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Open Letter Bogus Counter Arguments

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Straw Men that Deserve to be Torched

This page lists some of the fallacious arguments that usually begin with the words "Microsoft will never seriously market Visual FoxPro because..." For your added convenience, there are bookmarks to each of the following numbered sections. For example, this link points to Bogus Argument #1.

Bogus Argument #1:
Microsoft will never seriously market Visual FoxPro because it will take sales away from SQL Server

Microsoft isn't going to benefit from selling someone the wrong product for the job. There's a huge gulf between VFP and SQL Server, and one seldom would have any difficulty identifying the more appropriate product for a given application. What's more, if there really were any doubt about it, you'd be a lot better off having started with VFP and migrating to SQL Server. To push someone prematurely into SQL Server would be like shoving them off a cliff. A customer dissatisfied with SQL Server would be most easily drawn next to Oracle. A customer that needs to grow beyond VFP would probably find it most convenient to keep the VFP front end and make a relatively easy migration to SQL Server on the back end.

You're assuming that the developer has done the job right so that migration *is* easy. There are still many Fox developers that don't code this way.
So what? We kill a valid strategy because there are exceptions? This is a bogus answer to the bogus argument!
I can't imagine the "migration" from ACCESS (MSDE) to SQL Server. Sure, MS says its easy. Let's hear from someone who has done it because their needs have outgrown MSDE. - Jim Nelson
It's pretty easy because MSDE is SQL Server for all intents and purposes.
Well having recently had a decent look at ACCESS's MSDE feature, I don't see a whole lot that a "regular" ACCESS programmer would be inclined/educated to do to "manage" the SQL Server database(s). The concept of just moving stuff over and leaving it there untouched forever doesn't really seem to be workable to me. I mean if it got to the point that SQL Server was needed then it likely needs some management/optimization too. I can move from a Beetle to a Ferrarri but I can't dare treat one exactly like the other. - Jim Nelson

Bogus Argument #2:
Microsoft will never seriously market Visual FoxPro because it doesn't fit into their .NET strategy

Microsoft has gotten carried away with its mega-marketing push on the .NET initiative. They seem to be in their own world about this, to the point where they've forgotten that it doesn't actually exist. Do they seriously think that the outside world perceives .NET as being a reality as tangible as an established product like VFP? What does this kind of strategy-du-jour fixation do to people's confidence in committing themselves to any Microsoft "standard". Why can't MS be big enough to have multiple strategies? When .NET becomes a reality, then we'll see how many ways VFP can find to fit in with it. In the meantime, there's no point in leaving VFP's money-making potential dormant.

I think you're missing something here. .Net does exist. It's not yet fully developed and deployed, but it's beginnings are available now in the .Net servers. Visual Studio.Net (now in beta) will deliver a big piece of it. WindowsXP (Whistler) (also now in beta) will ship later this year another big piece. VFP7 (in beta) will ship later this year too and don't expect to see any VFP ads until it does ship. What I'm saying is that by the time VFP7 ships, much more of .Net will be there or very close itself.
That .NET is beta-everything does not mean that it "exists". Until it ships and deploys it is beta and beta only. - Jim Nelson
There are .Net servers available now, not betas, but shipping code.

I learned after Clipper that it doesn't pay to drift off of the Gates yellow (gold??) brick road. Borland C/C++, Ashton Tate DBaseII/III/IV, Clipper, etc - wasted years - everytime the platform changed I had to wait to have what Microsoft developers got immediately...... I'm now learning C Sharp and VB.NET

BTW, they didn't do much marketing of DOS when they were pushing Windows either..... --->The Kid<---

Bogus Argument #3:
Microsoft will never seriously market Visual FoxPro because it won't add to their bottom line

Since VFP has already been developed, the only expense is packaging. Microsoft has been getting away with spending virtually nothing on support for VFP, because the community supports itself, and they're happy with that arrangement. Microsoft could easily capitalize on its existing very widely circulated marketing vehicles by incorporating some mention of Visual FoxPro beyond the occasional meeting and conference announcements. The Visual FoxPro community has offered to supply marketing materials to Microsoft's editorial staff, again willingly, and free of charge. In other words selling Visual FoxPro should yield a handsome return on any additional investment, unless Microsoft makes the further blunder of setting the price to a negative value.

