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Redgate should turn over .Net Reflector back to open source

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jeremy.parsons



Joined: 03 Feb 2011
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Thu Feb 03, 2011 2:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gah, sometimes I wish we had some corporate smoothies to do this for us.

OK, so I missed "you broke your promise."

That's not true. Yes, I've read the posts from the time too. There really isn't anything there that's a promise that Reflector was going to be free forever. But yes, we did totally mean it to work out that way. We worked hard to make that viable. It just wasn't. So now we're asking people to pay $35 for Reflector.

For more on that, maybe watch the five minute interview on YouTube.
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Flamingo



Joined: 03 Feb 2011
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Thu Feb 03, 2011 2:34 pm    Post subject: TOAD Reply with quote

They should do what Quest did with TOAD. Have a free version http://www.toadworld.com/DOWNLOADS/Freeware/ToadforOracleFreeware/tabid/558/Default.aspx with cut down functionality.
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cagomez



Joined: 03 Feb 2011
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Thu Feb 03, 2011 3:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Looking back at the simple-talk blog post where this was all discussed, the following statement was made by James Moore:

"The first thing we are doing is continuing to offer the software to the community for free downloading."

I guess a lot of commercial software can be downloaded for free, but not used after some kind of time bomb or need for a product key.

This was spotted by an alert commenter, who wrote:

"I notice that Red Gate '... will continue to offer the software to the community for free downloading'. I have seen that cleaver [sic] tease before. How about continued use for free? What about a basic version for free and a 'Pro' or 'Enterprise' version?"

Some who had a profile name of James (I guess supposed to be James Moore, but who knows since the profile is incomplete) says:
"@webooth
As stated in the introduction we will continue to provide a free version of Reflector."

and later:

"I understand that people will be sceptical of our motives and are concerned about the future of a great tool. I hope that we can win over those who are sceptical, through our actions not words, that we can be as good custodians of Reflector as we have been of SQLServerCentral.com."

Oh well, you failed to win us over with actions.

Continuing to improve Reflector is fine, and you have the right to be paid for those efforts, but the sneaky announcement doesn't carry much goodwill. At this point, the right thing to do is give away the current version for free and charge for your newer versions.

C# 5 is around the corner and eventually your free version wouldn't work in a lot of situations anymore.
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sosiosh



Joined: 02 Feb 2011
Posts: 9

PostPosted: Thu Feb 03, 2011 6:47 pm    Post subject: Word Games Reply with quote

Any company that is willing to play adolescent Clinton-esque word games about whether they "promised" to keep their product free ("for downloading") is not worth trusting. Period.

Either they truly intended to keep it free (as in beer) and went back on their word, or they intended from the start to deceive the developer community, and use this deceit to keep their potential competitors from jumping into the market. I give them the benefit of the doubt, and think that they intended to keep it free. However, that means that the current decision-makers have made a very poor decision that calls into question their credibility. You have to evaluate Red Gate based upon what they have done lately, and I think it is clear what they have done. Jet Brains didn't pull a stunt like this.

I no longer trust Red Gate to keep their plainly stated promises. I don't buy products from companies I don't trust. I feel bad, because in the end this will cost developers jobs. The people that were working on Reflector may have their jobs at risk. The executives who made the decision to act like kids and play with words will have to answer to their board of directors.

How much they want to charge for Reflector is completely irrelevant. Get off it. Those that matter don't care, and those that care don't matter.

They have lost my business, and had this not happened, I definitely would have bought the SQL Compare bundle for use in the software company I am launching next month. This is no exaggeration.

So sad.
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RichardD



Joined: 20 Aug 2008
Posts: 44

PostPosted: Thu Feb 03, 2011 7:11 pm    Post subject: Re: Reply with quote

jeremy.parsons wrote:
There really isn't anything there that's a promise that Reflector was going to be free forever.


