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Borland C++Builder Revolt 95

Posted by michael
from the fight-the-man dept.
florescent_beige writes "Developers using Borland's C++Builder RAD tool are in revolt. Borland apparently obsoleted this product one year ago. However, the promised migration path (to be described in a now infamous open letter) never materialized. In a last-ditch effort to convince Borland to support them, users have put together a letter justifying (and begging) for continued support."
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Borland C++Builder Revolt

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  • by jbn-o (555068) <mail@digitalcitizen.info> on Friday October 22, 2004 @03:09PM (#10602709) Homepage

    Poster writes

    [...] In a last-ditch effort to convince Borland to support them, users have put together a letter justifying (and begging) for continued support.

    Slashdot places this story in the "fight-the-man dept.".

    Asking or begging a proprietor to do what you want is not fighting anyone, it's acknowledging that you are not livin in freedom. Placing yourself in a dependant position by not choosing free software [gnu.org] to do the job doesn't bode well for leveraging a free market to supply the desired changes or improvements. Ironically, all the customers the letter cites are capable of paying for the support they want. Perhaps these developers should put some money and/or time into getting someone to distribute a free software program that does what they want so they won't be in this position.

    • by samjam (256347) on Friday October 22, 2004 @04:29PM (#10603656) Homepage Journal
      If Borland are being stinky, and poeople are starting to suffer from being "locked in" (even thought it was nice while it lasted) then its time to look at:

      wxPython [freshmeat.net]
      and
      Boa Constructor [freshmeat.net], a python IDE and RAD style designer. Its a bit harder than Delphi (or am I getting mentally stale) but at least its fully cross platform GUI and open source, so you get to increase your target market and never get locked in again.

      No point in continuing with Delphi.net, it may only happen again in a few years when the fashions change.

      I learned this lessen a few years ago when a nameless search engine salesman witheld some updates and we (Ananova/Orange) switched to the open source Xapian [xapian.org] search engine and paid one of the original developers to do some more work on it for us. Xapian is now being trialed [gmane.org] as the search engine behind gmane [gmane.org]

      Its the same lesson Richard Stallman learned years ago. Don't get locked in.

      There's no need to learn that lesson twice. And, you may as well join the FSF while you are at it. You know it makes more sense than most political donations, and for less than the price of a night out each month! I got a copy of Lessigs "Free Culture" in the post today as part of my FSF membership.

      Sam
      • by fm6 (162816) on Friday October 22, 2004 @11:50PM (#10606787) Homepage Journal
        It's not a matter of lock-in. Actually, that concept has always worked against Borland, since their tools are always of the "road less travelled" variety -- the main road mainly being Microsoft "Visual" programming products. People who use Borland products don't do it because they have to, they do it because they're totally infatuated with the products. These C++Builder people can easily switch to Visual C++ -- but they'll hate having to do it.
        • These C++Builder people can easily switch to Visual C++ -- but they'll hate having to do it. There are open source compilers out there. There is no good GUI builder for windows, but perhaps a few borland fans could finance/write one. I suggest they team up with Open Watcom [openwatcom.org]. You have a great compiler there with a crappy IDE. The Borland developer community could probally make a kick ass GUI builder with watcom, and help with fleshing out some of the newfangled C++ extensions yet to make its way into the C+
      • by turgid (580780) on Saturday October 23, 2004 @04:46AM (#10607722) Journal
        wxPython and Boa Constructor are all well and good, but how do they help C++ developers?

        Perhaps Anjuta [sourceforge.net] would be more use to them in conjuncion with gcc? Here [sourceforge.net] are the features and here [sourceforge.net] is the eye candy.

        Products like C++ Builder are not only fancy IDEs and compilers, but they come with very rich class libraries. If someone has invested years of development time creating applications using these class libraries, thier discontinuation is a disaster if they are to continue to develop their application without rewriting it from scratch using different libraries, or in a whole new language environment.

        • Good tip. Its a shame its gnome-specific, though.

          I like wxWidgets because it wraps the native widget set of each target platform, somewhat after the style of Borland, so yourapps "look" native.

          Sam
        • >>If someone has invested years of development time creating applications using these class libraries, thier discontinuation is a disaster if they are to continue to develop their application without rewriting it from scratch using different libraries, or in a whole new language environment.

