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Microsoft Vs. TestDriven.NET

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the stop-trying-to-help dept.

Microsoft 418

Erebus writes "Jamie Cansdale released a free addin to Visual Studio back in 2004 to help developers build unit tests. His only problem was, he enable his addin for all versions of VS - including the Express addition which isn't suppose to support addins. After over a year of trying to talk with Microsoft and understand how and why he was in violation of their license agreement, during which they would never explain specifically which clause in the license was being violated, they sent the lawyers after him and pulled his MVP status. To top it all off, Jamie is actually a Java developer by day — his addin was originally developed just as a hobby project. A full account is available on his blog, including all email correspondence he had with Microsoft and the now 3 letters received from Microsoft lawyers. The lead product manager for Visual Studio Express has responded to Jamie's posts."

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418 comments

english (3, Funny)

tute666 (688551) | more than 6 years ago | (#19353143)

And once again... in proper english

Re:english (5, Funny)

DohnJoe (900898) | more than 6 years ago | (#19353243)

yes, normally this would be flamebait, but this time the English is really too crappy.

Clearly it was not write by someone who's first language is not english,

Re:english (0, Flamebait)

monk.e.boy (1077985) | more than 6 years ago | (#19353247)

the, the borg. MAN! they. YES they are everywhere like monkeys in a tree the shit on your head from a branch. ESPECIALLY if you are open source java developer IN YOUR OWN time MAN! THE MAN will take a dump on you just like a monkey in a tree. AGAINST you will, and even if you have plug into the M$ YES M$$ visual studio (which as we all know is monkey droppings) and WITH JAVA on you will get sued to buggery and back. Even in your own time as a hobby. Damn you m$. THE BORG will take a dump, from a visual studio FOR FREE (as in freedom) open source developers BEWARE don't try to cuddle BILL GATES because he will fling his on EXCREMENT in yo' face. Mutha.

Hope that helps.

monk.e.boy

Re:english (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19353431)

Come on. The irony of this is at very high levels. M$ touts Visual studio express as the "free" windows IDE/compiler in response to many OSS competitors. Then someone develops something for it and M$ starts pitching a livid bitch fit. This is M$ paying lip service to customers, saying "look here, we're free too!" then having it bite them in the ass, because the value of M$'s software is enforced by an untested (ie legally debatable) custom shrink wrap copyright.

Use the correct phrase please (2, Insightful)

spun (1352) | more than 6 years ago | (#19353525)

I think the correct phrase here is, "English, motherfucker. Do you speak it?"

Re:english (2, Funny)

Himring (646324) | more than 6 years ago | (#19353879)

he enable his addin for all versions of VS.... they would never explain specifically which clause in the license was being violate....

ah ... my hed asplode.

why not? (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19353201)

including the Express addition which isn't suppose to support addins.
Why wouldn't the Express addition support addins? It's right there in the name of the product!

Re:why not? (5, Insightful)

smitty_one_each (243267) | more than 6 years ago | (#19353345)

From the project manager posting:

extends the Visual Studio Express Editions which is a direct violation of both the EULA and "ethos" of the Express product line.
Read "ethos" as "business case". MS is using http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Market_segmentation [wikipedia.org]. The Express products are a http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gateway_drug [wikipedia.org] to piss you off enough to pony up enough money for the real deal.
Test Driven Development is not, itself, a bad thing, but if Too Many People glommed onto the underlying technology, and a culture of freedom of expression broke out, well...let us leave the unspeakable unspoken.
The whole thing is business, pure and simple. If you leave off the 'good' and 'evil' labels, the situation is easier to process.
Of course, maybe it's all a stealth advertising campaign for http://www.mingw.org/ [mingw.org]. Who can say?

Re:why not? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19353635)

Whoosh!

Re:why not? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19354263)

OK, so I missed the s/edition/addition/.
First day, new eyes. ;)

Re:why not? (4, Insightful)

Compholio (770966) | more than 6 years ago | (#19353757)

Of course, maybe it's all a stealth advertising campaign for http://www.mingw.org/ [mingw.org].
I say he should make his add-in for Eclipse - especially since he's a Java programmer - and suggest people that like his add-in to move to that IDE instead.

why not?-Selling OSS services. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19353929)

"Read "ethos" as "business case". MS is using http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Market_segmentation [wikipedia.org] [wikipedia.org]. The Express products are a http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gateway_drug [wikipedia.org] [wikipedia.org] to piss you off enough to pony up enough money for the real deal."

Funny you would make that argument. OSS does the same thing with it's "issues" which one hopes "pisses you off" enough to hire some geek to fix (read: sell you services instead of software).

"Test Driven Development is not, itself, a bad thing, but if Too Many People glommed onto the underlying technology, and a culture of freedom of expression broke out, well...let us leave the unspeakable unspoken."

It's a damn IDE! Nothing more, nothing less.

Re:why not? (1, Insightful)

secret_squirrel_99 (530958) | more than 6 years ago | (#19354345)

The Express products are a http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gateway_drug [wikipedia.org] [wikipedia.org] to piss you off enough to pony up enough money for the real deal.

Are they? I'd argue that they're trying to entice people to buy pricy development tools. Express is targeted at students and casual users. These are the same users that would either use OSS or nothing at all. By getting them hooked using VS, which by the way is an outstanding IDE, microsoft not withstanding, they're building a market. As these people develop, and as their skills increase, and their needs increase, at least some of them will buy full fledged copies of the product. Its the basic crack marketing strategy, give away just enough to get you hooked, and then keep you coming back for more.

Re:why not? (1, Informative)

oliverthered (187439) | more than 6 years ago | (#19354415)

"which by the way is an outstanding IDE"

umm.. no it's not. it's buggy as hell, just the other day my CTRL button stopped working so I can't block select words in one go.

Add that to the broken intelisense, years to open a project, all the crap it does with source control etc...
and yes you have youself and outstanding IDE.

Editors? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19353215)

The submission has some truly atrocious grammar and spelling. It's actually a little painful to read.

I bet if you dig far enough... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19353217)

You'll find that Microsoft is about to release their own Unit Test add-in...

Re:I bet if you dig far enough... (1)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 6 years ago | (#19353477)

They already do, but its only available to the Team System editions. I don't belive they have any plans to make it available in the 'lesser' editions.

Re:I bet if you dig far enough... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19354215)

Sort of negates the need for a more expensive edition then?

Shoot at foot... (4, Interesting)

Ckwop (707653) | more than 6 years ago | (#19353239)

  1. Aim at foot.
  2. Fire at foot.
  3. ...
  4. Profit?

What is it about Microsoft and reinventing perfectly good tools. First they tried to replace Nant with MsBuild, with limited success. They're trying to reinvent Subversion and Cruisecontrol with the Microsoft Team System. They are the ultimate NIH company. I've started to form the opinion that this is unsustatinable for Microsoft. You can't keep reinventing and supporting tools like this forever, because no matter how many programmers you have there OSS movement has more. They will keep producing high-quality tools faster than you can release competitors.

