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Kindly reconsider the licensing for .NET Core debugging libraries #505

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TAGC opened this Issue Feb 16, 2017 · 36 comments

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TAGC commented Feb 16, 2017

I was under the impression that being as open-source as possible was one of Microsoft's chief goals with .NET Core. It's very surprising then to find that the licensing for Microsoft.VisualStudio.clrdbg - the only publicly available package that exposes the .NET Core debugging API - is so restrictive:

You may only use the .NET Core Debugger Components with Visual Studio Code, Visual Studio or Xamarin Studio software to help you develop and test your applications.

Because of this restriction, JetBrains have been forced to drop debugging support for .NET Core-based projects in the latest version of Rider EAP (EAP 17) which they released today. As a company that undertakes a great deal of innovation, I am sure that there are many people at Microsoft who are saddened by the idea of a very promising application being driven backwards due to legal/licensing reasons rather than technical issues.

The lack of debugging support for .NET Core projects in the latest version of Rider is a deal-breaker for me and I'm sure many others. I would like to know:

  • Why is such a restrictive license necessary in the first place when the rest of .NET Core is open-source?
  • Would it be possible to lift this restriction or at least consider making exceptions for certain products like Rider?
@McNerdius

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McNerdius commented Feb 16, 2017

Pure speculation on my part, but i wonder if the answer to this is in the name of the license itself - "MICROSOFT PRE-RELEASE SOFTWARE LICENSE"
Not wanting to fuss about with (potential) third-party compatibility issues in pre-release seems reasonable.
¢¢

@miyu

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miyu commented Feb 16, 2017

@lundcm

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lundcm commented Feb 17, 2017

I suppose this would explain why there aren't decent plugins with other editors like Atom, Sublime, etc.

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pedershk commented Feb 17, 2017

Come on, Microsoft. This is no good. You need an open community around .Net Core. Try not to become the next Java.

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Rutix commented Feb 17, 2017

This issue has also been raised here: OmniSharp/omnisharp-vscode#1059 in the past. To be honest it's quite understandable that Microsoft wants to protect the value of Visual Studio and their other tools. As far as I can see the package is an implementation of the ICorDebug interface. Microsoft invested a lot of money and energy in building advanced debugging features around this so it's kinda understandable if they don't want to open source that. There is nothing stopping other developers to implement their own implementation of the interface.

What many people seem to forget is that Microsoft is a big organization. The implementation was not made by the team which does all the open source work. It's totally fair if other teams use the open source stuff to make products which they can sell.

@tetious

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tetious commented Mar 7, 2017

I'm dissapointed but not surprised that Microsoft has completely ignored this issue. Every time I think maybe they've changed and actually intend to be open and collaborative with the community, even around touchy subjects like licensing, they do something like this which leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

I wish someone would just assign the parties fighting against those who want change to a special project and be done with it. Why do they continue to have so much power to frustrate?

Sorry for the tone, but I've just spent the last 15 minutes trying to work around not having a debugger in Rider. I love Rider and it was the deciding factor for my using .net core for a fairly large project. Now my development is crippled unless I want to switch back to Windows. This is completely opposed to the supposed "we want you to be happy using .net on any platform" marketing.

It shouldn't be this way. This should have been resolved in a day via a quick email from the Rider team to MS.

TLDR: making .net core annoying to work for outdated reasons that make no sense is not going to win hearts and minds. Please stop being frustrating!

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stefan-schweiger commented Mar 7, 2017

@tetious actually the current Rider version for Windows should already have debugging enabled again, and the Mac and Linux version are soon to follow (in the comments they mentioned that they wrote their own implementation - for what I assume is a wrapper - of the debugger):

https://blog.jetbrains.com/dotnet/2017/02/23/rider-eap-18-coreclr-debugging-back-windows/

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Rutix commented Mar 7, 2017

@tetious TBH the demands you are making are kind of not making sense. The key thing in this incident is that Microsoft made it's own debugger implementation based on a public interface. That debugger is part of their commercial products like Visual Studio. Nothing stops another person/team/company to make their own debugger implementation. This is also what Rider started doing: (https://blog.jetbrains.com/dotnet/2017/02/23/rider-eap-18-coreclr-debugging-back-windows/) . You can't just give everything away for free and legally wise it's a whole process when it comes to licensing ect. If you suspect Microsoft to give the debugger away for free do you also expect Jetbrains to give all their stuff away for free? It's a flawed demand you are making.

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tetious commented Mar 7, 2017

@stefan-schweiger Yep, that was where my "switch back to Windows" comment in my wall of text came from. :)

There are a number of (imperfect) workarounds and this will likely be a non-issue Soon(TM). My point is that this is another of the dozen papercuts that I've experienced trying to use .net core on a non-Windows platform. The next biggest was expecting RC1 to resemble the final version and not drop dnx and mono-wrapping. A tangent for sure.

