Tuesday, June 19, 2007

How to get squish just like grape

When the other shoe drops...

http://www.channelregister.co.uk/2007/06/06/microsoft_mvp_threats/comments/

...it is going to hurt. A lot.

So this guy wrote a pretty popular add-in for Visual Studio .NET called TestDriven.NET. I've actually heard about this add-in prior to the whole mess he has currently got himself into so it is definitely popular.

Summary of how it has gone down thus far:

1) Developer creates add-in for VS.NET via COM because a VSIP license is expensive. Nothing in the EULA explicitly prohibits it.
2) People like the add-in and it becomes popular.
3) Microsoft gives him MVP status and then discovers the add-in works for VS.NET Express and asks author to remove support for Express.
4) Author refuses.
5) MVP status is revoked.
6) Author adds support for VS.NET "Orcas" Express.
7) Microsoft legal makes its move.

Frankly, VS is Microsoft's intellectual property, not the developer's. However, there are two parties at fault here:

1) Microsoft is at fault for leaving add-in COM support enabled in VS.NET Express. By doing so they left the door wide open for add-ins to function even though that wasn't their intention.
2) However, the developer is also at fault for not removing Express support from his product when Microsoft requested it. Microsoft only turned nasty after the developer refused.

The author shot himself in any legal foot he potentially had when he specifically added support for "Orcas" Express - a version of VS that isn't even out yet. To say publically that he had to add support means it wasn't working for some reason. That's all Microsoft legal needs to squash him like a bug. Or a grape.

Microsoft is out to make a profit. Anything that reduces sales for them is a thorn in their side to be removed. Going against Microsoft without billions of dollars in backing is about the stupidest thing anyone can do. Standing on principles alone is dumb - sure people are cheering, egging him on to go up against the software giant. But David was a slingshot expert when he went up against Goliath. That developer is winging it with almost no knowledge of the law - he'll have to be the luckiest person alive to just survive the onslaught that is coming let alone have any hope of winning. There is no backing out now either...he ensured himself of that when he included support for "Orcas" Express.

Let this be a lesson to all of you developers out there. Be smart. Don't do stupid stuff. Don't become the grape. Or if you do, figure out the fastest way to roll down the nearest storm drain to avoid being squished.

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