People used to complain that Sun were control freaks about Java. What did Sun do? They listened and GPLed Java. I think the guys at Sun have come to a similiar conclusion to me. Your products are part of an ecology and the ecology is always bigger than one company. What you want to do is foster a larger ecology for your products and hope that this translates to sales.

I admire Sun for this approach, it's risky but it shows maurity in face of change ushered in at the hands of OSS. Microsoft seems to have no strategy for tackling OSS outside of the United States. Over here, software patents don't exist. They may win the battle but be swamped by the tidal wave from abroad.

I use TestDriven every single day I'm in work and I can tell you that this makes the licensed copy of Visual Studio 2005 (paid at full price) a much more functional piece of software. To me, this is validation of the ecology; the open source product made me feel that I'm getting more value out of the purchase.

It's this affect that Sun hopes GPLing Java will bring to their revenues. I for one think they're right.

Simon.

Re:Shoot at foot... (1)

Mateo_LeFou (859634) | more than 6 years ago | (#19353407)

"What is it about Microsoft and reinventing perfectly good tools. "

new here?

"I use TestDriven every single day I'm in work and I can tell you that this makes the licensed copy of Visual Studio 2005 (paid at full price) a much more functional piece of software. To me, this is validation of the ecology; the open source product made me feel that I'm getting more value out of the purchase."

k, but validating the ecology is of no interest to Microsoft. If the open source package makes MS product A more valuable, this is a *problem to be solved.

Re:Shoot at foot... (3, Interesting)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | more than 6 years ago | (#19353763)

You've got to be kidding, right? You actually think MS should just not develop products because there are a bunch of various different open source tools people could use instead? That makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.

First, they are a software company and they sell solutions, not products. MsBuild integrates with all the other MS tools including Visual Studio and TFS. I would rather have one solution that works well than having to pass through the open source gauntlet of choosing from 20 different tools and trying to make them all work together. Comparing TFS to Subversion is insultint - to TFS. TFS is much more than Subversion, think Subversion + Continuum + Bugzilla (somewhat) + requirements tracking + other tools.

In short, your post is entirely wrong. I don't see you bitching about ClearCase, Synchronicity, or other commercial tools. It's just Microsoft that is silly for releasing products when there are already all these "great" open source tools.

Re:Shoot at foot... (2, Insightful)

JohnFluxx (413620) | more than 6 years ago | (#19354183)

> You actually think MS should just not develop products because there are a bunch of various different open source tools people could use instead? That makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.

Sure why not? You said yourself that their business model is solutions not products. So why not have TFS use subversion if subversion has the features they need? They could still build the rest of the features on top. It's a political reason not to, not a technical one.

And yes you do hear people complain about ClearCase. I've never used the others though.

Re:Shoot at foot... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19354447)

I just want to highlight one part of your post: MS is excellent at integration. And by integration, I mean you pretty much click on Setup.exe on Team Foundation Server or whatever group you install, hit next a few times, and in an hour you have a fully integrated environment. And integration also means that there aren't quirks with the source control linkage, it just works- context menus that make your life easy are where you want them to be, and you don't have to leave the environment to get your job done. Switching programs to check in your code, then again to update your bugfix/workflow system isn't really a big deal, but when you don't have to do it and its all built in for you, its really nice. It also helps keep developers doing their main role-developing than fighting with a source control system, or making sure that their changes are properly documented in the workflow system.

This is all nice, but it comes with a cost: vendor lock-in. I demo'ed team server and VS2005, because our shop loves VS, and we were happy with our source control and workflow/bug tracking/build tools, but not necessarily in love with them. The whole package was nice, but there would have been no way to have an easy transition to MS, we would have literally had to flip a switch and hope everything worked, and we have a significant investment in customizing our current tools to our needs. MS

Re:Shoot at foot... (2, Insightful)

kestasjk (933987) | more than 6 years ago | (#19353835)

Obviously they're doing this so that professional development teams will stick to VS.NET and not Express Editions; they're not shooting themselves in the foot at all, this is very much in their best interests.

Re:Shoot at foot... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19354213)

But this discussion isn't about plugins or Unit Testing, who invented it, who Microsoft is possibly ripping off, etc. That's totally irrelevant. The actual topic is that Jamie violated the terms of the license. If you wrote an IDE and released it under the terms of the GPL and someone made a Unit Testing plugin for it that was totally closed-source, what would you do? Although the terms of the licenses are different, THAT is precisely what this is all about.

Seems fair to me (2, Informative)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 6 years ago | (#19353249)

Don't like microsoft but the same issues apply to any other license like creative commons and gnu.

If you don't agree with the license terms of the software/artwork/music then don't use/extend it.

Step two: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19353323)

Now all you have to do is to point to the exact terms that he's in violation of.

Re:Seems fair to me (4, Informative)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 6 years ago | (#19353371)

The crux of the argument is he went over the licence terms of Express and didn't find where he was infringing. Jamie specifically emailed Microsoft asking for the clause in question so he could justify removing Express support.

Microsoft simply responded with "it violates the licence, but we're not going to tell you where."

More than likely, they screwed up and adhering strictly to the letter of the EULA (and not the spirit of the program) it is not specifically forbidden, thus implicitly allowed.

Re:Seems fair to me (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19354051)

Microsoft simply responded with "it violates the licence, but we're not going to tell you where."

Actually they responded with 5 pages of documents stating exactly the clause [asp.net].

("You may not work around any technical limitations in the software.")

Of course, it's such an incredibly vague sentence one can understand why he didn't think it applied. And I bet they don't want to ever take that one to court, which is whey they had their manager "talk to him on the phone to plead with him".

Microsoft getting screwed by their own EULA ... sweet, sweet poetic justice.

MOD PARENT WAY UP! Jamie violated NOTHING! (3, Insightful)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 6 years ago | (#19354267)

Amazing that so people assume that Microsoft was correct in saying there was in fact a EULA violation, when the best they could come up with after a year was a poorly worded phrase in the EULA: You may not work around any technical limitations in the software. And that team leader wank at Microsoft Dan had no worthy arguments against what Jamie did either other than claim without proof that the EULA was violated, and that Jamie never acted correctly in response to their vague claim and beating around the bush, and that "Ethos" of project was violated. "Ethos" meaning "you did what I think was bad ; you must think like me", what a load of tripe. This is just more of Microsoft's current mode of threating customers without any real proof to back claims, same as the patent violation claims without patent numbers to back it up.

