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When Free Isn't

I was excited last year when Microsoft announced that it would join the rest of the modern world and offer express versions of its development environment for free, targeting hobbyists and students.
So I went to download Visual C# Express Edition....and discovered a little disclaimed regarding the "freeness" of the Express editions:
From the MSDN page(emphasis added)
We are announcing a pricing promotion for Visual Studio Express for the first year after the products launch on November 7th, 2005, customers will be able to visit MSDN to download their copy of Visual Studio Express for free!**

Our customers are very excited about the release of these products, so this limited-time download is our gift to the hobbyist, student, and novice community were excited to see the amazing applications theyll build!

Way back in time (when I was in college) we used Borland products to develop in C/C++, mostly because Borland treated students very,very well. As in $50 would get you a copy of Borland's IDE. That was a deal then, but now ... well, now there are so many options that anything that isn't free isn't likely to be used by college students or hobbyists.

Microsoft, like Macromedia, is trying to engender the next generation of programmers. Okay, really they're both trying to hook the next generation of coders on its tools so that when they go out into the Real World™ that they carry along their love of Microsoft and Macromedia development products.

Ring! Ring! Ring! Clue phone, it's for you Microsoft and Macromedia. College students don't want to - and won't - pay for products when there are viable, free alternatives. There's a reason my son is using BlueJ in college to code up his Java - because it's free. He's not about to spend even $50 to buy an IDE, because that's money he could spend on ... umm...well, other things, like caffeine.

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