Microsoft vs TestDriven.NET - 31 May 2007

I have just received another courier delivered letter from Microsoft's lawyers. That makes a total of 3 letters in 4 working days! I can see how these things can get expensive very quickly.

r_alien Express31May2007

I'd like to highlight a couple of things in the letter.

many_months

They say that I have been in correspondence with Microsoft about these issues for many months. What they don't take into account is that in over a year of correspondence - Microsoft consistently refused to tell me which license I was allegedly in violation of.

For example on Feb 26, 2007 Jason Weber said:

Jamie, for the reasons we discussed at great length, we believe your
various extensions to the Visual Studio Express products necessarily
violated the relevant license terms. We don't think it's productive to
rehash those discussions.

We may have discussed this at great length, but I was never told what that the "relevant license terms" actually were! I only re-enabled Express support when Microsoft yet again failed to tell me where I was in violation. A straight answer with something I could tell my users would have resolved this.

take_down

I'm not sure where on my website this was suggested. It's possible that they're referring  to one of the comments on the last post. They do however bring up an interesting point. The license attached to their first letter was the one for "Visual Studio 2005 Standard and Academic Editions". It didn't matter that the license wasn't the Express SKU license because the wording is the same. What if it turns out that the reason I can't add buttons to Express SKU also applies to Visual Studio 2005? I would then be forced to take down TestDriven.NET entirely. What if it also means I can't use PopFly Explorer for Visual Studio Express? :-(

Update: In the comments I've been asked to post my reply to Microsoft's lawyers.
Update: I have just authorized all comments after being offline for the weekend (a wedding in Scotland). Comment moderation is on to prevent spam. I do not censor comments as has been suggested.

Published Thursday, May 31, 2007 6:32 PM by Jamie Cansdale

Comments

# re: Microsoft vs TestDriven.NET - 31 May 2007

Just because they don't offer unit testing in their Express product doesn't mean that you can't. If Microsoft won't tell you which parts you violate, screw em. If they keep giving you flak, let me know and I'll point it out on my blog. Microsoft needs to do a better job reigning in their lawyers.

Thursday, May 31, 2007 6:48 PM by Robert McLaws

# re: Microsoft vs TestDriven.NET - 31 May 2007

Fight the evil empire to the last man!

Thursday, May 31, 2007 7:41 PM by Lars

# re: Microsoft vs TestDriven.NET - 31 May 2007

Jamie,

You are always welcome to the world of open source. We have more friendly licenses.

I just don't understand how microsoft thinks it can stay relevant as long as it is abusing it users and development community. Wake up! They are your customers and allies!

Good luck,

Jack.

Thursday, May 31, 2007 7:50 PM by Jack

# re: Microsoft vs TestDriven.NET - 31 May 2007

@Jack - GPL -- Friendly???

Thursday, May 31, 2007 9:07 PM by Brian

# re: Microsoft vs TestDriven.NET - 31 May 2007

You can't win a legal fight with Microsoft. You'll probably be out of business before it even goes to court, because the legal fees will bankrupt you. In addition, your income (TestDriven.NET) will go down massively, because who wants to buy from a small company that is in a legal fight with Microsoft? No one wants to buy from a company that will be gone in a few months. Also, the intellectual property to your program is owned by your company. If you lose the fight, Microsoft might just take the IP over and shelf it away, and then you won't have access and can't use a single line of code of it anymore.

Fighting this is a huge risk for you, probably one that will cause your company and product to die. Is a fight over principles really worth that?

I would get your lawyer to send Microsoft's lawyer a letter which says that you'll sign if you get a letter stating that your product is not violating the EULA for the non-Express SKUs for VS 2005 and Orcas.

Thursday, May 31, 2007 10:08 PM by Patrick Schmid

# re: Microsoft vs TestDriven.NET - 31 May 2007

Wow, this is getting /.-style pathetic. It's illegal to install XP on a quad core machine, but I'm sure there is a registry hack to make it work (same HAL as 2003 server). Doesn't make it any more legal. Or I can turn the clock back on my sql server with the 120-day trial version, and have it work, but again - not legal, but it doesn't say in the EULA that you can't. why is this different? Just' cos the EULA - and if you didn't use the express SKU to write this, that EULA doesn't apply to you anyway - doesn't say you can't do, doesn't mean you can when it says elsewhere - eg the MS website - that you can't do it. Sorry, zero sympathy on this one. Seems like a battle which, if you win, you gain nearly nothing (I'd guess that more than 99% of your customers use non-express SKU's), and if you lose - or lawyers get involved at all - you lose fairly bigtime, financially. Having an angry (/.-style) mob behind you doesn't count for much when it comes to pay the lawyers bills :) Anyway.....