It seems to me there are two groups of complaints here:

People who thought Reflector would be free forever, including new versions

You (RedGate) are consistently responding to this by trying to weasel out of your commitment, pretending that things you said didn't mean what we all thought they meant. Whilst I wouldn't say I'm happy that you're going to charge for v7, I can understand why you're doing it, and I'm not particularly surprised.


People who expect that existing versions of free tools won't be taken away from them

So far, your only response to this has been, "Lutz done it! It's not our fault! Buy v7 and it won't ever expire, honest guv!" You have completely ignored the huge difference between forcing users of a free program to upgrade to the latest free version, and forcing users of a free program to upgrade to a paid-for version. What you are doing here can only be compared to extortion.


Try to imagine the reaction if Microsoft announced that SQL Express wasn't making them enough money, so the next version would cost $10, and buried in the FAQ was a note that existing installations of any previous version of SQL Express would stop working and delete themselves if you didn't upgrade.

Or if that's too difficult, try this: a girl you had sex with at university tracks you down and announces that, as she's now a prostitute, you need to pay her for sleeping with you; if you don't, she'll claim you raped her.

That's how we all feel right now.


Quote:
RedGate Ransomware Ltd
Screwing our customers for money since 2011
"We cn haz munny nao?!"
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chocosmith



Joined: 03 Feb 2011
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Thu Feb 03, 2011 7:15 pm    Post subject: Re: Reply with quote

jeremy.parsons wrote:
We worked hard to make that viable. It just wasn't. So now we're asking people to pay $35 for Reflector.


Complete garbage. How possibly could "it not be viable"? You're saying that support and maintenance costs are too high internally to be able to continue to put bits up on a website that you host?

Fine - put it up on Codeplex then, that reduces any hosting cost.

Maintenance is too high? Same argument - don't dedicate resources to support updates.

The simple train of logic is not too hard to follow. Lutz for some reason did not open source Reflector. So you, or some other investment made a management decision to purchase the intellectual property, and obviously the thinking is that it would drive more traffic to Red Gate. Then the decision was made to invest development resources into it to add some features - like the Visual Studio integration. Now someone wants to see ROI.

The .NET community is becoming more and more an open source community and first class citizen.

This decision demonstrates that Red Gate has no interest in aligning themselves with the overall interests of the .NET community and has zero intention of becoming a first class open source citizen.

Obviously there is a myopic viewpoint somewhere in management, so let me spell this out for you in ROI terms. By first giving the appearance of interest in becoming a first class open source citizen, and now reversing that decision, the overall long term effect on ROI is that now you are branding your company as anti open source. This will drive the larger percentage of the .NET community away from Red Gate and have a far greater negative impact on both ROI and public perception than the original decision to acquire Reflector had.

If the original decision was too short-sighted to be a good one financially, the right direction is not to make another poor decision. Public perception of this nature literally could table the sales and interest of ANY .NET related product RedGate offers or is interested in.

I'd strongly suggest that you rethink this decision.
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mcnamaragio



Joined: 15 Feb 2009
Posts: 7

PostPosted: Thu Feb 03, 2011 9:15 pm    Post subject: Re: Reply with quote

Quote:
So far, your only response to this has been, "Lutz done it! It's not our fault! Buy v7 and it won't ever expire, honest guv!" You have completely ignored the huge difference between forcing users of a free program to upgrade to the latest free version, and forcing users of a free program to upgrade to a paid-for version. What you are doing here can only be compared to extortion.


I completely agree. The fact that Lutz put the time bomb does not mean that you can't or shouldn't remove it when you releasing a new paid version. You just do not want to remove it and are blaming Lutz for it. He was not selling the product but you changed that. Why don't you make another change and remove the time bomb?

Anyway, a new decompiler is being developed by Mono.Cecil author so I believe it will be enough for developers so that they will not have to by it from you.
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AdamsGuitar



Joined: 03 Feb 2011
Posts: 9

PostPosted: Thu Feb 03, 2011 10:06 pm    Post subject: Re: Reply with quote

RichardD wrote:
jeremy.parsons wrote:
There really isn't anything there that's a promise that Reflector was going to be free forever.


