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Microsoft 'Shared Source' Attempts to Hijack FOSS

CmdrTaco posted more than 6 years ago | from the thats-what-we-keep-saying dept.

Microsoft 381

aacc1313 writes "An article that details how Open Source is being hijacked by Microsoft and the sort via 'Shared Source' licenses and how Open Source licenses have become so much more confusing. From the article, "The confusion stems from the fact that Microsoft's 'shared source' program includes three proprietary licenses as well, whose names are similar in some ways to the open-source licenses. Thus, while the Microsoft Reciprocal License has been approved by OSI, the Microsoft Limited Reciprocal License (Ms-LRL) is not, because it allows users to modify and redistribute the software only on the Windows platform" and "The 'shared source' program was and is Microsoft's way of fighting the open source world, allowing customers to inspect Microsoft source code without giving those customers the right to modify or redistribute the code. In other words, "shared source" is not open source, and shouldn't be confused with it.""

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381 comments

Auditable source (5, Insightful)

davidwr (791652) | more than 6 years ago | (#23377722)

Read-but-not-reuse source really should be called auditable source or, if you are allowed to change and recompile it for your own use, a traditional commercial source-code license except it's free-as-in-beer.

Both have value and are better than closed-source software. Neither is free-as-in-freedom.

Re:Auditable source (1)

Ed Avis (5917) | more than 6 years ago | (#23377938)

Read-but-not-reuse source really should be called auditable source
I think calling it 'closed source' would be fine. As opposed to 'no source at all'.

Re:Auditable source (4, Interesting)

fbjon (692006) | more than 6 years ago | (#23378928)

But it's not closed. I propose a scale:
  1. Public domain (or legal equivalent)
  2. Open source
  3. Free source
  4. Visible source
  5. Closed source
Optionally bundle Free/Open together.

No One Cares About Your Opinion (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23378044)

Although it is hilarious to see people like you throw a fit when your own 'arbitrarily chosen language use and license details that benefits yourself or things you believe in' is threatened by someone else's 'arbiratily chosen langue use and license details that benefits themselves or things they believe in'.

People and companies will use and chose licenses that are the best fit for them. 99.99999999 percent of them don't give a damn what davidwr's wacky source code/licensing beliefs are.

Re:No One Cares About Your Opinion (1, Interesting)

Ex-MislTech (557759) | more than 6 years ago | (#23378612)

It is not about belief, it is about Anti-competitive behavior.

M$ has bought off Novell, and plans much worse than what we
are seeing here.

This is just the tip of the Iceberg.

http://blogs.zdnet.com/Gardner/index.php?p=2369 [zdnet.com]

An old Adage, Evil is as Evil does.

Re:Auditable source (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23378056)

GPL isn't free as in freedom either.

Re:Auditable source (4, Informative)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 6 years ago | (#23378284)

The OSI did not invent the term "Open Source". The phrase means only that you can get and use the source code, NOT that you can redistribute works based on it. We have a name for code with licenses like that already, it's called "Free Software". For more ranting on this subject, see this journal entry I wrote on the subject [slashdot.org] . Short form: The OSI should not be allowed to define what "Open Source" means any more than McDonalds should be allowed to define what "Hamburger" means.

Re:Auditable source (2, Informative)

Yenya (12004) | more than 6 years ago | (#23378822)

Short form: The OSI should not be allowed to define what "Open Source" means any more than McDonalds should be allowed to define what "Hamburger" means.
Remind me again since when McDonald's had a trademark on the word "Hamburger". OSI has a trademark on the term "Open Source", so naturally they are allowed to define what "Open Source" means.

Re:Auditable source (2, Insightful)

_Sprocket_ (42527) | more than 6 years ago | (#23378828)

The OSI did not invent the term "Open Source". The phrase means only that you can get and use the source code, NOT that you can redistribute works based on it. We have a name for code with licenses like that already, it's called "Free Software".
What makes "Free Software" and less ambiguous than "Open Source"? There's been plenty of discussion on that subject that covers the confusion of that phrase. Although I'd expect a fair amount of folks around these parts would associated "Free Software" with the Free Software Foundation and/or GNU project.

And that's the core of the issue. Who gets to define what a phrase means? Some phrases gain special meaning - even when they consist of common words. If the meaning of a phrase has certain value, you can expect people to make an effort to alter that meaning to meet their goals.

Who gets to define what "Open Source", "Free Software", "Windows", "Solaris", or "Apple" means? None of these phrases are really all that unique in the English language. Yet they all have very distinct meanings in the IT industry.

Re:Auditable source (4, Informative)

harry666t (1062422) | more than 6 years ago | (#23378522)

"Shared source" IS open source. The source is open. You can open it in a text editor and read it.

But it is NOT free software.

I'm with FSF about this one. The "open source" term made it all less clear what this whole movement is all about.

"Read". How come that's acceptable? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23378722)

When BSD proponents say "ah, but GPL ISN'T 'free' because I'm told what I can't do with it".

Or MS hopefuls saying "The GPL is like our EULA's because it doesn't let you use the program".

That sort of "read" isn't what "read" a computer program would mean. I.e. can I compile the source and affirm that source is what is producing the binary? That sort of "read" is "read like a book". And software isn't a book.

Re:Auditable source (2, Interesting)

Yetihehe (971185) | more than 6 years ago | (#23378854)

Most of this confusion is about difference in free=free as in beer || free as in speech. In polish we have separate words like "wolne" for free as in speech and "darmowe" for free as in beer. But we have other problem, because "wolne" also means "slow" so "wolne oprogramowanie" means "free programs" and "slow programs". This is not helping very much. I see only one solution: invent new word for free as in speech (both in english and polish).

NOT the point (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23378566)

This has nothing to do with providing freedom, auditing, or anything else. It's yet another way for microsoft to grow rich and expand their monopoly by perverting the mindshare and traction that good ideas gain within the IT industry.