Thursday, May 31, 2007 10:30 PM by Nic Wise

# re: Microsoft vs TestDriven.NET - 31 May 2007

I can see how they wouldn't want that functionality in the express edition, since it provides such a rich set of features. They are trying to make money, after all.

But that's all, and I don't like their original tone. The first set of letters you posted from them made me think (from a very fast read) that they were demanding that Testdriven.NET go away. At least they're saying that's not the case now.

IMO they should have offered to hire you - I like TestDriven.NET better than their built-in test tools anyway.

Thursday, May 31, 2007 11:14 PM by M

# re: Microsoft vs TestDriven.NET - 31 May 2007

This is just nuts.

Microsoft once again missing the point and alienating even their hard core supporters.

I hope you have access to good lawyers.

The evil empire strikes again.

Friday, June 1, 2007 12:58 AM by pieter

# re: Microsoft vs TestDriven.NET - 31 May 2007

Maybe you shouldn't have displayed the letters without permission, but it's in your entire right to support express editions.

(maybe unless they can show some valid license term you're violating, yet that seems to be unlikely).

I do like Microsoft technology, but their lawyers are really ruining that image.

Friday, June 1, 2007 1:08 AM by sukru

# re: Microsoft vs TestDriven.NET - 31 May 2007

The problem is that visual studio 2007 will have its own testing solution. They are just protecting their property. Its a sad world. Once there was the NDOC project. That was also reimplemented by microsoft dudes. Now that project is more or less dead and the version from microsoft isn't that much better.

It's not like you are redistributing express, you just provide a download which has a feature like adding certain stuff to the express. Maybe you should make an EULA, that the end user is aware of the situation, and you wont hold any legal responsibility once someone installs it :) Its a lot easier to attack a single host than all the users you have!

cheers!

Friday, June 1, 2007 3:02 AM by zproxy

# re: Microsoft vs TestDriven.NET - 31 May 2007

It's starting to look like you're refusing to comply out of spite and to see how far they'll take it. Perhaps now would be a good time to cave in? If they take you to court, they'll win.

If you want your peers to be able to continue using TD.NET with VS Express then open source it and wash your hands of it. If you want to continue 'owning' it, just drop Express support.

I don't like the way they have tried to push you around, but refusing to fix this isn't hurting Jason Weber and friends. It's only going to end up hurting you.

Friday, June 1, 2007 3:37 AM by Rik Hemsley

# re: Microsoft vs TestDriven.NET - 31 May 2007

"I don't like the way they have tried to push you around, but refusing to fix this isn't hurting Jason Weber and friends. It's only going to end up hurting you."

Trust me, it will hurt them badly. Bashing a respected member of the developer community, and that community is what MS needs BADLY, isn't going to give MS extra credit, on the contrary. Perhaps this Jason Weber isn't going to lose any sleep over it, but it's not about mr. Weber.

It's also not that the community will suddenly implode. However this case is a landmark case of how normal software written by a normal developer can suddenly be your own nightmare because some big-corp finds that it has to go. That's something we individual developers shouldn't and can't let go by, we have to do something about this, because eventually we run the risk of being in Jamie's position.

Friday, June 1, 2007 4:07 AM by FransBouma

# re: Microsoft vs TestDriven.NET - 31 May 2007

When teaching someone how to program, I can not imagine getting them to write code without unit tests.  TestDriven.Net lets unit test be done in a painless way, without it Visual Studio Express is not very useful for someone leaning how to program.  Do you wish to drive everyone that cares about unit testing to Java (with it’s free extendable tools)?

I am a developer that has worked with C# for the last few years, before that I worked with MFC and I have always been positive about Microsoft; I am also a Microsoft share holder.  However given the unreasonable way Microsoft has tied to use its unlimited legal budget to attach Jamie Cansdale I now understand way so many developers hate Microsoft.  

Is it safe for me as a developer without a large legal department to work with Microsoft technology?    (It will cost a lot more then I am paid in a month just to get a legal person to explain to me what one of the Microsoft licences means.)

Friday, June 1, 2007 4:42 AM by Ian Ringrose

# re: Microsoft vs TestDriven.NET - 31 May 2007

"Is it safe for me as a developer without a large legal department to work with Microsoft technology?  "

Nail on the head.

Friday, June 1, 2007 6:44 AM by FransBouma

# re: Microsoft vs TestDriven.NET - 31 May 2007

I don't understand something here.  You wrote a tool that can be used in VS Express.  VS Express has a license that prohibits the users of that tool from attempting to overcome any of it's limitations:

"...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 certain ways... You may not work around any technical limitations in the software."

So, aren't the users of VS Express that install your tool the real violators of the license agreement as written, and not the creator of the tool?  Unless, of course, you wrote your tool in VS Express.

