Redgate should turn over .Net Reflector back to open source

Moderators: Luke Jefferson, Greg.Tillman, Clive Tong

Re: HUH?

Postby koo9 » Wed Feb 02, 2011 7:25 pm

gooch wrote:I am a long time customer, evangelist and friend of Red-Gate products, services and support. This caught me by total surprise. Well, not really. I was more disappointed when Lutz turned reflector over to Red-Gate. I felt at the time there could only be one motivation for this, not to fault Red-Gate, but they are a commercial product company. If it is true what the CEO says, then please turn it over to the community. It does not have to be CodePlex, this could be a new opportunity for Red-Gate to actually engage its user-customer base even more. Why not create the Red-Gate Open Source Community. You manage the software, releases etc., but let the Red-Gate Community develop and maintain it? Red-GatePlex.com? Let the community create extension and add-ins for Reflector that use Red-Gates tools. I see a bigger value in that then to try and sell a product for $39.00. The price is not really the issue for me and most, it is the principal of it all. I was using a tool Called Salamander ($2500.00) when Lutz release Reflector and have had it as a staple in my toolkit since. I have had nothing but praise for Red-Gate since I was introduced to them over 7 years ago…But this is not a good move…Neil, Can you hear me? Is this thing on? :(


I vote for RGP.com if it's not taken. on the side note, it might cost red-gate more to support the opensource comminity. this might not be feasible. I hope this move is a publicity stun but doesn't look like one.
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Postby rhyatt » Wed Feb 02, 2011 9:58 pm

Great feedback , just in one day so far! I'm glad their email made as deep an impression on others as it did on myself.

I did have another thought I would like to add to the discussion - Redgate obviously has some serious skills in .net development and sql server mechanics, as evidenced by their work integrating their tools into the SQL Server 2008 Management Studio ( a Visual Studio 2008 shell essentially), so I really believe that Redgate has a lot that they could contribute to the future of .NET Reflector. I just don't like a free tool becoming a pay-to-play tool without sufficiently understood and accepted justification from the user base when so many depend on it daily.

If Redgate can contribute significantly to the development of the tool, then why not allow the user community to have a stake and manage it as an open source development effort with the community, with Redgate contributing from some revenue source (support, bundling, ads, etc) that would keep it free? And get the free labor in return?

I'm just a customer for the SQL tools myself, and really get more out of day's work using the SQL toolbelt than I would without it, so it saddens me that Redgate can't figure out a better way to handle this than directly monetizing the .NET Reflector.
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Postby Anteros311 » Wed Feb 02, 2011 10:41 pm

Could you imagine if Microsoft made Notepad $35? I know the analogy isn't perfect because there are not continuous improvements being made to Notepad and you already paid a lot more for the Windows license, and there are several great alternatives to Notepad but still, that is how I feel right now. Something that has been commoditized and worked into my daily job as a software engineer is now all the sudden not free. I'm sure the RedGate folk are sitting back there are talking about how this will just blow over after a few days and everyone will get on with their life and they are probably right but this just makes me angry. Being a somewhat rational person, I'm sure when I'm doing evaluations for new tools, I will pick the best tools out there for the price and this may still include RedGate but you better believe that if there is a competitor with a similar product at a similar price point, I'm going to go with the competitor (JetBrains, I'm looking at you).

And like many others have mentioned, the solution is just to continue to give away v6 for free (or open source, or ad support, or anything but what you guys are doing). If you do that, I'm totally happy. I don't need or want updates. If you don't do this, I'll patiently struggle through with ildasm until a competitor comes along (free or not) and then jump ship.

Now where it that spec for IL? Time to start reading up.
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Postby CleverHuman » Thu Feb 03, 2011 12:58 am

Not to point out the blatantly obvious, but Reflector is *already* open sourced, and always has been. You can easily view the source of Reflector using... Reflector.
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Re:

Postby JAssange » Thu Feb 03, 2011 1:01 am

CleverHuman wrote:Not to point out the blatantly obvious, but Reflector is *already* open sourced, and always has been. You can easily view the source of Reflector using... Reflector.

RedGate has super-obfuscated Reflector, put in checks to stop it from running with any modifications and names all the variables with unicode characters that won't show up to make it completely impossible to make any attempt at looking at their code.
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Re:

Postby rhyatt » Thu Feb 03, 2011 1:01 am

CleverHuman wrote:Not to point out the blatantly obvious, but Reflector is *already* open sourced, and always has been. You can easily view the source of Reflector using... Reflector.


