Information, Except about SharePoint 2010, Wants to Be Free

Sorry for this grumpy rant, but I just had to get this off my chest somewhere…

So, I have once again been on the receiving end of some SharePoint MVP rage, all over the recently published SharePoint 2010 Secrets issue series of USP Journal.

Seems that every time I mention SharePoint 2010, some SharePoint MVPs see red and go out of their way to slander whatever I say.

This time, the MVPs in question aren’t content with slinging mud themselves, but have elicited support from Microsoft and Microsoft went public saying that you shouldn’t get any information from me, but wait until the SharePoint Conference. In October. You’ll get everything there for the small attendance fee of about $1,200.

Apparently, Microsoft made a slight error in their Office 2010 Technical Preview pages. It reads:

Figure1

(click for larger version)

It was supposed to read:

Figure2

(click for larger version)

You see, despite what some people on Twitter and elsewhere claim, I am not disclosing any confidential material here. Look, here’s the download link for the SharePoint 2010 SDK Beta. It’s public. Go get it.

Next, read through all that documentation, compare it to the documentation from the current SharePoint SDK and walk through every property and method. Compare that to all the other public information about SharePoint 2010. Which, of course, you have gathered and read, prior to this.

Go ahead, I’ll wait here, it will probably take you about the same time it took me, which was about 48 hours straight.

Or, you could pay someone else to do that for you and give you a digest of all that information.

What Happened?

So, how did this all go down? Here’s a brief overview of what has been going on for the last week or so.

Early last week, I was invited by Microsoft to the Office 2010 Technical Preview program. That’s like asking kids if they want gifts for their birthdays. At almost the same time, the SharePoint 2010 sneak peek videos were released. Needless to say, I didn’t get much sleep.

On Monday and Tuesday I worked for about 20 hours, walking through the information gathered from the SharePoint Designer 2010 Technical Preview and correlating that to what I had learned from the three sneak peek videos. From that, I deduced a set of workflow features that will be part of the SharePoint 2010 Designer release.

Did I mention I have a full-time day job these days in addition? I’ve spent the last year working as an author, and I am currently pouring everything I have into making this journal work. Very few gets rich, or even makes a living, writing books, and I certainly don’t. When someone broke into my car a couple of months ago, I had $100 to fix the broken window, and that was my whole fortune at the time. When bills need to be paid, I need to work a regular job to try to make ends meet.

For the next couple of days, I worked on issue 6 of USP Journal, usually until 2 am in the morning, before going to work the next morning. I thought I had my head above water on Thursday around midnight, so I went to bed, only to be woken by an email telling me that the beta SDK was released. That was just around 3 am on Friday morning.

I immediately got up and started reading, realizing that some of the new features would be great news for the readers of USP Journal. I began writing on the SharePoint 2010 Secrets issue at around 4 am. At 9 am, I asked the USPJ mailing list if this was interesting material and if they would pay for it, knowing that it would still be a compilation and digest of public knowledge.

Within 1 hour, about 10% of the list had voted yes, so I decided to create a subscription series to keep people updated as the public beta approaches. After 24 hours, almost 50% of the readers had voted yes.

After a record-breaking copy editing and layout process, the issue was completed on Saturday, about 36 hours after the information went public, and the issue was released on the website http://www.sharepoint2010beta.com/.

That’s basically the process behind the writing of the first issue.

On Monday morning, however, I woke up to a TweetDeck filled with messages from Microsoft and MVPs, advising people not to spend $14.95 on the issue, since it would all be available in October anyway. During the day, 14 retweets, covering close to 30,000 Twitter followers, had read Microsoft recommending people to stay away from my issue.

Apparently, Microsoft wants you to have the information, but they don’t want you to tell anyone that you know anything.

Also during the day, I learned from several people all around the world, that there had been a secret campaign by the SharePoint MVPs to get Microsoft to publicly denounce the issue, telling Microsoft there was confidential information there. In addition, several MVPs had ran another campaign, encouraging the other MVPs to retweet the message from Microsoft.