Friday, June 1, 2007 10:54 AM by James Baker

# re: Microsoft vs TestDriven.NET - 31 May 2007

@Frans - It is perfectly safe for me as developer, because Microsoft will spend countless hours of management time letting me know if I am in violation, long before any legal action is taken.

Friday, June 1, 2007 11:10 AM by Joe Brinkman

# re: Microsoft vs TestDriven.NET - 31 May 2007

@Joe: No it's not. Not if you do things which aren't in violation of anything, thus when you're NOT copying/cracking/doing something clearly illegal.

What then? You still obey? Then the world has become a world where corporates dictate the law. Perhaps in the US they do, but not in Europe.

Friday, June 1, 2007 1:00 PM by FransBouma

# re: Microsoft vs TestDriven.NET - 31 May 2007

Switch to Open Source. I did.

Microsoft's latest round of turning the screws (Vista, hardware requirements, licensing changes for their server products, etc.) means that I can spend almost any amount of time necessary to switch a client to Open Source, and they'll *STILL* get a ROI of a year, maybe two at the most.

So far I haven't found any CEO, CFO or CTO that can come up with a good reason to not switch.

The chances of the Apache group suing me because I wrote something cool that works with Apache are exceedingly slim.

Terry

Terry

Friday, June 1, 2007 1:00 PM by Terry Carmen

# re: Microsoft vs TestDriven.NET - 31 May 2007

"Is it safe for me as a developer without a large legal department to work with Microsoft technology?  "

Obviously not...

Put that paypal button up!

/Jonas

Friday, June 1, 2007 1:07 PM by Jonas

# re: Microsoft vs TestDriven.NET - 31 May 2007

I'd say just take the whole thing down (or better yet, go talk to SharpDevelop about an add on) - if Microsoft doesn't want good people developing good things for their products, they should reap what they sow.

Friday, June 1, 2007 1:23 PM by rob

# re: Microsoft vs TestDriven.NET - 31 May 2007

If you dine with the devil, prepare to be poisoned. It's hardly esoteric knowledge that Microsoft wraps everything up in legal knots and ribbons, and in using their technologies you need to be prepared.

I really hope Jamie wins this one and helps slay another tiny part of the dragon, but unfortunately I don't see it ending that way.. :( (When it comes to companies with lots of money, right rarely prevails over money.)

Friday, June 1, 2007 1:56 PM by Peter Cooper

# re: Microsoft vs TestDriven.NET - 31 May 2007

From "A Microsoft friend" above:

"Part of the deal is that the Express editions do not allow extensibility, either technically (without working around some gaps) or legally (that's what the EULA states). You can agree or disagree with that, but you can't deny that it's the right of Microsoft to choose the terms under which a free tool like this can be used."

That's not really true. The legality of EULAs is muddy at best, and unenforceable at worst. Microsoft should protect their software and remove elements of it that enable violations to take place.. which, curiously, Microsoft demands of Jamie (in the request to remove the registry activation technique)!

It is fair of Microsoft to not support trial versions of their products or to offer warranties for versions that have been manipulated in any way, but legally enforcing against a technique that doesn't involve reverse engineering or actual copyright infringement is disingenuous.

If Nissan, Toyota, or any other car company decided to legally threaten car modders, it would be seen as a nonsense.. and that's how a lot of us view this case. If you're just using what's on offer, then there's no argument of ethics.. so Microsoft should put up or shut up and prevent these features from being activated without reverse engineering being necessary.

Friday, June 1, 2007 2:08 PM by Peter Cooper

# re: Microsoft vs TestDriven.NET - 31 May 2007

Imagine General Motors attempting to limit what you can and cannot do to a car you bought from them. You bought the Vega ... no you cannot work on the engine. Ohh .. you bought the Corvette .. sure you can do anything you want to improve it.

I dont care if they offered the software for free ... it does not change the argument.

Friday, June 1, 2007 2:11 PM by toledo

# re: Microsoft vs TestDriven.NET - 31 May 2007

I agree.  You're not in violation of the EULA, assuming you haven't installed it on your copy of Express (and if you have, remove it to be in compliance).

This is like building a car and someone uses it to drive drunk.  It's not your fault that they broke the law.

Apple makes a mighty fine ripper for iTunes.  Are they in violation of any copyright laws?  No.  Am I?  Maybe.

It's all the user.

Friday, June 1, 2007 2:49 PM by Dillon Pyron

# re: Microsoft vs TestDriven.NET - 31 May 2007

Microsoft technologies are always club-shaped.  Jamie, just dump 'em.  You'll be happier.

Friday, June 1, 2007 3:02 PM by Jim S.