Not every limitation is fair (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19354169)

There is a difference between Microsoft and almost anybody else. Microsoft has a monopoly which was acquired and extended through criminal acts. When they set limitations on your use of their products, they are actually, in practice, setting limits on what you can do. You can't just go to the competition and act differently since there mostly isn't any competition. Microsoft is acting as if they are doing everybody a big favour by distributing a limited version of this software for free. What they are actually doing is stopping anyone else from coming out with a cheaper product which would compete with them on price. Given that; they should have no right to invade people's privacy and tell them what they should do with a product they have legally acquired.

Re:Seems fair to me (2, Insightful)

drooling-dog (189103) | more than 6 years ago | (#19354443)

Don't like microsoft but the same issues apply to any other license like creative commons and gnu.
Except that those licenses have to do almost exclusively with redistribution, and even then aim to preserve rights, not take them away. They don't restrict the use of software, or anybody's right to extend or interoperate with it.

If you don't agree with the license terms of the software/artwork/music then don't use/extend it.
No argument with you there. When I see all the ridiculous crap that my friends committed to proprietary software put up with almost daily, I'm happy to say "no thanks".

not to be all nice to microsoft, but (2, Insightful)

rucs_hack (784150) | more than 6 years ago | (#19353257)

If they said 'no addins' for the free edition, and someone does one, surely they are in the right to get annoyed?

After all, it's not as if people are forced to use visual studio express, they could always use something else if they don't like the terms. If you want to use it, you use it the way they say, that seems obvious to me.
I have an open source project, and I would get mighty pissed if someone broke my terms. Ok mine are the gpl, but it's the same thing.

I prefer mingw studio anyway..

Re:not to be all nice to microsoft, but (2, Interesting)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 6 years ago | (#19353405)

If they said 'no addins' for the free edition, and someone does one, surely they are in the right to get annoyed?

If they don't want addin support in the free edition, disable it in the product.

If someone enables it and it works, what exactly has he done wrong?

I have an open source project, and I would get mighty pissed if someone broke my terms

Only if your terms make sense. If, for example, you said "nobody with a yellow shirt can use my software" ... that would be your term, but it would be a stupid term and people would ignore it in all likelihood. We're not talking about breaking your copyright, we're talking about arbitrary rules which they apparenty didn't enforce in their own code.

Cheers

Re:not to be all nice to microsoft, but (4, Insightful)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 6 years ago | (#19353599)

Not just in the code, but in the licence.

Continuing with the shirt analogy, it's like having two programs, let's call one 'Express' and one 'Enterprise'

Express feature table says 'No support for users wearing yellow shirts.'
Enterprise feature table says 'Supports all colors and color combinations on shirts.'

But your legal department charges you $1 mil per EULA, so you decide to just put the EULA for the Enterprise version with the Express version, after a simple s/Enterprise/Express/g;

Now you have a user calling in wanting support and the techs ask his shirt color and version. He says yellow and Express. The techs say this is in violation of the EULA, but in reality, there is no clause refusing him service.

The feature table is not a contract. The EULA is, and he agreed to the EULA that you were cheap on that didn't explicity exclude support for yellow-shirted users. You are now up doodoo creek without a paddle...

Re:not to be all nice to microsoft, but (3, Insightful)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 6 years ago | (#19353601)

If they don't want addin support in the free edition, disable it in the product.

It is.

If someone enables it and it works, what exactly has he done wrong?

If you hack your sat. Tv card to get things you're not supposed to, have you done something wrong? Yes, you have.

Only if your terms make sense. If, for example, you said "nobody with a yellow shirt can use my software" ... that would be your term, but it would be a stupid term and people would ignore it in all likelihood.

It doesn't matter if you believe the terms make sense or not. You can choose to follow them or not (and not use the product). I'm sure someone in Iran would think it doesn't make sense for me to include a term that software is not to be used in a non-democratic country, but that doesn't give them the right to simply ignore it.

We're not talking about breaking your copyright, we're talking about arbitrary rules which they apparenty didn't enforce in their own code.

So I have to lock my door, otherwise its my fault if you come into my house and take my TV? That's some nice logic you have there.

Re:not to be all nice to microsoft, but (2, Interesting)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 6 years ago | (#19353447)

If they said 'no addins' for the free edition, and someone does one, surely they are in the right to get annoyed?

It matters where they said 'no addins' though. There's a difference between a bullet point in a product comparison table and a clause in the EULA. Where the problem lies is Microsoft has yet to point out the specific part in the EULA that forbids addins for Express, instead falling on the spirit in which the project was designed.

If 'no addins' is not in the licence, Jamie is not breaking the licence.

They probably just copied the licence from another version and hoped that people wouldn't actually read it.

not to be all nice to microsoft, but-sword play. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19353765)

"It matters where they said 'no addins' though. There's a difference between a bullet point in a product comparison table and a clause in the EULA. Where the problem lies is Microsoft has yet to point out the specific part in the EULA that forbids addins for Express, instead falling on the spirit in which the project was designed."

Unless I misunderstand you? "Falling on the spirit", is something the GPL crowd does as well. e.g. The KDE/Apple situation, the Google/Tivo situation. Even though there was no "explicit" mention made, and everything was "to the letter".

Re:not to be all nice to microsoft, but (5, Insightful)

kebes (861706) | more than 6 years ago | (#19353453)

If they said 'no addins' for the free edition, and someone does one, surely they are in the right to get annoyed?
Absolutely. They can get as annoyed as they like. They can yell from the top of a mountain "I am annoyed! Please stop doing that!" In fact that's what they did at first--they tried to convince the developer to stop distributing the project. That's their right.

However they were not happy with the way the "good faith" negotiations proceeded, and now they are trying to use the law to get their way. The question is, do they have the right to legally enforce their ethos? If there were a contract between Microsoft and TestDriven.NET, then that may limit what TestDriven.NET is allowed to do. However it does not appear that this is the case. In fact, it appears that there is no legal reason why someone can't program add-ins for VS Express. Microsoft may not like it, but it's not illegal. (Please correct me if I'm wrong on that point.)

If you want to use it, you use it the way they say, that seems obvious to me.
I disagree. If I obtain a product (buy it for $X or download a free product under certain licensing terms) then I can use it however I want (limited only by the law). If something in the EULA makes it illegal to use add-ins, then I suppose Microsoft can claim that end-users of TestDriven.NET are violating the VS Express EULA... but that still doesn't make TestDriven.NET's actions illegal.

I have an open source project, and I would get mighty pissed if someone broke my terms. Ok mine are the gpl, but it's the same thing.
You're mixing two different issues, however. The GPL is a license that (along with copyright) provide a legal framework that delineates what you can and cannot legally do. That is a legal issue. If you release your GPL project, and then find that someone is using your code to run a porn website (but is complying with the GPL), then you may claim that their usage is against the "ethos" of your project--but that still doesn't give you the legal right to prevent their use. You gave them a license to use the software, and that's what they are doing. You can be annoyed, but you cannot sue.

not to be all nice to microsoft, but-GPLv3 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19354219)

"You're mixing two different issues, however. The GPL is a license that (along with copyright) provide a legal framework that delineates what you can and cannot legally do. That is a legal issue. If you release your GPL project, and then find that someone is using your code to run a porn website (but is complying with the GPL), then you may claim that their usage is against the "ethos" of your project--but that still doesn't give you the legal right to prevent their use. You gave them a license to use the software, and that's what they are doing. You can be annoyed, but you cannot sue."

