Hey lowlight. Thanks for your feedback here, and for your review. While we're obviously a bit disappointed to see a 1-star review, please know that we take this type of feedback seriously. Nothing bums us out more than letting someone down and I want to apologize on behalf of the whole team for failing you here.
First off, regarding the database issue: your point is 100% valid. The fact that the community wants to see this full removal only came to our attention fairly recently. As soon as it did, we added it to our development queue and have it on the docket to ship with the next release (The Events Calendar 3.0, which should be out over the next month or so). Unfortunately, given how the development cycle works, we aren't in a position to push releases that just contain a single fix (such as this one), no matter how important those fixes are. This one is definitely a high priority for us and I do want you to know that we understand the pain it's causing for certain folks in the community. (If a step by step walkthrough on what needs to be removed would help in the interim, please let me know). I also want to apologize for the fact that we didn't convey this to you effectively - or, at all - in the thread you've linked to above.
Your point regarding crippleware is an interesting one. I'm definitely looking to hear more from you on this; obviously, there are thousands of people using this plugin who find the core functionality meets their needs plenty, and if I were to guess I'd say only half of our active users of the core plugin have gone on to buy add-ons. The other half run with it as-is and have found the solution meets their needs for a free offering. But the fact that you have a different perspective means this feeling isn't universal, and that your position is in the minority here by no means negates it...instead it makes me that much more inclined to find out what your idea of an adequate free plugin would be. I'm happy to even get you a copy of the PRO code - so you could see the difference between free and PRO offerings, and have a better understanding of the full picture.
No pressure, obviously. But I do want to take these types of feedback into account and you seem like someone who could offer a great, fresh perspective. And I want to do right by you after we've messed up the relationship thus far. Feel free to email me personally (rob /a/ tri.be) if you're interested.
Thanks again for the feedback and for giving the plugin a go. It's posts like this that help us know how we need to improve and I appreciate you taking the time you've spent so far to help us get there.