"only expense is packaging"? Do you think Randy, Calvin, Ricardo, Robert and others work for free? VFP7 is still going through a beta, so hasn't "already been developed".
So why do we keep hearing that VFP7 is 'ready to ship' if it ain't so??? More FUD from MS and the VFP team. - Jim Nelson
Umm, excuse me? Please point to me where MS or the VFP team has said that 7.0 is ready to ship. - Mike Stewart
I think the beta is probably feature complete at this point, but I can't say if it's ready to ship.
VFP is due a full re-write from the ground up. That takes money. Alex Wieder
No, that would be bad. It would essentially make it a version 1.0 product. I don't want to go through those pains again.
Microsoft has already spent a ton of money on VFP, and it's a given (at least as far as any official announcements I've heard) that they plan to continue the development of VFP. The issue is whether they will get on with marketing what they already have, and then continue marketing and promoting it at an appropriate level. What makes no sense is to do what they have done and continue to do to this day, which is to spend money on development and not seriously market the product of their labors. This is patently dumb. It hurts Microsoft, and it hurts its customers, the entire VFP community. - mda
Bogus Argument #4:
Microsoft will never seriously market Visual FoxPro because they can't justify the marketing expense

There needn't be any new marketing expense, but Microsoft will never learn what the incremental payback for investing more would be if they don't make a serious test. The VFP community is well equipped to assist Microsoft in its marketing efforts, except in one respect: we can't convince prospective customers that Microsoft is seriously committed to Visual FoxPro when they don't even see it mentioned in Microsoft's own publications.

What publications are those?
Try anything to do with .NET for starters. - Jim Nelson
.Net is not a publication. VFP7 plays with .Net.
As I've suggested before, consider the Microsoft Direct Access Newsletter. I assume this is one of their most widely circulated email-based propaganda vehicles. I just got another issue, which begins thus:
"Microsoft Direct Access helps resellers and consultants win more business! Get the information and support you need to sell more products, expand your services and dazzle your customers."
A search of the document for either "vfp" or "fox" yields absolutely nothing. What would it have cost Microsoft to include a little plug for VFP somewhere in this sort of thing?

Here is what I wrote to Robert Green (from whom I received no reply), for the benefit of those who are not UT members:
> (snip)
>I don't understand. We market the hell out of SQL Server and Visual Basic, yet the managers at your company don't believe us. Why do you think they would believe us if we marketed the hell out of Visual FoxPro?

Market the hell out of VFP? How about just trying a little harder not to keep it a secret? We're not looking for a major media blitz, just a little ammunition so that we don't have to educate prospective clients about the fact that Microsoft owns VFP, no less that they take it seriously. Throw us a bone here! Microsoft doesn't have to spend a lot to do a much better marketing job than they have done to date. It would have been so easy to work in a mention of VFP in so many pieces of Microsoft's unending deluge of marketing materials, but it's always conspicuously absent. What would it cost MS to work in some VFP promotion in the Microsoft Direct Access Newsletter, an otherwise worthless, self-serving vehicle that never ceases to amaze me in its complete absence of useful content. Let us help you write the text, if you guys can't think of anything to say. The painfully obvious message is that Microsoft just doesn't have its heart in it. They ain't even trying. In or out of the box, VFP is going down the tubes if Microsoft keeps hiding it.

