Much has been said recently about Red Gate's community involvement and commitment to the DotNet community. Much of this has been unduly negative.
Before you start throwing stones and spewing obscenities, consider some additional facts:
- Red Gate's software is actually very good. I have worked on many projects where Red Gate's software was instrumental in finishing successfully.
- Red Gate is VERY good to the community. I have spoken at many user groups and code camps where Red Gate has been a sponsor. Red Gate consistently offers up money to pay for the venue or food, and they will often give away licenses as door prizes. There are many such community events that would not take place without Red Gate's support. All I have ever seen them ask for is to have their products mentioned or be listed as a sponsor. They don't insist on anyone following a specific script. They don't monitor how their products are showcased. They let their products speak for themselves.
- Red Gate sponsors the Simple Talk web site. I publish there regularly. Red Gate has never exerted editorial pressure on me. No one has ever told me we can't publish this unless you mention Red Gate products. No one has ever said, you need to say nice things about Red Gate products in order to be published. They have told me, "you need to make this less academic, so you don't alienate too many readers. "You need to actually write an introduction so people will know what you are talking about". "You need to write this so that someone who isn't a reflection nut will follow what you are trying to say." In short, they have been good editors worried about the quality of the content and what the readers are likely to be interested in.
For me personally, Red Gate and Simple Talk have both been excellent to work with.
As for the developer outrage…
I am a little embarrassed by so much of the response that I am seeing. So much of the complaints remind me of little children whining "but you promised"
Semantics aside. A promise is just a promise. It's not like they "pinky sweared". Sadly no amount name calling or "double dog daring" will change the economics of the situation.
Red Gate is not a multibillion dollar corporation. They are a mid size company doing the best they can. Without a doubt, their pockets are not as deep as Microsoft's. I honestly believe that they did try to make the "freemium" model work. Sadly it did not.
I have no doubt that they intended for it to work and that they tried to make it work. I also have no doubt that they labored over making this decision. This could not have been an easy decision to make.
Many people are gleefully proclaiming a massive backlash against Red Gate swearing off their wonderful products and promising to bash them at every opportunity from now on. This is childish behavior that does not represent professionals. This type of behavior is more in line with bullies in the school yard than professionals in a professional community.
Now for my own prediction…
This back lash against Red Gate is not likely to last very long. We will all realize that we still need their products. We may look around for alternatives, but realize that they really do have the best in class for every product that they produce, and that they really are not exorbitantly priced. We will see them sponsoring Code Camps and User Groups and be reminded, "hey this isn't such a bad company".
On the other hand, software shops like Red Gate, will remember this back lash and give a second thought to supporting open source projects. They will worry about getting involved when an individual wants to turn over control for a product that they developed but can no longer support alone. Who wants to run the risk of not being able to follow through on their best intentions.
In the end we may all suffer, even the toddlers among us throwing the temper tantrum, "BUT YOU PROMISED!"
Before anyone asks or jumps to conclusions, I do not get paid by Red Gate to say any of this. I have often written about their products, and I have long thought that they are a wonderful company with amazing products. If they ever open an office in the SE United States, I will be one of the first to apply.