What happened to TestDriven.NET 1.0?

In the comments "A" says:

To be honest, I'm with Microsoft on this one. It seems to me that the four salient events were:

Jamie releases TestDriven.NET free for everyone to use
Jamie is made an MVP
Jamie then makes TestDriven.NET non-free
Jamie's MVP status is removed

Personally I think it was very bad behavior, taking a free product and starting to charge for it. (Most other products that have developed along similar lines continue with the free base product and charge for 'Professional' or 'Enterprise' editions with extra features.) Starting to charge for a product the community supported and advocated is like a slap in the face for that community, and I can see why Microsoft don't want the MVP badge to be associated with that. It could be that they don't want to give visibility to a product that competes with a small portion of TFS, or it could be that (as Roy Osherove says) they don't like him introducing features to the Express editions, but I think that they just don't like the way he treated his community of users. Now there's no indication there ever was a free version, and although you can download the latest version you're expected to pay for it unless you're a trial user, a student or an open-source developer. If you object to the new licensing, there's no way to download the previous, free version that doesn't have the new licensing terms. Please note that I don't object to paying for software, and I don't think the asking price of $95 is too much. What I object to is the 'bait and switch' approach of getting a community advocating a free product and then robbing the community of that free product.

There is only one reason that TestDriven.NET 1.0 is not available for download. Believe me I don't want to be in the precarious position where I only have a pre-release version of my product available. There are many companies that won't touch pre-release software, no matter how stable it may be! As far as these companies are concerned I don't even have a 1.0 version!

You can see from the screenshot below why I removed it:

When I was developing TestDriven.NET 1.0, I didn't have an MSDN account. My primary job was as a Java consultant. Working on TestDriven.NET was something I did between consultancy gigs as a hobby. While Visual Studio 2005 was being developed, the Express SKUs were released to the general public before the Team Suite betas. As a hobbyist .NET developer it was only natural that I use and track changes in the Express SKUs. It took me about a day to have TestDriven.NET working again when beta 2 came out.

Last year when I was made an MVP, I did have access to Visual Studio 2005 Team Suite. This is when support for Team Suite's code coverage was added. When Jason Weber and my then MVP lead Ben Miller requested that I remove support for the Express SKU, I was very conscious that I was still a hobbyist .NET developer. The only reason I had access to Team Suite was because of my MVP status. I thought dropping support for the Express SKU without a good explanation would be a betrayal to other hobbyist developers (especially if the reason for dropping it was to keep my MVP award!)

Removing the TestDriven.NET 1.0 download had absolutely nothing to do with removing the free version. In fact the license for TestDriven.NET 1.0 is very similar to the license for TestDriven.NET 2.0 Personal. You can use them for free if you wish, but you can't redistribute either of them. I do request that people using TestDriven.NET on commercial projects buy a professional license. Enterprise licenses are only required if you are redistributing TestDriven.NET inside your organization. I think it's a little unfair to call this 'bait and switch'.


  • IMO, your terms for TestDriven.NET are totally, completely reasonable. You wrote it, you own it, you can charge for it if you want to. Going the extra mile and letting people like students and OS developers use it for free is awesome.

    As a member of the community, I can say quite honestly that for me, nothing about what you did is a slap in the face. Quite to the contrary I understand fully why you did things the way you did.

    If the tool is worth $95 to me under the scenarios where free use isn't supported, I'll pay it.

  • Jamie, for what it is worth, you have my support. You have a great product and it is only fair to charge for it.

  • I disagree with A's post as well. You have two karma-friendly options to pay or the non-karma friendly option to not pay ... That is way more than most people give.

    If TestDriven.NET 2.0 supports VS 2002 and VS 2003, I don't even understand the need for TestDriven.NET 1.0.

  • I do not understand what all of the fuss is about. If you make money while using TestDriven, share a little. I tried it and loved it. I got my team trying it also. In the end we bought it because it helped us and as such we should pay for it as the license was intended. At home I am a student and I am working on open source projects from which I derive no monetary recompense; as a result I use the personal at home. This is an amazingly flexible model and it allows for great improvements in productivity. Thanks for an amazing tool.

  • I totally disagree with anyone who feels you are obligated to continue offering your product under the same license, or that you must continue to provide old versions. Plenty of vendors have changed the licensing terms of their products, including changes in pricing from release to release. This is a normal practice in the software community, and should not be any different because you decided to offer initial versions for free.

