About 2 years ago, we first introduced Team Explorer Everywhere.  In doing that we enabled diverse teams to work closely together regardless of platform or technology stack.  We provided organizations a substantially improved ability to manage all of their projects and get consistent visibility across them.  And we gave a new group of people access to a comprehensive set of software development collaboration tools.

Over the last two years, we have consistently improved on that initial release.  These improvements include an SP1 with some nice improvements that also introduced localized versions, a Java SDK that enabled people to start automating and extending more of their process in Java, and a Developer preview followed by a Beta of Team Explorer Everywhere 11.  Each release has advanced the solution, working to keep rough parity with the Visual Studio tools, while at the same time providing an experience that feels “native” for Eclipse developers.

Starting today, we are eliminating the requirement to purchase Team Explorer Everywhere separately.  Before today, Team Explorer Everywhere users had to purchase both a Client Access License (CAL) and the Team Explorer Everywhere software, whereas Visual Studio Team Explorer users only had to purchase a CAL – the Visual Studio Team Explorer software has always been a free download (TE 2008, TE 2010, TE 11 Beta) for users who had a license to access a TFS server.  Starting today the story is the same for Team Explorer Everywhere (TEE 2010 with SP1, TEE 11 Beta).

I’m not going to try to fully explain every scenario but let’s pick a few interesting ones:

  1. Team Foundation Service or CodePlex – Both of these provide online hosted versions of TFS that can be used by anyone (no CAL purchase necessary – subject to change when Team Foundation Service leaves “preview” but true for now).  This means that regardless of whether you use the Visual Studio based Team Explorer or the Eclipse based Team Explorer Everywhere, you can use these services without having to purchase any software.
  2. Team Foundation Server “Standard Edition” – You can acquire the standard Team Foundation Server with the full set of TFS capabilities a number of different ways – through MSDN, as a separate purchase, etc.  Having purchased it and a CAL, where necessary, you can use either the Visual Studio based Team Explorer or the Eclipse based Team Explorer Everywhere with no additional purchases.
  3. Team Foundation Server Express – I recently announced the availability of a Team Foundation Server Express 11 Beta that enables a team of up to 5 people to experience much of the power of TFS for free.  You can now use TFS Express along with Team Explorer and/or Team Explorer Everywhere all for no charge (up to 5 users – additional users will need to purchase CALs).

You’ll notice that not only are we making this licensing change for TEE 11, but we are also applying it to TEE 2010 SP1 today.

Lastly, this change will enable some other cool scenarios – like now that we’ve eliminated the licensing of TEE, we can finally set up a standard Eclipse update site that will enable you to keep Team Explorer Everywhere up to date just like you do the rest of your Eclipse extensions!

We remain committed to making TFS a great solution for all developers in your team/organization.

OK and now I have to admit this is sounding a bit like an infomercial – “wait, there’s more” Smile

This is just part of a number of licensing issues we’ve been revisiting and trying to clean up, simplify and adjust based on customer feedback.

Team Foundation Server Reporting – We have removed the TFS CAL requirement (you still need whatever Sharepoint/Office licensing is appropriate) for viewing reports in TFS.  This addresses a long standing concern that it was not reasonable to require a CAL for the occasional stakeholder who wanted to check a report to see progress or issues.  Add this to the Work Item Only View CAL exemption that we added a couple of years ago and you get a pretty comprehensive solution for the occasional, loosely connected stakeholder.

And lastly, at least for now…

Using TFS from within Microsoft System Center Operations Manager – With the upcoming release of System Center 2012, you will be able to connect your operations team to your development team, allowing them to better collaborate on production issues.  Operations Manager 2012 includes the ability to escalate tickets and all the associated diagnostic data to development by connecting it to Team Foundation Server.  You can learn a bit more about it in this interview with Jason Zander.  The news here is that we have updated our licensing to enable your Operations Manager users to take advantage of this integration without also needing a TFS CAL.

We continue to actively evolve the product and the licensing to address the most pressing needs of our customers.  Hopefully you’ll find these licensing changes as helpful as some of the cool new features coming in TFS 11.

Brian