          There was a huge problem in my shop a few years back when Rouge Wave changed their licensing terms (for the C++ api's) and costs unexpectedly when renewal time came up.

          Developers forced to abandon those (somewhat
      • If Borland are being stinky, and poeople are starting to suffer from being "locked in" (even thought it was nice while it lasted) then its time to look at:

        wxPython [freshmeat.net]
        and
        Boa Constructor [freshmeat.net], a python IDE and RAD style designer.

        Unfortunately, comparing Boa Constructor to something like BCB is like comparing a couple of sticks you intend to rub together very quickly to an acetyline torch. They're not in the same ballpark. They're not even playing the same sport. Boa Constructor is gr

        • You are right, and sadly Boa Constructor is the sticks - very good and finely honed firesticks - but sticks all the same.

          Boa Constructor is too much like the class wrappers MS write for their own API, but still a great thing.

          Maybe I should take another look and see what lazarus [freepascal.org] has done in the last 4 years or so. It seems to use GTK or Qt, I wish it used wxWidgets.

          Sam
    • What in the hell are you talking about? Free software dies off just like proprietary software.

      If the company (READ FOR MORONS: developers) do not feel like supporting the software, then THEY STOP.

      What does the free market dictate? YOU GO SOMEWHERE ELSE (READ FOR MORONS: take your business somewhere else). Stop acting like you have a damn clue.

      Whether you take your "business" to free software or not is your choice. THAT IS FREEDOM.

      You damn hippies are just tools.

      • If the company (READ FOR MORONS: developers) do not feel like supporting the software, then THEY STOP.

        And you can start. Or, at the very least, download the last, best build from some guy's FTP mirror, and keep on working. That is not an option with closed software. If you need a feature, and "they" don't want to implement it, you're out of luck. If you scratch your install CD, and "they" are no longer offering that product, you're out of luck.
        • Actually, that scratch the install CD thing isn't always true. I scratched a development CD of a very old version of a piece of software (say, version 3 versus the current version 7) and I wanted the version 3, which I could not find anywhere. The company just gave me it.

          Obviously that's a limited example, but the Open source example also assumes there is a recent mirror and that you are willing to do it. A lot of people actually have jobs, and do not have the time to redevelop/reverse engineer applica

      • Free software dies off just like proprietary software.

        Actually, free software is always available for anyone to make into whatever they want. If a free software program goes unused it is likely that the program was of low value. But the great thing is that you get to make this call for yourself; I maintain old versions of programs I care about for myself so that when I switch platforms the programs I like move with me. I don't have that power with non-free software. In this situation with Borland,

        • First part:

          Again, I refer to my comments that people with real jobs cannot simply pick up where another developer of a huge, many thousands of lines program left off. It's a nice thought, but it's just not realistic.

          Second part:

          Lets see, the way that free software people seem to think is that someone else should always put in the effort with their R&D and then hand over everything to say, you. Then, you take that code and make one change and start selling it as your own software. Maybe you just

          • Your points are refuted by history. Twenty years ago people insisted that the free software movement was doomed because nobody would work to produce high-quality code without being paid. GNU showed them differently as did a number of other free software operating systems. Today, it is copylefted free software that makes Microsoft nervous.

            Building GNU didn't involve anyone else doing the R&D for GNU then handing over a fully finished product. It involved using an extant design (UNIX) and writing all
            • See the reply to the other post for clarification of why I am done wasting my time on you, hippy.

              For my final point. Google: define: free [google.com] people who are free; "the home of the free and the brave" grant freedom to; free from confinement free from obligations or duties costing nothing; "complimentary tickets"

              Weakness or not, I guess it might just be another poor decision by the OSS movement because saying "pay for free software" is about the biggest weakness in an argument that I can imagine. You benev

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 22, 2004 @03:09PM (#10602711)
    if a RAD tool is open source then people can put some time on making their RAD tool better and better. Borland here just puts a dead end to a product which seemed to have some followers. Not good for Borland, not good for Borland users. Now opening up the source seems like the right thing to do.
  • by rusty0101 (565565) on Friday October 22, 2004 @03:30PM (#10602993) Homepage Journal
    It's a proprietary development environment used by a large number of developers to create the type of software they wish to create.

