RedGate Software, a UK-based development company that builds SQL Server, database, and .NET development tools, has caused chaos among its community by announcing that the next version of its extremely popular .NET Reflector product will not be available for free.
Up until version 6 of the software, there was a free edition and a paid edition costing £59 per user. The free edition featured a limited feature set but included a free trial of the full version for 2 weeks; all of the versions expire when a new major release of the software emerged. From version 7 of Reflector onwards, there will be a charge of $35 per license. This means that anybody who is currently using the free edition or the version 6 paid edition will be forced to pay a $35 fee when their version expires or find new software.
RedGate took over development of Reflector a few years ago when they purchased it from a developer who had spent 8 years building and maintaining the product. “We didn’t promise it would always be free, but that was very much our intention” said Co-CEO of RedGate Simon Galbraith, much to the confusion of the community who cited a previous comment by the company which claimed “Red Gate will continue to offer the tool for free to the community.” The original developer of Reflector, Lutz Roeder, even wrote back in 2008 that “Red Gate will continue to provide the free community version and is looking for your feedback and ideas for future versions.”
Following their back-tracking, RedGate now have an angry community backlash to deal with, even acknowledged by their CEO in an awkward YouTube video. They have published their announcement on their main website, and opened a support forum for users to post questions about the announcement, which has turned into hundreds of posts complaining about the decision.