@Rutix I'd argue that the debugger is part of the platform. If the platform is to be free/open, I don't think it is unreasonable to expect a command-line debugger should be included. It seems arbitrary to me to put it behind licensing restrictions that prevent other projects like Atom, Sublime, etc using it.

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Rutix commented Mar 7, 2017

@tetious except the debugger that they used wasn't made by the team which develops the OpenSource platform. So you can totally see the people who made the debugger implementation as a "third-party". You can argue that a command-line debugger not offered by the platform is a lack of feature but that can be contributed to the fact that the platform is pretty new. A lot of features are still missing.

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tetious commented Mar 7, 2017

@Rutix Microsoft was also touting their "One Microsoft" initiative not too long ago. Wouldn't your third-party argument go against that? :)

But seriously, I do understand that .net core is new, and some features are missing. I made the decision to use it based on the features that existed at the time. I didn't expect things to go backward post rc1. (Losing dnx was even more frustrating.)

I also realize that Jetbrains is partially to blame here as they violated the license and should not have included the debugger at all. Also, I am partly to blame for relying on pre-release software. :)

I just don't like silence. Why hasn't Microsoft commented on this? Instead of frustrating the folks who use Rider, why couldn't they have made even a temporary concession so as not to be frustrating? That's my real point. I shouldn't have to follow the politics and care about this stuff. I just wanna write code.

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Rutix commented Mar 7, 2017

@tetious They have commented on this issue in OmniSharp/omnisharp-vscode#1059 . But as you can see the people commenting on that thread say that it is above their pay grade and there have been conversations. Even though Microsoft says "One Microsoft", Microsoft is so big that there are many stakeholders wanting different things.

I understand your feelings though, but to be frankly emotions almost never have an influence on the level these decisions are made. They are business decisions and people need to convince people to change their views.

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lol768 commented Mar 7, 2017

I agree with @tetious on this. If MS want the platform and ecosystem to be taken seriously and adopted it needs to appear homogeneous externally - regardless of any internal politics that may be in play.

If the platform is open, it's entiirely reasonable to expect that the debugger (as such a crucial development tool) comes under the platform umbrella. The lack of acknowledgement of the problem here/discussion of plans moving forward and the bureaucracy seemingly prevented this getting sorted is incredibly disappointing to see but perhaps not surprisiing from such a large company. It's especially discouraging to see JetBrains, who are putting in the effort to make an IDE comparable to -- better than -- Visual Studio which works on Linux (something Microsoft never bothered doing) and isn't a web browser in disguiise, being hurt by this.

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paulsapps commented Apr 6, 2017

Then why can't the MS open source team write yet another debugger that is open? Not having an open debugger with an open platform is rather strange.

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0xd4d commented May 4, 2017

MS released MDbg a long time ago, it's open source, should be trivial to support .NET Core (on Windows). Could take a little bit more work to make it work on Linux/macOS.

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giggio commented Feb 28, 2018

We haven't had any answer from Microsoft ever. It is time to at least address the problem, even if the answer is to say that it is what it is.

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brockallen commented Feb 28, 2018

That license link on NuGet goes to a 404 page.

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hartmannr76 commented Aug 2, 2018

Is this still being talked about? Like @giggio said, I'm really just looking for an "ok" or "not happening" answer from Microsoft. It's unfortunate other IDE's will have to build their own custom debuggers to work with this instead of just building the interface from the IDE to the debugger. I understand why Microsoft wouldn't want to share that but as others have mentioned, it would be nice for a common debugger to be a part of the "open platform".

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Daniel-V1 commented Aug 8, 2018

Found this today after reading through this issue and searching for a debugger. Haven't used it yet, but it is open source and MIT licensed, and implements GDB/MI spec and Debug Adapter Protocol.

https://github.com/Samsung/netcoredbg

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omajid commented Aug 8, 2018

@Daniel-V1 It's being used by at least one IDE already: https://github.com/eclipse/aCute#concept

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carloreggiani commented Aug 28, 2018

Dear Microsoft... or better to call you again M$???

"Error processing 'configurationDone' request. Unknown Error: 0x89720010" using vscode-oss with omnisharp-vscode extension (both rebuilded, MIT license) trying to build a dotNet core application in environment completly opensource.

Sure, dotNet Core and VS Code are Open Source project, great M$:

immagine

It seems crazy not only to me, fortunally!

(OmniSharp/omnisharp-vscode#1431 (comment))

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giggio commented Aug 28, 2018

@carloreggiani This is not a good way to discuss the issue. If you have criticism to bring to the table, than do it, but do it respectfully. Nobody owes you anything, not Microsoft, nor the thousands of people who contributed to the several projects. They can open source, or not, whatever they choose to. Their business model is their problem, and you don't get a say in it (or me). If you don't like it, you can go ahead and build your own open source .NET Core debugging library, or ask them about a position, respectfully, as others here have done.
Yes, they should answer if they are going to open it or not (and this answer is overdue), but no, they don't have to do it. It is not crazy, it is a common business decision, and it is not up to us.

