Web Developer Toolbar Ripped Off

By on August 23, 2005

Chris Pederick is the guy who makes the awesome Firefox Web Developer Toolbar, so he gets free beer from me if he ever needs to drop by Sioux Falls for any reason. We’ve talked up Chris’ toolbar since way back, and it takes CSS development from a headache to a sheer joy.

Chris notes on his blog today that a company (that I won’t link to) has shamelessly ripped off Web Developer to do an IE version, right down to stealing the icons and doc (even though their tool doesn’t do everything WebDev does, so the doc is wrong).

I find it sad that there are people who would abuse open source software in this way and even charge $24.95 for a license. This is certainly not about trying to stop any competition for the Web Developer extension – I have always been fully supportive of the Web Accessibility Toolbar and link to it from the Web Developer documentation.

I am not sure what my next steps will be, but I will post any follow-ups here…

If it turns out these guys have reused any of the code, it’s not just slimy, it’s illegal, since their stuff isn’t available under the GPL. The icons and doc alone probably count as ‘reuse’, depending on their licenses. That sucks.

What This Links To


  1. After I switched to Firefox almost a year ago. My development, actually debugging html/ect…, has significantly decreased thanks to his toolbar. I hope he will file a lawsuit or at least call someone to do so on his behalf. If anyone else, like myself, has benefited from his toolbar think about sending his some $$$ or buying something off his Amazon wish list. I made a small donation through his paypal link.

  2. Another word to the wise: Deane downloaded the ripoff WebDev toolbar to see what the fuss was about, only to discover that one of its undocumented features was removing his ability to ‘View Source’ in IE. He promptly dumped it.

    So, even if you don’t care about the plagiarism and think WebDev toolbar for IE sounds nice (which it does), keep in mind that they spent even less time on QA testing than they did on legal review.

  3. Here’s the thing — this ripoff sucks. I downloaded it to see how it worked since I needed to debug some stuff in IE. It bites —

    • It doesn’t appear to allow real-time CSS editing. This is the biggest advantage of the Web Developer toobar. Remove that and what have you got?

    • It replaces the right-click menu with its own, and there’s no View Source. There are other cool things there, mind you (“Copy title and URL as hyperlink”) is nice, but I’m pretty sure all of it has been done with Firefox already.

    • They mispelled “Favorites” on the right-click menu. “Add to Favorits” Nice.

    Don’t bother with this.

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