry as some people have posted. I suspect this is part of the conflict for those who have not signed.

  4. May 1st, 2007 at 08:34 | #4

    Marty – thanks for understanding my need for the positive and thanks for providing the humor for my morning with the Reciprocal Law of Expectations. I like you balanced version too.

  5. May 4th, 2007 at 18:08 | #5

    >> but you also are asking for alternatives such as VFP getting open sourced or worked on by a third-party company as alternatives.

    I am doing no such thing. I posted a comment that shows after my name that says I support future development. I never ever asked for more than that and won’t support more than that.

    I cannot control the all encompassing scope of those who started up the petition. But my posted comment controls what I believe and why I signed. I limited my support with my comment and anyone else can as well.

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