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Discontinued Programs - Legal Issues

  1. Oct 20, 2007 #1
    Hi ...

    I learnt to program in VB6 (the last version before .NET came out) and am going to use VB to programme a few apps for a project of mine. Now, after doing some research, Microsoft have discontinued producing VB and I've heard that Microsoft are going to stop support for VB in the near future ..

    NOW ...

    How legal is it for me to download VB from a website that offers the full version for free ... In the past, you would have had to pay a certain price for it but now, because it has been discontinued and Microsoft have basically stopped support, is it "legal" for me to download and install it?

  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 20, 2007 #2
    generally, no. Just because MS doesn't sell or support it anymore doesn't mean they still don't retain the copyright for it. Unless they choose to offer it as a free download or relicense it as free software, downloading it from a third party would still be considered software piracy.
  4. Oct 20, 2007 #3


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    It's illegal. It was released in 1998, so it will become legal to download (and even modify!) on January 1, 2094 under the following assumptions:
    * Microsoft holds no software patents at that time which would encumber the use of VB6 (a fairly good assumption, since patents expire in about 20 years and even stacked patents and wrongly-issued ones shouldn't extend too far past that)
    * The copyright duration is not extended in the next 87 years (a very bad assumption; it's been extended several times in the last two decades)
  5. Oct 21, 2007 #4


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    It's possible that Microsoft might make it available for free in the future.
    Visual VB.NET 2005 is free though, wouldn't you rather use that one instead? You should be able to pickup VB.NET coming from a VB6 background.
  6. Nov 9, 2007 #5
    Thanks for clearning that up. Well, yes, the .NET version is a good option but the syntax etc. is different ie. takes time to learn, which I don't have :/ So yeah, old school Visual Basic will have to do ..

    Anyway, the whole dilemna came up with exactly what -Job- said ... VB.net is FREE yet VB6 is not even though you can't buy it anywhere ... so basically, the assumption is that VB6, being part of the free VB family, would be free ... Anyway, I did solve my apparent "moral dilemna" ... I got hold of an old Visual Basic textbook which comes with a free Student Edition! It does what I need :/ lol
  7. Nov 12, 2007 #6
    I don't think the student edition allows you to compile, which is very important if you plan on making your code an exe. If VB.Net is free, I would scarf on it if I were you. You may have to learn some new syntax, but in the long run it will pay off with new features, more compatability with newer systems, and support. Another thing is perhaps that newer systems may not work with older DLL's.
  8. Nov 15, 2007 #7
    Actually you can use the almost the exact same syntax in VB.Net as you did in VB6. Much of the VB6 neato stuff is still there as well. Things like the constants (vbCrLF) and built in methods (like IsDate(var)).

    What has changed dramatically is the all the other stuff you can use like form controls and the like. The .Net framework has completly replaced that.
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