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robsno Page Icon Posted 2005-07-22 4:50 PM
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In the Psion world some companies who produced Psion software but no longer support the platform have released their products as unsupported abandonware for free download. Do you know if any Software for the HP 680/690 is now Abandonware and if so what? These machines stopped production before the 5mx and Revo so in theory there must be some. For example Tom Tom (ex Palmtop) produced Route Planner Millennium, an excellent GPS enabled Route Planner for the 690/680 and Psion but have not supported handheld CE in the 4 versions they have produced since, and stopped updating the Millennium version 3 years ago. Now that would be a great bit of Abandonware together with a UK Map. Ah well dream on.
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wallythacker Page Icon Posted 2005-07-22 9:11 PM
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This has been an oft-discussed topic. All the past effort of talented programmers is going to waste. Many people buy their hpc cheap and have no plans to invest any sums of money for software into a diminshing device.

With some developers it may be sour grapes, others have faded from view, some still want premium prices for antiquated products, all various reasons why the programs have never been freely released.

Applause is due to the few thoughtful developers who choose the free unsupported route when they realize there are not enough sales to warrant continuous development of the code.

I publicly and humbly thank those developers.

To those developers that still charge high prices for original code, or refuse to release your abandoned hpc goods, I have a long memory and will choose to buy my other software from anyone but you.
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Snappy! Page Icon Posted 2005-07-22 9:47 PM
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My sentiments flow together with y'all ... unfortunately, those companies that are still charging $$, do so because they are still in business. ... most of them had products for both PPCs and HPCs, only to gradually drop support or release new versions for HPC devices.

Unfortunately, this is a trend that will not turn around, since a new incarnation of HPC devices, if ever, will most likely be on CE 5.0 or later and these apps will most likely not run on existing devices, except maybe the latest ones on SA1100/XScale chips.

For whatever reason, these developers would rather pull the plug for these software than releasing them as Abandonware. In some cases, they have no choice as they may not own the whole rights to the software, in some cases, they just plain decide not to.

Then there are those cases where these firms get bought by some big boys and the big boys just write off the old software titles as a number and "archive" them into some basement (or tape backup! ) and after a few years, send them for destruction.
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CybaCowboy
CybaCowboy Page Icon Posted 2005-07-22 10:24 PM
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I don't understand why so many companies won't sell me their archived H/PC though; I'm more than happy to purchase discontinued H/PC software, even if it's at its original price (although in all fairness, I think if the product is no longer supported or updated, it should be reduced in price at least a little bit)...

What annoys me is when a company refuses to sell their old or archived software.
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CybaCowboy
CybaCowboy Page Icon Posted 2005-07-22 10:32 PM
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For example, the (new) company that now owns "Primer PDF" won't sell their product, the ONLY PDF-viewing solution for some platforms, to CONSUMERS; Primer PDF is now ONLY sold directly to OEMs (original equipment manufacturers; the companies that make the devices)!

This is actually a really good example 'cause Primer PDF is/was pretty expensive- around $US70!

Now that's a LOT of money the company is missing out on 'cause they're too stubborn...
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C:Amie Page Icon Posted 2005-07-23 7:25 AM
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Cyba,

It isn't about stubbornness, it's about profit margins and overheads.

Consumer sales equates to having to provide support, be public face and accountable to the end user. Where as OEM sales you're only dealing with a hardware manufacturer who tells you what they want it for, any changes that need to be made and having delivered the license agreement will only hassle you from time to time if an application bug crops up.
Why write FAQ's, KB's, a support section, have someone sitting at email spending their day replying to the inexorable mundane stream of questions that they get from end users.

Ansyr's ingenuity on this has basically been to change the company responsible for the application. Washing their hands at end users.
By changing the company to a different one, and by not contracting any support demands, you loose all obligations to an existing customer base. The now group now has limited liability on the subject, even if Ansyr Primer some how burns your house down. They can simply say "Yes we have a product called Primer 3.2, but it's Global Graphics Primer 3.2, get over it" when challenged by consumers.

