There's been A LOT of discussion about Red-Gate's decision to start charging for .NET Reflector. For those of you tuning in, here's a really compressed history:
- Lutz Roeder created .NET Reflector many years ago (full history: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/.NET_Reflector)
- I venture to guess that the majority of professional .NET developers use the tool.
- Red-Gate bought Reflector in 2008 (I remember because I saw Neil Davidson at the Business of Software Conference in Boston and asked him about it).
- Reflector has been free, or had a free version available for its life thusfar.
- Red-Gate announced yesterday that they'd start charging for Reflector in March with no free version available (as far as I can tell). The price that replaces "free": $35.
- Lots of people are going apeshit about a tool that used to be free no longer being free.
That brings us up to speed. For some fascinating reading, check out the Red-Gate Reflector Forum. I'm being serious here. It isn't often that you get to see so many diverse thoughts, opinions, and expressions of outrage in one place. ANY marketing person, product manager, executive, or entrepreneur would be wise to read the forum posts and comments for a mixture of warnings, lessons, and insight into the community/customer mind.
For my part, I don't have a strong opinion about whether Red-Gate is right or wrong on this matter and that's actually not what this post is about. This post (like many other posts) is about behavior and action. While I can't make Reflector free for everyone, I figure I can make it free for 10 people. I've made enough money doing development work and consulting while using Reflector that $350 seems like a reasonable price for me to pay. At the same time, I know that there are lots of folks out there doing good work that can't pay $35.
Post a comment about why you want a copy of Reflector by Sunday, Februrary 6th. I'll pick 10 and buy each a $35 license of Reflector 7 upon its release.
If Red-Gate (or anyone else) should decide to match the offer, then the freebies go up from there.
UPDATE: Just got off the phone with Red-Gate and they've offered to match with 50 licenses (I'm still paying for the first 10 so I now have a total of 60 to give away). As such, I'm extending the deadline through Friday, February 11th.
FINAL UPDATE: I was pleasantly surprised when Red Gate initially offered the additional 50 licenses, but I was blown away when I talked to them again and they offered another 50 for a total of 100. Not only that, but they said that rather than wait for V7 to be released that they are going to be giving Reflector Pro licenses (the $95 one), which will convert to the Reflector VS license when version 7 is released! I'll be emailing the folks who get a license on Saturday 2/12 and Sunday 2/13. Licenses should arrive on Monday 2/14 or Tuesday 2/15. Thanks to everyone who commented! BTW, if you missed the cutoff I see that Dan Maharry is giving away Reflector 7 licenses on his blog.