Back on topic now...
Anderson Imes has a good post here about the Visual Studio Team System pricing debate, and I agree with 99% of what was said. He even replied to my blog entry about it.
Now that being said, where is my disagreement? Simple. I don't mind that it's the lifecycle management tools that are being priced out of my reach. What I mind is the features that they chose to tie to the lifecycle management tools to try to "encourage" me to reach beyond my means.
For example, there is no way for me as a Visual Studio 2005 Professional developer to get the Code Profiler, the Code Analyzers, the Unit Testing or the Code Coverage modules without upgrading to Team System. Those items have either no ties or superficial ties to the Team Foundation System, and should be used by nearly all developers.
We're at a point right now where we as developers need every tool that we can get our hands on to ensure that our products are shipping as bug-free as possible. Steve McConnell said in Code Complete (p.615) that "Robert Grady of Hewlett-Packard reports that testing done without measuring code coverage typically exercises only 55 percent of the code." People constantly complain that Windows runs too slowly, when in fact it's the program that they're running which runs like a dog.
For the last two years, Microsoft has been beating down our doors with reports of how Visual Studio 2005 was going to help us improve the quality of our software...but all of the tools that are going to improve the quality are outside of the reach of the very people who could use it the most. Not every company has 100-man test teams per product. Most are lucky to have test teams in the single-digits, if they have a test team at all.
I understand that Microsoft wants to make money off of the lifecycle-management stuff, but I refuse to believe that performant, bug-free, well-tested code is a luxury that can only be afforded by those who have the thousands to spend.