Vb Unit Three Hasa Small Licensing Fee

See http://www.vbunit.org for actual pricing information of the VbUnitThree product.

From private email communication with BodoMaass:
"The framework itself is still released under the Open Source license and always will be, so there will not be any royalties whatsovever. The only thing that will cost a little money is the new vbUnit3 TestRunner, which includes the IDE integration and the Batch TestRunner."

Bodo's reply:

Since this thread has been opened now, I might as well add a few remarks:

The current plan is to release a version of vbUnit3 that is completely free and open source to encourage spreading it. This will consist of the new vbUnit3 framework, and the vbUnit2 TestRunner with the events problem fixed, and with adjustments to make it compatible with vbUnit3. This will also ensure that companies will always be able to run their tests, even if the vbUnit3 TestRunner should have some showstopper bugs.

I have already done quite a lot for vbUnit without any expectation of financial reward, and I don't expect to get rich from this, but it would be nice to get some support that would at least allow me to continue this project. I should think that vbUnit can save developers a tremendous amount of time. If the fee for one license is the amount of money that one developer would earn in one hour, wouldn't that be extremely reasonable?

I'm aware of the obstacles that vbUnit3 will face in getting acceptance from IT managers. Unfortunately, I cannot really offer vbUnit3 for free, since I have already put quite a lot of full-time work into this and I need to cover my cost of living somehow. On the other hand, I can see that it will be difficult to market this as a small company. If somebody here has a good idea about how to proceed, please let me know it. Maybe I should try to sell it to a larger company.

- BodoMaass

BodoMaass -

In FundingOpenSource. you stated:

"do you have any suggestions about how to finance ones cost of living as a full-time open source programmer? How many people will pay for something that they can legally use for free? If you earn your living by writing open source software, I would be happy to learn about your business model and apply it to vbUnit3."

I do not have any great ideas myself on how to be a full-time open source programmer, but I will say that you can advance open source ideas at the same time you advance commercial ventures. I am a full time computer consultant that makes a living developing commercial software. I also develop open source code. Ideas from one world may help the other world, but I don't try to mingle the two. Since your vbUnit3 Pro is now commercial, I ask how much you paid original author of the Unit Specification? If you say zero, then I ask, what would you think of me, if I were to take the vbUnit2 code, enhance it to the vbUnit3 Pro level, slap in license agreement along with an address to send checks, and sit back and watch the cash roll in?

I think that there is a place for open source to be an alternative to the software companies that have taught us to pay high prices for crappy software. I am not saying that if a person/company has an original idea that they should not be able to advance it and get paid for it. I do think that open source needs a different business model which does not include a person deciding to make it commercial the moment it gets to a useful level. Don't get me wrong, I still say you did some good work and I applaud you for it (and I will probably buy some licenses for the project I am working on), I am only saying that the open source movement needs to be protected from the commercial world and it takes each of us to do that. Maybe a shareware or a donation scheme would have worked as well.

-- I am ScottBlalock

Dear Scott,

After (re-)reading your post for several times, I am still not sure what you want me to do. You seem to take offence in the fact that I am charging money for a product (vbUnit3 Pro) that sits on top of an open source project, thereby "mingling" the worlds of open source and commercial software. On the other hand, you admit that it is reasonable to charge money for developing software. More specifically, you state that you yourself earn your living by writing commercial software, and that you also write open source code. So I presume you finance your open source efforts with the money you earn with your commercial projects?

Now, I have taken the original vbUnit (Version 1) and enhanced it considerably to bring vbUnit2 and now vbUnit3 to the world. If you disregard vbUnit3 Professional for a minute, you should find vbUnit3 Basic on my website, which is an open source project that anyone can download and use for free, including all the educational materials offered on the vbUnit website. So I would say that I did significantly advance an open source project, and you can easily verify this by comparing vbUnit1 with vbUnit3 Basic.

Like you, I am a Software Engineer and earn my living by writing software and charging money for it. This implies that I must write at least some software that is commercial in some way. If I wanted to completely separate my open source efforts from my commercial efforts, I would have to do the open source work in my free time, and unfortunately, I don't have much of that. There probably are people with a well-paid main job that have plenty of free time for open source work, but I'm not one of them. So I had the choice of either leaving vbUnit at the state of vbUnit2 (which has been developed in my free time parallel to an unrelated main job), or to dedicate a few months of full-time work to taking it to the next level. I made my choice and as a result of that, I have to charge some money for vbUnit in some way simply because I don't have a rich employer backing me up to finance this as a hobby. If I were to pay for the development of vbUnit with the money from a main job in commercial software, would the two not still be "mingled" in some way? Is it immoral to finance an open source project with a commercial project just because the two are offered on the same website?

Constructive criticism should include a recommended course of action as an alternative to those actions that are criticized. Yet after reading your post it is not clear to me what such an action should be. Should I abandon all further efforts of writing professional unit testing tools if I don't have the resources to do that in my free time? Or should I continue to contribute my work and my ideas to the world and thereby try to earn my living by doing the kind of work that I know best?

-- BodoMaass

[ScottBlalock said something to the effect of it being OK for a person to get paid for original ideas, and that...] "[...] open source needs a different business model which does not include a person deciding to make it commercial the moment it gets to a useful level."

JeffGrigg says...

Yes, Bodo has taken not just an idea, but an open source product and enhanced it substantially.

But, when you get past the confusion of how things are named, the enhanced product is still OpenSource. Go to the Download page at http://vbunit.org and download "vbUnit3 Basic". You will find that it does everything the original (unnumbered) vbUnit did, and more. You don't have to pay anything for it, and you have full access to every line of source. (vbUnit2 was also Bodo's work, and it was open source too.)

So what is he charging for? Answer: A tricky additionial product that integrates the open source "vbUnit3 Basic" with Microsoft's proprietary VisualStudio IDE for VisualBasic. In other words, you pay money for convenience. You don't need the IDE integration. IDE integration was never a part of the original source or idea that Bodo adopted. In two VisualBasic projects I've done in 2001, I've run all tests with and without the IDE integration piece (the part that requires a license), and found that it works fine, both ways.

The original authors of vbUnit found that they could no longer support it, and asked others to take it over. I think that BodoMaass has done the industry a service by substantially enhancing the original vbUnit, and by releasing the enhanced version (not including IDE integration) as OpenSource.

A big "thanks" to BodoMaass. -- JeffGrigg

Your plan sounds good, will the vbUnit2 TestRunner be open source as well? Re: It already is. - Bodo

I can use Vbunit3 with free runner at work to test infect them, I can buy the Vbunit3 TestRunner off you my own use, the $35 doesn’t bother me at all.

I agree that you should be able to get some return for the good work you've done, I'm just not sure you'll get it by charging, to be honest I'm not sure how you'd do it without charging either but the some of the Linux folk manage.

Maybe a book about unit testing with a CD of GPL'd Xunit's on the back would sell?

I'm sure your skills would be of interest to some of the testing tool/consultancy companies.

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