It seems to me there are two groups of complaints here:

People who thought Reflector would be free forever, including new versions

You (RedGate) are consistently responding to this by trying to weasel out of your commitment, pretending that things you said didn't mean what we all thought they meant. Whilst I wouldn't say I'm happy that you're going to charge for v7, I can understand why you're doing it, and I'm not particularly surprised.


People who expect that existing versions of free tools won't be taken away from them

So far, your only response to this has been, "Lutz done it! It's not our fault! Buy v7 and it won't ever expire, honest guv!" You have completely ignored the huge difference between forcing users of a free program to upgrade to the latest free version, and forcing users of a free program to upgrade to a paid-for version. What you are doing here can only be compared to extortion.


Try to imagine the reaction if Microsoft announced that SQL Express wasn't making them enough money, so the next version would cost $10, and buried in the FAQ was a note that existing installations of any previous version of SQL Express would stop working and delete themselves if you didn't upgrade.

Or if that's too difficult, try this: a girl you had sex with at university tracks you down and announces that, as she's now a prostitute, you need to pay her for sleeping with you; if you don't, she'll claim you raped her.

That's how we all feel right now.


Quote:
RedGate Ransomware Ltd
Screwing our customers for money since 2011
"We cn haz munny nao?!"


This has hit the nail on the head completely. "Promise" or not (what makes something a promise? The presence of the word "promise"?), the implication was that there would "continue to be" (with no qualification, if we're going to split hairs) a version of Reflector that was free, as it had always been in the past.

As with Richard, I can certainly see how future updates could be a pay-to-play deal, but (as has been expressed by many people and thought by many more) being passive about the time bomb in V6 and throwing up your hands and saying "It's always done that!" is pretty slimy. As if switching to the 6.5 branch, commenting out the time bomb, then publishing a new final build of 6.5 would require some sort of heroic effort. If you're going to try to force people to pay for the product (or abandon it, which doesn't get you any more money than if they continue to use the free version, but does get you a load of bad reputation), then at least be honest about it.
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Gigiwig



Joined: 03 Feb 2011
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Thu Feb 03, 2011 11:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi,

Quote:
There really isn't anything there that's a promise that Reflector was going to be free forever.


yes there was. It was an unconditional and unequivocal declaration that they "will continue to offer the tool for free to the community".
http://www.simple-talk.com/opinion/opinion-pieces/the-future-of-reflector-/ No if's or but's. No "we will try to" or anything like that.
That IS a promise.

I can understand why Lutz used the expiration mechanism (easier support). Even if it was annoying the tool was free. It isn't a bomb if it does no harm.
For redgate it is a way to extort money. You should make a last release of version 6 without a time bomb and hope to rescue what is left of your reputation.

The smart time would have been close to the release of a new framework version. Any one who needs to analyse something compiled with that would have returned from the free version and paid money voluntarily. Now you are seen as the bad guys and rightly so.

Hope you change your mind.
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wellilein



Joined: 04 Feb 2011
Posts: 6

PostPosted: Fri Feb 04, 2011 12:15 am    Post subject: Vote for open source Reply with quote

I vote for the open source idea. If Red Gate cannot come up for the cost, let SourceForge do it.
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KristoferA



Joined: 04 Feb 2011
Posts: 7
Location: Bangkok

PostPosted: Fri Feb 04, 2011 5:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Umm. Excuse my ignorance in this matter, but was Reflector ever open source? Correct me if I am wrong, I don't think so. I never came across the source code repository for Reflector. Free to download and run: yes. Open source: no.

And for those referring to Lutz statement in 2008: he has already charged his license fee for it. He sold it to Redgate, remember? He didn't do all of this for free, he just happened to charge Redgate instead of each individual user. It is just a different licensing model, but still he didn't give away his work/blood/sweat/tears etc for free.

After he sold Reflector, it is Redgate's product. They paid for it, they own it, they can do whatever they want with it. (That said without me knowing of course what the agreement(s) between Mr Roeder and Redgate are...)

