Home » Give-aways, Paying It Forward » Red Gate Reflector License Give-away

I have long been a user of the fine SQL Server developer tools produced by Red Gate. My all-time favorite is SQL Compare. Red Gate also has sponsored the Southwest Fox Conference which I am an organizer. I have attended the last two Business of Software conferences co-hosted by Neil Davidson who is the CEO of Red Gate. And I participate in the Friends of Red Gate program, which allows me to provide feedback to the product groups at Red Gate. So you might say I have a nice relationship with the company.

Red Gate made a recent announcement in an open letter to the .NET Community, which detailed some future changes to the product with respect to the licensing and most importantly that it was no longer going to be free. I watched the reaction in the .NET Community via Twitter and on some blogs, and was not surprised how many developers were reacting. Developers are notorious frugal and love free stuff, and complained loudly how Red Gate was cheating them and going back on their word/intention of always having a free version.

Any developer with few exceptions, who makes a living developing software and finds use for a tool like .NET Reflector core to their development experience certainly can afford $35 for the standard edition. Here in the USA we are talking a few pizzas or a week’s worth of Starbucks coffee. I have talked with numerous .NET developers over the last few years including people who work with me and they find this tool indispensable. The top of the line version which allows you to step through third-party assembly code is only $95. To me, as a business owner who likes when our company delivers solid software, $95 is a steal to gain functionality like this.

I emailed one of my contacts at Red Gate giving my view point. I am in the slightly unique position of having a line of commercial and some free tools that I make available to the developer community. I have experienced the developers who complain that I charge for tools that have some premium features and how I should make the pro versions free to everyone. I explained to Red Gate that they can expect some heated posts and tweets. But in the big picture, people should understand that the survival of a product for the cost of a few pizzas is minor in the big scheme of things.

As a thank you for my feedback Red Gate has given me some .NET Reflector VSPro licenses to give-away. This came to me as a total surprise.

I gave away 10 licenses to members of the Detroit Area Fox User Group last Thursday. I have 10 licenses to give-away at the Michigan Great Lakes .NET Group on Wednesday, and I have 10 more licenses to give-away here via my blog. This is close to $3000 of software. As you can see, Red Gate is a super generous company.


[Edit 15-Mar-2011] All licenses have been given away.

So if you are doing any .NET development, or expect to be doing some .NET development and would like a FREE copy of .NET Reflector VSPro please send me an email: DotNetReflector AT WhiteLightComputing.com with the subject: “.NET Reflector Please”. The first 10 people who I get an email from will get instructions on how they can get their license returned to them via email. If you don’t get a response from me in 24 hours, consider yourself too late. I am fairly certain these licenses will not be around for long.

One license per individual. All tax considerations are the responsibility of the winner (consult your tax accountant for specific details). No employees of White Light Computing, or any family members of the employees of White Light Computing are eligible. Your mileage may vary, some settling may occur during shipping. Not valid outside of planet Earth. All decisions made by me are final.


Thanks Red Gate for the great tools and the terrific support of the developer community, you guys rock.

2 Responses to “Red Gate Reflector License Give-away”

  1. Pete
    May 10th, 2013 at 16:43 | #1

    Sorry Rick, but I think you’re missing the point.

    RedGate: “Our commitment is to maintain an amazing free tool that will continue to benefit the community while seeking input from users on way sto make .NET reflector even more valuable.”

    So that was their “commitment” which they didn’t hold to. And have you noticed that original $20 price and then your $35 price are now $95-$295??? $95 is a few more pizzas.

    Bottom line is it was stupid. They say they didn’t have a choice. Of course they had a choice: They could have just released the code to open source and eaten the loss if they couldn’t afford to continue the development.

  2. May 10th, 2013 at 18:01 | #2

    Hi Pete,

    You certainly have the right to your own opinion on the subject. If the product is not worth the price or you can find another free tool to use, use it. Heck, write a competitor to the product and give it away for free while supporting every developer who uses it.

    However, it is my observation that most developers are just plain too cheap to buy things that can save them time and frustration. They also are very vocal about issues they have with freebies. My observations are based on selling tools *and* working on a large open source project where no good deed is left unpunished.

    Good luck with your development. Let me know when your Reflector competitor is ready to ship so I can help market it for you.


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