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salaros commented Oct 12, 2018

Visual Studio for Mac owes a lot to MonoDevelop project. Making such decisions (as they did with vsdbg) is ethically incorrect, especially if lately you build your success on the shoulders of open-source community.
Basically they want to benefit from what the community offers and then add proprietary licenses on projects based on / derived from open-source solutions.

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Rutix commented Oct 12, 2018

@salaros That's a little bit shortsighted tbh. It's an undeniable fact that Microsoft gives a lot back to the community and actively participate in the community. It's ethically incorrect to expect them to share everything for free.

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ceremony commented Oct 18, 2018

Plain and simple, I would have to agree with MSFT on this. There has to be -some- aspect of development that has to be justifiable on a cost/benefit business level. I'm getting a little bit tired of open-source/free everything.

When was the last time your lawyer open-sourced the case and did it for free?
Or your doctor open-sourced your checkup and did it for free?

For one thing, Visual Studio Community Edition, VS Code, SQL Server Dev. Edition, Typescript, .NET Core, Teams, etc. and a host of associated technologies are absolutely free - MSFT doesn't see a single penny up front (of course, for non-enterprise versions).

So if as developers, we expect to earn a good living based on our work and experience, then we in return have to establish value for all development work - and giving it away for free diminishes/commoditizes the role of good engineering.

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carloreggiani commented Oct 18, 2018

@scherenhaenden

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scherenhaenden commented Oct 19, 2018

I would like to put my 2 Cents.

Indeed MS is not obligated to do so. BUT! they use this new Strategy of "We love Open Source" and at the very same time they do this..

They just try to make ppl see a cherry of the whole tree, to try to get em back to Windows and Visual Studio. This is not love for Open source, this is pure strategy.

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Rutix commented Oct 19, 2018

@scherenhaenden "We love Open Source" doesn't mean they have to open source everything. And I think https://opensource.microsoft.com/ is indication enough of the "We love Open Source" statement.

It works on Mac so how is this a strategy to get them back to Windows? There also also opensource implementations now (and it isn't stopping anyone of making their own implementation).

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scherenhaenden commented Oct 19, 2018

I did NOT say that....

1.- That was always their strategy.
2.- They do NOT love Open Source... and that is the point... their are selling that, indeed they are just trying to get the users into their rails... as they always did... there is a reason why C# exits in first place....

that "We love Open Source"... is bullshit... if they wouldnt feel risk on losing the market, or money... they would be still on the well known line...

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giggio commented Oct 22, 2018

So what @scherenhaenden is saying is that because of one closed source project among hundreds of open sourced ones (with very permissive licenses) Microsoft doesn't love open source. So I guess this means that also Google, Amazon, Red Had, and pretty much every single company on the planet also don't, as I don't seem to remember a for profit company open sourcing every single project it works on.

And this is besides the point, and this discussion is fruitless. Your opinion on whether Microsoft loves OS or not makes no difference in the problem being discussed here. So, can we please stop this discussion and go back and focus on the real problem here?

Microsoft, please tell us what is the decision on the .NET Core debugging libraries. It is a simple yes or no answer, are you open sourcing it or not?

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stefan-schweiger commented Oct 22, 2018

Can we please lock the conversation on this issue? The discussion is mostly off-topic and I think probably all valid points for or against it were already made.

As much as I would like a clear decision from Microsoft, I don't think arguing about if Microsoft loves open source or not will get us there any sooner.

@karelz @Eilon you two seem like the most active "offical" members in this repo, so please consider this suggestion.

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nelsontkq commented Oct 25, 2018

I would like to put my 2 Cents.

Indeed MS is not obligated to do so. BUT! they use this new Strategy of "We love Open Source" and at the very same time they do this..

They just try to make ppl see a cherry of the whole tree, to try to get em back to Windows and Visual Studio. This is not love for Open source, this is pure strategy.

How would you recommend they monetize Visual Studio if they make free the only reason anybody still uses Visual Studio?

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scherenhaenden commented Oct 26, 2018

"How would you recommend they monetize Visual Studio" I never recommended to do that or not to do that...
Apple asks for money for everything... and I pay the things I have to pay... without a word... this is not about "paying"... this is about the huge manipulation. you see, Apple never said "We love Open Source"...

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Rutix commented Oct 26, 2018

@JacobHenner

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JacobHenner commented Oct 30, 2018

This would be helpful. At least add a provision allowing users of the unbranded vscode to use the debugger...

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bdonnahue commented Jan 28, 2019

Open source it already!! WTF. I am going to switch languages!

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