Monday, July 04, 2005

I think I thunk a thought.

I'm starting to wonder if I should abandon the Visual Studio 2005 package: I'm not sure I will get a response without lots of hoping and hollaring and blog-linking. Its not that there's been no reply yet; that's understandable, as its the 4th of July week, and people are busy. Hell, I'm not even in state anymore, and I won't be for another few days.

What worries me is the simple lack of communication between the VS2005 SDK team and the rest of reality. The Visual Studio Extensibility Forum, for instance, is a very good indication of their lack of participation: the documentation is pretty poor, so the forum is the first place people go to ask questions, which are completely ignored by the VS2005 SDK team. They're not easy 'oh, don't be a newb' questions, either; they're the kind of tough stuff you either slough through the heaviest of documentation to scrabble for tiny tidbits of information for, or you need an SDK developer to give you a quick leg-up.

The Microsoft MVPs are doing their best, though, but they can't do it all themselves, and the many forum posts that have no reply is testament to that. Hell, most of my forum threads have replies only because I replied to myself for the sheer benefit of other people. You know, keeping them up to date on the information I've found about the particular subject.

However, the issue about the old EULA being applied to the new Visual Studio SDKs is something that cannot be ignored simply because I can't work around it. This issue has to have definite action taken to it or I simply cannot work on the project any longer. Naturally I don't want to work on the project until the issue is cleared up, as it might be much wasted time and energy if I'm met with silence all the way up until the release of the SDK in conjunction with VS2005 gold releases, at which point I realize they're going to stick with the old EULA and I've got a large but relatively worthless code-base.

Its not even entirely the issue of open source here, either: the license is fucking crazy. It looks like a strange composite of marketing - MARKETING - and a bunch of random demands that go with it.
  1. You shall ensure the quality of reproduced Licensed Software is equivalent to the quality of the Licensed Software as provided by Us. We shall be entitled to periodically, upon reasonable notice, inspect the quality of Your reproduction. Should we be dissatisfied with the quality, We shall notify You in writing and You shall promptly correct such deficiencies;
What? WHAT? Are you fucking serious? How the fuck am I supposed to do that? Given that there's been no proper competition to Visual Studio until X-Develop showed up, I'm going to go off on a wild tangent and assume that it takes many years and many developers to even begin to make something like that happen. The EULA gets worse the more you read of it.

But back on topic:

I am honestly sort of suprised: creating an SDK is not instant magic, and you would think that someone working at Microsoft would know that best. Sooner or later you're going to have to interact with people when the documentation isn't cutting it or other issues pop up. The lack of visible interaction from the group is astounding. Your product has its own forum that nobody from the product team posts in. Crazy.

I mean, at least the guys at SharpDevelop fake it: they'll post a completely worthless URL ('check out this three year out of date ebook on Addin architecture!') or babble something incoherent ('SharpDevelop's codebase is self-documentating!') but at least they pretend.

C'mon. Fake it. Fake it for me, baby.

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