Robert McLaws: Windows Edition

Blogging about Windows since before Vista became a bad word

Followup to my Visual Studio EULA Post

I want to make it clear (which it might not have been in my last post) that I don't condone Jamie's actions at all in this matter. The whole lack-of-addins thing was a well-known limitation, even if it wasn't clearly defined anywhere, and I don't think Jamie should have re-added the functionality after he took it out the first time. Plus I've heard rumors of other actions he took that, if true, I don't agree with.

But Microsoft opened itself up to the problem in the first place with a EULA that could be interpreted to put practically every ISV in jeopardy, and could have solved it by simply publishing a document on MSDN called "Limitations of Visual Studio Express". That would have clearly defined what were "intentional limitations that could not be worked around", and everyone would agree that Jamie was in clear violation of the EULA. Then it wouldn't have been the "lose-lose situation" that Microsoft already knew it was getting itself into.

At the same time, the lawyers should have taken all the emotion out of the argument, and stuck with the facts. How could he betray "thousands of VSIPs" when he's not a VSIP himself?  And I still challenge Microsoft to prove they lost any money on this (besides the time spent arguing, and the cost of the lawyers, of course). The lawyers should have stuck to the facts instead of writing what appeared to be the kind of note that a future ex-wife would write to her cheating husband.

Based on Dan's comment in my last post, it looks like Microsoft will indeed clean up the EULA in their next revision of VS Express. And every other product division at Microsoft should do the same (Windows team, you guys still have some work to do). Vagueness does not engender the rich third-party ecosystem that is the basis for Microsoft's success, and should be eliminated for simple, straightforward language in the same vein as the changes already made to the Vista EULA.



  • blah said:
    June 2, 2007 10:13 PM
  • Yeah, but it's debatable if those are clear enough, and none of it is in the EULA. Take a look at the Vista EULA for an example of how the users in the different versions are delineated.

    June 3, 2007 12:51 AM
  • Cory Foy said:

    The limitations say:

    Express: "Use 3rd party controls and content. No Macros, Add-ins or Packages"

    So, if it says you can use 3rd party controls, and if Jamie's product was a 3rd party control...

    June 3, 2007 7:47 PM
  • GRiNSER said:

    So MS is allowed to build add-ins for the express products since they are 1st party with their popfly add-in for vs express?

    June 6, 2007 8:26 AM
  • Nicolaon said:


    August 20, 2007 11:15 AM