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Microsoft Programming IT Technology

Microsoft Remains Firm On Ending VB6 Support 796

Posted by timothy
from the at-least-it's-not-willy-nilly-hippie-open-source-goof-offs dept.
An anonymous reader submits "CNet reports that Microsoft is remaining firm an ending support for VB6, despite a petition and many requests from its developer community. If only VB were a F/OSS project instead of a proprietary customers could be assured of continued support as long as there was demand. Are there any good F/OSS implementations of VB out there for customers to migrate to? One can only hope that enlightened groups like the Agility Alliance would warn about the risks of using such software that can be end-of-lifed even while they're in heavy use."
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Microsoft Remains Firm On Ending VB6 Support

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  • by WebHostingGuy (825421) on Wednesday March 16, 2005 @05:50PM (#11958972) Homepage Journal
    From the article:

    Roxe noted that customers can purchase support on VB6 for three more years or use credits from an existing support contract for VB6-related incidents. Microsoft already added two years to its initial deadline for cutting off mainstream support, extending it to seven years.
  • by USCG (842203) on Wednesday March 16, 2005 @05:51PM (#11958991) Homepage
    Fact of life-computer technology changes all the time. While I have sympathy for VB6 users to an extent, Microsoft has provided a roadmap [microsoft.com], so you can't say that Microsoft suddenly announced this out of a Smurfy blue moon.

    This just reminds me of the people who would not let go of Microsoft Windows NT 4 Server at the end of last year...the pattern is always the same, like it or not.

  • VB 6 != VF.NET (Score:5, Informative)

    by tepples (727027) <tepples@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Wednesday March 16, 2005 @05:54PM (#11959045) Homepage Journal

    No, Mono is for replacing Visual Fred.NET [catb.org], not VB 6, which is a different language entirely [wikis.com].

  • Re:Good Riddens (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 16, 2005 @05:56PM (#11959064)

    VB6 was released in 1998; people should be moving on by now, or they should have used a better tool in the first place.


    Yeah, tell that to all the folks still writing COBOL and FORTRAN.
  • by Kevin Nichols (775719) on Wednesday March 16, 2005 @06:04PM (#11959177)
    REALBasic [realsoftware.com]

    It compiles to Linux, Mac, and Windows with no additional configuration. It doesn't need .dlls. You can write C plugins for it. It's not produced by the evil empire

    Oh yeah, and it can import VB projects...

  • VB Alternatives (Score:5, Informative)

    by podperson (592944) on Wednesday March 16, 2005 @06:06PM (#11959205) Homepage
    You might care to look at:

    RealBasic [realbasic.com] -- a VB-near clone with cross-platform development options that actually work, and which produces standalone .exes which don't require a magic set of DLLs to be installed correctly.

    Extreme Basic [extremebasic.com] -- an open source VB-like development tool which looks very promising, being developed by the original developer of RealBasic.
  • Re:Sign the Petition (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 16, 2005 @06:08PM (#11959237)
    For those of you that wish for Microsoft to continue developing classic VB, Sign the Petition! It's too popular a language to just toss aside and break everyones existing code.

    What code is going to break? If it currently works in VB why not just leave it in VB? Microsoft isn't going to support it, so what?
  • by YrWrstNtmr (564987) on Wednesday March 16, 2005 @06:09PM (#11959243)
    It's not a case of VB6/VBA applications suddenly refusing to run. Rather MS is cutting off 'mainstream' support, and putting it on what is called 'extended' support [microsoft.com].

    * Mainstream support includes all the support options and programs that customers receive today, such as no-charge incident support, paid incident support, support that is charged on an hourly basis, support for warranty claims, and hotfix support. After mainstream support ends, extended support will be offered for Business and Development software.
    ** Extended support includes all paid support options and security-related hotfix support that is provided at no charge. Hotfix support that is not security-related requires a separate extended hotfix support contract to be purchased within 90 days after mainstream support ends. Microsoft will not accept requests for warranty support, design changes, or new features during the extended support phase.

    Currently, they have a date of Mar 31, 2008 [microsoft.com] to stop extended support. 10 years for one particular IDE is pretty good.