Novell and Tivo.

Re:not to be all nice to microsoft, but (1)

drooling-dog (189103) | more than 6 years ago | (#19354235)

I have an open source project, and I would get mighty pissed if someone broke my terms.
Of course, those wouldn't include prohibiting people from improving it, interoperating with it, adapting it, or using it however they like. That's what "open source" means!

But is it illegal? (5, Insightful)

kebes (861706) | more than 6 years ago | (#19353273)

The post from the Visual Studio blog is quite interesting. In the first paragraph, Dan Fernandez says that the add-in "is a direct violation of both the EULA and 'ethos' of the Express product line." Throughout his post, he continually mentions that the add-in is "illegal."

Yet he spends the entire post talking only about the "ethos" part of it (describing their numerous good faith attempts to convince Jamie Cansdale to stop distributing his product), but he never explains what the illegal part is. Clearly the Visual Studio team feels that Jamie is violating the "ethos" of their project (their "business plan," in fact). On the other hand, Jamie probably feels that the Visual Studio team is violating the "ethos" of his project when they try to limit it. So whose "ethos" is more important?

At no point, however, does the blog post mention anything about how the Visual Studio EULA could prohibit the distribution of TestDriven.NET. After all, I can redistribute copies of TestDriven.NET without even owning a copy of Visual Studio--so obviously I'm not bound by the Visual Studio EULA.

I can think of no legal reason to prohibit what Jamie is doing... and apparently, neither can Dan Fernandez. Has anyone found a nugget of legal truth in the other documents?

Said the same thing at the same time (1)

palladiate (1018086) | more than 6 years ago | (#19353441)

I said the same thing too. Reading that response just said to me "we don't like what he did, we didn't plan for it, but since we're a bigger company, he needs to show respect and stop."

When has Microsoft ever played by that rule? Microsoft did to IBM and Apple what Jamie did to Microsoft- find a method to extend and exploit the functionality of someone else's product. Nobody can produce the EULA language that shows a breach, only vague references to "but that'll hurt our business plan!" It's sad that no mind at Microsoft can conceive of a compelling argument why Jamie is wrong.

Re:But is it illegal? (4, Insightful)

GreatDrok (684119) | more than 6 years ago | (#19353517)

Surely, if the EULA doesn't allow plugins then the software itself shouldn't support them? The fact that it does makes a nonsense of all this. The onus is on MS to disable the functionality that allowed this to happen, not to send the lawyers in.

Found their ethos (-1, Troll)

Mateo_LeFou (859634) | more than 6 years ago | (#19353521)

It's so old that it's carved in stone. Just kidding, but it's printed with a daisywheel. It says

"Encourage the perception of openness by occasionally tossing out a free version of something-or-other. Cripple these free versions mercilessly. If someone manages a workaround that makes them actually kinda useful maybe, sue himher out of existence"

Re:But is it illegal? (1)

jas79 (196511) | more than 6 years ago | (#19353533)

The first thing fernadez says is "While I'm not a lawyer" . That is why he isn't commenting on the legal details

What? (1)

spun (1352) | more than 6 years ago | (#19353665)

He calls TestDriven.NET "illegal" quite a bit. He knows enough about law to know it is illegal, but not enough to know why? That makes no sense.

Re:But is it illegal? (5, Interesting)

kebes (861706) | more than 6 years ago | (#19353743)

Has anyone found a nugget of legal truth in the other documents?
According to the Microsoft legal threat [asp.net], the relevant portion of the Visual Studio Express EULA is:

...you may use the software only as expressly permitted in this agreement. In doing so you must comply with any technical limitations in the software that only allow you to use it in certain ways... You may not work around technical limitations in the software.
Microsoft would claim, therefore, that to develop TestDriven.NET, the developer had to download Visual Studio Express, and agree to the EULA in order to install it. However the situation is probably more complex. The issue (from what I can tell) is that a single version of TestDriven.NET works with all versions of Visual Studio (Express or otherwise). So it can easily be shown that TestDriven.NET was developed using the full version of Visual Studio--which not only allows you to create add-ins but in fact encourages you to do so. So the EULA (of the full version of Visual Studio) was not broken.

So the question is: "Is TestDriven.NET legally required to alter their product so as to enforce the terms of someone else's EULA?" Isn't it the end-user, who combines VS Express and TestDriven.NET that is in violation of the EULA?

Or perhaps the real question is: "Are ridiculous terms in an EULA, such as 'thou shalt not make the product do things we didn't intend for it to do' actually legally enforceable?"

More details (5, Interesting)

Mateo_LeFou (859634) | more than 6 years ago | (#19353803)

Digging into the email exchange I found Jamie saying:

1) You said that by using Intellisense I may be in breach of the
dissasembly clause in the VS SDK license.
2) You said that by working out how to use an API by looking at the
public type and method names I may be in breach of the reverse
engineering clause in the VS SDK license.
3) You said that by adding a button to the Express SKU interface I may
be in breach of Microsoft's copyright.

#3 is particularly funny

Re:But is it illegal? (0)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | more than 6 years ago | (#19353811)

Umm, OK. So maybe Microsoft should just terminate the Express line? How would Jamie like that, I wonder, being the one person responsible for ending availability of a product his customers apparently use?

Re:But is it illegal? (1)

blueskies (525815) | more than 6 years ago | (#19354249)

Umm, OK. So maybe Microsoft should just terminate the Express line? How would Jamie like that, I wonder, being the one person responsible for ending availability of a product his customers apparently use?

Why? So microsoft can lose more users? You use a very curious form of the phrase "one person responsible." How is he the "one person responsible" if microsoft is the one that terminates it? Grow up and put responsibility where it belongs, on Microsoft. Like it's his fault MS decides they don't like that he can add value to their products.

EULA = End User Licence Agreement (1)

gilesjuk (604902) | more than 6 years ago | (#19354315)

Therefore surely it is the end user that is infringing not the developer of the plugin?

Having read the MS response (4, Interesting)

palladiate (1018086) | more than 6 years ago | (#19353305)

The MS project manager goes on about working with Jamie to clear up the Express situation, but doesn't explain their reasoning beyond calling what he did "illegal."

First, that's not the way to treat your community. Either explain to him and to us exactly what he did that was wrong, beyond the vague wording at the beginning of not being in the "spirit" of Express editions. Second, when can Microsoft unilaterally declare breach of contract "illegal?"