# re: Microsoft vs TestDriven.NET - 31 May 2007

What if you terminate your EULA with VS Express, and compile the plugin with mono, or some other C# compiler?

Then you can't be in violation of an EULA you've never used. Better still, get someone else to compile it.

Silly Microsoft. They haven't realised that Eclipse, which is free, is a better development environment than Visual Studio. They still think it's 1997 and VS is 'teh biz'. It's actually pretty poor by modern standards.

Friday, June 1, 2007 3:45 PM by Nigel M

# re: Microsoft vs TestDriven.NET - 31 May 2007

M$: Our Legal Action letters with blot out the sun. TD: Then we shall bicker in the DARK!!

Friday, June 1, 2007 5:01 PM by Johnny

# re: Microsoft vs TestDriven.NET - 31 May 2007

I have to agree with Steve. What this has shown is that Microsoft needs to improve their handling of these issues. They should have been clear and upfront from the start. I fully agree with Microsoft having such a clause in the EULA. This debacle is a no-brainer.

Friday, June 1, 2007 5:04 PM by Marcel

# re: Microsoft vs TestDriven.NET - 31 May 2007

I don't believe EULAs are legally binding. I avoid reading them. I do not violate copyright laws, nor do I violate contractual obligations, but EULAs that do not require a written signature are not legal contracts. They are nothing. No large software company that makes use of EULAs wants them tested in court, because when they lose then no one would be fooled by EULAs any more. Everyone would know they are meaningless. This looks like a job for Groklaw...

Friday, June 1, 2007 5:52 PM by Ron

# re: Microsoft vs TestDriven.NET - 31 May 2007

Jamie, I cannot possibly see how you are in any way breaking the law. MS is bullying you because they have a problem with the value you are adding for the Express package. Hang in there.

Friday, June 1, 2007 7:38 PM by tilsammans

# re: Microsoft vs TestDriven.NET - 31 May 2007

The fact that Microsoft took a while to pinpoint to you which term you may be in breach of is immaterial. In fact they could have just started with the first letter. Also nothing in the email trail appears to prejudice their case. You accepted the terms and the terms preclude workarounds of any technical limitations. Not sure though if "workaround" includes extensions. However your extension appears to be predicated on a workaround. The argument that the workaround is based on a published API (that is not a hack) is also immaterial. I would just remove the support of Express from your product and let your customers know that them re-enabling your extension in Express may breach MS terms. Not sure you have to physically take away the code though; but just disable it to the extent that MS disables it's code. A disabled code piece is not a workaround or extension. Once you have complied to avert legal action, you may want to seek advice and consider legal action against MS and ask for damages. Your case may hinge on what happened before you re-enabled support for Express. the above is non-expert opinion only.

Friday, June 1, 2007 8:44 PM by Chris S

# re: Microsoft vs TestDriven.NET - 31 May 2007

Give in, Jamie. Kneel before great Microsoft and they may yet forgive you. Repent of your hideous sins and find redemption. Maybe they will buy you out. Maybe they will restore to you the privilege of adding value to their products for nothing. Don't listen to the open source people. They just want to use your code to violate Microsoft IP. First the Linux nerds, now you. What's a poor multibilliondollar monopoly supposed to do?

Friday, June 1, 2007 9:08 PM by GPL MONKEY

# re: Microsoft vs TestDriven.NET - 31 May 2007

The car modder comments above are dumb. Ford and GM don't give something away. The same people that think this is ok are the same people who buy mods to get free channels on satellite or cable. Its technically possible, oh...lets find that in the eula. You know its wrong, don't BS. Lastly, its just a matter of time before open source projects run into this very same problem of people not adhering to the spirit of of the license. Just wait.

Saturday, June 2, 2007 12:35 AM by JJ

# re: Microsoft vs TestDriven.NET - 31 May 2007

According to the latest update from the MS guy, TestDriven.NET injects itself into VS Express's process after it's running. Now, ___if___ that is true, then yeah it surely sounds like 'working around a technical limitation' to me. I love TestDriven.NET and would really hate to see anything happen to it. Please disable the Express functionality!

Saturday, June 2, 2007 3:16 AM by Mark

# re: Microsoft vs TestDriven.NET - 31 May 2007

In addition, the language used in the clause 'You may not work around any technical limitations in the software.' is vague in it's meaning and applicability. Does this mean that I cannot follow any work arounds provided for bugs in visual studio? What is the context that this applies.

Saturday, June 2, 2007 4:51 AM by Skwr

# re: Microsoft vs TestDriven.NET - 31 May 2007

My understanding Jamie released a version of his product that just happens to work with Express. He didn't do any special reverse-engineering; if MS doesn't want add-ins enabled in Express, why don't they just disable add-in integration? Unless Jamie wrote special code to make this work with Express, I don't see how this is his problem.

