Visual Studio Economics
We’ve had several requests to incorporate Steel into the Express versions of Visual Studio. We would love to do this – but, sadly, we can’t.
The reason is that Microsoft requires the use of at least the Standard Edition of Visual Studio. This means that, for you to use Steel, you have to pay Microsoft some money first. Now this might seem just another case of "Microsoft = Money", but if you think about it for a bit, it’s actually a reasonable position.
Essentially, we are using a whole raft of Microsoft technology – expensively developed, I have no doubt – to get out a Ruby IDE far faster and with more features than would be possible by using, say, shareware or even Eclipse (which I like, btw). It doesn’t seem to be to be unreasonable for Microsoft to say, in effect “if you are using our technology to create a business, then we would like a royalty back”. Otherwise, we would just be freeloading on the back of Microsoft. Which I would love to do of course! Then again, I’d like Microsoft/The Tooth Fairy/Santa Claus to hand me a few dollars for free as well.
There is actually an alternative. We could buy into the Premier Partner program - but that would cost $10,000. We would then get the right to use the Premier Partner Edition which we could use to distribute a Steel/Ruby IDE without the end user or ourselves having in effect to pay a Microsoft royalty. That’s an alternative that we may well investigate in the future... but not right now.
While there are many Microsoft haters out there, I am not one of them. They do make me a bit nervous is their business pactices from time to time. Still I will continue to use their products as they suit my needs.
That being said, I agree with your positino on this and appreciate your candor. I have no problem in purchasing VS and putting a few $$ in Microsofts pocket. In fact Steel was the straw that broke the camels back and prompted my to plunk down for VS standard. I’ll use it for dev other than ruby, but assuming Steel turns out to be what you have specced out VS will be my primary Ruby IDE.