I use DevC++ for all my hobby needs and teaching the kiddo. After this, I would never switch to MS C++ Express or VB Express, even if it was a vastly superior product. I just need some syntax highlighting and compiler integration. I don't want to dance around legal threats over what Microsoft's "spirit" is this week.

Isn't this the company that VALUES the community? (1)

Valacosa (863657) | more than 6 years ago | (#19353695)

DEVELOPERS DEVELOPERS DEVELOPERS DEVEL....nevermind.

(And now, for your pleasure, some filler text to get by the lameness filter. Apparently Slashdot doesn't like it when you post a response mostly in caps.)

Do you REALLY read the MS Response? (0)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 6 years ago | (#19353945)

The MS project manager goes on about working with Jamie to clear up the Express situation, but doesn't explain their reasoning beyond calling what he did "illegal."

Yes he does. He makes it clear that add-on functionality is something you get when you buy the Professional version. The FREE version is, like many free versions on many other applications, a "taste" of what you can expect with the full version. If this wasn't Microsoft, this wouldn't be an issue here.

First, that's not the way to treat your community. Either explain to him and to us exactly what he did that was wrong, beyond the vague wording at the beginning of not being in the "spirit" of Express editions. Second, when can Microsoft unilaterally declare breach of contract "illegal?"

Did you even read Dan Fernandez's blog? He makes it clear: It is contrary to the license, most users aren't asking for it, and Microsoft, a commercial software company, has made a business decision to require users to upgrade to the full version for this functionality. You see, Palladiate, Microsoft sells software.

Re:Do you REALLY read the MS Response? (1)

bobKali (240342) | more than 6 years ago | (#19354437)

He does make it clear that the add-ons are for the professional versions only, but HE DOES NOT cite either the US statute or the EULA clause prohibiting the development of add-ons for Express versions. Just a bunch of hot air as far as I can see.

How far can licenses go (5, Interesting)

ch-chuck (9622) | more than 6 years ago | (#19353307)

I've often wondered how much one can get away with in licenses. Of course they cannot override any consitutional or local laws, but say a developer is rather religious. Can s/he then stipulate that the software cannot be run on Sundays? Or that the user must be wearing underwear or shoes and shirt while using $PRODUCT ?

If it isn't clear enough already... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19353361)

You have no "right" to do anything in conjunction with any large, lawsuit-happy software company's product, if you're not going to make enough money off of it to defend yourself against baseless lawsuits (whenever your project goes against corporate strategy, yes very often against their strategy of planned obsolesense or feature-reduced - here, "express" - product versions).

This is why more and more non-commercial third-party software gets released only for open platforms. It would be trivial to port many, many FLOSS projects to the Windows world, since many of them have almost no kernel hooks, use little to none of the API's that software on top of the kernel (such as KDE), provide, and in fact often have been written in a platform-independent and modular way from day 1. But time and again you see only someone completely unassociated with the project be the only one to provide windows binaries, which the maintainers of the project then proceed to link to. Now you see why.

revised chant (-1, Troll)

nuzak (959558) | more than 6 years ago | (#19353435)

DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS! not you dude DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS!

dfgjklsdfgk hsdfgjkhsdflgh sdgh sdklghsdlgh sdlgh sdklgh sdklgh skldfjgh sldfjkgh skldjgh lskdfjgh lskdfjg lskdfjghlksdjglkjh dfgjkhsdfgkljhdfglkhsdgjkhsd gkjhsdfgk hgjkh sdgjhsdklg sklfjgh sldkghlkasjthlkajdthlaksjdfljkashdf ever notice how much lamer posts are because of the lameness filter? sdkfghsdkgh sdfklgh sdklgh lsdkfg lskgh

"3 letters received from Microsoft lawyers" (4, Funny)

Zukix (641813) | more than 6 years ago | (#19353461)

Hmm, I know where the MS lawyers found them too. They stole the following: "Jamie Cansdale released a free addin to Visual Studio back in 2004 to help developers build unit tests. His only problem was, he enabled his addin for all versions of VS - including the Express addition which isn't supposed to support addins. After over a year of trying to talk with Microsoft and understand how and why he was in violation of their license agreement, during which they would never explain specifically which clause in the license was being violated, they sent the lawyers after him and pulled his MVP status. To top it all off, Jamie is actually a Java developer by day, his addin was originally developed just as a hobby project. A full account is available on his blog, including all email correspondence he had with Microsoft and the now 3 letters received from Microsoft lawyers. The lead product manager for Visual Studio Express has responded to Jamie's posts."

BFD? (1)

mugnyte (203225) | more than 6 years ago | (#19353481)


  I use these tools daily.

  Kind in mind: This argument is about the integration of a well-known tool into Studio, not it's use altogether. One can use these tools with Express via their independent UI's. MS is merely trying to keep the floodgates closed on the Express version because it's in their profitable pocket to sell that "integration" feature. There are quite a few tools to cram into Studio, not all good IMO. For the "folks at home" cracking out Express, good for you, but learn to use all the individual tools separately, not the integrated versions, the skills will transfer to other toolsets much more easily.

  If you work in the industry, you usually get an MSDN membership ships all MS's top products (either partially or fully paid by your employer). If you don't, you may not really be in the MS development world - almost everything they ship has licensing costs. It's just part of their development world. (I'm avoiding the FOSS discussion here).

  Personally, I purposefully dislike add-ins to Studio, as the bloat turns it into an all-in-one behemoth that (like Office) scares me.

Somebody's lying... (2, Interesting)

Assmasher (456699) | more than 6 years ago | (#19353489)

From the Express lead's blog:

"As for Jamie, we've been asking him in multiple emails and conference calls to stop extending (just Express) since before Visual Studio 2005 even shipped. We even got the General Manager of Visual Studio to personally talk to him on the phone to plead with him to remove Express extensibility. Closely following that, Jamie took the violations to heart and removed Visual Studio Express extensibility for several months. Only recently did he decide to add Express support back to TestDriven.NET and only after another round of conversations and close to two years of trying to avoid escalating this situation, we felt compelled to deliver our message in a different form."

Something's rotten in the state of Denmark...

Convenient translation of Fernandez' response (5, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 6 years ago | (#19353493)

However, Jamie has also made available a version of his product that extends the Visual Studio Express Editions which is a direct violation of both the EULA and "ethos" of the Express product line.

Translation: "Jamie is interfering with our attempt to devalue various Free Software tools."

It was a small miracle getting Express to be available both for free and for commercial use for customers

Translation: "Microsoft legal doesn't understand the value of giving away software"

let alone the engineering work to get it up and running

Translation: "Our code base is such an encumbered mess that disabling features was an arduous task."

We made a business decision to not allow 3rd party extensibility in Express. The reason we're able to offer Express for free and even let developers build commercial applications with Express is because we limit 3rd party extensibility of Express, specifically by removing support macros, add-ins, and VSIP packages.

