Orphaned technology is a descriptive term for computer products, programs, and platforms that have been abandoned by their original developers. Orphaned technology refers to software, such as abandonware and antique software, but also to computer hardware and practices. In computer software standards and documentation, deprecation is the gradual phasing-out of a software or programming language feature, while orphaning usually connotes a sudden discontinuation, usually for business-related reasons, of a product with an active user base.
For users of technologies that have been withdrawn from the market, there is a choice between maintaining their software support environments in some form of emulation, or switching to other supported products, possibly losing capabilities unique to their original solution.
Some well-known examples of orphaned technology include:
User groups often exist for specific orphaned technologies, such as The Hong Kong Newton User Group, Symbolics Lisp [Machines] Users' Group (now known as the Association of Lisp Users), and Newton Reference. The Save Sibelius group sprang into existence because Sibelius (software) users feared the application would be orphaned after its owners Avid Tech fired most of the development team, who were thereafter hired by Steinberg to develop the competing product, Dorico.
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