Saturday, June 2, 2007 11:27 AM by Al

# re: Microsoft vs TestDriven.NET - 31 May 2007

Wouldnt making testdriven.net free for Express solve the problem microsoft has. Just release a separate edition which is free and runs only on VS Express. Having read all the emails it looks like their main problem is that customers that have addons are complaining why they cant sell their products for Express. If TD.net is free for express I believe the problem will dissapear.

Saturday, June 2, 2007 1:14 PM by yavor

# re: Microsoft vs TestDriven.NET - 31 May 2007

According to the Olswang web-site (the MS mercenaries here) their slogan is "The best way to solve a problem is with an open mind". Perhaps _this_ is what they should advise their client. Legalities are, unfortunately, not about (moral) right or wrong, but trying to diminish the value of VS Express is in my opinion not even in Microsofts best interest. TDD is taught everywhere, and trying to exclude the Express users will only drive the students and hobbyists that the Express SKU caters for into the Java camp.

Sunday, June 3, 2007 6:18 PM by Per Hejndorf

# re: Microsoft vs TestDriven.NET - 31 May 2007

I was sad to hear of Microsoft’s lawyers attacking you. The average developer does not have the kind of legal expertise to navigate through complicated licenses and my gut feeling has been expressed by many above: you’re ok, except I think add something to your license so users know that they may be in violation of the license if they install with VS Express. This alone won’t necessary help if Microsoft persists. It’s of course Microsoft’s right to specify their own license terms but in this case due to VS’s pervasiveness as a development platform and the fact that the product in general is for developers, I believe a strong case can be made that at least Microsoft needs to write a clearer license agreement. I love using Visual Studio and I just don’t see how Microsoft is helping itself by creating bad feelings among its core developer community. We are at a stage when developers have a real pressure to follow the open source community – the pressure is real and Microsoft risks loosing a hold on a core supporting constituency. Now Google is starting to put development tools on the PC and with their championing of open source technologies (eg inviting the hero Linus to speak to them), it’s a no brainer that developers will start moving towards Google. Once that happens Microsoft will be in serious danger – the problems from competing in search will pale in comparison to loosing the developer support to Google. So now we see Microsoft bashing a decent developer like Jamie and that just isn’t right.

   Jamie, my advice for you is to try and raise your concerns with some key managers at Microsoft because I’m seeing evidence that the giant may have communication problems within the organization. The managers of several Microsoft products seem like decent guys so it’s possible they have no idea what the legal team is doing. Try and ask a renowned lawyer with experience in these kind of cases to do the case pro bono. If not, do not fight them with your own resources but re-strategize – invest those resources in improving the product or starting a new one. In any case, the kind of users seriously interested in good unit testing tools will purchase VS professional edition so just re-focus on improving the service to your core market.

Monday, June 4, 2007 11:06 AM by Stephen

# re: Microsoft vs TestDriven.NET - 31 May 2007

Firstly, everybody needs to stop saying that "the lawyers" are doing this.  The lawyers don't blink their eyes without management approval.  This whole spat is a decision made by M$ management.  Blaming the lawyers ro this is like blaming the foot soldiers for the war.

Next, I also agree that it's the Jamie and the TD.NET user's own damn fault for getting into bed with M$.  If you use .NET and the VS tools, you have halfway sold your soul.  If you don't want to kneel down and kiss Billy's ring, then you don't be trying to add value to his product line.

Monday, June 4, 2007 1:30 PM by B.E.

# re: Microsoft vs TestDriven.NET - 31 May 2007

Jamie,

It may hurt you to do this, and I'm sure you're proud of the work you've done on testdriven.net, but I would strongly urge you to let Microsoft have their way and abandon this product.

I would further advise you to get a Mac, pick up a copy of Aaron Hillegass's excellent introductory text on Cocoa programming, and abandon .NET.  Once you've spent a week or so with Cocoa, you'll see just how badly Microsoft fell short of the system they were trying to copy.

-jcr

Tuesday, June 5, 2007 12:38 AM by John C. Randolph

# re: Microsoft vs TestDriven.NET - 31 May 2007

At the end of the day, I bet their goal is to  bring you in and extend the functionality of Visual Studio.  Give you a fancy title, a 90k+/yr job, so they can ship 100k more units based on your ideas and concepts.  Ideas and concepts that are worth $10M+ in revenue.

MSFT did this with Sun, RealNetworks, Apple, IBM, SAP, and the entire Partner Program too.  Beware!