Translation: "The only way people will buy our crap is if the one feature they need can't be had for free, and their whole product is already implemented using our IDE, making it harder to switch to some other product, perhaps a Free one."

Unfortunately, in this one instance, we have one company that chose to exceed the license grant and develop additional features into the Express products that are not allowed. Additionally we have over 300 VSIP partners with over 1,000 legal Visual Studio extensions that cannot extend Express.

Translation: "We decided upon a truly stupid licensing model, and now our customers who paid good money to be able to create extensions are pissed off that we did a shitty job of preventing unlicensed ones from working on a free product."

It doesn't make business sense when our biggest and best partners are legally unable to extend Express, yet Jamie's company can.

(No translation needed - it just doesn't make sense! If the extension fits, you must acquit!)

As for Jamie, we've been asking him in multiple emails and conference calls to stop extending (just Express) since before Visual Studio 2005 even shipped.

Translation: "Yet almost every time, he has been logical and reasonable, instead of knuckling under."

[snip]

We even got the General Manager of Visual Studio to personally talk to him on the phone to plead with him to remove Express extensibility. Closely following that, Jamie took the violations to heart and removed Visual Studio Express extensibility for several months.

Translation: "But we thought we had him nailed down when we threatened to sow his ground with salt, burn his houses, rape his cattle, and ride off on his women."

Only recently did he decide to add Express support back to TestDriven.NET and only after another round of conversations and close to two years of trying to avoid escalating this situation, we felt compelled to deliver our message in a different form.

Translation: "He finally came to his senses and just released the damned thing, so we decided to point more guns at him."

The vast majority of our customer base, now with 14 million downloads, isn't even professional developers, its non-professionals.

Translation: "Most people who download this software aren't pros who would pay for our software anyway. In spite of this, I'm so angry I forgot my apostrophe."

In fact over 80% of Express registrants don't describe themselves as a "developer".

"They're just people who needed a VS IDE to compile some jackass' project."

From a total number perspective, beginners are the largest segment of Express customers and they still find Express too complex, it has too many features, and they see development as a means to an end (I just want to create my kids soccer league Web site).

"You see, what we're really trying to do is make the product easier to use by removing features. Just think how much easier it would be to drive your car if we just eliminated one of the wheels! You could stop thinking about that wheel entirely!"

Our Express customers haven't been asked for unit testing or extensiblity in much the same way as I didn't ask or even know to ask when I grew up programming BASIC on an Apple IIe.

"This is clearly why people are downloading this automated testing tool and using it, causing me to notice the problem in the first place. Er, wait..."

Heck even professional developers with years of programming experience can't program FizzBuzz.

Translation: "Irrelevant anecdote here." Best comment under fizzbuzz story: "Is there a term for people who compulsively answer rhetorical questions?"

If the choice was between not ever having released Visual Studio Express (or not releasing it in the future) or having Visual Studio Express with an explicit limitation to block extensibility, which would you chose?

I don't know, but given the choice between never having visual studio released and having to hear people bitch, moan, and complain about how someone is providing people the option to extend software which they downloaded, I would chose (sic) to have you stick that code up your ass sideways.

Pretty much everything else I would say can be found in this comment [msdn.com] by "blowdart", half of which I provide below:

"OK sure you're aiming at beginning customers who don't know what unit testing is; but here is a change to educate them, to improve their skills by introducing it and you stamp it out. (OK you can use nUnit et al externally, but Express users will probably want everything in one place)"

"Saying Express users haven't asked is, as you say, not an excuse. How to you ask for something you don't know about, no matter how useful it is."

Re:Convenient translation of Fernandez' response (0, Flamebait)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | more than 6 years ago | (#19353861)

Oh boy, the old "Translation: put whatever idiotic thing I want here" tactic. Good god, but you're boring.

Re:Convenient translation of Fernandez' response (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 6 years ago | (#19354033)

Oh boy, the old "Translation: put whatever idiotic thing I want here" tactic. Good god, but you're boring.

Who is more foolish, the fool, or the fool that follows him?

Re:Convenient translation of Fernandez' response (1)

Sciros (986030) | more than 6 years ago | (#19354011)

Shame on moderators for giving Insightful to a post that basically defines what a Troll is. Is Microsoft hate really that popular? If their License Agreement says that addins aren't allowed for some software version, anyone making something for their software in good faith should indeed honor that agreement. So many folks are acting like MS is out of spite refusing some godly gift that makes their horrible software wonderful. I would hope people here had a more mature view than that.

Shame on moderators? Shame on YOU (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 6 years ago | (#19354367)

Shame on moderators for giving Insightful to a post that basically defines what a Troll is.

This post is not at all a troll. I am not saying things I don't believe in order to elicit a desired response. I am not trolling. Nor is it flamebait, because the intent behind my comment was not to piss people off, but to help bring a light into the darkness.

Shame on you for trying to cause people to mod me down by mischaracterizing my comment. You are part of the problem.

Is Microsoft hate really that popular?

Is there any reason it shouldn't be? Conversely, can't you think of reasons that it should be?

If not, you clearly haven't been paying attention.

Microsoft built a monopoly based on illegal, anticompetitive practices, then persuaded to utilize that monopoly in order to allow them to make use of more illegal, anticompetitive practices.

If their License Agreement says that addins aren't allowed for some software version, anyone making something for their software in good faith should indeed honor that agreement.

Once someone has downloaded the product, you can't really stop them from modifying it. You might be able to stop them from distributing their modifications, and Microsoft is about to take that step with THIS modification. But is that really what customers want?

The end result is that Microsoft is penalizing people for using Microsoft tools. No matter what else you say about it, this is stupid.

If Microsoft wants people to use their tools, then they need to offer a compelling reason to do so. And what do they accomplish by these means? Only that they will stop people who want to write stable software from doing it with their free tools. This activity is nothing less than an attempt to set back computing in a vain attempt to secure profits. This is understandable, because they are a corporation, but don't pretend it's noble. It isn't.

So many folks are acting like MS is out of spite refusing some godly gift that makes their horrible software wonderful. I would hope people here had a more mature view than that.

Yes, we do. In actuality, Microsoft is out of stupidity refusing to permit some free gift that makes their mediocre software useful.

I don't see what they are doing as wrong so much as stupid and incompetent. If they can only get people to purchase their product through these means, they're only going to chase more and more people away.

But regardless, your asinine attempt to discredit me by incorrectly interpreting the motivation behind my comment (some might assume you did so deliberately) proves nothing about me, and many things about you; although it's hard to tell if it proves that you're an idiot or a liar.

Convenient translation of Drinkypoo's response (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 6 years ago | (#19354095)

I hate proprietary software. Anyone who doesn't share my views on free software is an ass. Anyone who disagrees with me is obviously talking out two sides of their mouth, so I'll just go ahead and substitute words to make it seem like they are as much of a troll as I am.