    I remember writing in Pascal, and paying for the Pro edition of Borland Pascal with Objects. It was a great environment for the level of development I was doing. It included a large block of source code for OWL which if you spent enough time tweeking, you could have even rebuilt the IDE out of, including the compiler and debugger.

    I don't know if the Pro release of Builder C++ provides the same type of set of source code. If it does, then there is no real reason to force Borland to try to continue supporting the software. The 'Pro' or 'Enterprise' customers can review the code, modify it, and create patch files that can be distributed to other developers at the pro and enterprise levels.

    So they won't be blessed by Borland. Like Borland has done a lot of other good for you this past year?

    -Rusty
    • by Anonymous Coward
      The Professional & Enterprise editions of BCB included the VCL and the RTL (although maybe not all of that; I can't remember). In BCB5 Pro & Ent, TASM & DCC32 were provided for compiling assembly & Object Pascal when needed - don't know about other versions, but I would expect the same is true of BCB6 Pro & Ent.

      The majority of the Delphi & BCB IDEs are implemented in Delphi with VCL, while the JBuilder & CBX IDEs are built in JBuilder. I don't know about Kylix.

      There used to b
      • The majority of the Delphi & BCB IDEs are implemented in Delphi with VCL, while the JBuilder & CBX IDEs are built in JBuilder. I don't know about Kylix.

        Kylix is basically a Linux port of Delphi. There are even WINE widgets filling in for Windows controls -- which was supposed to be a temporary expedient, but they never got round to writing Linux-native widgets.

        Since I mentioned WINE, I have to answer the question that always gets asked: no, Kylix is not a WINE application, it just uses some WINE

  • Same old Borland (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I am shocked that anyone thought Borland wouldn't pull a stunt like this. They have a consistent history of making products that are a great leap ahead and then just sitting idly by as everyone else catches up and surpasses them.

    For developer environments, the software does in fact "rot". For example new APIs and components are introduced in the underlying operating systems, and the compilers and libraries etc usually have to be updated to use them correctly. I remember sitting idly by during the Window
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Same old Borland, indeed. Every couple of years or so, the management seems to misread/forget/ignore the core developer clientele that has kept them alive through their difficult times. This still occurs despite offering online polls for feedback on what developers want in the next version of $product.

      Evaluating Borland's recent actions in light of their overall history, it seems fairly obvious to me what the fumble was this time: Borland gets chummier with Microsoft and completely swallows the .Net-is-
  • by cpeterso (19082) on Friday October 22, 2004 @04:12PM (#10603500) Homepage

    I just started using Borland's C++ Builder 1.5 Mobile Edition for Symbian/Nokia mobile phone software. So far, it sucks. It can't perform incremental builds: changing one .cpp file requires a clean build! It can't use the standard Symbian/Nokia SDKs. You have to install Borland's special Symbian SDKs, which seem to be missing some library files. The IDE supposedly has a remote debugger, allowing you to debug code running on an actual phone (just like Microsoft's Embedded Visual C++), but none of my co-workers could get it to work. It just freezes.

    I think there is a reason that Microsoft Visual C++ won out over Borland's C++ tools. :( Microsoft needs some REAL competition.
    • by fm6 (162816) on Friday October 22, 2004 @11:43PM (#10606755) Homepage Journal
      Thanks for making me feel better. You're talking about a product I would have worked on if I'd stayed at Borland. I was really looking forward to this one, because it was supposed to be Borland's first step towards an all-C++ replacement for C++Builder. (The current C++Builder relies mostly on Delphi-language libraries, and the language impedence gap was always painful to deal with.) The had some first-rate people working on it, and my job would have been to document the new libraries from the ground up. Fun challenging work for a serious API writer, and I've often kicked myself for walking away from it. But of course the project self-destructed, as Borland projects are wont to do.

      I tried before to explain Borland's Dysfunctionality [slashdot.org]. Whatever the reason, it's pretty clear they're never going to live up their potential. Which potential is pretty great -- that's why people get so pissed when they screw up.