Robert, I really appreciate the way you're taking the trouble to field all of the impassioned replies on this thread, and I have every confidence in you and the rest of Microsoft's VFP team. The problem lies somewhere on high, so it's pointless for us to be arguing with you. The way I see it, we're on the same side, in favor of VFP and opposing the dark forces that want to suppress it. This in-the-box or out-of-the-box debate is like hiding our heads in the sand. It's a con job, and we're all suckers if we let them (the dark forces) divert us from the real point, which is simply a sincere, credible show of support from Microsoft for VFP. You've got a fanatically devoted community of VFP supporters on your side. Can't we do something more constructive to address the real issue? I've suggested that we make the case to Microsoft in an open letter targeted at upper management, signed by as many thousands of VFP enthusiasts as we can muster. Do you think that's silly, or worse still, hopeless? I think a strong business case could be made Microsoft's taking VFP more seriously, or at least giving it a fighting chance. Would you get in trouble for encouraging such an endeavor, or even for giving me a straight answer to this question? How about a little mutual support here! - ?mda

Bogus Argument #5:
All of the above arguments are not bogus

General Discussion

I would like these comments to follow the numbered points, which are, after all the purpose of this page. Let's please allow the discussion to follow the material it purports to discuss. If it applies to a specific numbered point, it belongs in that section. Otherwise, general remarks can go down here. OK, Steve? - ?mda

Excuse me for jumping in, and sorry to rain on everyone's parade, but the simple truth is Microsoft will never seriously market Visual FoxPro. Never. Get used to it. The best we can hope for, in my estimation, is that VFP not be constantly understated by pin-head MS reps, and that MS will gently push it. But that's a far cry from "seriously market". The "bogus" counter arguments above are not bogus, they are facts. Everybody would be well advised to face the facts-- Steven Black

OK, maybe "seriously" is a lot to hope for, but how about semi-seriously. How about they just fake it a little, so people don't entirely fail to realize that it's a supported Microsoft product, for the benefit of the few thousand of us who make a living building applications with it. And while they're at it they can make a few extra bucks and appease a bunch of angry customers. Is this such a foolish idea? Do you suggest that they keep pissing away their money on further investment in VFP development with no effort to reap a payoff in sales? -?mda

VFP is an amply supported Microsoft product. It is not, was not, and never will be a member of any present or future Microsoft Band Wagon. Moreover MS could spend an extra million on VFP ads and it will make not one iota of difference. Microsoft advertising doesn't drive the corporate bus. Articles in the myriad computer publications are far bigger decision and awareness drivers. Our problem is all our most prolific writers are writing for 3,000 subscribed converted instead of writing for the masses. 3/4 of what Rick Strahl writes, for example, would serve him and everyone well if submitted instead to a broad-based magazine or journal. Note that, for the authors, writing for VFP magazines is perfect Niche Marketing strategy. -- Steven Black
Moreover I'll say this again: The worst mistake you can make when in a Niche Market is wish you wern't in a Niche Market. Niche Marketing calls for specialized and focused strategies.-- Steven Black

I totally disagee with you. The space between Access and SQL Server is no mere niche. In fact most real-world applications can be done entirely with VFP, and with a little foresight you can give people an upgrade path to SQL Server. How about playing fair, Steve, and responding to the specific points as I've presented them, instead of making these kinds of blanket statements. I don't think this is a constructive way to make your point. - ?mda

Sorry. I'll say it again. The "bogus arguments" above are not bogus arguments, they are facts. This isn't a debatable point: Microsoft did not, does not, will not, and never will aggressively promote VFP. Any strategy that relies on tactical action along these lines will fail. You must differentiate between what is achievable, and what is reverie. Moreover you must understand the dynamics of enterprise decision making. Advertising doesn't really drive that. Technical articles by respected authors drive that far better. Micorsoft's technical articles, like the technical articles of all vendors, are the laughingstock of the computing community. So understand wat you are asking for. More ads? More white papers? What the hell will that change? Heck, one single pin-head's misinformed comments at Dev-Days creates phenomenal collateral damage compared to any goodwill generated by ads and white papers.-- Steven Black