Seriously, I've never see someone so completely reword someone else's words into flamebait, just so they could then flame them.

I don't know, but given the choice between never having visual studio released and having to hear people bitch, moan, and complain about how someone is providing people the option to extend software which they downloaded, I would chose (sic) to have you stick that code up your ass sideways.
Nice going there. Good to see that you're keeping up the juvenile flame levels, I was concerned that discourse on Slashdot was getting too mature.

Re:Convenient translation of Fernandez' response (1)

dobedobedew (663137) | more than 6 years ago | (#19354275)

Translation: "Most people who download this software aren't pros who would pay for our software anyway. In spite of this, I'm so angry I forgot my apostrophe."
I almost ruined my keyboard when I read this. Thanks for the laugh.

What the...? (3, Insightful)

mcmonkey (96054) | more than 6 years ago | (#19353527)

What's going on here? What is MS using the EULA to tell users they can't use functionality that MS developers put into the software?

Is there a reason they can't just take out (or never put in) the feature of VS Express they don't want anyone to use?

ObBadAutoAnalogy: Rather than post speed limits, why not pass a law that cars coming off the assembly line must be restricted to 55 mph? (I told you it was a bad analogy.)

But seriously, the VS Express guy makes it sound like this is some stand alone project. If that is so, why does it do these things they explicitly don't want it to do? My guess is, VS Express is 99% the same code as VS Super Premium, with that 1% being switches to turn off the stuff MS wants you to pay for.

It sounds like the daily wear/long wear contact lense hub bub from a few years back. In that case, the company sold cheap daily wear contact lenses. The directions were to wear for one week then throw them away. They also sold more expensive long term lenses with directions to remove and clean each night.

Turned out, the only difference was the directions. You could buy the cheap lenses and just use and clean them as you would the expensive lenses.

I say, if you don't want people getting expensive contact lenses for a cheap price, don't put a cheap price on your expensive lenses. If you don't want people overclocking your CPUs, don't underclock faster CPUs. And if you don't want people developing extensions for the free express edition, don't release the extensible version wrapped in the express version EULA.

TestDriven clearly violates the license .. (2, Informative)

rs232 (849320) | more than 6 years ago | (#19353537)

"they would never explain specifically which clause in the license was being violate"

It's a classic example of the differences between the Open Source and the closed sourced licensing model. I think it's perfectly clear, they provide a limited version of the product for free, the license forbids extending the functionality of Express. TestDriven extends the functionality, therefore it violates the license:

'You may not work around any technical limitations [asp.net] in the software'

Re:TestDriven clearly violates the license .. (4, Insightful)

mpoulton (689851) | more than 6 years ago | (#19353791)

It's a classic example of the differences between the Open Source and the closed sourced licensing model. I think it's perfectly clear, they provide a limited version of the product for free, the license forbids extending the functionality of Express. TestDriven extends the functionality, therefore it violates the license: 'You may not work around any technical limitations in the software'


You just clearly stated the very reason why his software is NOT in violation. The intent that the writer of the EULA was probably trying to achieve was to prevent extension. However, the developers failed to actually disable the extension functionality. There is no "technical limitation" to work around here. The "limitations" that prevent the use of extensions are not technical ones, they are simply documentational - Microsoft claims that extensions don't work on Express, so people believe them and don't try to extend it. This guy discovered that it atually works just fine. So, where's the "workaround" of "technical limitations"? Microsoft intentionally wrote the extension functionality into the software, and failed to disable it. He's just using their feature as designed.

Re:TestDriven clearly violates the license .. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19354063)

Define "disable". Extensions in express can't be added the same way they are in other VS products. You have to do something extra beyond what is documented for other versions of VS to enable extensions in express.

Someone on his blog put it best... (1)

BinarySkies (920189) | more than 6 years ago | (#19353575)

"This seems like a Xeros machine kind of case. Technically you have never installed nor accepted VS Express EULA so I'm not sure how you could be violating something you never agreed to" [weblogs.asp.net - "Microsoft vs TestDriven.NET - 31 May 2007"]

This is a very true point -- unless he explicitly installed every Express application and agreed to their specific EULAs, he really isn't breaking any sort of law. I feel like, as with the recent Linux patent fiasco, Microsoft is seriously reaching here to try to prove that any F/OSS, or even non-MS developer is working against them for whatever reason. Also, the fact that MS is making sure they hold all the cards by not disclosing what clause is being violated until several months after their initial claim seems fishy to me. I feel as if them threatening legal action without disclosing something like that could be considered barratery of some sort.

In addition, the fact that all those EULAs include clauses about it being illegal to work around the technical limitations of software is total bull. At that point, we're talking about a very real and terrifying situation... having Secunia and CERN be made illegal simply because they publish vulnerabilities. If this clause held, it means that Microsoft can essentially pull a lawsuit against even people who are trying to help them fix whatever bug is present in their software.

This seems very much like the beginning of the end for MS-- they stoop lower and lower each day, IMHO.

So.. (2, Insightful)

u0berdev (1038434) | more than 6 years ago | (#19353723)

if Third-Party extensions are "not allowed" in the Express editions, why then do they have the capability to be loaded? You would think that Microsoft would code something into the extensions loader that would check whether or not its a Microsoft official extension or not. Wouldn't that have prevented this in the first place?

-Ryan

Embrace and Extend (1)

maroberts (15852) | more than 6 years ago | (#19353777)

As I understand it Testdriven.net is a package which you pay for using a free Microsoft release as its core. Now if Microsoft had released the core package under the GPL, you would be able to hear the screams of a million users crying out in outrage at the perfidious actions of Testdriven.Net, plus vows to amend the GPL......

I Guess MS doesn't want beginners to learn... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19353793)

... how to write clean code, and unit tests. Of course, this makes sense, it is MS we're talking about afterall. ;)

They need to maintain a viable pool of new candidates!

Silly to judge without info... (2, Insightful)

CodeShark (17400) | more than 6 years ago | (#19353829)

Forgive me for wading in without my jumbo hip waders, but it seems like with all of the /. usrs there ought to be an easy way to figure this out. Are there any users out there with a copy of the EULA that we could all look at and analyze

Because on the one hand if the developer is actually violating something he agreed to (barring the discussion about how much of the fine print in a click through EULA can actually be enforced in court...) then there's not a lot of wiggle romm. If ton the other hand this is just M$ being jerks -- like it looks like they are being -- then maybe the EFF ought to take a look at protecting this developer from big-time bullying.

Allowed... (1)

alyawn (694153) | more than 6 years ago | (#19353833)

I'm sorry but if extension is not "allowed" by license, then why is it "allowed" by the software? Seems if they (M$) cared so much about others not being able to extend VS Express, then they would have removed the extension API from the app.

