December 5, 2017 // 11:29 a.m.
The developer of popular Windows shell replacement Classic Shell, Ivo Beltchev, has announced he is abandoning development of the program - but is releasing the source code under the permissive MIT Licence for anyone to pick up.
Launched in 2009, Ivo Beltchev's Classic Shell was designed for those who found the new user interface of Windows Vista and above strange and unsettling. Available, at the time of its demise, as separate components - Classic Start Menu, Classic Explorer, and Classic Internet Explorer - the Classic Shell suite aimed to replicate the look and feel of the older Windows 2000 and Windows XP user interface. Following Microsoft's touch-heavy overhaul to the operating system in Windows 8 the tool became extremely popular, but Beltchev has found it impossible to maintain - with the result that he is removing himself from its development.
'After months of deliberation, I have decided to stop the development of Classic Shell. It was a great adventure for me that lasted eight fun and exciting years,' Beltchev announced in a forum post. 'It started back in 2009 as a simple weekend project and over time grew to be a hugely popular software brand with many millions of downloads. It was in large part due to all of you, the active Classic Shell community, that reported issues, suggested features, provided translations, developed new skins and participated in forum discussions. My thanks go to you for your continued support and encouragement. And of course, special thanks to Gaurav Kale, who stuck with me from the early days to the end. His passion for all things Windows was instrumental to the Classic Shell success.
'There were few factors that led to my decision. Lack of free time. I have other hobbies that demand my time, some related to software and some not. It requires a lot of effort to add new major features to Classic Shell and keep it relevant. Even keeping it running on newer version of Windows is a lot of work. That leads me to point #2: Windows 10 is being updated way too frequently (twice a year) and each new version changes something that breaks Classic Shell. And three, each new version of Windows moves further away from the classic Win32 programming model, which allowed room for a lot of tinkering. The new ways things are done make it very difficult to achieve the same customisations.'
While Beltchev himself won't be developing the software any more, Classic Shell isn't going away. Having previously closed the source code Beltchev is now opening it up once again under the permissive MIT Licence, with a full copy of the source code available on the page's SourceForge page as well as forked onto collaborative coding site GitHub. The official binary downloads will remain on file-sharing service MediaFire for six months, Beltchev has confirmed, while the forum will run through to the end of 2018.