Talk about bogus, this is a bogus argumentative technique. Simply reiterating something adds nothing. I don't accept your matter-of-fact assertions. Furthermore, you continue to miss the point, which I fail to see how I could make more abundantly clear. I never advocated undertaking some foolish, misdirected, costly, ineffective ad campaign. I said, how about occasionally mentioning us in those pathetic, vacuous, self-serving "news"-letters on which Microsoft doesn't spend a dime, but which they freely disperse as spam to everybody on their vast mailing list. That's it baby. Do you understand how much significance that infinitesimal effort by Microsoft would have on general VFP-awareness and people's belief that Microsoft hasn't abandoned this product? I guess when I asked "Need I say more?", I really did need to say more. Please pause to ponder the magnificence of this idea. It costs Microsoft nothing. They don't even have to really "mean it", so long as they make that gesture and let us supply them with some non-bullshit (but editorially acceptable) content. It's that simple. If they did that, I would be satisfied, and we could all go home as far as I'm concerned. I don't know if the rest of the VFP community would be satisfied, but they'd probably agree it was a visible, achievable, significant, and sustainable step in the right direction. You've raised a different issue, which may garner some support, but it seems out of place on this page. - ?mda

Seems to me, the point that you miss is that people might be in disagreement with you. I get the impression that you are treating this whole deal with a "Microsoft of the people" perspective. I think it is more like "Microsoft of the shareholders".
IMO your "magnificent" idea does not hold water. MS has been mentioning VFP in the MSDN flash for many months, (probably since the MSDN flash inception) in the form of conferences, events and KB articles. I don't see any jump in the number of VFP positions available. But you probably are not satisfied with that either. With that said, I would not agree with you that this is the way to go. SB has pointed to a more attainable way of contributing to VFP's exposure. JCrescencio Flores
I don't consider the inclusion of schedules for conferences and events and KB articles to be marketing. Nor do I take issue with the merits of Steve's suggestions about making MS reps better informed about VFP, but that's yet another idea. There's nothing to say that we couldn't reasonably ask for both of these things, and more. What I'm asking for costs MS nothing, it would be immediately observable, and it directly addresses the lack of marketing and promotion. I wouldn't want to make it too easy for Microsoft to simply promise us they will do something, when there's something they can and should do immediately. - ?mda

I agree with what Steve says about the effectiveness (or lack of) ads and white papers.
The most important point for the 'Open Letter' I have seen so far is educating (and/or rightly inform) Microsoft reps and rank-and-file about VFP. If this is corrected, it will have a (slow, but sure) ripple effect (IMO, of course) everywhere else, including Gartner Group, IT managers/recruiters. IMO, this is the chicken and this is the egg. - AhmedSiddiqui
Steve, reading your statement, the way you wrote it, some reasons quickly came into my mind: either this is some final information that came from a very confident source or, maybe, you gathered pieces of diferent sources and concluded so, or yet it represents the last cry of retained anguish of lots of tired people. May be, may be not. Certainly there are many other posibilities, but these obvious ones came first.

When you say that "Microsoft will never seriously market Visual FoxPro." you mean that MS will never market this VFP, or they will never market any other developing tool that doesn't fit in the .NET philosophy? In the last case it makes me some sense because who'll want two different VB's (one oddly named VFP) in the same box. And that's why the answer to the question above makes difference. Mike Feltman exposed in Should VFP Be In VSDotNet that "VFP needs a change of direction in positioning...", and I fully agree with him.

But I disagree that we are in the right niche (wich I infered): we once were, but now MS is changing our old niche to a new one (Niche.NET) and them VFP becomes the wrong product for that niche, and no strategy will save it. The old and traditional niche for VFP isn't "traditional LAN, desktop and client-server applications as well as enterprise" that you said in the same Should VFP Be In VSDotNet? And I fully agree with this, as well.

This idea is also supported by Robert Green's statemnt that "If VFP is not in VS, then we can have our own story, which means we can go back to bragging about the things that Fox does best". And the whole thing matches. But here is the point: the "bogus" counter arguments that you refered to, really are facts IMO, and I don't question that, we never wanted or presumed that we could change the reasons, but we can try to change the facts. And the fact that I clearly see in front of me is that if VFP don't gets back to it's own path as stated before, then I have to agree with you, we'll see no parade, just rain. -- Fernando Alvares

Huh? Is there a central point in purple above? What is it?-- Steven Black

Yes, there is. Sorry if I was not as clear as I would like to be. But in few words: if VFP doesn't gets back to be a product with its own identity, it will ever be a second class supporting actor (if so!) in the development tools scene and we all will be second class developers in using it, perhaps all "mentally mutilated beyond hope of regeneration", to paraphrase Dijkstra, that can't even choose a decent developing tool, to say the least.

