Red Gate has announced that .NET Reflector will no longer be free at the end of February 2011. According to an open letter by Neil Davidson, Red Gate’s co-CEO:
”Red Gate has announced that it will charge $35 for version 7 of .NET Reflector upon its release in early March. Version 7 will be sold as a perpetual license, with no time bomb or forced updates.
As many of you know, our original intention was to maintain .NET Reflector as a free tool. But, after two-and-a-half years of providing it without charge, we realized that we could not make the free model work. We know that this will cause pain for some people in the .NET community, and we apologize for the change in policy.
As a commercial company, we need to charge at least a nominal amount to keep .NET Reflector up-to-date and relevant. Without revenue coming in, we cannot dedicate a team of developers to ensure that Reflector remains a valuable part of .NET developers’ toolboxes.”
There is nothing wrong with a commercial business trying to make money. That’s the whole point of being a for-profit company. But this move does represent a betrayal of the original vision of .NET Reflector’s creator, Lutz Roeder:
“Red Gate will continue to provide the free community version and is looking for your feedback and ideas for future versions.”
In an ideal world, Red Gate would honor Roeder’s vision and forever maintain a free community version. But Roeder sold away his rights, and Red Gate has to make money to remain in business. All things considered, a one-time $35 fee is not that expensive for such a useful tool, so I will become a paying customer.
There is always a little sting when a free product or website goes commercial. But if the .NET community has a problem with it, then we need to build and release our own open-source reflector.
Article published on February 4, 2011
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