Tuesday, June 5, 2007 7:51 AM by Michael Scott

# re: Microsoft vs TestDriven.NET - 31 May 2007

Somehow i hope you'd either :

- License under GPL or similar (Creativ Commons), the public can be your witness then ...

- Ask Microsoft a whole lot of money for providing additional functionality to their beloved Visual Studio, after of course making enough legal protections to make any girls nipples harder then a rock ... in fact right now they're about to make you suck something that belongs to them ...

- Start using a different C/C++ development platform

Tuesday, June 5, 2007 8:12 AM by Joris Lambrecht

# re: Microsoft vs TestDriven.NET - 31 May 2007

It looks like your heart is in the right place Jamie. :)

Microsoft (or more appropriate, those who represent Microsoft) could have been clear from the start. Why weren't they!!??

Clarity from Microsoft would have made this situation easy to resolve. You showed them respect and dedication and they showed you how much they value their customers.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007 9:09 AM by Mark A

# re: Microsoft vs TestDriven.NET - 31 May 2007

Did Jamie sign or click through an Express EULA? If no, then just ignore the MSFT letters. There is no agreement or licence. Second, did he violate the EULA? No? Then just let them fire off more paper. He can always just refuse to attend any court hearing: unless they take a case in the UK, they have no power over him. Finally, the issue is not with Jamie, but with his limited company. Even if they win a judgement, and even if they are able to enforce it in the UK courts, what does that get them? A slice of nothing, especially if in the meantime the company goes over to a LGPL licence for the software and then goes into voluntary liquidation. This reminds me so much of the McLibel trial, even if they win they lose.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007 10:02 AM by Kay Tie

# re: Microsoft vs TestDriven.NET - 31 May 2007

Good luck mate, reading the correspondance it looks like you've been more than reasonable throughout but Microsoft have just kept responding with the line "you're not allowed to do it, don't ask us why, you're just not".

Exactly the same happened to me when I got in touch with MS to find out if I could run XP Pro OEM under a virtual machine on Linux.  XP's licenced for one computer so I'm still running it on that computer, but I'm running vmware too.

MS constantly stated that I was not allowed to do this, and that it would be in violation of the EULA.  However despite constant pressing they would never mention any specific part of the EULA I was in violation of, and reading the EULA myself I could see nothing.

It looks like the same thing's happening here.  An oversight on their part allows you to do something they don't want to happen, and they're doing their best to stop it, although you are completely within your rights.

If this was in violation of a licence agreement I'd have expected them to simply quote the relevant lines and explain why you're not allowed to do it.  Instead they ignore that part of the question and just repeat the statement that you're not allowed, without making any attempt to back it up.  When that fails they resort to threatening with their lawyers, again without any definate statement as to exactly what clause you are violating.

In my eyes that's a pretty sure sign that they have no standing to back that up.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007 10:14 AM by Ross

# re: Microsoft vs TestDriven.NET - 31 May 2007

I hope you have great legal representation because all of your correspondence leading up to your court case doesn't mean squat (no matter how hard you sell it to us).  Only you and your attorney (and M$) actually know whether or not you are violating the EULA.

You do realize M$ is basically a Govt agency now, controlling a global macro-economy?  You do realize M$ works with a special Govt branch that watches to make sure M$ practice is not violating people like you.  

Yes, jasonweber is a jerkoff, but most of them are at M$ and you need accept it and move on.  The jasonwebers tend to survive @ M$ and the Jamie Cansdales don't. I know. I was a rebel at M$ when they wanted rebels.  I finally got pushed out by the jasonwebers.

You obviously want MVP status.  You are (were?) in, man, why are you *throwing it all away* to please a select few who use Express?  Just do what M$ wants and make some damn money.  Live the dream.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007 11:10 AM by al

# re: Microsoft vs TestDriven.NET - 31 May 2007

Jamie what you doing, is in my opinion, great. You are showing strength against monster MS. Don't give up and I'll build an altar for you!

Tuesday, June 5, 2007 5:59 PM by Luke

# re: Microsoft vs TestDriven.NET - 31 May 2007

We must set up a fund to finance your legal fees!