That's what I tryed to say and that's what I think. And, also, what I think about that story of niche, without any ofense, it's all bullshit, even the rocks in the streets knows that MS makes the niche, the strategy and whatsoever, they have the money, the power, the will (sometimes it lacks in our community) and lots of bright minds working for them to do so (do we have this too? I mean at work for our community's needs. Of course we have some brave exceptions). That's my opinion and I am not the owner of the truth, as you well know, and no one of us is. Steve, I didn't want to hurt anyone's feelings, nor to put in my mouth anyone's words. I apologyse for the shouting. -- Fernando Alvares
It seems clear to me. For years the "leaders" in the VFP community have led communications with Microsoft. The current leaders have done a great job on the technical front and we need to honour and assist their technical efforts. However, in business promotion terms the overall result for most of us out there has been pretty poor.

If the current approach has not yielded much in business terms for most of us, we are not obliged to keep following it no matter how keen the leaders are that we should.

There are heaps of signatures on the "I'll sign" list. That represents a substantial business lever. Several hundred determined customers, especially outspoken customers, is something that a savvy company knows not to ignore. Companies like Gartner and Microsoft are well aware of this.
So we have our lever. Now we need to go after something that has a chance of success. SB says "aggressive marketing" is pie-in-the-sky. I think he is right. I also think MS is unlikely to believe that improving its promotion of VFP will result in windfall profit. I use the term "promotion" because it seems that "marketing" is equated with "Advertising".

But IMHO asking for something from MS is jumping the gun. IMHO we can take two approaches; one using the lever we gain by working together; another hopefully in co-operation with Microsoft.
First Step: Between us we can make up a document so that next time Gartner or anyone else does the dirty, the committee led by mda *immediately* sends a compelling letter to all the IT rags signed by 500 VFP experts "correcting" the mistake. Nobody like Gartner will want to see that published more than once. We're using our lever effectively.

Then we have MS. If there are 100s of us prepared to go public, MS needs to decide whether it wants to be part of that. Of course as loyal MS developers we should invite them to be, as follows:
1) When MS creates documentation for business, such as the new corporate club I see on the website, VFP should be included by default not excluded by default. Same goes for the other documentation. If VFP does not appear it is because nobody in the VFP camp could be bothered contributing.
For this to succeed, in fairness we need to appoint a "spokesperson" who MS is meant to contact so we'll know whether they tried or not. It might be fair for that person to receive some funding as well.
IMHO that person should "not" be one of the current leaders, we need to try a new approach. I recommend mda plus a few others who stand out here and maybe a few newer MVPs if they are keen. Plus, one of the people who have experience with a bigger VFP User group would be great- they have both public-spiritedness and experience that we need.

IMHO The key points are:
1) Empowerment. We need to authorise mda and his team to distribute the letter to IT rags immediately they perceive the need and without having to trawl our opinion again. They can't substantially alter the meaning but they can distribute it effectively.
2) Lever. A letter from 500 developers is compelling in any public arena. It is far, far more powerful than cozy (?secret) relationships people might cultivate. Lets use the lever.
3) Focus. We all need to know what we are after here. SB is right, no use demanding aggressive Advertising. Inclusion rather than exclusion by default in MS "good news" is probably a good start.
4) Unity. I don't want to sound like an old-style unionist but this works only if we stay united. There are those who personally benefit from the status quo who will not want to see MS attention devolve away from them, so we can expect disruption from them. There are others like SB who have a very long, thoughtful history of thinking clearly and calling a spade a spade; his criticism we need to take seriously.

We can either do this or we can't. Unless we can establish the above principles this will die out as a shakespearian "Tale of Sound and Fury, signifying nothing" and none of us have time for that.

For a start, mda: if the above idea proves acceptable, would you lead? Fernando, how about you? Who else would lead?