  • Copyright law (Score:5, Informative)

    by tepples (727027) <tepples@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Wednesday March 16, 2005 @06:14PM (#11959321) Homepage Journal

    Excerpted from Title 17, United States Code, Section 106:

    Subject to sections 107 through 121,
    the owner of a copyright under this title has the exclusive rights to do and to authorize any of the following:
    1. to reproduce the copyrighted work in copies or phonorecords;
    2. to prepare derivative works based upon the copyrighted work;
    3. to distribute copies or phonorecords of the copyrighted work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending;

    Most countries that trade with the United States have something similar in their legal code.

    Now if you believe that a company may lawfully customize someone else's all-rights-reserved proprietary software, then it's your turn to provide a reference to the exemption from sections 107 through 121.

  • by posternutbaguk (637765) <<sparky> <at> <epenguin.zzn.com>> on Wednesday March 16, 2005 @06:14PM (#11959323) Homepage
    http://gambas.sourceforge.net/ [sourceforge.net] is a kinda Linux VB replacement.

    I've been using a combo of PyGtk+Glade recently. If someone could make an true RAD enviroment out of these, they'd be onto a winner.
  • You're going to read lots of comments along the lines of "This is great VB is horrible!" and "I can't believe they are doing this, my legacy application X depends on VB. This is horrible."

    Both view points are correct. VB needs to be scrapped BADLY. It is a horrible horrible language. The second problem -- MS *FORCED* people to use VB, people who *KNEW* better, by making it the only way to do certain things (office automation comes to mind). So lots of developers have been forced into a language they didn't like when it suited MS, and the irony of being forced out of it again is deliscious.

    The real mistake was making an inadequate langauge/API in the first place, that painted MS into this corner. I suspect some people will defect to open source, and it will radically slow uptake of new MS products which no longer support VB and VBA. Companies are *NOT* going to redevelop hundreds of VB applications because MS wants them to. *HUGE* companies like UPS rely on VB everyday to do their business (I've interviewed there).

  • REALbasic (Score:5, Informative)

    by shking (125052) <(babulicm) (at) (cuug.ab.ca)> on Wednesday March 16, 2005 @06:17PM (#11959354) Homepage
    You can develop for Mac, Windows and Linux using REALbasic [realsoftware.com] is very. They have a free Visual Basic project converter tool. Porting from Visual Basic is quite straightforward [realsoftware.com]
  • Re:VB Alternatives (Score:1, Informative)

    by ghenne (537543) on Wednesday March 16, 2005 @06:38PM (#11959616)
    Or NS Basic/Desktop... http://www.nsbasic.com/desktop [nsbasic.com]
  • by TheCodeFoundry (246594) on Wednesday March 16, 2005 @06:39PM (#11959626)
    Thanks for RTFA. Spreading FUD isn't limited to MS, I see.

    VBA and VBScript have nothing to do with Visual Basic 6. Not to mention, just because MS is no longer supporting VB 6, it isn't going to "cease to work" tomorrow.
  • REALbasic (Score:4, Informative)

    by macsforever2001 (32278) on Wednesday March 16, 2005 @06:45PM (#11959707) Homepage

    Good thing there is REALbasic [realbasic.com].

    It is almost completely syntax compatible with VB and it has the benefit of compiling for Windows, Mac and Linux. And it even comes with a VB Project Converter [realsoftware.com] to help you along.

    There is a strong community of developers and some excellent plugins. Including a database plugin for Valentina [paradigmasoft.com] which is much more powerful than the built-in database (and than Access).

  • by Drinian (621383) on Wednesday March 16, 2005 @07:10PM (#11959962) Homepage
    Are there any good F/OSS implementations of VB out there for customers to migrate to?

    If you don't need to be on the Win32 platform GAMBAS [sourceforge.net] is an awesome replacement for VB. It is a pleasure to use and the development community is very responsive.

  • Not quite right (Score:5, Informative)

    by darkpurpleblob (180550) * on Wednesday March 16, 2005 @07:12PM (#11959988)
    If only VB were a F/OSS project instead of a proprietary customers could be assured of continued support as long as there was demand.

    Wrong! Customers could only be assured of continued support as long as there is demand and there are capable developers who are interested in supporting the project.