If Express isn't designed to be extensible.. (2, Interesting)

rob1980 (941751) | more than 6 years ago | (#19353843)

How did this guy pull it off? The e-mails make it look like removing support for Express was a matter of flipping a switch. Did Microsoft seriously just cut and paste Visual Studio 2005 into 5 different language-specific projects and call those the express editions or something?

Can't Microsoft stop this with the next release? (4, Insightful)

Maximum Prophet (716608) | more than 6 years ago | (#19353845)

In the past, when Microsoft didn't want something to work, like say, Lotus 123, they would release an upgrade that would run all their stuff, but not Lotus 123.

What's stopping them from doing the same here? Can't they just release a new upgraded version of Visual Studio Express that won't run his stuff?

Unbelievable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19353975)

They don't want you to extend the express version as it violates there terms and will drive profit away from the "real" products.

But Come on, MS are giving you basically VS.NET 2005 for free with a express edition. A lot of time and effort went into it. All you people complaining about MS protecting their own product should realize that they don't have to give out Express. It's not your right to have the software, they license YOU to use it.

If someone was violating the GPL everyone would be up in arms.

Jamie knows he shouldn't be doing it as he has taken the code down and then re-published it. I would argue that he has purposely created this situation to promote his work/self.

He is clearly on the make...

Re:Unbelievable (0, Redundant)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 6 years ago | (#19354111)

It's not your right to have the software, they license YOU to use it.
So, which part of the license says that he can't make addins for Visual Studio express?

"New" Extension (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19354023)

If anything, this will at least get a lot of people to know this particular extension (which I didnt know)

Making the deve community a better place... (1)

OldManCoyote (596110) | more than 6 years ago | (#19354075)

Regardless on their philosophy, it just shows what Microsoft is all about - showing what little regard they have for the development community and beating up on the small guy, who's not even making any money off it, trying to make the development community a better place to be...

VS 2005 Express License (1)

Organic Brain Damage (863655) | more than 6 years ago | (#19354109)

From the license:

"9. SCOPE OF LICENSE. The software is licensed, not sold. This agreement only gives you some rights to use the software. Microsoft reserves all other rights. Unless applicable law gives you more rights despite this limitation, you may use the software only as expressly permitted in this agreement. In doing so, you must comply with any technical limitations in the software that only allow you to use it in certain ways. For more information, see www.microsoft.com/licensing/userights. You may not
      work around any technical limitations in the software;
      reverse engineer, decompile or disassemble the software, except and only to the extent that applicable law expressly permits, despite this limitation;
      make more copies of the software than specified in this agreement or allowed by applicable law, despite this limitation;
      publish the software for others to copy;
      rent, lease or lend the software; or
      use the software for commercial software hosting services."

Maybe Microsoft is trying to say that he violates the "You may not work around any technical limitations in the software;" clause of the scope section?

It seems clear to me, as a person running a for-profit software company, that free "express" versions of software must be limited in some way so that potential customers will pay for the "enterprise" or "professional" versions of the software.

Re:VS 2005 Express License (1)

Maximum Prophet (716608) | more than 6 years ago | (#19354295)

Just writing any software using VS Express is working around "technical limitations". Any language is technically limited from doing much of anything useful until someone actually writes a program in it. Why is writting a plug-in for it any different than writing "Hello World?"

If a language didn't have a sort routine built-in and you used it to write a sort routine, would you be guilty of working around "techinical limitations?" If program X is too slow written in VS Express and you find a way to make it run faster (perhaps by writing it in C ), have you worked around "techinical limitations?" Since when was this a bad thing?

The simple solution (1)

the_arrow (171557) | more than 6 years ago | (#19354141)

Why go through all the hassle with this developer (and others that will undoubtly follow) with some (probably) vague writing in the EULA? Wouldn't the easiest solution to simply disable plugins in the actual program?
Or do MS want to write plugins themselves, but not let anyone else do it?

This is not the free we know about (0, Troll)

obender (546976) | more than 6 years ago | (#19354191)

It was a small miracle getting Express to be available both for free and for commercial use for customers
I would like to remind Fernandez in the unlikely case he reads slashdot that free means:
  • The freedom to run the program, for any purpose (freedom 0).
  • The freedom to study how the program works, and adapt it to your needs (freedom 1). Access to the source code is a precondition for this.
  • The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbor (freedom 2).
  • The freedom to improve the program, and release your improvements to the public, so that the whole community benefits (freedom 3). Access to the source code is a precondition for this.
All MS has done was to let people make limited use of the software without paying.

Re:This is not the free we know about (1)

rob1980 (941751) | more than 6 years ago | (#19354369)

It's already well-established that Richard Stallman's definition of free does not line up with Bill Gates' (and therefore Dan Fernandez's) definition of free.

Re:This is not the free we know about (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19354431)

You forgot this one (from Merriam-Webster):

10 : not costing or charging anything

Re:This is not the free we know about (1)

FreudianNightmare (1106709) | more than 6 years ago | (#19354435)

I think he meant free as in Beer. Y'know, if your date doesn't want to go all the way, you can't badger them about it just cause that foxy GNU chick did...

Thanks Microsoft! (1)

anomalous cohort (704239) | more than 6 years ago | (#19354225)

Thanks, Microsoft, for making this an issue. Had your lawyers not issued a C&D on this, /. most probably would not have posted this story and I would still not know about this cool add-in.

I can see them removing support for MS Team System on the Express versions but nothing else. IANAL but I don't see how integrating NUnit support into the IDE is a violation of anything. If MSFT didn't want you to extend their IDE, then they should not have published the EnvDTE or Extensibility assemblies.

My limited understanding of this area is that Team System still has some catching up to do before it can really compete with NUnit. MSFT should be grateful for TestDriven.NET because it fills a gap in VS.NET that comes standard with its competing IDE, Eclipse.

Even if MSFT succeeded in destroying TestDriven.NET, it still wouldn't crush NUnit which comes with its own GUI that is easy to attach to (and, therefore debug) from within the VS.NET IDE.

MS violated TD.NET's EULA? (2, Interesting)

A Friendly Troll (1017492) | more than 6 years ago | (#19354227)

According to TestDriven.NET's EULA [testdriven.net],

Except as expressly permitted in this Agreement, Licensee shall not, and shall not permit others to:
...
(ii) reverse engineer, decompile, disassemble or otherwise reduce the Software to source code form;


Now what did one of the emails from Microsoft say?

Thank you for not registering your project extender during installation and turning off your hacks by default. It appears that by setting a registry key your hacks can still be enabled. When do you plan to remove the Visual Studio express hacks, including your addin activator, from your product.

How did they find out about this, except from reverse engineering TD.NET?

Also, if my product was continuously being called a hack, I'd be seriously pissed off. The MS guy is an asshole, full of himself.
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