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Davide Mauri

A place for my thoughts and experiences the Microsoft Data Platform

Peeble Reports – Free reporting Tool

While surfing the web the last week, I’ve come across an intersting tool to create reports. It may be ad interesting alternative to Report Builder. It’s free (at least now) too.

I haven’t had the time to test it yet, but looks promising.

2010-01-17 UPDATE 1:

After Adam’s comment, I double checked that the software is really free. The license says that

“If you have not purchased the Software it will expire in 6 months. Upon such expiration you may download the latest version of the Software on whatever terms are current at that time.”

So it seems to be free as long as you download the new version every six month. Of course this could also means that the next version may or may be not free so this can be tricky.

Unfortunately there is not pricing information on the website.

2010-01-17 UPDATE 2:

Seems that the website has been updated, and now it clearly says: Send your full name to to get a free license key.

So it seems to be really free after all :)

Published Saturday, January 16, 2010 1:02 PM by Davide Mauri

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Adam Machanic said:

It's free? That's interesting; the company just sent me a license key... Odd.

January 16, 2010 3:54 PM

Davide said:

Hi Adam! After your comment I double checked the License and it says:

"Subject to the terms of this Agreement, Pebble Software hereby grants you a nonexclusive nontransferable limited license to use the Software. This License does not include any right to technical support or updates.

If you have not purchased the Software it will expire in 6 months. Upon such expiration you may download the latest version of the Software on whatever terms are current at that time."

So after 6 months one has to download the software again (and thus agree to any new license if changed) or pay the license, which I didn't noticed at the beginning in the "options" menu. Also I haven't found any mention to license costs, not even on the website.

January 17, 2010 5:29 AM

David Leibowitz said:

That takes the drugs at the playground approach. Free until you get hooked. Then we'll charge you.

That being said, how is this different/better than report builder which is free? (you need a SQL backend for ssrs for both so presumably you're already covered)

January 17, 2010 11:19 AM

Lisa Watt said:

Report Builder is not free if you are using SQL Server Express or Oracle. Microsoft doesn't enforce Report Builder license using product keys etc like they do with Office products though. Still there is a market for third party products because Report Builder is so hard to use for non-programmers.

January 17, 2010 12:44 PM

AaronBertrand said:

Bait and switch; I love it.  I wonder how many people will not read that portion of the license and be surprised 6 months down the road when it stops working.

January 17, 2010 1:09 PM

Davide Mauri said:

@David: in addition to what Lisa said, I find that the approach Peeble Report uses is quite interesting. Basically it just drops the idea that a report need to be printed on a paper and thus allows a different and more free approch while creating and consulting a report. More or less like Tableau does IMHO.

@Aaron & David: It's really a pity that they are using this kind of "trick". Even a potential interested customer may have a bad feeling about this behaviour, which is all but transparent. I'll try to write to them to have some more detailed information as soon as possibile, so that I can try to give some more information on those who are interested.

January 17, 2010 3:29 PM

Sree Kumar said:

The download page says you can get a free license key by emailing them.

January 17, 2010 3:35 PM

Davide Mauri said:


Interesting, this was not there when I download it several days ago. Just to be sure not to have gone mad :-) I checked the Google cached version and that sentence was not present ( Anyway, problem solved :-) I have also updated the post. And I'm going to ask for a free license right now :-)

January 17, 2010 3:44 PM

Sree Kumar said:

Well, free for now anyway. Presumably they plan to charge for it some time in the future, otherwise why have a license key? So get it while it lasts :-)

January 17, 2010 4:06 PM

HoyaSaxa93 said:

Looks like MS Access with an ODBC wizard to create connections. That said it was easy to learn and use.

January 18, 2010 8:34 AM

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About Davide Mauri

Davide Mauri - MCP, MCAD, MCDBA, MCT, MVP on SQL Server - has worked with SQL Server since version 6.5, and his interests cover the whole platform, from the Relational Engine to Analysis Services, from architecture definition to performance tuning. He also has a strong knowledge of XML, .NET and the Object Oriented Design principles, which allows him to have the correct vision and experience to handle development of complex business intelligence solutions. Having worked as a Microsoft Certified Teacher for many years, Davide is able to pass all his knowledge to his co-workers, allowing his team to deliver high-quality solutions. He currently works as a Mentor for SolidQ and can be found speaking in many Italian and internationals events.

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