Tuesday, June 5, 2007 6:05 PM by Luke

# re: Microsoft vs TestDriven.NET - 31 May 2007

Have fun and hold on tight, you're in for an even bigger ride then last year.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007 10:01 PM by Dave

# re: Microsoft vs TestDriven.NET - 31 May 2007

There are two reasons Microsoft could believe you're in violation: 1. you are developing a commercial product *using* Microsoft Visual Express 2. you are developing a commercial product *for* Microsoft Visual Express In the first case, you will have accepted an EULA that says what you can use an Express edition for, and it probably forbids commercial use. In that case you would be clearly in the wrong. In the second case, I don't see how Microsoft can limit your legal right to release your own software. Perhaps there is something nasty in the EULA for the Standard, Professional, and Enterprise editions as well? The peeple here who briefly say Microsoft is in the right haven't pointed to the relevant section of the license agreement to prove their point.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007 10:15 PM by Mikel Ward

# re: Microsoft vs TestDriven.NET - 31 May 2007

Reading the email string seems like MS has some questions they never answered. How is the 1000 person manger unable to find explicit clauses in the License terms? The condescending attitudes especially at the beginning are really insulting. If this is what the developers think of us, VS users, perhaps we should be somewhere else and they can find another job insulting users. I look forward to a positive outcome for everyone. This issue has garnered way more attention than MS considered. Maybe that 10,000 person manager will get involved. Good luck, man!

Tuesday, June 5, 2007 10:19 PM by Stephen

# re: Microsoft vs TestDriven.NET - 31 May 2007

Jamie, As someone who's been in a similar position to you and after reading all the correspondence I really think you ought to back down. You're not going to win. You'll end up having to pay both yours and their lawyer fees plus damages, then Microsoft will never speak to you again. So my best advice would be to drop the Express support and send them an apology to try and make up. Even if you could win, you'll still end up with a broken relationship. Its just not worth it mate..

Tuesday, June 5, 2007 11:01 PM by giles

# re: Microsoft vs TestDriven.NET - 31 May 2007

From reading several letters, is the issue not that your providing an extension for a product which is not intended to be extended ?

Wednesday, June 6, 2007 4:32 AM by DecksTerrorT

# re: Microsoft vs TestDriven.NET - 31 May 2007

"Perhaps you could

take into account the contributions I didn't make as well as the ones

I did"

Absolute gold! Stick it to em!

Wednesday, June 6, 2007 4:42 AM by Bill G

# re: Microsoft vs TestDriven.NET - 31 May 2007

Hang in there mate. The crazy thing is that your work is actually adding value to something Microsoft is selling. Yes, they might be giving the cut-down version away for free, but the whole idea is to use it as a hook to encourage people to buy the complete package.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007 5:22 AM by Owen

# re: Microsoft vs TestDriven.NET - 31 May 2007

I don't understand how you can be expected to comply with the terms of the Express SKU when you (presumably) aren't even compiling the code with the Express SKU.

Couldn't you just build the tool with free code.  Wouldn't that make any irritation MS have completely irrelevant, or is it impossible to create these extensions without using Microsoft tools?

Wednesday, June 6, 2007 8:45 AM by kyb

# re: Microsoft vs TestDriven.NET - 31 May 2007

It appears most people don't understand what the value is that MS gets from their devel tools.  It is NOT the licensing fees for the development tools.

It is the increased sales and lock-in to their OS, Office, and server products made possible by thousands of developers using their free and good devel tools.  This attack dog legal strategy over the express skus is shooting themselves in the foot!

A Qt style licensing strategy would probably be   close to optimal.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007 9:17 AM by Jason Gurtz

# re: Microsoft vs TestDriven.NET - 31 May 2007

When once dealing with Americans and their lawyers I was once advised to in my replies deny every allegation they made in their letters unless I agreed with them, and to every time clearly restate my position. Leaving an allegation unchallenged is apparently pounced on by Americans as a supposed acceptance. It might also be good to ensure you have no ties to America that Microsoft can use to claim that the American courts have jurisdiction over you in case they feel like suing you...

Wednesday, June 6, 2007 9:58 AM by TK

# re: Microsoft vs TestDriven.NET - 31 May 2007

Jamie, remember that it's the owners responsibility to pursue legal action. Even if license says that you cannot make extensions they might allow all other extensions except your's. If you legally have to take down your extension it does not mean Microsoft will force all others too.

Basically, they have the right to tell you what to make of your add-on for their product.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007 10:33 AM by sYx66

# re: Microsoft vs TestDriven.NET - 31 May 2007

4pm has come and gone... any more visits from couriers?

Wednesday, June 6, 2007 11:03 AM by Tony

# re: Microsoft vs TestDriven.NET - 31 May 2007

so, the date (and time?) have passed now (atleast for us UKers :p ) any update from ms?

Wednesday, June 6, 2007 2:31 PM by VeNT

# re: Microsoft vs TestDriven.NET - 31 May 2007

Go tell that Weber guy to suck his own balls and not that of any EU citizens.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007 3:22 PM by Mr Stefan P

# re: Microsoft vs TestDriven.NET - 31 May 2007

Sorry about my last comment i meant swap to Linux and GPL. Those communities will embrace good programmers.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007 3:45 PM by Mr Stefan P

# re: Microsoft vs TestDriven.NET - 31 May 2007

Now you understand, after 16 years of working with Microsoft software and developers 2 yrs ago I was deemed too old fashioned for the Vista Age. I was dumped and now I'm back in school at the young age of 45, only this time its all UNIX/Linux and open source. I'm too old to be starting fresh but Microsoft and they're supporters could care less. Good luck my friend, your gonna need it.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007 4:06 PM by Andrew C.