They did it with the generic concept of "Windows"; they tried to hijack an entire TLD with dot-net [no, seriously, why else do you think they called it that?]; they did it with (Instant) Messenger [a number of times], they did with their so-called "OpenXML" [hijacking BOTH OpenOffice and open, XML-based formats], and they tried it with Shared Source. I'm SURE there other examples.

Well it's like this (2, Insightful)

skulgnome (1114401) | more than 6 years ago | (#23377730)

You wouldn't take a fox's vegetarian food recipes without a barrel of salt either, would you.

Also in b4 blogspamwhoring is called, because I'm calling it first right here.

Re:Well it's like this (4, Funny)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 6 years ago | (#23378064)

You wouldn't take a fox's vegetarian food recipes without a barrel of salt either, would you.
I don't know... Regurgitated grass doesn't sound like it needs any seasoning.

shared source... (1, Insightful)

gbrandt (113294) | more than 6 years ago | (#23377740)

is not open source. Any english language speaker should be able to get that.

Sounds like Open Source to me (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23377900)

If you get to view the source, it sounds like Open Source to me.

I think the problem is that FOSSies equate open source with the GPL... which is false. The GPL is not "open source", since you can have open source without the GPL.

It's kind of funny- the FOSSies hated MS for not supporting open source... and now that MS supports open source, they just moved the target and start hating Microsoft for something else. It's no wonder Microsoft ignored everything they say: sounds like time to go back to that policy.

Re:Sounds like Open Source to me (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23377974)

If you get to view the source, it sounds like Open Source to me.
If it was Open Source it'd be called (wait for it) "Open Source". "Shared Source" is clearly not "Open Source": the first two words are different, see?

I think the problem is that FOSSies equate open source with the GPL
Er, well you might, but anyone with a functioning brain equates "Open Source" with, well, Open Source, and "Free Software" (look, both words are different with that one!) with the GPL and other Free Software licenses.

Unless of course you personally pronounce "Shared" in a way that makes it sounds like "Open". Then I guess you really could claim that "Shared Source" sounds like "Open Source" I guess, and not be trolling.

Re:Sounds like Open Source to me (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23378202)

Maybe diehard linux copyleft fanatics equate open source with free software because of their blind and ignorant zeal. Regardless, source that you can view is by definition open source.

Your argument is like saying a banana isn't a fruit because we call it a banana and not a fruit.

Re:Sounds like Open Source to me (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23378616)

If it was Open Source it'd be called (wait for it) "Open Source". "Shared Source" is clearly not "Open Source": the first two words are different, see?
Hot girl: "Let's fuck!"
Pedant Slashdot Nerd: "Sorry, I am here to have sex!"
Hot girl: "But but but, that's what I said! If we fuck, it sounds like sex to me."
Pedant Slashdot Nerd: "If it was sex it'd be called (wait for it) "Sex". "Fucking" is clearly not "sex": the words are different, see?

Pedant Slashdot Nerd walks away from the hot girl, clearly smug at what he smells as victory.

(Sorry, I just couldn't resist.)

Re:Sounds like Open Source to me (2, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 6 years ago | (#23378100)

No, the problem is that people started using the term Open Source because Free Software was 'confusing.' Open Source is supposed to mean the same thing as Free Software, but it doesn't sound like it does. Free Software is ambiguous because free has two meanings in English. Open Source is ambiguous because open has a huge number of meanings in computing (visible, editable, redistributable, conforming to standards, and so on). An unambiguous term like Software Libre would be better, but unfortunately Open Source seems to be the buzzword de jour.

Re:Sounds like Open Source to me (3, Informative)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 6 years ago | (#23378346)

No, the problem is that people started using the term Open Source because Free Software was 'confusing.' Open Source is supposed to mean the same thing as Free Software, but it doesn't sound like it does.

Uh, no, you're wrong [slashdot.org] . You're not really at fault for not knowing this though; Bruce Perens' and the OSI's revisionistic attempts to rewrite computing history to make themselves more important than they really are are the source of the bad information which you have swallowed.

Open Source means that you see the code, that's all. It doesn't even mean that everyone can see the code; Unix vendors were using the term "Open" to mean documented and thus interoperable before the OSI or even the FSG were thought of. And as you can see from the above link, Caldera used the term "Open Source" prior to the foundation (or even the first beginnings of) the OSI.

Re:Sounds like Open Source to me (1)

lukas84 (912874) | more than 6 years ago | (#23378428)

If you get to view the source, it sounds like Open Source to me.


Then you're wrong.

I work for an ERP vendor which sells an application that runs on the IBM i platform.

Customers had the ability to purchase an agreement that allowed them to view and even modify our source code (of course with lots of strings attached). And that has been going on for a few years, so it's not exactly new.

Many other vendors that do not operate in a commodity market also offer the possibility to buy access to the source.

Re:Sounds like Open Source to me (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23378514)

access to the source.
...by Circuit City.

Re:shared source... (2, Insightful)

Mr. Picklesworth (931427) | more than 6 years ago | (#23378786)

Go to a general public computer store and count the number of people that ask for "Lin..ux" routers when they mean "Linksys", or who think Trend Micro Antivirus ("powered by the PC-Cillin engine") is "Penicillin". ...Then say people won't be confused by Shared Source, and won't prefer the Microsoft license because it says Windows.

It's sad, but true. I think they are playing on that idea that a horrifying number of people are idiots and will read clear phrases as entirely different things, never to correct themselves...

Duh. (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 6 years ago | (#23377772)

Was there anyone that didn't know this?

Re:Duh. (4, Insightful)

denis-The-menace (471988) | more than 6 years ago | (#23378042)

The PHB signing your paycheck.

License confusion (5, Insightful)

rxmd (205533) | more than 6 years ago | (#23377800)

Open Source licenses have become so much more confusing.

To be honest they were pretty confusing already, with license proliferation leading to a large number of very similar free software licenses with minute, but potentially decisive differences. It didn't need Microsoft for that. Even the general overview at Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] lists 54 different Open Source licenses, not counting superseded or volunarily retired ones.

