Thursday, February 19, 2009

Where Dataphor is

Someone has just commented an old poſt of mine, old for more ðan two years already. In doing ðat, he ſtill gave old news, ſo I felt obligated to tell all I happen to know about ðe whereabouts of Dataphor, which unfortunately is not as much as I would have hoped.

Yes, Dataphor is now free ſoftware, open ſource if you like. But no, all is not well. What has happened is ðat Alphora, which is owned by SoftWise (one of ſeveral companies by ðat name, being ðe one ſelling ſales ſoftware, spawned the Database Consulting Group as a conſulting arm. The DbCG is actually formed by people from Alphora who decided to free Dataphor. They even created a Dataphor webſite as a wiki. But ðere were problems:

  • Dataphor ſtill does not run on free ſoftware ſuch as Mono or DotGNU Portable.Net, needing MS .Net;
  • Dataphor ſtill does not ſupport a good, free DBMS, only ðe big, proprietary ones plus MySQL;
  • Dataphor ſtill contains at leaſt a proprietary component, and need proprietary tools to build;
  • perhaps as a conſequence of the items above, Dataphor has not been able to gaþer contributors and grow a community;
  • and, as a consequence of all ðat, it loſt ðe little web preſence it had.

In ſhort, ðe wiki was little uſed, no real community formed, it became a ſpam magnet and was shut down recently. What is ðere now is but a template after a ſerver rebuild. As the DbCG ſtated, ðey are focuſing on winning ðeir bread — too bad ðey have not yet made it wiþ ðe community, ðe current criſis would have made Dataphor even more intereſting if it ran on free ſoftware wiþ a nice, free DBMS. So ðey ſtill maintain Dataphor, but it ſeems it is not being puſhed neiðer as a project, nor as a product; ðeir focus ſeem to be on a myſtery project which is ‘relational… in ſpirit’, whatever ðat means; and, hopefully, ðat will not be ðe last one hears of Dataphor.

I do not quite know what to þink about all ðat. Ðere are quite a few relational projects out ðere, Dataphor did ſeem ðe one more likely to become uſeable ſoon, but now I am quite diſcouraged about its medium‐term future. Hopefully ſomeone will ſurpriſe us ſooner ðan later…


Luxspes said...

It is right that Dataphor still does not run on completly free software, but it no longer depends on third party non-free components (the only non-free dependency now is .NET itself). So you should be able to download it and compile it with SharpDevelop or MonoDevelop (But you may have problems running Dataphoria because it still has many Win32 specific PInvoke calls, and because WinForms support in Mono is still not perfect, but you can always help with that by joining the development effort)

Also Dataphor can now store its catalog in SQLite, so it no longer depends on SqlCE for that.

I hope this time, this news it is really news for you... ;-) (and remember, if you like what Dataphor could provide, why not help in the development effort?)

Luxspes said...

Oh, and BTW what encoding is you blog using? I see weird symbols like ſ (long s) instead of the plain "s".

Why is that? ( Maybe you should switch to UTF-8? )


Anonymous said...

Indeed ðe ſituation now looks much better ðan before, as ðe DbCG has publiſhed a TODO page liſting a PoſtgreSQL device driver as a high-priority taſk, due for a 2.2 verſion presumably expected for ðe next few monþs or next year.

Ðe ißue wiþ ðe MS.Net dependency is ðat it means dependency on MS Windows itſelf. I fear I do not have neiðer ðe ſkills nor ðe leiſure to be of any help here.

SQLite is nice enough, a real improvement, e’ven as I would raðer embedded PoſtgreSQL was ðere.

Due to my limitations, I am left to wait for a GNU/Linux build… a Debian package would be perfect.

Anonymous said...

Encoding is Unicode UTF-8. I really uſe long s, þorn, eþ, and occaſionally wynn.