  • i have used CBuilder (Score:3, Interesting)

    by floydman (179924) <floydman@gmail.com> on Friday October 22, 2004 @07:47PM (#10605645)
    since it was version 3, all the way to CBuilder-6(and ofcorse i have used their Borland C compiler before the IDE).
    I think it is one hell of a devlopment tool, what you do in visual studio in days, can take you hours in CBuilder. With all the drag & drop options, components, and third party objects that were available, it was an extremly easy to use tool.
    Some drawbacks though were blotted executable, and runtime libraries issues, but they were only a nag and not a major show stopper.

    Too bad they had to cut the support.

    Personally i think its a very stupid move from their side, CBuilder was their number 1 product, and they are killing it???? That is a true example of shooting your self in the foot.
    • by floydman (179924)
      Forgot to metion though that it used to cost about 5 times as much as the whole Visual Studio package, which is a lot of money when u compare both of them.
      And by the way, thats not the first time they do it, any one remember KYLIX??:)
  • by statusbar (314703) <jeffk@statusbar.com> on Friday October 22, 2004 @10:04PM (#10606284) Homepage Journal
    I started with Borland back in the Turbo Pascal days. I did a ton and a half of work with Borland C++ V3 (with a ton of books!), and then Delphi and C++ Builder after that. Quality of their products has steadily declined. I believe that the 'top gun' at Borland was hired away by Microsoft. Everything has been buggy and problematic since.

    One thing that I REALLY liked about Borland back then was their software license. Basically it said that you had the right to 'Use this software as you would a book'. Meaning that you are allowed to install it on multiple computers as long as only one person would be using it at a time - and it could be different people as well.

    I lamented the loss of Borland's products 2 years ago. Now, mingw32 and the old trusty standby vc++6 are my windows tools of choice.

    As a previous poster said: that is the problem with closed source applications. Sometimes you get burned like this. I was burned before when Borland C++ Builder upgrades didn't load old projects properly and other closed source widget libraries become incompatible.

    --jeff++
    • I agree, both Turbo Pascal and Turbo C were fantastic. One person mentioned open source, why not use the Eclipse IDE, and supply a Borland plugin?
    • I used to love Borland Products.... Turbo Pascal and Turbo C rocked! But Borland turned to the dark side when they stopped suppor of OWL in favor of Builder. Gee, its funny how history seems to repeat itself at Borland. I remember not long ago, I was handed a project by my company written entirely in BC++ (5.02) and OWL. The debugger was crap (would crash your whole system), the linker would freeze your whole computer for like 5 minutes, and the Windows Resource editor had bugs all over the place.
    • I can't remember his name, but he was indeed behind all the greatness of Delphi, and was hired by Microsoft. IIRC, he's the one behind C#.

      *sigh* Imagine what Delphi would be today...
    • I stumbled upon a very interesting article, which I'd recommend most people interested in modern languages to read. You'll recognize the author as the person behind Turbo Pascal and Delphi, and now C#:

      http://msdn.microsoft.com/vcsharp/homepageheadline s/hejlsberg/default.aspx [microsoft.com]

      It hurts reading this on a MS site and nearly nowhere else... but that guy has it right. And Borland was right on path following those ideals.
  • by Kell_pt (789485) on Saturday October 23, 2004 @12:42PM (#10609536) Homepage
    This whole problem has recently become incredibly relevant for me. We are starting a project, and I am in charge of deciding which development enviroment to use.
    I started by trying JBuilder. I gave up. It's not that I don't like Java - but it ends up being too ecletic in its stubborness for not supporting things like properties and operator overloading - I know how to develop, I don't need a language that imposes limits, I want a language that is easy to write and read, and I'd rather type C++ than the whole verbosity of Java.
    I tried Delphi, but again, it's syntax is aging. Don't get me wrong, it's not just about syntax, but if given the chance to develop in C++ or in Delphi, I'll pick the former.
    Lastly, we decided to go with BC6. We didn't adhere to using CLX and decided to go with VCL, confident that at any time it would not be a hard issue to port it over, if need ever arised. I'm not so sure right now.

    And it's not all about visuals. It's about things that Borland was innovative in, like BDE/dbExpress and the whole concept of linking databases to datasets and then to data-aware controls. It's the whole atmosphere of using a Borland product and having freedom of choice.

    I do NOT want to use C#, even though I like the language. I simply refuse to step back 10 years and go back at programming for a single-platform enviroment. Some people say .NET is the future, but I can only assume that's out of ignorance, or a real commitment to MS platforms. And don't talk about Mono, it's an interesting project, but it's far from being a drop-in replacement for .NET at the moment, and we need solutions now.