Re:License confusion (1)

Tridus (79566) | more than 6 years ago | (#23377896)

I was thinking the same thing. Microsoft's licenses are confusingly named, but open source licensing was confusing long before MS came to the party.

They also don't call "shared source" open source, which to me seems more like they're trying to avoid confusion then creating it. (Calling it open source when its actually not would be more confusing then calling it something else.)

Re:License confusion (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 6 years ago | (#23378174)

The FSF hasn't helped with the license confusion, since they seem to be unable to create licenses that are mutually compatible. It used to be that a GPL project could use LGPL'd code, but not vice versa. Now a GPLv2 project can't use an LGPLv3 library, which is causing a huge number of problems for projects which were previously linking against GPL and LGPL libraries. If the LGPL library moves to the new license and the GPL done doesn't (e.g. something like Poppler, based on xpdf, which was GPL'd and didn't have the 'or later version' clause) then the project has no way of using the latest versions of both and remaining legal.

Gay Nigger Goatse (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23377814)

Gay Nigger Goatse [twofo.co.uk]

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    To do so, attach the following notices to the program. It is safest
to attach them to the start of each source file to most effectively
convey the exclusion of warranty; and each file should have at least
the "copyright" line and a pointer to where the full notice is found.

        Copyright (C)

        This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify
        it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by
        the Free Software Foundation; either version 2 of the License, or
        (at your option) any later version.

        This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful,
        but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of
        MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the
        GNU General Public License for more details.

        You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License
        along with this program; if not, write to the Free Software
        Foundation, Inc., 59 Temple Place, Suite 330, Boston, MA 02111-1307 USA

Also add information on how to contact you by electronic and paper mail.

If the program is interactive, make it output a short notice like this
when it starts in an interactive mode:

        Gnomovision version 69, Copyright (C) year name of author
        Gnomovision comes with ABSOLUTELY NO WARRANTY; for details type `show w'.
        This is free software, and you are welcome to redistribute it
        under certain conditions; type `show c' for details.

The hypothetical commands `show w' and `show c' should show the appropriate
parts of the General Public License. Of course, the commands you use may
be called something other than `show w' and `show c'; they could even be
mouse-clicks or menu items--whatever suits your program.

You should also get your employer (if you work as a programmer) or your
school, if any, to sign a "copyright disclaimer" for the program, if
necessary. Here is a sample; alter the names:

    Yoyodyne, Inc., hereby disclaims all copyright interest in the program
    `Gnomovision' (which makes passes at compilers) written by James Hacker.

    , 1 April 1989
    Ty Coon, President of Vice

This General Public License does not permit incorporating your program into
proprietary programs. If your program is a subroutine library, you may
consider it more useful to permit linking proprietary applications with the
library. If this is what you want to do, use the GNU Library General
Public License instead of this License.

What is Open Source? (5, Insightful)

Simon (S2) (600188) | more than 6 years ago | (#23377834)

"shared source" is not open source, and shouldn't be confused with it."
I think this is not true. Open Source means nothing more that the source is "open", that you can see it. I never interpreted the term "open source" whit the meaning that you are free to modify it and distribute it. That is GPLed code for me. A piece of code is Open Source when you can see the code. So, shared source *is* open source, because the code is there for you to see. What you can do with the code, is part of the licence agreement attached with the code. There is no "open source" license, but there is a GPL, BSD, Apache, MIT and so on license.
Am I the only one seeing it like this? Am I wrong?

Re:What is Open Source? (2, Insightful)

realmolo (574068) | more than 6 years ago | (#23377948)

Open source software doesn't mean you can just LOOK at the source. It means you can look at it AND modify it and use it (redistributing it is another matter, and depends on the specific license). That's what "open" MEANS. Microsoft is playing semantic games with the "shared source" license. It *sounds* like it's open source, but it's not. It's "shared".

So, yeah, you're the only one who sees it that way. And you're wrong. That's not what open source means at all.

Re:What is Open Source? (4, Interesting)

AndGodSed (968378) | more than 6 years ago | (#23378114)

And on another tack - I wonder if MS would incorporate any positive changes you would make to their source code.

And if they incorporate it, would they automatically own it, hence not needing to pay you for it?

Not only are we M$'s beta testers, we are now their bug fixers.

Sounds fishy - but that is just me playing the paranoia card...

Re:What is Open Source? (1)

huckamania (533052) | more than 6 years ago | (#23378370)

Another question is whether changes to 'shared source' code needs to be given back to Microsoft. IANALL, but that's one of those terms I like to publicly scoff at. Another good question is whether you have to give your SSC changes to customers. Again, much scoffing will ensue if it does.

Re:What is Open Source? (0, Troll)

david_costanzo (607004) | more than 6 years ago | (#23378540)

If you download and use Fedora Core, aren't you a beta tester for Red Hat Enterprise Linux? And if you fix a bug in Fedora Core, something which Red Hat financially benefits from, do they pay you money? For me, the answer is Yes and No, so I don't see a difference between the Open Source model and Microsoft's Shared Source model, in this respect.

Re:What is Open Source? (1)

Simon (S2) (600188) | more than 6 years ago | (#23378218)

Open source software doesn't mean you can just LOOK at the source. It means you can look at it AND modify it and use it (redistributing it is another matter, and depends on the specific license).
What you are talking about is the OSI definition of Open Source [opensource.org] . There are a lot of definitions [google.com] for Open Source.
I think we can say that there are OSI Approved Licenses [opensource.org] , and Shared Source licenses [microsoft.com] . Both grant the user a right to *see* the source code, but the big difference is that an OSI license also gives the user additional rights, as explained here [opensource.org] .

Once this is clear, we can discuss about what the term "Open Source" means, and what rights it grans to the user. Personally I think that the "rights" part should be determined by the license attached to the code, not by a term like "Open Source" or "Shared Source", but that is just me.

