Automating the world one-liner at a time…
In Dmitry's PowerBlog, he said that one of the biggest complaints they got about their FREE AD Cmdlets was that you had to register to download them. Now you can download them directly without having to register.
I must say that I've got mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, it reduces the friction associated with getting great a set of Cmdlets to the community and that is great. On the other hand, these Cmdlets are developed by Quest Software Corporation, not Quest Philanthropies. Being a commercial enterprise is a good thing. Being a corporation means that they bring in money which allows to them to hire bright creative programmers that do wonderful things like the AD Cmdlets and PowerGUI.
The one thing I know about business is that in a deal, everyone needs to walk away feeling it was worth their while or it isn't a stable deal. Quest is spending a lot of money having their employees develop these Cmdlets and making them available FOR FREE to the community. So the question then is, "What are they getting out of the deal?". I assumed that the answer was marketing information.
Now that the you don't even need to register , the question again is, "What is Quest getting out of the deal?". If the community pressures a vendor into a deal that they aren't getting enough out of, it is not stable situation – the deal won't stand. At some point, they'll do an internal review and say that it doesn't make sense and stop funding the effort. They'll redeploy their developers, they'll pull the SW so it doesn't consume bandwidth, they won't update things to the new release, etc, etc. And that is the point - everyone needs to walk away from a deal feeling it is worth their while.
I hate registering just like everyone else. But let's be honest with each other – at the end of the day it is a VERY tiny price to pay to get something as useful as Quest's AD Cmdlets or their PowerGUI application (FOR FREE!). 3 cheers for Quest and their great efforts.
Jeffrey Snover [MSFT]Windows Management Partner ArchitectVisit the Windows PowerShell Team blog at: http://blogs.msdn.com/PowerShellVisit the Windows PowerShell ScriptCenter at: http://www.microsoft.com/technet/scriptcenter/hubs/msh.mspx
I agree that registering wasn't that big of a deal... If I remember correctly, it was a bit annoying that it wouldn't accept @gmail.com as a valid email address though.
Agreed - something the overall community might consider is, "what can we, as a community, offer to software developers so that they'll develop free tools for us?" If you're offering your name and e-mail address - and a willing eye to perhaps read an e-mail newsletter - most software companies would accept that as a fair trade. If not... well, what would you *prefer* to offer to encourage companies to pay the salaries and other costs associated with developing tools - and to then give the tools away for free?
Maybe they garner more goodwill from the community by not asking people to give up their privacy.
By reaching a broader audience (for example, me!) they gain more administrators who experience the quality of their software and may ultimately purchase their products.
I, for one, respect a company which changes according to the needs of their users and this change can only be good for Quest.
What do they get out of giving away free tools? Name recognition. And for a company like Quest, that's worth a lot more than a spam list.
Quest isn't your standard software company; they don't market a product for the masses. Instead, they do vertical development, building custom solutions for the companies that hire them. Quest is releasing these tools as a marketing campaign, but instead of marketing a product, like Microsoft would do, Quest is marketing their company, because that's the only thing they sell.
Quest works primarily in the fields that PowerShell was built to administer. And by building and releasing these tools, Quest is showing that they understand the business of AD management, that theirs is "the name to look for" when you need help. By giving away high-quality tools, they're marketing themselves as experts. It is absolutely in their interest to get these tools--their marketing material--into the hands of the widest audience possible. This was a very smart move for Quest.
Companies could always use Lee Holmes April Fool's strategy to make free software worth their while:
Jeffrey Snover [MSFT]
Windows Management Partner Architect
Visit the Windows PowerShell Team blog at: http://blogs.msdn.com/PowerShell
Visit the Windows PowerShell ScriptCenter at: http://www.microsoft.com/technet/scriptcenter/hubs/msh.mspx
As one who complained about the registration, I think this is a good thing. However, if I may split a hair here, I was complaining that the registration was "so onerous". In other words, they made you jump through the quite awkward hoops of an ecommerce app. You had to create an account, give your mailing address, all that stuff. I've seen the "goodwill freeware" done a lot better. For example, over at zenoss.com (.COM as in company!) when you download they ask you to register, but it's optional. I really have no huge problem with registering, but I think a simple name & email address form, maybe one or two interest-gauging fields/checkboxes, hit submit and the file is pushed--that would serve fine.
That said, thanks to Quest, free is good. :)
And thanks to you too, Jeffrey!
I have to agree with you here Jeffrey. I, like everyone else heard Quest promise at TechEd that the AD cmdlets will be "free for life". I wondered about it, and thought that if they decided to charge a nominal licensing fee some day, that would be fine by me, as the QAD stuff is invaluable (until v2.0 that is <grin> )
Honestly though, registration serves more than the single purpose to Quest. Having statistics about who downloads the software helps Quest (and feedback to the Powershell team) determine the demographic that is being reached with Powershell. Using registration data, you could extrapolate what types of IT roles are becoming early embracers of PS, and by negation, what types of roles were waiting for it to become more 'mainsteam'. By having that information, product teams (you guys, the Exchange Team, the SQL Team, etc) can focus more narrowly on the product and the features.
So, to sum it all up? "Three Cheers!" for Quest for developing these cmdlets, whether for profit or no. The registration data can be more valuable to the community as a whole than just about marketing for Quest. (How many people had Quest shirts on when they were doing the $20K giveaway at TechEd last week?)
Keep up the good work, everything is awesome.
I agree. Registering is annoying, but it is a small price to pay. That said, I'm really glad to hear that there are some free cmdlets for working with Active Directory! No more working with the ADSI COM objects! :)
Good points in the post. Quest is actually making money on the cmdlets already both by using it as a marketing tool (and believe me having a good name in the community is far more valuable than collecting email addresses to later "spam" people) and by upselling Quest ActiveRoles Server for AD scripts safety net, policy enforcement, etc.
Here are some details: http://dmitrysotnikov.wordpress.com/2007/06/13/why-is-quest-doing-free-powershell-stuff/
Go see the post before evil Quest marketing makes wordpress remove it. ;)
I have no issue with registration. But it would be nice if you recieved something for registration. Like support. I tried to download and install the AD cmdlets and they would not install on a VISTA machine, say that powershell was not there (it was). But I received no support from Quest, instead was refferred to a forum that covered other Quest products topics.
Since it appears to be a Quest powershell software issue,they could not help either
You are right, AD cmdlets 1.0.0 had issues in their setup and would not detect PowerShell properly on Vista. This was fixed in 1.0.1. Current version is 1.0.3 and it runs perfectly well on Vista and Longhorn.
You can get full Quest support including phone support if you by Quest ActiveRoles Server - so unfortunately it would require more than just registration - you'll have to pay for the software as well.
If this is too expensive for you try using the forums at http://PowerGUI.org - AD cmdlets guys are there as well and are normally pretty fast and helpful when someone has questions, issues, etc.
Sorry for the issues you had with 1.0.