OEM sales are not something to be snubbed at, and for the companies it equates to viability. There are several, very large HPC developers who would never have released some of, or all of their particular products if it wasn't for OEM arrangements. These same companies are concerned deeply at having to spend time and resources on h/pc ports only to panic about it because they're not breaking even on it... hence the high cost often seen with such things (for reference, I'm not condoning it).

When it comes to releasing abandonware - but maintaining copyright. Let's be honest, not all developers are even going to entertain the idea of open sourcing their code, let alone actually do it. Sometimes it isn't even practical as they themselves have licensed commercial controls for use in the application, meaning they plain can't do it.
What we need is a software methodology in the IT industry where by a scheme exists, with the adoption rates and exposure of GPL. Which effectively acts as a legal framework for these companies to release a final version of a program, with no strings or liability attached for developer involvement and above all no support requirement. They can then drop the program into a suspended, (reduced price) payware state and get a royalty cheque once every 6 months.

Again being realistic, you (we) cannot expect these developers to want to freeware release every application. So it must come down to a framework based on precedence that will encourage them to do this and not feel like it'll come back to bite them in the future.
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Snappy! Page Icon Posted 2005-07-23 9:48 AM
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And may I add that given the ludriculous judicial system in US, where anyone can get sued for any reason, a commercial entity such as a small-medium software cannot afford the risk of getting itself into a legal tassle where some state jury/judge may or could at its whimp decides that abandonware implies certain liabilities.

Now, given the status of Abandonware, chances of companies getting into sh*t is very low. But the fact that they might even have to entertain any such possibilities, resulting possibly in lost employee time etc for something they give free, makes the outlook of doing so very bleak.

The matter is different when a company is folding. I am not too sure of its implications, but in such cases, I think there is little or zero liabilities, since there is no entity that can be sued.

So at the end of the day, we have to realise that those sue-happy folks are really shooting themselves in the foot, and blasting everyone else's toe in the process!
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C:Amie Page Icon Posted 2005-07-24 7:09 AM
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As with most things, it's always the foolish few who spoil it for the honourable many.

I was having a think, and there are also copyright issues. In order to maintain copyright for something you have to actively prove that you're controlling it.

If it can be proven that you have intentionally lapsed on enforcing your copyright - turning a blind eye as it were - then depending on the court you may well find yourself stripped of the indemnity and even the rights.

To set something like a GPL for abandonware up, we really would need to seek legal council.
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robsno Page Icon Posted 2005-07-24 8:51 AM
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I must add some companies are missing out on a trick as when the HPC owner upgrades they are more likely to buy the current product for their new machine if they are used to it from an older version. I tend to agree these things are rare and only happen in a perfect world. Shame though.
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C:Amie Page Icon Posted 2005-07-24 9:32 AM
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These things can be made to happen, but only if we the consumer show support, commitment, dedication and encouragement towards seeing it come to fruition.

Do we have any lawyers around here, or anyone in a good position to make recommendations on how we could encourage developers to follow through on this?
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Snappy! Page Icon Posted 2005-07-24 9:38 AM
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robsno - 2005-07-24 6:51 AM

I must add some companies are missing out on a trick as when the HPC owner upgrades they are more likely to buy the current product for their new machine if they are used to it from an older version. I tend to agree these things are rare and only happen in a perfect world. Shame though.


Guess not so many ppl have the foresight ... on this note, I must give credit to MS. As much as we can complain about Windows, its standardized User Interface does gives a certain level of comfort in transition to newer versions of the software.

Matter of fact, even its bugs/errors were consistent, hence the infamous BSOD (BlueScreenOfDeath). So at least users were used to their products, with or without the errors.

And to that end, I must say the pirates were doing MS a favour at some point. Otherwise I cannot see how so many ppl could have started using MS products. Granted, corporate deals were equally important here ... and also that MS had to reach a critical mass before pirates were interested in starting distribution channels for it.
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