Before anybody starts "ad hominam" stuff, I am not in a position to lead this though I will do my best in support. Nor will I benefit appreciably from this, my company is doing just fine, thank you.

Apologies for massive post, also for chaotic choice of location to put this. - John Ryan

This is heavy, guys. I'm deeply moved. I'll have more to say soon, but I need to take my "brain-cleansing" morning shower first. - ?mda

Thanks, John, very kind of you remembering my name, you touched me, but I'm no leader, I'm just a supporting actor in this big play (I hope to be a first class one). I just arrived at the wiki, and I don't deserve this honor. There are great people among us that are much more qualified than me and that already did a lot for our community, they can do much more for us than I can, so let's wait their time come. I like when you say "this works only if we stay united", it means a lot for me, because I have a deep respect for all of you, with no exception. My problem is that sometimes I write a bit fancy or funny for yours standards, but that's the way I use to express what I think and sometimes I get misunderstood, I don't deal well with the english words. Thanks again, John. I thank you all. -- Fernando Alvares

Sorry for the delay in replying to you, John, but I've been spread pretty thin and you covered a lot of ground. You've made a lot of good points, and I'm honored by your faith in me. A fuller reply will have to wait. For the moment, I guess I'm the de facto leader here, and my instinct tells me that we need to focus on building a large list of VFP supporters without delay. Let's see how many people are willing to take the small step of saying, "Yes, I would consider signing an open letter to Microsoft encouraging them to do a better job of promoting VFP." That is an important number to ascertain, and I'm not talking about hand-waving claims about the number of licenses or extrapolations. We're almost up to 300 now, and by some standards that might be considered impressive, but it's nowhere near satisfactory to me. The weight of everything we do will be proportional to the number of people who sign, so let's put all of this into perspective by determining that number. For those who do have the time to be actively involved, the most valuable way they can contribute is by making sure we've broadcasted our message about this poll to all of the regional VFP user groups and forums (see _ Will Microsoft Market VFP Announcements). Then we can talk at greater length about the interesting ways a group of united VFP supporters can use their collective influence most effectively. - ?mda

mda, I suggest that 300 developers is actually quite a few! I recommend you start now rather than waiting. Too much delay = loss of interest. So, get a letter together asap. Make it simple and without emotion, covering pure technical "corrections" of the usual slogan criticism.

I'm happy to help if you like. My email is . It may be wise to put the letter together as a smaller group before presenting it to avoid too much delay. A good letter should be approved FAST. Then you can wind up, ready to let loose the first time somebody expresses a slogan. - John Ryan

John, I agree that we must not delay, but I take issue with your choice as to the next step. Do you really believe that the VFP community is predominantly Spanish speaking? No, I think you have your sights set way too low on the count of names who are going to end up on this list, because we haven't yet begun to tap into the numerous regional VFP subgroups. We'll know that we've done that when we see evidence of some further announcements since the one I made to alt.os.multics almost a week ago. You should take note of the fact that the results we've seen so far are the product of a tiny handful of postings made almost 2 weeks ago. From a strategic point of view, I regard it as far more important that we attend to this top-level spreading of the word before we shift our attention to the details of what this hypothetical letter is going to say. For now, here's my first draft of the letter:
Dear Bill,

You're standing on my toe while I'm trying very hard to say something nice about you. See, and before you dismiss it also see

(signatures of 50 thousand customers)
That will give him something to ponder. The central item of interest to Microsoft (and the rest of the world) will be the size of the authenticatable list of customers, who are in total agreement about the existence of a serious problem and the need for Microsoft to address it. We've already articulated at least a couple of clear, specific steps that Microsoft could take to remedy the situation, and I'm sure we'll be able to come up with still more suggestions to add to the list. We don't need more options to establish that there exists at least one simple, sensible thing Microsoft should do without a moment's further delay.

I don't think we have enough names yet for Microsoft to take this as seriously as they should, but I have every confidence that we will have enough names, and it's going to be a lot more than 300. The main question is how long this is going to take. When all concerned understand that a speedy, amicable resolution of this matter is in everyone's best interest, there's going to be a massive surge in the growth of the list, and a rush by Microsoft to put the most favorable spin on what is happening here.