Re:What is Open Source? (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 6 years ago | (#23378438)

Really, non free software should be somewhere between the two...
Kinda like the old BSDI licenses (if i remember correctly), you bought the software and it came with source code which you could modify for your own use.... However you couldn't redistribute this code yourself, except to submit fixes to the original vendor.
I think it's utterly ridiculous not having the source code, and therefore having to resort to binary hacking to fix bugs or customise it.

Re:What is Open Source? (1)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 6 years ago | (#23378604)

No... open used to mean just that it was available to look at. Free meant you could do what you like. Stop with revisionist history.

Re:What is Open Source? (1)

Vanders (110092) | more than 6 years ago | (#23378038)

Yes, you're missing something quite fundamental. The term "Open Source" is a trademark [opensource.org] . You can't use it without permission of the OSI, and they've set the criteria [slashdot.org] of what qualifies as "Open Source". Most of the Microsoft "Shared Source" licenses do not qualify and thus can not be called "Open Source".

Re:What is Open Source? (1)

Ed Avis (5917) | more than 6 years ago | (#23378206)

That web page you cite doesn't make any mention of it being a trademark. AFAIK, the trademark registration failed because by 1998 the term 'open source' was already too vague. You can have a trademark without it being a registered trademark, but the OSI doesn't claim even this.

OTOH, you should certainly say what you mean, and 'open source' has a generally accepted definition which is the same as 'free software'.

Re:What is Open Source? (1)

Vanders (110092) | more than 6 years ago | (#23378484)

Yup, you're right. The OSI pages seem to be deliberately vague on the subject: the OSI logo is a trademark but as you say, the attempt to register "Open Source" as a trademark or service mark failed. Ironically the only place I could find clear information on the subject was the FSF.

Re:What is Open Source? (4, Informative)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 6 years ago | (#23378542)

Yes, you're missing something quite fundamental. The term "Open Source" is a trademark.
NO IT IS NOT. The term "Open Source" is most certainly not a trademark. The OSI is attempting to build a case for their formerly-denied trademark application for the term "Open Source". The Open Source Marks themselves are trademarked. This is, of course, deceptive business practice - they have YOU fooled, don't they?

This fact is more obvious when you look at the largest logos, e.g. opensource-550x475.gif [opensource.org] . In this logo you can clearly see that the TM applies to the logo, not to the words "Open Source". The smaller logos deceptively make it look like the TM applies to the whole thing (and it SORT OF does - but to the graphic representation of the phrase "Open Source", and not the phrase itself.)

I did the research into this issue when the OSI announced its intention to "crack down" on vendors who "misuse" the term Open Source [slashdot.org] . That issue, and the comments in the slashdot story made me somewhat nauseous (and still do.) I subsequently wrote a journal entry detailing the situation [slashdot.org] . I've since exchanged comments with Bruce Perens, who defends his stance on redefining the term from what it used to be. Rather than taking responsibility for selection of an already-overloaded piece of terminology, Mr. Perens insists that he is correct and that the OSI (and by extension and some truly addled logic, the entire computing community) is the injured party here.

In reality there is no injured party, just some geeks with an overdeveloped sense of their own importance. Arguably, that includes myself; but then, I'm trying to preserve history, not rewrite it.

CORRECTION (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 6 years ago | (#23378586)

I wrote that the trademark application was formerly denied. It was not; it was withdrawn. I wrote the node in stream-of-consciousness fashion and when I came back to edit it for posting I missed this edit and clicked the button too quickly. It's always embarrassing to make an error in bold print.

Re:What is Open Source? (1)

Vanders (110092) | more than 6 years ago | (#23378630)

This is, of course, deceptive business practice - they have YOU fooled, don't they?
Well they did I admit, upto about five minutes ago [slashdot.org] at least.

Re:What is Open Source? (1)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 6 years ago | (#23378688)

Bull. First, it's not trade marked. Second, "open source" has been around a lot longer than the OSI, which only came into being around 1998. I can call something I want open source if I want, and there's nothing OSI could do about it.

Re:What is Open Source? (1)

Prefader (1072814) | more than 6 years ago | (#23378070)

I think I agree with this. It seems that the definition of "Open Source", as it's used in the summary, isn't quite right. Software that is Open Source does not necessarily have to be free (as-in-freedom, - as-in-beer, whatever). This is why we sometimes see software referred to as "FLOSS" rather than simply "OSS", right?

Re:What is Open Source? (1)

adpsimpson (956630) | more than 6 years ago | (#23378086)

Open Source means nothing more that the source is "open", that you can see it.

The word you're looking for there is 'visible' or 'exposed.'

Open implies that it is, to some extent, available for use. Simply being able to look at it does not constitute use, especially since that is double protected by the terms of the licence and copyright (and perhaps also patent law in the USA).

As a post above says, 'auditable' would be a much more suitable name for this style of licence, as really that is all that is on offer.

Re:What is Open Source? (1)

MMC Monster (602931) | more than 6 years ago | (#23378172)

I think you are confusing open source and Open Source.

Re:What is Open Source? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23378306)

"shared source" is not open source, and shouldn't be confused with it."
I think this is not true. Open Source means nothing more that the source is "open", that you can see it. I never interpreted the term "open source" whit the meaning that you are free to modify it and distribute it. That is GPLed code for me. A piece of code is Open Source when you can see the code. So, shared source *is* open source, because the code is there for you to see. What you can do with the code, is part of the licence agreement attached with the code. There is no "open source" license, but there is a GPL, BSD, Apache, MIT and so on license.
Am I the only one seeing it like this? Am I wrong?
I used to think just like you do right now. What changed my mind was reading the definition of Open Source as coined by FSF. A good starting point to the definition would be here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_Source_Definition

The term Open Source by definition means that right to modify and redistribute the code is given.