# re: Microsoft vs TestDriven.NET - 31 May 2007

Post a Paypal button!

Wednesday, June 6, 2007 4:58 PM by Joe

# re: Microsoft vs TestDriven.NET - 31 May 2007

Exactly why i moved to Apple! I can't stand MS and its Bulls**t!!

Keep fighting Jamie!

Wednesday, June 6, 2007 7:23 PM by David Moore

# re: Microsoft vs TestDriven.NET - 31 May 2007

See if the eula violates the laws of your country, if it does the eula is invalid.

Thursday, June 7, 2007 1:04 PM by Commenter

# re: Microsoft vs TestDriven.NET - 31 May 2007

Hello Jamie

All though your intentions where good and you have created an excellent program, that makes the program much more user friendly and enhances its functionailty the original idea still came from "Visiual Studio". Owned, licened and trademarked by Microsoft Corperation.

If it wasn't for their original program in the beginning you would'nt have developed TestDriven.Net which is based on the same principles.

Yes your program offers more scalibility and maybe Microsoft should purchase your Hack's as a resolution to incorperate with their original plan. But assuming a gung ho atitutude over licensing issues that your bound to loose will be a costly one.

Microsoft Corperation has already taken provisions to ensure their tradmarks, licenses and products are heavily protected from cases just like this one.

So what makes you think - you can even stand a chance let alone a case to defend your rights in court. I would not listen to the others that have commented on this very topic telling you to take them to the mate, even with donation base support this can end up costing you millions, and they could even file suite for damages or lost revenue of their Visual Studio program due to your hacks, which alone can have a great bearing on a case of this magnatude.

Now Microsoft Corperation, filling legal suite is nothing to take lightly and I'am sure your not, but others commenting should consider the following – would you your self put up a fight for something of this nature?

I like other programmers here would like to see nothing more then the little guy winning against this corperate giant.  But in all reality Microsoft is a multi million dollar Franchise Word Wide!

The cost and expense alone could bary you for years, destroying your reputation and singling you out as an outcast with major corperations where your talents can be trully used.

Remember if you loose – which is a very high probability; the end results is the same, some corperations or development groups will not deal with you for threat of the same thing happening to them and its your name and reputation that you can end up loosing.

It is very sad that it has come to this, but its wiser to maybe consider their offer.

Friday, June 8, 2007 1:46 AM by Shawn DesRochers

# re: Microsoft vs TestDriven.NET - 31 May 2007

Jamie,

The last comment seems like it's from someone from Microsoft, and they're trying to convince you to give in. :D

I guess they also know that it costs a lot of money and wastes a lot of time to go to court, and they're still not sure if they'll win. If you give in, they win.

Sunday, June 10, 2007 6:15 PM by Stranger

# re: Microsoft vs TestDriven.NET - 31 May 2007

I read your e-mail conversation with Microsoft carefully.

You can't agree on giving up the integration on the one hand and behave the other way round some days later.

If I were Microsoft, I would have reacted the same way!

You will surly not win that process on curt!

Monday, June 11, 2007 8:16 AM by Markus

# re: Microsoft vs TestDriven.NET - 31 May 2007

@Markus: "You can't agree on giving up the integration on the one hand and behave the other way round some days later."

Read what I said carefully:

"I have therefore decided to drop support for the Express SKU, provided that we're able to draft an acceptable announcement for my users."

Did you see an "acceptable announcement" anywhere? For more commentary on this see Dare's post here:

www.25hoursaday.com/.../OnePerspectiveOnMicrosoftVsTestDrivenNET.aspx

Thursday, June 14, 2007 6:53 AM by Jamie Cansdale

# re: Microsoft vs TestDriven.NET - 31 May 2007

Keep on fighting the good fight, Jamie. I already was very sad when you first had to remove the Express support because I had to change all tutorials for my Rocket Commander game. Now in my book I had to tell the users how to do it in VS 2005 and implement an alternate way for Express. Your plugin just helps everyone, this whole argument is really stupid. Other plugins or external tools run fine too with Express (most don't however), no one cares for them.

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# re: Microsoft vs TestDriven.NET - 31 May 2007

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# re: Microsoft vs TestDriven.NET - 31 May 2007

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# re: Microsoft vs TestDriven.NET - 31 May 2007

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# re: Microsoft vs TestDriven.NET - 31 May 2007

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