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Arnie Rowland

Discussion of issues related to SQL Server, the MSDN SQL Support Forums, the complex interplay between Developers and SQL Server Administrators, and our sometimes futile attempts to have a 'normal' life.

There will be no 'Free Lunch' -just great feelings of accomplishment


07/30/2010 UPDATE: Lastest News about the project is here.

NEW: Project Criteria and Submission Here 

I was again awarded the ‘Most Valuable Professional’ (MVP) designation from Microsoft for my community activities, especially for my contributions with the SQL Server and .NET communities. One of the benefits of being a MVP is that on occasion, a special opportunity is made available by Microsoft.

This year, I have been provided with a few subscriptions for MSDN Ultimate to give out as I see fit. For those unaware, a MSDN Ultimate subscription allows the subscriber to download and own full featured versions of Visual Studio Ultimate, as well as most any Microsoft software. The license is for development use, and is not transferable. And it has a retail value of approximately $12,000.

A couple of years ago, when I had a similar opportunity, I struggled with what to do. It seemed too much to just hand out to friends. I asked myself why I would give someone $12,000 if they were not deserving or contributing anything in return. I then considered offering the subscriptions as raffle items at user group meetings. But that caused me some concern, for there would be no certainty that the winner would value the product or put it to good use. Or perhaps the winner would be inclined to attempt to sell or barter the subscription. (I had on a previous occasion been contacted by the winner of a similar product who had no use for it and was attempting to get some value from the prize.) That would not coincide with what I considered in the interest of the larger software development community.  And I just didn’t like the possibility of knowing that such a valuable ‘gift’ would be not be put to societal gain.

So, I gave out the subscriptions to folks that committed to volunteering at least 100 hours to develop software projects for several non-profits. On one project, there were excellent benefits from a group of folks learning to work together as a distributed development team. We all learned quite a bit. Other non-profits gained excellent software at no cost.

This year, I will be seeking proposals from unemployed (or under-employed) developers that would use the tools to improve their skills with .NET, SQL Server, and Windows 7 Phone. The proposals should be for a project for a non-profit -either a new project or an upgrade to an existing project. In addition to the Microsoft MDSN Ultimate subscription, Pluralsight will provide a three month subscription to the training content available in their On-Demand!™ .NET Training Library, O'Reilly Press will provide three (3) books of the winner's choice, APress will provide three books(3) of the winner's choice, ComponentOne will provide Studio Enterprise components and tools, DevExpress will provide a one year subscription for DXperience Enterprise w/CodeRush, RedGate will provide a license for ANTS Performance Profiler, and Quest Software will provide a license for Toad® for SQL Server.

The idea is to provide the recipient access to all of the tools needed to improve his/her skills, an opportunity to gain practical experience, the potential to earn a recommendation and/or referral –and to positively contribute to society as a form of 'give-back'. No free lunch, just sweat equity –the kind that makes us all feel good for the effort.

I have been joined by a few other MVPs to extend this offer, so we will be selecting at least one recipient and project each month for the rest of this year. Participating MVPs:

Arnie Rowland
Arian Kulp
Denny Cherry
Larry Guger
Michael Washington

Full details how to qualify for consideration will be posted here on July 12th. Start thinking about how you might find a qualifying project, or if you know of someone that could benefit from consideration.

Stay tuned…

Project Criteria and Submission Here

Published Friday, July 2, 2010 3:48 PM by ArnieRowland



Aaron Lowe said:

Just wanted to say that this is a great idea!  Hope you publish the winner info!

July 3, 2010 12:57 AM

Richard McCutchen said:

Nice offering Arnie. I got a question for you, I'm an Admin over at Dream.In.Code (, an online development community with almost 400,000 members, and I was wondering if it would be ok to post a link to this there?

July 8, 2010 5:11 PM

ArnieRowland said:

Richard, I invite you to share this information with the larger devepment community. The more folks interested, the greater chance for some stellar projects for the non-profit sector.

July 8, 2010 5:29 PM

Richard McCutchen said:

Thanks a a lot, it's a great offering. I posted it there and also Tweeted about it as well to see if I can get more people interested in it. Thanks for offering something like this

July 8, 2010 5:48 PM

Steve Hiner said:

I think this is a great idea!  What a great way to encourage the community.  Too bad I'm neither unemployed or underemployed. :-)  Also too bad you didn't make this offer BEFORE I spent 64 hours (so far) writing code for a charity from AZ Give Camp.


July 8, 2010 8:13 PM

Steve Smith said:

There were over 50 nonprofit submissions for Cleveland Give Camp, taking place next weekend.  Only a small number of those could be chosen for the weekend long event.  You might get in touch with the organizers to see if you want to try and match up any of your volunteers with the projects that weren't lucky enough to be chosen (or ones that don't get completed).  Great idea!

July 9, 2010 9:29 AM

Senthil Kumar B said:

Great Idea ...

July 9, 2010 1:16 PM

Arnie Rowland: Ramblings of a Harried Technogeek : While you don't get a 'Free Lunch', you will get your just desserts... said:

July 13, 2010 10:17 AM

Wade Brooks said:

Great idea!

July 14, 2010 12:43 PM

The Bit Bucket (Greg Low): IDisposable said:

Hi Folks, Just wanted to focus some attention on Arnie Rowland's project to help unemployed developers

July 15, 2010 4:36 AM

Mark Lawler said:

Wow...  A clear case in how one individual can make a difference by doing vs. saying.  Nicely done Arnie!



July 15, 2010 4:19 PM

Rachel Appel said:


I love this idea! I'll certainly encourage other MVPs to do the same.  I even have someone (underemployed) in mind who could really use the subscription


July 20, 2010 3:58 PM

Arnie Rowland: Ramblings of a Harried Technogeek : Like a Phoenix rising from the ashes ... said:

August 2, 2010 12:21 PM

Arnie Rowland: Ramblings of a Harried Technogeek said:

A couple of months ago, many Microsoft MVPs received Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate MSDN subscriptions (retail

September 12, 2010 8:19 PM
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