If you knew that you could create your own personal "Delphi Clone" using Delphi to create it (ironically enough) for free or profit even though that program might someday be considered as a "competing application", slowly eat away at the profits of your beloved "Delphi" possibly causing it to never reach version 9 and potentially leave you jobless ...Would you still create it?
This year it would seem very popular to make clones of the "Delphi" IDE with varying purposes and target markets in mind. Some expose the Borland VCL (as well as many 3rd Party VCLs) in a "design-time" fashion that enable "end-users" to create "Delphi" applications without paying for Delphi or the included 3rd Party components. This is almost like "Legalized Warez". There have been many such programs which have popped up during the past year and there are probably even more currently being developed. The vast majority of "Delphi Clones" would seem mostly unconcerned with distinguishing themselves from Delphi in appearance or functionality. It really makes you wonder if it's all ethical to do or at the very least...legal.
While all that may seem harmless in the short-term, is offering a potentially competing product to Delphi that was made using Delphi really in the best interest of a Delphi developer in the long-term? What happens when products like these flood the market and interest in Delphi decreases even more because of its higher priced, lack of features, etc? If the trend of creating "Delphi Clones" is allowed to continue, eventually Delphi may cease to stay profitable for Borland and become a discontinued product some years from now.
The sneakiest part of all this is that one may not see the ill effects of this trend on Delphi until the successor to Windows XP comes out and things stop working the way they used to. Would these "Delphi Clones" be able to keep up with Microsoft as well or better than Borland has if they had to do it themselves? I think not. They'd be thinking along the lines of "Borland, Borland...where art thou in our desperate time of need?" If you bite the hand that feeds you, don't be surprised.
The end of Delphi?
Even though these "Delphi Clones" are available for use either for free or by paying a fee, the "Delphi Developer" still has a choice to make when considering use of any of these tools in favor or against Delphi. Depending on how people who chose a "Delphi Clone" over Delphi itself "just to get the job done" will find themselves contributing to the problem! The bottom-line is that Delphi needs more users, not less! All those "Delphi Clones" may cause a reduction in the number of licensed Delphi users which could set in motion the slow death of Delphi.
Hopefully none of these programs will ever "be used in place of" good 'ol Delphi, but with the cost per license either "free" or even cheaper, it's quite possible that one day it might happen if this trend is allowed to continue.
Perhaps I'm just being too paranoid but I can see it happening if "Delphi" people don't realize it?
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This article was contributed to the About Delphi Programming site by a visitor (Delphi developer) who wanted to stay anonymous.