Our Community?

I was interested to discover that some ex-MVPs were given notice when their award expired. I received no notice from from the award program. The first indication I had was when a download failed to resume when using my MVP MSDN account. I was on holiday in Paris with my girlfriend and was in the middle of downloading the Visual Studio 2005 Std SKU (she was not very happy).

The cynic in me suspects I was not notified in order to prevent questions being asked in a teleconference that had been scheduled. Whatever the reason - the broken download meant there wasn't going to be a new version TestDriven.NET released for a few weeks at least.

The first concrete evidence that I had not been re-awarded came when Jason Weber (who manages the Visual Studio Ecosystem product team) emailed me with the following:

As you know your MVP affiliation was not renewed this year. Based on
your current actions and community participation rate I can't award you
MVP status. I hope that you will harness your Visual Studio
extensibility passions and earn VSIP MVP status over the coming year by
integrating through public API's and supporting our community.

Also, I should let you know that almost everyone you and James Avery
have emailed work for me. My team is aware of our discussions and
they've been asked to direct your communications to me.

I can assure you that all APIs that I used are in fact public. What's more they are documented and have existed since Visual Studio 2002! The only person I emailed was my now ex-MVP lead Ben Miller. As far as I know, the only person James Avery had been in contact with was Josh Ledgard (way back in December). James was helping me find a way to prevent this from blowing up!

As I'm sure you can imagine - this one email destroyed any trust that had been established in our teleconference. Does anyone really expect me to join VSIP when the person who manages it treats his customers like this?


  • So, you weren't renewed because MS wasn't pleased you created a toolkit for vs.net express? So what Roy suggested was right?

    That would be a major blow for the MVP program and that would make the MVP program something I don't want to be associated with any longer. Microsoft shouldn't pick the people for the MVP award on business practises, but on how much they've done for the community.

  • I'm sure I speak for lots of people when I say that whether your an MVP or not, we still value the work you do and your insights and ideas very much.

    Keep up the good work....


  • I'm with Frans on this. I'm sure this is something being discussed in the private newsgroups right now (haven't checked but I'll start something if it hasn't already been).

    I find the email snippet you posted quite interesting:

    "Based on your current actions..."

    What? That you decided to offer a commercial version of a tool to try to make some money? That's ludicrious.

    Also as you said, your tool uses public APIs to hook in that have been there for years.

    It's going to be interesting to how this shakes out and don't be surprised if you might see an MVP or two denounce their own award (much like how Marlon Brando and George C. Scott turned down their Academy Awards in protest)

    BTW I have a post on my blog now about my feelings on the whole thing and I'm 100% behind you.

  • Who defines "Our Community"?

    I for one do not define the .Net community by how MS grants MVP status.

    While "what is good for Microsoft" is often "good for the community", they are by no means one and the same.

    (I am not aware of the details of whatever specific toolkit is being discussed)

    Creating something for little or no charge that provides the critical features that would lead an MS customer to move from a free product to a paid product is clearly not good for MS. But this same something could be very good for the community.

    Because the award is not based on purely technical abilities, unlike Frans, I see it as being fundamentally political.

  • I don't know all the ins and outs of what's happening here, but clearly something is amiss.

    If the MVP program doesn't reflect the following it's maybe it should be discontinued:

    1) Lifetime recognition for outstanding contribution, irrespective of whether the contribution stops for a short time or permanently.

    2) The courtesy to treat all participants as real worthwhile human beings and not send weird emails like that.

    It would be really interestring to see what happens to the career of Jason Weber.

  • This is puzzling. I’ve been developing Visual Studio plugins through the VSIP SDK for 5 years. Jason Weber is doing great things with the VSIP program and has reinvigorated partner labs. Last year he helped us debug command problems until 2:00 AM one morning. We couldn’t be happier with VSIP and Jason. What actions is he referring to Jamie?

  • Jason insisted that I remove Express SKU support because allegedly I was in violation of Microsoft's license agreements and copyrights. He refused to give any indication of where or even which license I was in violation of! I was also barred from joining VSIP until I gave in to their demands. This meant I wouldn't have been able to get a PLK to release some unrelated functionality that I had been working on.

    These are serious allegations and consequences. Surely it is reasonable to request some indication of where I was in violation. If I was accidentally in violation then, how could I be sure not to end up in a similar situation in future?

    At one point Jason recommended I make an announcement on my website that was in contradiction to everything I had been saying and believed. If I had made this announcement and removed Express SKU support, I suspect my actions would have been deemed acceptable.

  • Wow. This completely eradicates any sort of respect I had for the MVP program. Very disappointing to say the least!

  • I have some new information. I work for a VSIP partner and have been developing Visual Studio plugins for 5 years. I investigated and was also able to hack C# Express by using the host process to site myself and get QueryInterface. On Monday I had our business manager read the C# Express and VSIP agreements. Even though this is possible he doesn’t believe that Microsoft allows us to add plugins through either license. What license are you reading Jamie?

  • I have had lawyers look over the Express SKU and VS SDK licenses. They couldn't find anything that would put me in breach. There is nothing in the Express SKU license that explicitly (or even implicitly) dissallows extensions.

    When I asked Jason Weber for further information about where they thought I was in breach - he said, "You will need to work with your legal council to answer these
    questions". This was rather frustrating because I already had and they had come up blank!

  • Chris forwarded me your website. I’m not going to defend Microsoft but Weber’s actions seem appropriate based on the information on your website and my review of the C# Express License Agreement.

    No company is going to provide you legal advice because that weakens their footing. I would encourage your lawyer to investigate the implied consent and copyright language in the agreement. You don’t have a chance of winning this case. At least in California.

    Microsoft owns the software and you have to play by their rules. Just look at the recent press around Windows Vista file system locking and security features for reference.


  • "bad apples" have been rampant in MVP go/nogo decisions since the release of donet (and the killing of classic VB), at the very least

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