Consider the latest affront from Microsoft in just the past couple of days, with the official announcement of their intention to remove VFP 7.0 from Visual Studio.NET. I'm not going to debate the merits of this decision, but Microsoft sure didn't try very hard to put a positive spin on this piece of news, except perhaps within the VFP community itself. To the outside world, it looks as though they just put us on our own iceberg and gave it a shove. Talk about damning someone with faint praise, Microsoft condemns us with conspicuous omission. On the very same day, not only did I receive an issue of the detestable Microsoft Direct Access Newsletter, but they also threw in a bonus, the Microsoft Special Edition Newsletter. As usual, nary a mention of VFP in either of these. Do you really think we can ever hope to rebut FUD from the likes of Gartner Group as long as Microsoft keeps hamstringing our efforts to give credibility to the notion that Microsoft is serious about VFP?

John, you asked me to be your leader, and now as your fearless leader I'm telling you exactly what I think you should do next. Review the list of names on the list, and note that some of our distinguished supporters are prominent members of various local VFP user groups. Apply your eloquence in an appeal directly to some of these people to make sure that announcements about this poll are made to their own groups, and a record of all such announcements should be added to the _ Will Microsoft Market VFP Announcements page. I'm tired of seeing my week-old posting to alt.os.multics at the top of this page!

Second, let me suggest that you yourself do what I'm asking you to encourage others to do: post some announcements in your own neighborhood, leading by your own example. I presume you've got some local user groups over there in New Zealand and Down Under. Let's see the block of names that follows your postings. This would really help to mobilize others to do the same.

Finally, John, I gather that you are a successful business man with your own company. Have you suggested to all of you own VFP programmers that they put their names on the list, and if they know any other VFP programmers out there in the bush they should urge them to do the same? Once you've done these things, sit back and watch what happens for a while, content in the knowledge that you have made a major contribution to our cause with a minimum expenditure of effort. - ?mda

mda- Ouch! < g >

actually I am in the UK at present, not NZ, but will be making my monthly trip at the end of next week... of course I'll get my chaps to sign.

NZ is quite a small country and it is *very* MS oriented. There are only a few bastions of VFP left- one is Cornerstone Software where Lisa Slater- and Colin Nicholls used to hang out, but they emigrated. The local user group was set up by me but collapsed years ago when the single person who refused to join the group of the hundreds who expressed interest, was then appointed by MS as their NZ FP support provider!

In the UK there are some strong groups but I'm out of touch. I recommend Paul Maskens and I'll try to call him to get this page noticed. - John Ryan

Sorry, I guess I came on a bit strong, but I'm glad you took it so well. I've been a bit frustrated by the difficulty of mobilizing people to take initiative on posting announcements to the numerous regional VFP subgroups, which I consider to be the most important first step. Maybe I'm being too impatient, but I fear that this task may be neglected because of a growing sentiment (judging from comments in UT) that we've already got enough names, and many are in a rush to move on to the writing of a succinct letter. I think it's fine for people to start getting involved in distilling the points to be made and drafting an open letter to MS, but it would be a mistake to neglect the task of assembling the largest possible group of supporters who are agreed on the simple premise of this poll: that Microsoft's marketing and promotion of VFP is unsatisfactory and we want to do something about it. It will take time and effort from many supporters to propagate this message, and I appreciate very much your willingness to help as you proposed. - ?mda

mda- successful campaigns do not begin with all the support they will ever get, it snowballs. There are lots of people out there who will sign once they see there is a real letter and a determined group acting in their interest. IMHO: get on with it! - John Ryan

See Also:

Open Letter Draft Guidelines
Open Letter This Could Be AWaste Of Time
Open Letter Stuff Thats Probably Too Far Out There To Pursue

Open Letter Problem Statement Section
Open Letter Factors To Consider Section
Open Letter Options Section
Open Letter Recommendations Section
Open Letter Implementation Section
Category Open Letter To Microsoft Category VFP Marketing
( Topic last updated: 2012.07.30 01:36:02 PM )