Here are my main questions:

  • I can understand Microsoft if the claims were true, but why didn’t they bother checking the facts before slandering me?
  • Why is Microsoft releasing public SDKs in July if they want people not to read it until October?
  • Is Microsoft seriously expecting everyone to keep silent about what will effectively be their livelihood for the next few years?

Now, I tried getting in touch with Microsoft to get this sorted out, and I sent them a copy of the issue so they could verify the sources and that there was no confidential information there at all. However, the damage was already done, and now I’m left with a ruined reputation, a failed launch, and a public campaign to taint my name forever.

I could publish the offer they made to ‘make this go away’, but I consider email to be confidential.

Well, now you know why I’ll never be an MVP. And you know the story of how Microsoft tried to silence the USP Journal…

.b

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Bjørn Furuknap

I previously did SharePoint. These days, I try new things to see where I can find the passion. If you have great ideas, cool projects, or is in general an awesome person, get in touch and we might find out together.

23 thoughts on “Information, Except about SharePoint 2010, Wants to Be Free”

  1. Not everyone has the time the MVP's have to read through all the documentation and some of us just want the information. Keep up the good work, and ignore these people with so much free time they want to slander your name. This smells of the SharePoint Knights issue which similarly the MVPs did nothing to endear themselves to the community.

  2. I had my doubts when I saw your tweets advertising the issue. But now it has all been cleared up.

    In hindsight you should have made the process you went through clear up front…. in hindsight.

    BTW, you are doing something wrong if you have problems making ends meet and you are in the SharePoint business 😉

  3. Furuknaps,

    You are serving good content, and intension are not bad. So dont worry too much about MVPs and Microsoft. We like your work and will always like it.

  4. Your initial comment (in the two images) is wrong.

    The quote is "Office 2010 clients" can be talked about,

    SharePoint 2010 isn't an Office 2010 Client.

    Otherwise I think the only problem seems to have been that you didn't make it 100% clear to all that you were working solely from public sources.

    Your earlier comments about getting SharePoint 2010 via torrent wouldn't have helped dispel the idea some seem to have had that you were using non-public sources.

  5. jritmeijer: I have problems making ends meet as a _writer_ for SharePoint. I prefer contributing content to help others learn what I have learned. Doing that full-time means I cant earn tons of cash as a consultant. If money was my motivation, sinking every dime I have into the journal isn't the way to go.

    .b

  6. Anonymous 2:
    The quote was only to support the talk about SharePoint Designer 2010, which is not publicly available. All the remaining information is gathered, as explicitly written, from free, public sources, such as the official news from Microsoft and the SharePoint 2010 SDK beta.

    I am not sure which part of:
    "In the first SharePoint 2010 Secrets subscription issue of Understanding SharePoint Journal, you will learn:
    * What We Know about SharePoint 2010
    * What’s New in SharePoint Designer 2010 workflow
    * News from the SharePoint 2010 Software Development Kit (SDK) Beta "

    leads you to assume that I was using any non-public sources. But then again, that's you assumption.

  7. Quoted from the rant above…
    "On Monday and Tuesday I worked for about 20 hours, walking through the information gathered from the SharePoint Designer 2010 Technical Preview and correlating that to what I had learned from the three sneak peek videos. From that, I deduced a set of workflow features that will be part of the SharePoint 2010 Designer release."

    The one thing you left out of your rant was that entrance to the Technical Preview includes agreeing to a Non-Disclosure agreement which you seem to have violated since you use the Technical Preview as one of your information sources. Feel free to take pot shots at MVPs all you want. But some of us take NDAs seriously. Feel free to publish publicly released information but don't say you are doing that and then reference NDA information as a source.

  8. You make it sound like every SharePoint MVP is bad news and that Microsoft is going about the wrong ways. That's not the fact – it's only a few select MVPs that has been even close to becoming involved in this matter, so please don't go about saying that SharePoint MVP's are the devil.
    A comment to John: If you're saying that SharePoint MVP's aren't doing anything for the community, then my friend I would have to state the obvious -> Get a pair of glasses, read some blogs and content, check out a couple of webcasts, user group presentations and what not. That's BS.