Well... (-1, Flamebait)

dwiget001 (1073738) | more than 6 years ago | (#23377884)

I could care less what Microsoft calls their "open" licenses. Wouldn't use any Microsoft license at all. Any tie to Microsoft is a tie they can and will exploit, a liability no one can really afford.

Re:Well... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23378046)

Amen. That sums it up perfectly.

Re:Well... (1)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 6 years ago | (#23378146)

I could care less what Microsoft calls their "open" licenses. Wouldn't use any Microsoft license at all. Any tie to Microsoft is a tie they can and will exploit, a liability no one can really afford.

The nice thing about this simple truth is, you don't really need to convince anyone. If someone is stupid enough to disagree, you can just go into business, eat half their lunch, watch MS eat the other half, and laugh yourself to sleep at night.

Re:Well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23378152)

I could care less what Microsoft calls their "open" licenses.
Really? How much less could you care?

Re:Well... (1)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 6 years ago | (#23378316)

Really? How much less could you care?

I couldn't care less how much less he could care. Because here he is bitching about licensing issues in a thread that's all about splitting hairs over the use of the words "shared" and "open." And amidst all of that fussing over word definitions, he sees fit to say the exact opposite of what he actually means, by leaving out the negative. I suppose, to someone who doesn't actually think about the words he uses, and simply does a phonetic regurgitation, minus an important syllabile or two, of a phrase he hears regularly - without a care about the fact that doing so alters the meaning of the sentence - that it's perfectly normal to also just mindlessly parrot Teh Eevil Microsoft mantra. Hey, once you stop caring about whether the sounds that come out of your mouth actually represent your thoughts (or mean anything at all), then it probably is easier just to fall back on the group think and repeat whatever you last heard.

Re:Well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23378262)

The phrase is "couldn't care less", as in the level of caring is at the lowest possible. You just said that you do care, because if you could care less, you must already care in the first place.

Re:Well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23378310)

Its 'couldn't care less' not 'could care less'.

Re:Well... (1)

grahamd0 (1129971) | more than 6 years ago | (#23378348)

Any tie to Microsoft is a tie they can and will exploit, a liability no one can really afford.

I agree with the first part of that sentence, but not the second.

Many organizations, both large and small, can afford to deal with Microsoft, and in fact make huge profits doing so.

If that were true, why are so many people makeing ASP.NET websites? Why are so many companies successfully running Exchange servers?

I don't like working with Microsoft software any more than you do (well, maybe a *little* more, windows 2000/XP don't really bother me), but obviously it works out for a lot of people.

I'm no doubt missing something... (2, Interesting)

Otter (3800) | more than 6 years ago | (#23377910)

In both of the examples I mentioned here, there was no attempt to shade or hide the truth. And in both cases, we were truly dealing with open source software.

So, two companies, neither of which is Microsoft, released supposedly "open source" software that is, in fact, completely open source? I'm missing where the "hijack" and "confusion" come in.

A legitimate question (4, Interesting)

stonecypher (118140) | more than 6 years ago | (#23377932)

How is this any different than what GPL did to BSD? Show up, act like you invented the term "free software", impose a bunch of draconian restrictions that didn't used to exist and loudly tell everyone that your choice of strictures does good for the community?

Preparing for inappropriate troll and flamebait mods. It's still a legitimate question.

Re:A legitimate question (5, Insightful)

adpsimpson (956630) | more than 6 years ago | (#23378036)

...impose a bunch of draconian restrictions that didn't used to exist...

Rising to the bait, GPL's restrictions act to restrict the current user in order to the benefit the community. They arguably don't necessarily benefit the original code developer, although the developer is free to the same benefits as the community receives.

Microsoft's restrictions benefit, well, Microsoft. That is, the original developer. Not the community, not the current user. Nobody else.

This seems like a pretty important distinction.

Re:A legitimate question (2, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 6 years ago | (#23378226)

Rising to the bait, GPL's restrictions act to restrict the current user in order to the benefit the community.
So, can you explain to me how the community has benefited from the FSF having to rewrite a PDF framework from scratch because the existing ones (Poppler and friends) are all based on xpdf, which is GPLv2-only, which is incompatible with GPLv3 and, more importantly, LGPLv3, preventing any project from using Poppler and any LGPL'd libraries that upgraded to the latest version?

Re:A legitimate question (1)

adpsimpson (956630) | more than 6 years ago | (#23378442)

Which do you think would be more useful to you if you were starting that task - the original GPL2 framework, or the MS Windows framework, under a Microsoft 'Shared Source' licence?

A rewrite due to incompatible open source licences is a waste of resources, certainly. Though I don't know about this case, my guess would be that there were other factors in the decision to; there normally are multiple factors in a complete codebase rewrite.

Re:A legitimate question (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 6 years ago | (#23378680)

They haven't, and incompatible license fragmentation is bad...

But at least GPLv2 projects can benefit from xpdf, Noone can benefit from or contribute towards a closed source PDF framework.
So while clearly not ideal, the current situation is still by far and away not the worst possible.

The GPL does not restrict Users at all (4, Informative)

FreeUser (11483) | more than 6 years ago | (#23378560)

Rising to the bait, GPL's restrictions act to restrict the current user in order to the benefit the community.

Ahem. Just a little nit to pick: the GPL does not restrict users in any way. It "restricts" (if that's the term) distributors and developers, in that it requires them to make the source code available to anyone they distribute to, upon request. Like a constitution, it enshrines the rights of users, coders, and everyone else by defining their rights and prohibiting actions taken to infringe on those rights.

Microsoft's restrictions benefit, well, Microsoft. That is, the original developer. Not the community, not the current user. Nobody else.

This seems like a pretty important distinction.


You're right, it's an extremely important distinction, not unlike the distinction between your run-of-the-mill business contract and the US Constitution or the British Magna Carta.

Re:The GPL does not restrict Users at all (1)

adpsimpson (956630) | more than 6 years ago | (#23378712)

the GPL does not restrict users in any way. It "restricts" (if that's the term) distributors and developers, in that it requires them to make the source code available to anyone they distribute to, upon request.