    I also don't think Microsoft should ask you to cripple your product because it provides a feature for their Express SKUs which they chose not to provide themselves. As long as you did not violate the license agreement for the Express products then you should be free to develop your product to serve your community, not to serve Microsoft Marketing.

  • Well, now that you lost the MVP status will you enable the express versions again?


  • Cry me a river.

    You're making money off this product now. Buy your own MSDN subscription. Or are you finding that your business model wasn't quite as mature as you thought it was?

    p.s. I use TD.net almost daily and really appreciate the hard work you put into this product. This is just a small dose of tough love.

  • I don't mind buying my own MSDN subscription now that I'm a professional .NET developer. What I object to is Microsoft attempting to use the MVP program to coerce an MVP into removing features from their product.

  • Now that you are not a MVP can we have support for "Express" back? If Microsoft gives you any problems, just talk to the EU about antitrust!

    Can we get some of the news papers to cover this?

  • It wasn't the MVP issue that persuaded me to drop support for Express. Microsoft made it very clear that I wouldn't be accepted into the VSIP program unless I dropped support for the Express SKU.

    Unfortunately the only way to get a PLK (package load key) is by joining VSIP. If I was barred from joining VSIP then I wouldn't be able to release some functionality that I had been working on. For the moment I have decided not to join VSIP, however I do need to keep the option open.

    This is what Jason said:

    "As we have discussed on multiple occasions your hacks to integrate TestDriven.Net into Visual Studio 2005 Express violate Microsoft license terms and we ask that you stop distributing these hacks."

    "You will not be accepted into the VSIP program until you conform to our license agreements."

    I was never told where I was in violation of the license. Instead I got:

    "Microsoft can't provide you legal advice. You will need to work with your legal council to answer these questions."
    What could I do? 

  • I'm behind you too, and as I blogged ages ago, good for you for deciding to be compensated for what you like doing.

    As for Microsoft, sounds like they're being real tools. Have you talked to product managers up the chain? They tend to be good people if you can find the right ones.

  • Coming across TD.NET well after you stopped offering 1.0, I never saw the controversy. That being said, why would any developer wish anything but the best of luck to a fellow developer who managed to find a way to profit from his hard work? Not like you're charging $1000 a license like so many other commercial offerings.

    Always amazes me how many programmers have this software should be 'free' attitude. Do they not realize they're shooting themselves in the foot?

    Would they feel the same if they invested 1000 hours in something and realized they could charge a reasonable price for it?

    Now if I could just get purchasing to complete my bloody material request so I can be legit...

  • Just integrate Google features instead. And Microsoft wonders why they lose developers?

  • I´m in the OpenSource world for a year now, and I know that the filehelpers are used for a lot of companies and I don't get ANY donation yet only two books that Amazon sent to Argentina and never reach me yet ...

    And I want to said that you are completely right you must SELLyour product.. WHY ?? really simply if you dont SELL it you must do more consultat work, so less time for enhace TestDriven, and even less time for support users and this is not good for anybofy, nor good for you nor good for us.

    I must do a lot of consultant work here in my country to live and I really want to use more of my time for the FileHelpers and the worst part is that I know if I can use 2 or 3 hours by day for the library, it can be much better and I can help users faster.

    But anyway is a long discussion, and I´m proud of my work and feedback and I can live from it now =)

    "And Microsoft wonders why they lose developers?"

    Completely TRUE !! I cant belive it !!

    M$ is taking so many stupid actions in all fields these days that I really hope that Mono makes a better framework than them without Vista support !!!!

    The OVER-DESIGN is killing them and will kill us if we follow their way. Some design is good and needed but over thrust on it... I don't think so.

    Keep in the good work Jamie !!

  • Personally I am also all for developers charging small amount for really useful software. I would consider $95 small for such a productivity enhancing tool. Donations rarely work especially in the IT industry, why pay for something when I can get it for free right?
    Also - I’d like to say that I think its fairly obvious that the reason Microsoft "encouraged" Jamie to drop Express support was because it made a really good free IDE (Express) into a really, really productive IDE (as in you could churn out TDD type code for the sum total of $0 working in an integrated "Microsoft" environment). Someone needs to pay for Visual Studio. Having great add-ins like test driven made Express a little bit too good I think!!

  • This is just crazy. I want to learn TDD using NUnit, find TD.Net and Microsoft say no because I'm using the Express edition, and yet they expect people to use the Express edition to boost C# and .Net!

    So am I going to shelve out for the full version of Visual Studio just for TD.Net? Like hell I am. I'm even less likely to upgrade for other reasons now.

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