  9. Uhm… Anonymous 3… Are you an MVP? I thought they had to be able to read, but perhaps a strong skill in chanting is enough.

    Did you not notice the big, yellow banner in those images above, explicitly saying 'The Office 2010 clients have been publicly disclosed and ARE NOT UNDER A CONFIDENTIALITY OBLIGATION?' Further, it states, rather explicitly, 'You are free to talk about the Office 2010 client build as you wish'.

    So, how can you claim that, after Microsoft waives any confidentiality obligation, that I should still be under any confidentiality obligation?

    Please explain.

    Or has that "Furuknap wrote about 2010 again, let's get him!" message gone out to the MVPs again?

  10. I appreciate your hard work, that's why I pay for it. If I ever felt it was unreliable or if it was illegal in any way, I wouldn't pay for it. After all, SharePoint helps feed my children. It's a shame if you are getting a bad reputation from others misunderstanding your work. It's exciting, the next version, even more exciting than the last. Thanks for reading the SDK for me (I will read it too, because I love WSS, but you've helped get me even more excited about it). Keep up the good work!

  11. Bjorn,

    Your decision to charge a fee for information that will be released FOR FREE in October was the source of the response from Microsoft. Nobody has to pay $1200 to get the information at SharePoint Conference – it will all come out afterwards.

    You know very well that ALL SharePoint material not included in the released SDK or Sneak Peek videos is confidential and protected under NDA. If you violate this NDA, or induce someone else to violate this NDA, you will be held liable. This is your decision and you must suffer the consequences. Don't act like your a victim and don't try to make people think that you are doing them a favor by breaking Microsoft's rules.

    And quit tarring the MVP's with your nonsense. There was no campaign, secret or otherwise – but we are watching for NDA violations and so is Microsoft. Why can't you just respect the NDA and quit trying to rip people off by selling information that they will get for free in a few months? Are you just bitter because you don't have the SP2010 bits? Maybe if you weren't such a flagrant violator of Microsoft policies (like taunting them to sue you in a previous post) you might get invited into the TAP program.

    – E. Shupps, MVP

  12. I'm anonymous 2

    > leads you to assume that I was using any non-public sources.

    Read again what I wrote. I didn't say that you were.

  13. Eric,

    I appreciate you having the balls to put your name on a comment. That shows courage, and I respect that.

    As for violating anything, I have no access to any NDA material. I have been offered the bits, but have refused. I reveal all the sources, which are public or explicitly encouraged by Microsoft for public talk, and nothing is a brach of any confidentiality.

    As I said in the post, had that been the case, I would certainly understand Microsoft being pissed, but when they are telling me to talk about it, and I do, and then drag my name through the mud, then I get pissed.

    I make a living, or at least spend all my time doing public information distribution. The cost of publishing an issue like I did is far greater than what I make from it, which is why I need a full time job on the side. I pay copy editors, designers, proofreaders, and hosting, long before I even see a dime. Sponsor issues like the Nintex issue means I don't lose money, but if it hadn't been for that, the journal would either not have the team working on it, or would have been cancelled.

    Oh, and I will never, ever sign an NDA with Microsoft that would limit me from writing in public about what I know about SharePoint. You have no idea how many offers I get from well-intended people to 'drop' a memory stick with bits or docs just as I'm passing by.

    I don't want it. Seriously.

    .b

  14. It sounds like there is a problem with what people think should be covered by these NDA's. Why not send a copy of your latest journal to one of the MVP's that LEAVE their name and ask them to take a look at it. If they find something that is suspect, you can have a civil dialogue and fix it and figure out where the problems are. This bickering back and forth isn't solving anything.

    A service is being performed here. As mentioned by John Speak, some people don't have time to read all the documentation. It's nice to have somebody read it and summarizie it. If it is indeed all public information, how is it any different than paying to have your car wash? Sure you can do it, but who wants to?