LOL - great point!
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Re:

Postby JAssange » Thu Feb 03, 2011 1:02 am

rhyatt wrote:
CleverHuman wrote:Not to point out the blatantly obvious, but Reflector is *already* open sourced, and always has been. You can easily view the source of Reflector using... Reflector.


LOL - great point!

See my post above - it's useless to open Reflector in Reflector.
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Re:

Postby CleverHuman » Thu Feb 03, 2011 1:20 am

JAssange wrote:
CleverHuman wrote:Not to point out the blatantly obvious, but Reflector is *already* open sourced, and always has been. You can easily view the source of Reflector using... Reflector.

RedGate has super-obfuscated Reflector, put in checks to stop it from running with any modifications and names all the variables with unicode characters that won't show up to make it completely impossible to make any attempt at looking at their code.


Ah, so they have. (before I posted, I simply made sure it opened, I didn't check the names.)

I bet there will be people motivated enough to rename all that. Though it is more time than I'd want to take. Coming up with decent variable names for all that would be a PITA.
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Postby yfisaqt » Thu Feb 03, 2011 1:40 am

With a little bit of help from http://ccimetadata.codeplex.com/ extracting Reflector code can happen. It won't be easy, but definitely possible to rename and extract compilable code.
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Re: Redgate should turn over .Net Reflector back to open source

Postby thensley » Thu Feb 03, 2011 5:04 am

rhyatt wrote:If Redgate can't support it as a free tool, they should turn it back over to the open source community who can successfully do it.


Or give it to the Sysinternals team (now at Microsoft). They seem to be able to support very cool tools and offer them for free.
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Bad news

Postby AK » Thu Feb 03, 2011 11:17 am

"We also think we can expose a lot more people to Reflector, which will lead to much more widespread use and greater productivity for .NET developers."

I don't think that making Reflector paid tool will make it more widespread use. To the contrary, it'll become less accessible and less used. RedGate from a company that is perceived as supporting developers community will become just another company that sells software.

It makes perfectly good sense to have products paid and unpaid in the product portfolio. While the other products make profit, free product gets company name recognised.

Plus you take away Reflector from all people that program now for free on their home PCs. They will not buy Reflector 7. And do you think all that plugins for your product are being developed because companies pay for developing them?

And I love RedGate PR: "V6 will continue working untill end of May 2011". You are actually saying that V6 will stop working end of May and that all developers will have to buy a commercial product after that, because of the time-bomb implementet in V6.

I had a very good opinion about Red-Gate until today.

I know it's fair to get money for hard work, you're doing a good work RedGate, but if want to do something extra for the community, do continue with free version of Reflector.
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Aggravating

Postby redgatesucks2 » Thu Feb 03, 2011 12:24 pm

I don't have a strong objection to Red Gate charging $35 for the next version. You're a commercial company, you need to make money, yadda, yadda, yadda.

It's the timebomb on the existing version that makes me want to come puke my guts out in your lobby.

That blows.

You seriously need to reconsider keeping your word for all versions of Reflector previously released for free. You don't have to keep supporting the old version, but forcing everyone (who believed your original statements about keeping a free version of Reflector) to stop using it or pay $35 is just despicable.
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Redgate is breaking their promise

Postby ahove » Thu Feb 03, 2011 1:24 pm

It seems redgate has forgotten what they promised:

http://www.simple-talk.com/opinion/opin ... eflector-/
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Postby jeremy.parsons » Thu Feb 03, 2011 1:55 pm

Thanks for this.

This discussion is under the heading "Red Gate should turn .NET Reflector back to open source." So I'd better try and respond to that first off.

(This is in the FAQs - please do look these over.)

.NET Reflector wasn't an open source product before we acquired it, and it isn't one now. When it became obvious that things couldn't just carry on as they were, we did look at that as an option. But it really didn't make sense for us.

The other thing that's come out a couple of times is the time-bomb question. Reflector v7 is the first version to be coming out with no time bomb.

I Googled Reflector Time Bomb for the period up to July 2008, and you'll find this has been a pretty constant complaint forever. Forever ends in March. No more time bomb.
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Re:

Postby AvonWyss » Thu Feb 03, 2011 2:06 pm

jeremy.parsons wrote:I Googled Reflector Time Bomb for the period up to July 2008, and you'll find this has been a pretty constant complaint forever. Forever ends in March. No more time bomb.

That's a very weak argument. Just because Lutz did implement a forced update and people didn't like it there is no reason for RedGate not removing it on the first release unter the new ownership. And the other thing is that the license agreement doesn't cover the timebomb either, which is another reason why what you are doing is probably not even legal. Whether this timebomb has been part of the application forever doesn't really matter in that regard.
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