Some reasonable and thoughtful questions about charging

Some reasonable and thoughtful questions about charging

Postby nickdurcholz » Wed Mar 23, 2011 8:54 pm

I have many reservations about paying for reflector, and I'd like to pose some reasonable and thoughtful questions that hopefully someone at redgate can answer for me and many of my colleagues.

First off, I've got no issues with a company moving one of its products from a freemium to commercial offering. I'm very happy to pay for software and be paid for the software I create. However, there seems to be a feeling out there that Red Gate came to aquire this product and then move it to a commercial offering in a very dishonest manner.

When the program was mantained by Lutz Roeder its source was available, but he stopped short of a FOSS style license. That stopped when it was turned over to Red Gate and it was announced by both parties that a free version would remain available. Two years and suddenly a condition of the deal that was implied in public communications by both Lutz Roeder and Red Gate is seemingly unilaterally and suddenly overturned.

Among developers there is a perception that Red Gate came about this IP in a pretty sweet deal by making promises they had no intention of keeping. To top it off the software (as I understand it) originated through a FOSS type community where individuals contributed their hard work.

Personally, I'd rather pay $200 for a Resharper license and use the buggy decompiler that is included in the alpha of their next major version than pay $35 for a tool that better suits my needs if that $35 benefits a company that I just described.

However, there is very little relevant information about what really happened when Lutz handed over the reflector IP. The devil is in the details and Red Gate could win back a large part of the .NET community by answering the following questions. In the absence of answers, people will make assumptions and right now those assumptions are alieniating a large number of potential customers.

Did you pay for the rights to Reflector or were they turned over based on an assumption of continuation of the Community Model?

Does version 7 of reflector include any plug-ins that are derived from third party plug-ins (e.g. Denis Bauer's disassembler add-in)? If so, which ones?

Were the authors of those plug-ins consulted about the decision to sell their work?

Are the reports of existing versions self-deleting on update true?

I hope these few questions demonstrate the type of information that a lot of people would like to know -- based on all available sources of information which include the Simon Galbraith YouTube interview, press releases, and blog posts most people have a certain impression of what went on, but I'm not sure if that impression actually matches up with reality.

It seems that RedGate is taking advantage of overly permissive licenses chosen by plug-in authors who thought they were contributing to a community. It appears that RedGate is selling other's work that they came to own through deceptive means. These impressions are reinforced by the decision to kill existing installations.

I hope this penultimate post hasn't been too antagonistic because my intention here is to ask RedGate some thoughtful questions like a reasonable person as opposed to just freaking out. Like I said, there is a lot of rumor and assumptions flying around out there and many of us would welcome some clarification on exactly what is included in version 7, what the original terms of the deal were, and who was involved.

Potential customers are all developers in the Microsoft world where most tools are commercial offerings and $35 is a reasonable price for what we would get. However if the situation is as bad as what people are saying, then I wouldn't pay 35 cents for it.
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