a friend of mine send me a note today asking my thoughts on the whole testdriven.net situation. i was surprised in anyone asking me about it (not because i'm a snob or anything, just that it had been all over the place). i then realized that the register and /. picked it up finally and that's were it is getting some rebuzz.
if you don't know what i'm talking about, basically the author (jamie) of TestDriven.NET (a great tool btw) had been enabled for visual studio express.
The Express Editions are an expansion of the Visual Studio and SQL Server product line to include lightweight, easy-to-use, and easy-to-learn tools for hobbyists, students, and novice developers who want to build dynamic Windows applications, Web sites, and Web services. Express Edition products are designed for hobbyists, students, and novice developers. As such, they lack the full breadth of features found in higher-end Visual Studio and SQL Server Editions. They are designed specifically for scenarios common to the hobbyist, student, and novice developer. Each Express Edition includes targeted documentation that will help the beginning programmer quickly learn the concepts required to build more advanced applications. The user interfaces are significantly streamlined to ensure that extraneous features do not interfere with the learning process. If you later decide that you do need additional features available in the higher-end editions of Visual Studio and SQL Server, you can seamlessly upgrade your code and skills. You can learn more here: http://msdn.microsoft.com/vstudio/express.
jamie actually had done this a while back and it appears (by the documentation he provided as well as microsoft) that he was contacted and had conversations with microsoft's developer group about what he was doing and why he shouldn't be doing it. as a result of that, he stopped distributing and making mention of the method he used to enable his product in express. well, it's back. microsoft reached out. jamie responded with questions. microsoft answered with some answers and asked him to stop. jamie responded with more questions and noted he was going to seek legal advice.
well, i'm not a lawyer nor did i stay at a holiday inn last night, so i'm not going to comment on the legalities of the exchange between lawyers. from where i stand though, i think the issue is clear. whether microsoft is right/wrong about "going after" an mvp (i don't think they are as i've seen that microsoft has reached out to jamie numerous times trying to resolve amicably) i think is an unfortunate byproduct of bringing out public issues. and the /. communities are eating it up (without really understanding any issues...spreading near FUD in my opinion).
anyhow, if you want to read microsoft's position on the matter, dan fernandez (super cool guy, you should meet him one time) has posted a few messages:
you can also read jamie's initial coming out posts of the issue here.