  • by LnxAddct (679316) <sgk25@drexel.edu> on Wednesday March 16, 2005 @07:22PM (#11960098)
    Just as a test I just coded an image viewer in Java. Total time: 40 minutes. Number of platforms it can run on: At a minimum, 3 supported platforms. Capabilities: View images as thumbnails, single images (full screen, etc...), rotate, crop, some minor little effects. All of this graphics stuff is hardware accelerated as well because I used Java2d. It is a fully capable image viewer that I put together while watching TV. VB is not any better then any other language. It is crippled, it supports inconsistent coding, it is slow. You can build applications quickly in any language assuming you are knowledgable of that language. Your web browser probably used the IE activex control, what a waste, and the other apps you listed could probably be done each in a half hour to hour in java. Other languages are faster, java also avoids buffer overflows, and other languages don't limit you nearly as much as VB does. Yes I've coded in VB and "grew up" on it, hell didnt we all? But it wasn't until I started coding in C/C++/Java that I realized how limited VB left you. Pointers, btw, are a wonderful thing and you are acting like they are bad. Anyway... in a VB coders head, they usually aren't able to think of anything that they can't do with it so my arguments may not make sense. Regardless, its been shown that the thoughts people think are constrained by their language(i.e. you can't think something you can't express in words, more or less). After spending the time doing significant amounts of coding in the other languages, I wouldn't use VB if you put a gun to my head. Yes other languages have higher learning curves, but its definitly worth it.
    Regards,
    Steve
  • Re:VB Alternatives (Score:4, Informative)

    by Blakey Rat (99501) on Wednesday March 16, 2005 @07:26PM (#11960160)
    RealBasic can interface with OCXs, I believe. Extreme Basic is VERY alpha right now; I don't know why the original poster even mentioned it.
  • by coj (20757) on Wednesday March 16, 2005 @07:40PM (#11960296) Homepage
    Plus, RB has pretty strong object-orientation features, which seem to have been mostly tacked on in VB6. It's a nice language and a really smooth IDE, and the educational licenses for the standard (non-pro) version can be had for quite cheap.
  • Re:Huh? (Score:3, Informative)

    by goon america (536413) on Wednesday March 16, 2005 @08:22PM (#11960691) Homepage Journal
    This illustrates the logical fallacy of exclusive premises [intrepidsoftware.com]. No conclusion can be drawn from two negative premises.
  • Re:Meet The Forkers (Score:5, Informative)

    by Azghoul (25786) on Wednesday March 16, 2005 @09:28PM (#11961258) Homepage
    Let me give you an example of why it's a big deal. I'm going to be abstruse so try and keep up.

    Company A, pretty big company, has a simple document management system written in VB 4. VB 4! you exclaim. Yes, VB 4. But it worked well enough. It worked fine, same executable for nearly 7 years.

    Now, unfortunately, IT being what it is, new machines are needed every few years - it's impossible to find replacement parts for Pentium 2 machines these days, and that doesn't work well for tax purposes, etc.

    Uh oh! New machines come with Windows XP - can't get approval to get Win2k any more. And guess what: The good old VB 4 app won't run under XP.

    Company A then gets to decide how to spend a wad of cash rebuilding their little document management app from scratch.

    Thanks, Microsoft!

    (And yes, this is a real example I've just finished a contract with. Whether or not you think it was foolish of Company A to keep that same app for 7 years - as I did - it was and remains a usable app, if not for forced incompatibilities by your favorite fucking company.)
  • Re:Gentlemen, (Score:2, Informative)

    by spidrw (868429) on Wednesday March 16, 2005 @10:16PM (#11961588)
    Cobol has been retired? I don't know how many Fortune 500 companies you've worked with, but I can tell you that the 6 that I've had experience with all use Cobol. Not only use it, but breathe it. Nobody likes to admit it, but Cobol, regardless of its age, works. It works better than Java, better than C, and better than VB. When it comes to processing transactions, moving them from mainframe to warehouse, etc, Cobol is still the king. If you dig around enough, you'll see that Cobol and JCL use in corporate America is here now, and I think here to stay. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
  • by pyrrhonist (701154) on Wednesday March 16, 2005 @10:36PM (#11961724)
    Is Java really that bad for 3D?