Fair point - I had meant 'users' as in the users of the source code, which includes both distributors and end users. And I believe 'restrict' is the correct term, in the same way that I am restricted by whatever law system I live under - without it life would be pretty miserable, but it still 'restricts' my immediate freedoms to do whatever the heck I like.

Software end users are of course not restricted by the source code licencing at the point of using the software. They may be restricted at the point of wishing to become developers or distributors.

Re:A legitimate question (1)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 6 years ago | (#23378576)

Rising to the bait, GPL's restrictions act to restrict the current user in order to the benefit the community.

I disagree. Any given person/group/company can be a user of software and/or a developer of software. The GPL does not restrict them as a user, only as a developer. It basically says that if you want to develop the code, you have to share with other developers as the price.

Microsoft's restrictions benefit, well, Microsoft. That is, the original developer. Not the community, not the current user. Nobody else.

Microsoft's shared source license is more restricted than the GPL, certainly, but it does bring some benefits to users. That is to say, users can view the code to say, find security holes, or understand how to interoperate more easily. With this knowledge they can create security work arounds and such. They can also submit more specific feature requests to MS.

Shared source does benefit users, it just does so in a very weak way when compared to the GPL.

Re:A legitimate question (1)

adpsimpson (956630) | more than 6 years ago | (#23378782)

Any given person/group/company can be a user of software and/or a developer of software. The GPL does not restrict them as a user, only as a developer. It basically says that if you want to develop the code, you have to share with other developers as the price.

See my reply to the comment above - I had meant users of the source code, not users of the software.

Microsoft's shared source license is more restricted than the GPL, certainly, but it does bring some benefits to users...

Quoting my original post, 'Microsoft's restrictions benefit, well, Microsoft.' I was not arguing that the licence as a whole doesn't benefit the developers, but that the restrictions to what those developers can do benefit only Microsoft.

Methinks we're arguing the same side here?

Re:A legitimate question (1)

es330td (964170) | more than 6 years ago | (#23378880)

Not the community, not the current user. Nobody else.
You couldn't be more wrong. The overwhelming majority of US businesses run their operations on MS software, whether it be simply XP/Vista desktops or a full blown W2K3 domain with Exchange email and IIS webservers. While it is true that MS is the primary beneficiary of a shared license, anything that makes MS software better benefits society at large because the market gets a better product. As much as many here would like to see MS go away, the fact remains that for all its flaws businesses still choose to run it, and if they are going to do that in spite of its flaws then anything that improves security and reduces time lost to errors benefits everyone.

Re:A legitimate question (2, Interesting)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#23378268)

Yes. The GPL adds restrictions that protect software freedom and innovation. They benefit the author and all licensees, not just the author. Shared Source only benefits the author -- i.e., it exists to keep people locked in to the Windows OS and the Office office suite. The GPL benefits everyone by keeping the source code open and preventing third parties from keeping their innovations secret from everyone else.

OTOH, BSD people typically argue that their license is more "open" because it adds no restricttions and allows licensees to produce closed source products from the open source tool. This is true to a point; however the BSD license also allows third parties to grab the source, add some stuff to create vendor lock-in, and then release the result as closed software. Some of us see this as preventing innovation from flowing back to the community by allowing people to take but not give back.

Re:A legitimate question (2, Interesting)

maxume (22995) | more than 6 years ago | (#23378434)

Without arguing about your point, how many people that are willing to take and close BSD are going to end up willing to use and contribute back to GPL?

There is probably some intersection, but the existence of BSD options is going to keep that intersection pretty small. So in the end, the GPL probably does more to limit lock-in use of the code (which is fine, I think an author has every right to do such a thing) than in does to encourage flow-back of innovation from selfish borrowers.

Re:A legitimate question (2, Interesting)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#23378618)

how many people that are willing to take and close BSD are going to end up willing to use and contribute back to GPL?
That's the whole point. We don't want those people. If you're not willing to share and share alike, you just need to go away and bother somebody else because we don't want to even deal with you.

That being said, when I use the term 'we', understand that I'm a realist and I realize that some kinds of software are best released under either an LGPL or BSD-like lioense. Mostly this is when you want to reach the widest audience possible; this is usually the same motivation that BSD authors have.

Re:A legitimate question (4, Insightful)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 6 years ago | (#23378584)

The GPL may have more restrictions than BSD, but the GPL itself doesn't take anything away, it actually grants you rights you wouldn't normally have under copyright law while placing some restrictions on those rights.

If you look at most commercial licenses, they are far more "draconian" as you put it, since not only do they usually not grant you any rights you wouldn't already have, they often seek to take away the rights you would have had through copyright law.

GPL is good for the community because it insures that future users have the same rights, and that a third party cannot take the code and re-release it under draconian restrictions (as often happens to BSD code). Obviously it's far from ideal, and i'm sure Richard Stallman would be the first person to agree, but so long as there are people out there seeking to take free code and rerelease it under draconian restrictions there will be a need to do something to stop that happening. I would say that the restrictions of the GPL are more than livable, given the alternative of completely closed source.

Additionally, the extra restrictions imposed by the GPL compared to BSD don't really affect people who just want to use the sofware, or who want to modify it and contribute the changes back to the community. They only have an impact on those who want to leech by taking existing code, packaging it up and selling a closed source derivative.

Re:A legitimate question (4, Insightful)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 6 years ago | (#23378902)

How is this any different than what GPL did to BSD? Show up, act like you invented the term "free software", impose a bunch of draconian restrictions that didn't used to exist and loudly tell everyone that your choice of strictures does good for the community?