    So, real world choices for RAD enterprise-grade applications involving database access, complex forms, multi-platform, etc? Delphi, C++ or Java.

    Java isn't really slow anymore, but the syntax is a disgrace. Why on earth would I want to write a.setCounter( a.getCounter() + 3 ) when Delphi has had for ages a mechanism of properties that allows me to write "a.counter += 3" - even C++ allows for similar freedom, with operator overloading (although not the same) (and no, JavaBeans aren't the answer).

    I know, this post comes out as a collection of assorted gripes, mostly in an attempt to justify why I chose to commit to using Borland C++Builder 6. I believe in it, and Kylix. Where's that going? We have a very tight deadline (don't we all) and using Delphi or BC6 is the only viable chance to beat it. Syntax-wise Delphi feels like using VB (ergh) so to keep some sanity intact, BC comes out as the obvious choice. Uncertainity is deadly when it comes to starting projects and preparing for the future... and it's causing me a great deal of concern wether I'm digging myself, the team and the project into a hole in choosing BC6.
    • Java has one big advantage compared to C++, and that is memory mangement (like garbage collection). Memory management in C++ is error-prone and difficult to do correctly. Sure, smart pointers and containers are helpful tools, and there are good implementations in Boost and STL. Not quite the same, though.
  • Borland has always had brilliantly creative and powerful development tools. If you've ever used Borland Builder you know what a wonderful tool it was. Delphi (basically the same design but using Pascal instead of C++) is still eekeing by. But what Borland had to offer (OK performance with OK ease of use) has just been a loser's strategy in the current market place. Performance just isn't as important as it used to be, allowing Java and VB (which typically have worse performance) to eat Delphi's & Build
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Borland has killed off : Codewright, Kylix,C++Builder
    and left their developers high and dry.

    Their flagship Delphi fails to work on XP systems
    with the latest SP 2 applied.

    They have long promised and failed to deliver
    Compact Framework support in Delphi .NET

    Their head of Borland Developer Network, John Kaster is alternatively rude to or dismissive of developers
    legitimate concerns.

    All these are signs of a company in decline and serious internal disarray.

    I would suggest that anyone thinking of using or cont
    • Their flagship Delphi fails to work on XP systems with the latest SP 2 applied.

      That's the smallest problem with Delphi that I see. Delphi is a joke. Why? Have you ever tried to obtain a formal syntax for their "Object Pascal"? Good luck, one probably doesn't even exist. That's right. I'm not kidding you. The only program on earth that can parse 100% of Delphi code is the Delphi compiler!. See this thread [google.com] on comp.lang.pascal.delphi.misc.

      This is year 2004 and Borland offers us a language for which you can

    • Let's clear up some of the FUD in your post, Mike.

      Borland has not killed off Kylix. That is FUD. Kylix is "on hold" this year, but they did announce some open source initiatives at this years Borland Conference. Kylix isn't thriving at Borland, but it's FUD to say that it's been killed.

      Borland /may/ kill off the VCL side of C++Builder. They have set Dec 15 as the deadline to announce whether C++Builder will become part of the BDS/Galileo IDE or not. If they miss that deadline, then we know the answer.
  • by Fallen Andy (795676) on Saturday October 23, 2004 @07:26PM (#10611423)
    ...is not the Borland I remember. I knew this when
    they took too long to release a Pascal for Windows.
    Since it was their *core* product, clearly they weren't so bothered about capturing hearts and minds as they were in the old days.

    OK. I can live with that. But trashing the C++/C community? Hmm. Why is it a problem to keep both streams (and gradually wean people across to C# builder?).

    This is not the company we knew and loved years ago.

    Nuff said. But there are tears in my eyes because
    they were well admired by almost all of us for the things they did in the past.

    Anders is now working for those excellent and perhaps too much maligned folk at Redmond (don't spit H2SO4 at me, they are kool sometimes), and I'd guess since PK isn't there it isn't really the
    *same* company it was.

    Just the name. But, on the other hand Novell is
    much to my delight proving that the name still matters.

    I for one mourn the passing of a group of people that we all admired...