I don't know any of the details of the deal, but I would imagine that Redgate has invested:
a) whatever they paid Lutz to take it over
b) the costs of keeping a development team dedicated to maintaining and evolving it
c) marketing costs
...etc... Isn't it fair that they can recover those investments?

Redgate is not a non-profit charity. They're a normal for-profit company, just like the ones most of you whiners work for. They need to pay their bills, employee salaries etc. Their employees don't work for free. Their suppliers don't supply electricity, network access, computers, etc for free. Do each and every one of you that are so upset over this work for free? Do you get free food in your local supermarket too? Free gasoline at your local gas station? Can you please tell me where that is so I can go there and live for free too?

So what if the freemium model didn't work out? They tried (for several years), and obviously not enough people bought the premium versions so they now need to charge a small fee for the more popular base version. Get over it.

JMHO
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dvnamis



Joined: 04 Feb 2011
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Fri Feb 04, 2011 6:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

First of all as some has pointed out, this project was never intended to be open-sourced by Mr Lutz or Red Gate.

Second, as a programmer and a contractor, I would expect my work to be paid.. in real money, not a pat in the back or a thank you card. Mr Lutz sold the IP to Red Gate, Red Gate is a business, and business runs on money which otherwise it would be called charity organization.
Releasing the product as open source is akin to giving away an investment, it does not make any business sense at all.

I reckon charging $35 is hardly a dent on most organization/individual wallets.

Having said that, IMHO, having a free "lite" version could be a good gesture from Red Gate, whether a feature stricken and/or ad-supported model.
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AndrewJacksonZA



Joined: 05 May 2010
Posts: 17
Location: Johannesburg, South Africa

PostPosted: Fri Feb 04, 2011 7:56 am    Post subject: Re: HUH? Reply with quote

gooch wrote:
Red-GatePlex.com?
I vote for RedGateForge.net Smile
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rikkus



Joined: 04 Feb 2011
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Fri Feb 04, 2011 11:23 am    Post subject: On honour Reply with quote

We license the .NET developer bundle, so of course we have Reflector as part of that package, but our relationship with tool providers requires some trust, so that we know we're not going to be screwed in the future.

As others have said, it's not the going-paid-for itself that's important, or the price, it's the lack of principle. At the time Red Gate took over, I reassured other developers who were worried about just this occurring, saying that Red Gate were trustworthy and wouldn't do such a thing. How foolish of me.

I suggest that the only way for Red Gate to mitigate the harm to their reputation will be to make very visible apologies and declarations that this latest announcement was a mistake and open source version 6.

Why open source? The promise was to continue offering a free version for the community. As Red Gate no longer see it as viable to do gratis community work (and this is perfectly fine) the only way they can ensure that a free version is perpetually available is to make it open source. If a closed version of 6, without expiry, is the last free release, then when it stops working due to changes in Windows/.NET, it stops working and the promise is again broken.

While we like Performance Profiler and Memory Profiler, and until now have recommended them, next time we're up for renewal, we'll be looking into competing products. This is not some fit of pique: We simply have to be pragmatic and ensure that our tool support is reliable.
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scottt732



Joined: 23 Jan 2009
Posts: 6
Location: New Brunswick, NJ

PostPosted: Fri Feb 04, 2011 4:20 pm    Post subject: Re: Redgate should turn over .Net Reflector back to open source Reply with quote

sergiopereira wrote:
Right now I'm hoping MS wakes up to the importance of Reflector in .NET and realizes they have a severe gap in the SDK without Reflector. I hope they either acquire this software and include in the SDK or create something similar.


If you think this capability would be more affordable under MS, please keep in mind that IntelliTrace, one of the cooler features of VS2010, is only available in the $11,899 Ultimate SKU. That's more than double the premium price, and almost 15x the professional price. I definitely don't see them buying Reflector and giving it away for free in the SDK.

-Scott
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