    No. [bytonic.de] YHBT. HAND. :)

  • by SurturZ (54334) on Thursday March 17, 2005 @12:23AM (#11962343) Homepage Journal
    Well, these have all been addressed in VB.NET

    In VB.NET, you have Try...Catch syntax; the DIM statement has been changed to work how you want it to, the set statement has been removed from the language.

    Even so, these are hardly earth-shattering things that are wrong with the language - simply syntactical annoyances that might trip you up once or twice until you get used to them.

    If you really wanted to talk about the shortcomings of VB6, you should raise the lack of object constructors, circular references between objects causing undestroyable objects (and therefore memory leaks), etc.

    If people really wanted to make a case against BASIC in all its forms, they should be attacking the core aspects of the language - for example, the design decision to hide pointers from the programmer and the active discouragement of directly accessing memory.

    Try converting a big-endian integer to a little-endian integer in Visual Basic for example. What should be a simple memory operation (maybe four lines of assembler?) becomes a relatively difficult task (probably involving boolean and mathematical functions).

    Why? Because although the C or ASM code will be smaller and quicker, it will risk corrupting memory, which VB tries to avoid at all costs.

    (Old timers will note that the old ANSI BASIC commands PEEK and POKE could have covered this gap, but M$ has got rid of these and other memory access keywords like VARPTR)

    THAT sort of argument could be made, and I would be happy to argue against it, but that is not what is happening. Every new version of BASIC has *DIFFERENT* criticisms against it, in a way that no other language AFAIK must suffer.

    I suspect that there are also people that start coding in BASIC, switch to a lower level language like C, then heap shit on BASIC to establish that they are no longer "beginners".
  • Re:Meet The Forkers (Score:2, Informative)

    by Grant_Watson (312705) on Thursday March 17, 2005 @01:01AM (#11962505)

    "What's a non-geographic area?"

    A joke.

  • Re:Gentlemen, (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 17, 2005 @01:01AM (#11962507)
    dude. argumentum ad absurdum. look it up.
  • Re:Gentlemen, (Score:3, Informative)

    by 1u3hr (530656) on Thursday March 17, 2005 @05:12AM (#11963389)
    FYI:
    Pretty funny. Googling turns up a first appearance in 2002, [google.com] by "egg Troll", including the same typos (eg "abandonded"). It's been posted on /. a few times since.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 17, 2005 @07:00AM (#11963711)
    Now that I'm doing GUI coding in C#, I see the beauty in the 'set' statement. You see, 'set' is for reference assignment while 'let' is for value assignment. Why should it matter?

    Well, it allows you to have default properties so that you can just say "myTextBox = foo" instead of "myTextBox.Text = foo". When using a value assignment, the default property is used, saving you from having to type ".Value" or ".Text" all over the place, as well as making it so that you don't have to figure out what that property should be for every object. Of course the trade-off is that now you have to put "set" in front of every object assignment.

    dom
  • Java just for the simple reasons as no pointers

    So? Real programmer don't need direct acceess to pointers.

    nothing above 1D arrays

    You keep repeating this, but I don't think you know what it means. Java supports 1-nth dimension arrays. However, its method for creating arrays is different from C. Instead of having int[10][5] map into an int[50] space, each level of the array is merely a container for a child array. i.e. int[10][5] is equivalent to:
    Object[10] array = new Object[10];

    for(int i=0; i<array.length; i++)
    {
    array[i] = new int[5];
    }
    If you really need a true 1D array, then it probably won't kill you to compute (y*width+x).

    also allows no freedom for the programmer

    Funny, freedom is the reason I switched from C/C++ to Java. While the lack of pointers was mildly annoying, I figured out pretty quickly that Object References work just fine as a replacement. For example, you can construct a BSP tree using node classes that have left and right class references instead of pointers to structures.

    then again if you are good at C++ then you dont have memory problems associated with pointers for example and you can take advantage of C++'s power.

    Free your mind, and the rest will follow. For example, your attitude might improve. (ducks) ;-)
  • Re:Meet The Forkers (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 17, 2005 @09:02AM (#11964345)
    Uh, why are you asking about non-geographic areas? The parent poster never mentioned them.

    But for your edification; the area of a circle of radius X that you may have learned about if you ever took a geometry class is a non-geographic area.

It was kinda like stuffing the wrong card in a computer, when you're stickin' those artificial stimulants in your arm. -- Dion, noted computer scientist

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