The GPL and BSD are different licenses, each ideal for different uses. In many cases the same developers will develop both BSD and GPL licensed code depending upon what they want to do with their creation. Sure there are idiots who claim everything should be GPL or BSD and that the other is not "real OSS" but those people are mostly uninformed twats. Seriously, very rarely are those opinions expressed by anyone here or in knowledgeable forums. The development community as a whole accepts and utilizes both; GPL for projects that are larger and need a lot of ongoing input from different players and the BSD license for core technologies where adoption of that technology is more important than keeping contributions to a reference implementation available to all.

For example, if I (or my employer) is investing in writing a userspace application like a page layout program, the GPL is most likely to garner contributions from others in a way that benefits me and the other developers as well as the user base. If I (or my employer) invests in writing code for a new auto-discovery over IP daemon the BSD license allows that code to be integrated into more devices and OS's more easily and both users and developers benefit only if adoption is widespread. The same developer or company will often find itself contributing under both these licenses. Very few developers consider it some sort of competition between the two or advocate only one license for all things... and most of those people are not industry insiders and probably have not contributed significant code in any case.

The shared source license is somewhat different in that the specific use case it is designed to solve is a marketing one, rather than a functional one. It is simply a way to provide a license that benefits the one and only developer at the expense of the user, by providing a very small subset of the benefits of other OSS licenses, while intentionally castrating the most important (but less understood) benefits. MS's problem is not that developers or users need more freedom to make the code better, it is that developers and users are demanding OSS because OSS code is helping others in ways they don't really understand and those developers and users need to be convinced that MS is giving them those same benefits, in a vague and not specifically explained way.

Preparing for inappropriate troll and flamebait mods. It's still a legitimate question.

If you're preparing for troll and flamebait mods, then you probably at least have an inkling that your view is both inflammatory and reflects a poor understanding of those licenses as they are commonly used by the OSS community. In future, if you think you're going to be modded down as a flame and troll, maybe you should assert less and instead ask people to inform you as to why the opinion would be so large of a misunderstanding that it would potentially result in such a moderation. You obviously have doubts about the legitimacy of your question, otherwise you would not phrase it the way you did.

Which means open source is gaining credibility (1)

paratiritis (1282164) | more than 6 years ago | (#23377956)

So companies, Microsoft included, will try to use the term but avoid the implicatioons for them.

I guess it is up to the developers to choose their license, but in the end such schemes are doomed to failure. If you want real open source just ignore these projects.

Which just goes to show, like the quoted article says, how right Stallman was for the freedom implications, but also how right Raymond was for the economic implications.

If you don't want your project being used for these ends just use a licence with copyleft or share-alike (to use the Creative Commons term) provisions.

Re:Which means open source is gaining credibility (1)

AndGodSed (968378) | more than 6 years ago | (#23378148)

Yep, M$ decided if you can't beat 'em, imitate 'em, badly too... that draws more attention!

Re:Which means open source is gaining credibility (1)

yomegaman (516565) | more than 6 years ago | (#23378768)

Uh, they didn't use the term. If they were trying to confuse people, they would have called it "open source", but they didn't. I don't see what the problem is.

Boycottnovell.com - See Microsoft's soiled panties (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23377982)

The best news source I've found to keep up on Microsoft's latest bullshit is Boycott Novell:

http://www.boycottnovell.com/ [boycottnovell.com]

It may say Novell in the title, but it's so much more. With all of the interesting news links Roy has been putting up in the last few weeks, it's beginning to look more important and better updated than most Linux news sites, and it doesn't look as horrible like a lot of the Linux news sites appear. I read Groklaw every day, and BoycottNovell comes in an easy second for the amount of information it packs.

Microsoft is never going to be on-side (2, Interesting)

hyades1 (1149581) | more than 6 years ago | (#23378040)

Microsoft and Open Source are antithetical. Nobody with an ounce of common sense can have anything to do with them and not understand that there are going to be strings attached.

Tune out what they say. Focus on what they are and what they do. Structure your involvement with them accordingly. End of story.

Re:Microsoft is never going to be on-side (1)

DragonFodder (712772) | more than 6 years ago | (#23378278)

Absolutely agree with this. I suspect this "Shared Source" crap is a combination of their Extend and then Extinguish strategy.

Picture a not too distant future, where an Open Source project gets shut down because some of the programmers working on it have viewed the "Shared Source" code. After viewing, they have made changes to their project code. Influenced maybe by what they read, then again, maybe not.

MicroSoft then declares that the code embedded in this project is directly from the proprietary code and therefore invalidates the "open" stricture. Or demands them to pay up licensing.

In any case, the project dies. Then this tainted project starts to kill any other project it has been included in.

Don't call me paranoid, when they're really all out to get me.

MS and confusing names... (1)

JetScootr (319545) | more than 6 years ago | (#23378090)

Flight Simulator; Windows; Office; Visual [anything]; Word; Internet Information Server; SQL Server; Works; Point Of Sale; Small Business Financials;
Oh heck, go check yerself. I just stopped cuz I got tired of typing.
MS has taken deliberate name confusion to a whole new logarithm level...

Re:MS and confusing names... (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 6 years ago | (#23378190)

You forget PlaysForSure, squirting, Hotmail, MSN, Live Search. If you combine those: Live squirting MSN Hotmail Search PlaysForSure. Sounds like a kinky dating website to me. :P

Re:MS and confusing names... (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 6 years ago | (#23378948)

To be fair, Hotmail existed before they bought it.

Re:MS and confusing names... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23378238)

If you find those names confusing, you're a complete idiot.

Re:MS and confusing names... (1)

apt-get moo (988257) | more than 6 years ago | (#23378910)

It's true, while many companies do their best to prevent that their trademarks get genericized (e.g. like Adobe does with Photoshop), Microsoft seems to deliberately employ very basic and general terms, which on the other hand look as if they were standardized: New Technology File System, Common Internet File System, Graphics Device Interface, Office Open XML... oh wait, someone actually standardized this.

