Thanks for that other perspective -- one of the many reasons I love this forum. I was solely viewing it from the POV of an IT person, primarily at a smaller company (which seems to be the bulk of those commenting on the Change.org petition) or organization. But that is not Microsoft's whole world by any means. Nor should it be their only consideration. Thx for raising this important point.
I recently did a small java project using Eclipse, which I used extensively in the past but hadn't bothered with for over a year.
Each time I get the latest version I'm surprised to see how much better it becomes, especially with integrating extra library functions like web technologies, RichFaces and so on. (Visual Studio has gone down this path too, initially with more CTPs than you can shake a stick at, and then later with making all part of the package and even in the framework -- workflow, WPF -- areas like that).
So here you have Eclipse, which is completely open source, and so even an application developer who has the wherewithall can dig down deep into the platform.
The other thing is, in the history of Microft, having (or rather paying for) special access was one of the ways Microsoft could keep big money developers on the team - feeding them special operating system hooks or changes before the little guy.
In today's world, I think that would be looked at as a negative for a new company starting out who might feel that their small app is doomed before it's started if some big player will crowd them out because of special access.
It does seem that Microsoft is unnecessarily angering a vital group of important constituents. And surely there is a way to resolve this that doesn't involve shuttering the whole program? From the outside looking in, I find it hard to believe there wasn't another option, one that might have irritated developers because it involved change -- but wouldn't have alienated an entire group of valuable advocates.
Social forums are a great place to interact and solve problems in my opinion. Since, app developers kind of face similar problems ones that the platform developers back at Microsoft don't face regularly. Since, the scope of work of app developers is the same the support that you can get on forums is able to resolve issues quickly.
It's baffling to me to see Microsoft do this. And this is all because of the precarious relationship that IT professionals have with Microsoft. They are the company you have no choice but to deal with. The fact that IT pros actually want Microsoft to keep one of their products and is petitioning for it just shows how valuable that it is.
As a developer I use Microsoft Social forums all the time and in almost every instance I find fantastic and detailed information for free (even though I'm a full subscriber to the great Visual Studio).
The issue is that someone working back at Microsoft will never experience the range of specific tasks that an application developer would, so just letting us talk to each other freely (and for Microsoft to capture that dialog) is probably beneficial all around. Really, there is no other way.
Developers do a lot of testing and experimenting on their own time. By nature, they're excited by and interested in technology, and love tinkering around with new products. Cutting some of them off could well force some toward open source -- or alternate products offered by more generous developers -- and create a new channel of advocates for other products. Who has the best dev programs these days, in terms of similar offerings to TechNet?
You'd think -- in today's age of sophisticated technology -- that a company like Microsoft could come up with some better way of governing this program so legitimate individuals could gain preferential pricing and access, while those seeking to pirate software where barred and prosecuted. Working with BSA or similar organizations, Microsoft could protect its IP and its good name with developers, many of whom voice legitimate concerns. Or maybe MS could offer some sort of rebate to developers that prove they are legit? i dunno, if you're pirating software, $1K isn't going to stop you.
I think this is wrong footed. The cost to Mr Softee is pretty miniscule considering the goodwill and prosletysing those developers add to their sales. Time to think again on this one and try not to shoot off the right foot.
I remember seeing those TechNet CDs way back in 2002 and thinking of how easily they could be abused. And true enough, they were abused by a number. But a lot of people still used TechNet for learning and testing.
I doubt if Microsoft will ever weed out the bad guys. But if it wants well-meaning developers on its side, it better keep them all, making sure that the good guys are still nourished despite also feeding the bad guys. Otherwise, it could lose the support of thousands of developers. I would find it a pity for Microsoft to waste its good relationship with developers—that's one of the few things it has going for it.
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