    RIP Borland.

    (But, Frank can come and drink a beer here in Athens any day of the week).
  • by Kell_pt (789485) on Saturday October 23, 2004 @07:41PM (#10611487) Homepage
    This isn't directly related to BC++, but it's in line with my other post slightly above. It's related to looking for alternatives, in the current age of Java, .NET and Mono.

    For the last 8 hours after my other post on this thread, I've been searching the net for information regarding C#, CIL, Mono, comparisons to Java (with usability in mind, not zealotism), etc. And one thing is for sure: .NET and CIL is good technology - I hate to admit it, but MS has something good there. It is not a surprise, as it comes a LOT from the same person that designed TorboPascal, Delphi and now C#. I recommend those interested to read an interview here [microsoft.com] and pay attention to the ideas he puts forth. It offers a lot of insight into a few things that are wrong with Java, and that most people will probably have felt.

    Also, one interesting RAD project is here [icsharpcode.net]. .

    I've also tryed to learn as much as I could from the state of Mono, its legal status... and I felt important to share that my view has changed slightly, it MIGHT become a player, and it might offer a cross-platform alternative to .NET. I also recommend the GoMono FAQ [go-mono.com]. There's a lot FUD regarding possible patent threats from Microsoft over Mono, but I believe that to be mostly out of misinformation and lack of knowledge at how it works. The idea of a common VM isn't new, Parrot [parrotcode.org] for instance is just another one.

    I'd be most interested in whatever other people might have to say about Java vs .NET/Mono, that comes from careful study and consideration not just hype. Approaches like CIL and Parrot make a lot of sense... where do you see them going?
  • Oh well, I'd really like to be proved wrong here, because I know that since Anders left, Borland's going down, but as a developer who is not in the OSS stuff, what better option do I have than Delphi?

    Python: This really look interesting. I would gladly jump in this bandwagon BUT, I'm not in the OSS stuff. How the heck am I supposed to distribute applications on the internet without also distributing the sources? If there's a way, I'd like to know :)

    C#: This too, looks interesting, but from what I read, it
    • "or tell me about an alternative language I should learn."

      Consider contributing to the Freepascal and Lazarus open source projects.
      • Oh That's in my plans. However, I wouldn't use freepascal for window binaries because their compiler is not as optimized as borland's. However, FPC/Lazarus is extremely interesting for cross platform development.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      As you say Borland isn't dead, and neither is Delphi. What should set alarm bells ringing is the fate of C++ Builder.
      You may not like C++, but C++Builder is still a great tool, and despite the uncertainty it's still one I recommend to people.

      One possible 'upgrade' route for BCB users is to port their code to Delphi. All your GUI will still use the VCL, so there's some simple C++ > Pascal 'recoding' involved there, and if you can encapsulate large chunks of your C++ code into DLLs or packages, you can ca
      • Well, even if they would pull the plug, I could still develop in Delphi: I still use Delphi 5.

        Yes, if they would do that, I would really have to start to think about migrating to another language, but that wouldn't be urgent, nor dramatic.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      This really look interesting. I would gladly jump in this bandwagon BUT, I'm not in the OSS stuff. How the heck am I supposed to distribute applications on the internet without also distributing the sources? If there's a way, I'd like to know :)

      This is certainly possible. Remember how you distribute Java executables without source code? You compile the source to bytecode, then distribute the bytecode (after some formatting and massaging) to be run by the JRE.

      Python will work similarly, but since the Pyt

      • by hsoft (742011)
        Thanks. I'll certainly have to look for that, because I really do like what I know of python :)
  • 1) Its a shame that Borland waffled on C Builder support. I think it will really hurt them because it will hurt their other products. Delphi is hardly a world-reknown development tool. Now when programming shops consider what platform they are going to build upon, this non-ISO environment will certainly look unattractive; seeing how the company treats one of their formerly popular development packages.

    2) Who really gives a frell? Its not like people can't do C++ anymore. Microsoft puts out a perfectly
  • This doesn't have to do with BC++ Builder (I love the product and wish it was updated just to through in my opinion), but Borland is in no way dead. They just released JBuilder 2005 and Delphi 2005. Although Delphi is now geared towards .NET (IMHO a terrible mistake, before .NET everything was very very fast), it is still being made.

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