A while ago we have officially launched the new XSharp project and announced that we are working on a new XBase for .Net platform called X#.
We have received many positive reactions from the community, especially about the fact that we will be releasing the product under an Open Source License. Some people have asked us under which Open Source License model we will release the source code and others have asked us how we plan to finance development of X#. Some of the highlights in these reactions were words like Share, Together, Communication, Generous and Family. We consider the VO and Vulcan.Net community as our family!
And that sort of describes perfectly why we have started to do this:
The community and the future of the XBase Language are our first priority and not the money!
We realize that some of you (or your companies) have invested many man years and many hundreds of thousands of Euros, Dollars or Pounds in the development of your products. Others have invested less, but are just as dependent on the future of their xBase development language.
And now you are confronted with the fact that the product owner of VO and Vulcan.Net (Grafx) is no longer able (and does not want) to execute future development on these products. Also the development of several other XBase alternatives has come to a stop.
And since we know that for many of you a rewrite of your product is not an option we offer you a new product with the familiar XBase language and fully compatible with the existing products.
To help secure the future of your products we offer you the opportunity to participate in the development of X# which will be highly compatible with the existing XBase development languages. You will NOT have to rewrite your products.
Some of the core components of X# are already working. The first official release of X# (the core compiler) is expected first quarter of 2016.Why open source?
There are various reasons to choose for open source software. Security of your investment is the most important we think.
This is the same reason why large companies like Microsoft, Oracle, Computer Associates and many others decided to publish their software under an open source license.
Other reasons are: Quality, Freedom, Flexibility, Interoperability, Auditability, Costs.
We are proud of the software we produce and we have nothing to hide. To us it makes absolutely no sense to withhold the source code of X# from our community. We believe in Intellectual Property but not in secrecy.
We realize that we are not perfect, so our code will probably have problems like all code has. By opening the source code to you, you will be able to (help) find problems and fix them so you are not dependent on a single vendor who decides whether or not your particular problem will be fixed.
What open source license model will you be using?
We plan to release most of the source code of X# under the Apache 2.0 Open Source code license. This is a very permissive license. In short (non- legal terms) this means:
You Can use it commercially, modify the source, distribute the source, place a warranty on it etc.
You Cannot hold us liable or use your own trademark for code that we have written.
You Must include our copyright, include our license, state where you have changed the code and include a notice in your software about the use of our product
How will the development of X# be financed?
This is of course a very valid question!
We can assure you that none of the X# developers has recently won a lottery or had a big inheritance from a deceased distinct family member, so we do need a steady income.
Fortunately all X# developers have jobs which will pay for most of their expenses. However developing X# will cost us a significant amount of our time. Having some extra money available to fund the initial development of X# will certainly be helpful and speed up development.
With enough funding we would be able to work on the X# project full time.
To speed up development is the main reason why we are announcing the Friends of XSharp (FOX) program
We know the VO and Vulcan.Net community very well. We have been part of this community for many, many years and the members of this community almost feel like a family to us. We are convinced that people inside this community will and can help us to fund X# and get it on the market in 2016. Remember that we did it before and know what we are up against!
The FOX program can be compared to a Crowd Funding initiative: customers pay in advance for service and a product that is still under development.
The idea behind the FOX program is that you, by paying for development of the X# language, can help to keep the XBase development language alive and you will get a lot in return.
What is part of the free product?
- 4 stable builds of the X# product every year. This includes all the tools necessary to build your program and integration into Microsoft Visual Studio.
- Access to the source code of the X# runtime components, licensed under the Apache 2.0 Open Source code license.
- Access to public newsgroups for peer to peer support for X#.
What is the extra value of the FOX program?
- Access to the ALL source code, so also the source code of the Compiler and the other tools, such as the Visual Studio integration.
The source code to these other components will be licensed under a more restrictive license, which allows you to use and change the source code, but does not allow you to distribute the source of these components.
- Access to 'nightly builds' of X#.
- Access to closed forums and newsgroups on the XSharp web server where the subscribers will be supported by members of the X# development team themselves.
- Because we realize that many of you need support for existing VO and Vulcan.NET products we will also include access to closed support forums and newsgroups for Visual Objects & Vulcan.NET on the XSharp web server.
You will get support from the original VO and Vulcan.NET developers. We know these 2 products inside out and can deliver the best support possible and provide you with workarounds and patches.
- Security. You have access to ALL the source code, so whatever happens, you can continue to develop your own product and fix issues when needed.
- The program is an annual subscription program.
What will X# cost?
The X# binaries and the source code to the runtime components will be available for free.
The FOX program will cost EUR 995 per year. Since the product is not ready yet, we have a special price for the first year EUR 495. Of course there are discounts for companies that want access to the closed support forums for multiple developers.
Please note that each developer in a company is expected to use his or her own account to access the support system.
When will X# be available?
Currenly we are busy setting up the infrastructure for the payment process and for the support forums. We hope to have that part ready in November 2015.
We will announce the availability of the FOX program on our website and other media, such as the international newsgroups, our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/xBaseNet) and our twitter stream (@xBaseNet).
The first release of X# (the core compiler) is expected first quarter of 2016.
The support forums for Visual Objects, Vulcan.NET and X# will be available in November 2015.
Thank you for your support!
The XSharp Team
- Fabrice Foray
- Nikos Kokkalis
- Chris Pyrgas
- Robert van der Hulst