This tool has been effectively free for a long period of time, from way back when Lutz Roeder first created it, right through the purchase by Red Gate. Not long after the initial purchase, Red Gate broke the product into two versions which were Free and Pro. As you can imagine, one was free and the other not.
This next part is purely speculation, but I suspect that Red Gate have not made very much money from the Pro Version because the Free version was adequate for most people. I mean, lets face it.. I don’t actually NEED .Net Reflector. It’s just a nice to have tool.
This brings me to the point of my post.. Red Gate are a commercial company. No commercial company is in the market to not make money. Even those big and nasty open source companies are in the business of making money, but they work by generating revenue through services.
But it’s $35 dollars.. Yep, the free version is now $35 dollars. I don’t know about you guys, but I spend more money than that on Coffee each week.. It’s also not even close to amount of money that most .Net Developers spend on tools like ReSharper ($199 for a personal license) or many of the third party control libraries out there.
I don’t think $35 dollars is a lot to ask for to ensure that a tool used by a large amount of the community continues to be maintained for future versions of .Net, and I think Red Gate have the right to do this.
That’s my though on the issue, and I know that if/when I need to use reflector again, I’ll happily suck it up and spend my $35 dollars (Tax deductable of course) .