  15. D Zangger:
    I'll raise your suggestion. I agree, this should have been made more clear from the beginning, and the latest 'This Week in SharePoint' from EndUserSharePoint.com made me reconsider.

    So, as of right this moment, anyone can download free of charge the first issue. I'm also renaming the series to 'SharePoint 2010 Beta' in order to avoid confusion over the 'Secrets' name.

    http://www.sharepoint2010beta.com/

    I hope this makes any further speculation about what's in the issue moot.

    .b

  16. Bjorn,

    I'm an MVP, and I am not part of that SharePoint police. In fact, I do not like that behavior by some MVPs. Lets not color everyone with the same brush, and your content is FANTASTIC! I reviewed your book, it should be a must-read for any SPDev.

    Sucks that this "community" is so divided due to a few bad apples. Lets look beyond this and continue doing the good work you're doing!

    Sahil

  17. Sahil,

    I have the utmost respect for the work that MVPs do for the most part. I work very close with many MVPs, both online and offline. Both personally and professionally those people are absolutely marvelous people.

    There are a few rotten apples in every basket of sufficient size. I am sorry if it sounded like I was naming all MVPs in my rant, but as I said, I just had to get this off my chest.

    I am also sorry if any MVPs got hurt from this. Those MVPs that should feel hurt know very well who they are, and quite frankly, I don't understand why Microsoft will risk spoiling the bunch by letting those apples remain in the basket.

    .b

  18. I know what you mean, I don't understand MSFT's ways either :), but y'know – don't care! I don't really control anything except my own behavior, so I just do my thing!!

  19. Bjorn,

    I've read through your first issue and there are no problems with the content. While I haven't gone over the SDK and previews in detail, I'm curious what basis your comment on SharePoint 2010 not being based on .NET comes from?

    I think the workflow content might be questionable. While the Office clients are open and can be talked/blogged about this does not include SPD and the interactions it has with SharePoint (other than public information you can extract from the videos).

    The breakdown of the SDK and changes is great and most welcome. This will help developers get ready for changes to come so keep up the good work here.

  20. Bjørn,

    I support your efforts wholeheartedly.

    It doesn't seem to me that you've done anything to warrant any flak or the harsh misdirected criticism you've put up with.

    Now go get some sleep 🙂

    – another grateful SharePoint Dev

  21. Bil:

    I'm surprised about your comment, but welcome constructive debate on this.

    To clarify the .NET question, I was saying 'SharePoint 2010 will not be based on .NET 4.0', meaning there wont be a major framework update required. This allows for easier upgrades than what was the case going from .NET 1.1 to .NET 2.0 in 2007.

    I appreciate your comments, and, while you may question whether the workflow content should be NDA, I have clarified and referenced the interpretation I am using.

    .b

  22. I have been reading your site for a few months now. I really enjoy how you explain things, it is to the point and easy to follow. Most of the information out there from MVP's assumes too much knowledge, way too much about what they are talking about. You don’t. You explain it so that the reader can actually get useful knowledge from what they are reading. In my opinion most of all MVP's are full of themselves. They all know each other and of course they will vote one another into the MVP program if you bend to the will of the other MVP's. It is a popularity contest. You have done nothing wrong at all. Keep up with your writing and everything you do. My opinion is that you know a lot more than most MVP's out there. Just because someone can take a test get a cert then talk the talk to others on the internet they get voted to be an MVP. Last I checked to my knowledge wouldn’t you have to prove you actually know the knowledge along with how to use it to be an MVP of anything. That is what one would think. Most of the MVP I highly doubt know much of anything. You on the other hand know a lot about SharePoint and related technologies. You share your knowledge with the world. That goes a long way in anyone’s book no matter how you look at it. Isn’t that what the internet/www is truly about? Sharing information to whoever wants to read and learn from that knowledge? Maybe I’m wrong. Oh wait I remember now the internet/www is meant to be another marketing engine to make money. Sorry I forgot about that.

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