Open Source vs Free Software (1, Troll)

mlwmohawk (801821) | more than 6 years ago | (#23378192)

I'm sorry, but I'm a "Free Software" with "Free" meaning "Freedom" advocate. The "Open Source" advocates like ESR are idiots. "Open Source" is a trap. Just ask anyone about the IBM BIOS and "contamination," the tricks phoenix had to play to take an API set embodied in published source code (IBMs BIOS in the tech manual) and create an independent implementation of it.

Having access to the source is "open" by any use of the english language, so Microsoft is correct when they say their "shared source" license is "open source," because the source is open for inspection, but that doesn't mean you are free to do anything with it.

In fact, you are probably less free over all because if you sign the requisite EULAs to gain access, any knowledge you acquire from the source is tainted and you may find yourself a copyright infringer simply because you viewed the "shared source" and had the audacity to write code elsewhere that may have had similar applications. Which is, of course common, because people who have expertise in one area tend to be more valuable continuing.

The "open source" movement without an expressed freedom to learn is a trap. ESR and their ilk are either too stupid to realize this or have an ulterior motive. Access to the source does not make better programs, freedom and collaboration does.

Re:Open Source vs Free Software (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 6 years ago | (#23378504)

Compartmentalization is just as much a problem when viewing GPL code. Viewing GPL code doesn't have any implications if you plan on releasing GPL code, but if you have some desire to release code that is not GPL, it seems to me that you need to be pretty careful about what GPL code you look at or you won't be able to cleanly separate what you are remembering from what you are creating (with the notion that something you remembered would probably be a derivative and thus should be subject to the terms of the GPL).

It's not really a flaw of the licenses, viewing any code (except code that has extremely liberal reuse provisions, BSD, artistic licenses, etc.) has contamination implications.

Re:Open Source vs Free Software (1)

mlwmohawk (801821) | more than 6 years ago | (#23378816)

Compartmentalization is just as much a problem when viewing GPL code. Viewing GPL code doesn't have any implications if you plan on releasing GPL code

Then there really is no problem.

Seriously, the "shared source" license is not generally public, you have to sign away certain rights to view it.

This is kind of stupid (1)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 6 years ago | (#23378200)

Yes, using the word source makes it sound the same, but the options for other words are rather limited. Shared Code? MS LBDTL (look but don't touch license)... really, pretty limited. Think about it, MS has not been all that inventive when it comes to product names.

On the other hand how is anyone supposed to feel empathy for a Gorilla who has been throwing (chairs) excrement through the bars at customers for years?

Can you say Lindow? http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&output=googleabout&btnG=Search+our+site&q=microsoft%20lindows [google.com]

and can you say Mike Rowe?
http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&output=googleabout&btnG=Search+our+site&q=microsoft%20mike%20rowe%20soft [google.com]

Do I need to mention more?

At this point, Vista nearly finished swirling down the drain, XP SP3 going over like a lead balloon, now this? The bigger they are, the harder they fall, and I guess in this case it's going to take quite a while for the falling part to finish. Falling? Failing? hmmmmm

Yes, MS fanboi, before you finish off that cup of coolaid and reply to my post, think about the marketing blunders, product disappointments, and plain bad business moves made by MS THIS YEAR ALONE and tell me you still love the company that is MS?

Tomato ... Tomaaato (1)

kcdoodle (754976) | more than 6 years ago | (#23378292)

MS can call their licenses anything they want.

I wouldn't touch their code with a 10 meter pole.
Don't wanna see it. Don't wanna run it. Don't care what license it has.

It is already tainted. I am not about to do the work of testing, cleaning and documenting MS code so they can turn around and charge me for my efforts.

GPL is an easy decision... (4, Insightful)

IGnatius T Foobar (4328) | more than 6 years ago | (#23378322)

It's very easy to see why the GPL is the very best license to choose for a FOSS project. Quite simply, it is the license that Microsoft abhors the most. The very mention of its name sends Microsoft people into foaming fits of anger.

From this, we may safely draw the conclusion that Microsoft has done a lot of research, with a lot of lawyers, and they've determined that the GPL represents the biggest threat to their revenue model. And what's bad for Microsoft is generally good for everyone else. So if you're going to develop FOSS, the GPL is the obvious safe choice.

Dont Use Microsoft (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23378448)

How does Microsoft's license "hijack" FOSS? It would only be hijacking if they forced you to use their code, thereby encumbering yourself with their license.

If you don't like the Microsoft's license, don't use Microsoft's code. Simple.

Microsoft is Clever (3, Insightful)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 6 years ago | (#23378474)

No really, they were very clever in both creating and naming these licenses. You see most people who have heard of open source software don't understand why it is beneficial. They have, at this point, some vague idea that it is beneficial, but do not understand the mechanism. If you sit down with someone and explain the benefits of open source code the normal topics to discuss are: security and cost. The most easily explained reasons for why open source is cheaper is that people can look at the code and donate improvements, lowering the cost. The most easily explained reason why it is more secure is that people can look at the code and find security holes themselves, thus providing a more extensive security audit. You'll note I said those were the most easily explained mechanisms, that by no means makes them the most potent mechanisms.

So when someone is making a purchasing decision, MS an trot out shared source (which the purchaser does not understand) in comparison to open source (which the purchaser does not understand). They can explain how both those two, most common talking points from the OSS crowd are taken care of, and thus get a sale. They don't explain the more important aspects of OSS or how those benefits are not the same, but not even all OSS advocates understand them either and they certainly aren't going to try to explain them to a PHB. So when you tell the boss OSS will save them money; they ask how. You tell them there is no up front license fee and a lot of the code is donated for free. MS tells them the same thing about shared source (which sounds oh so similar). You probably don't bother explaining to them how the GPL works to insure contributions from everyone are available to all nor how it allows you to take avoid vendor lock-in and take competitive bids on improvements, resulting in lower ongoing costs... because those things take significant understanding and most people don't want to put that much effort in.

Basically, "Shared source" is just MS's way of providing something that looks like OSS enough to fool people who don't really understand how OSS works and they have named it in such a way that is does, sort of, describe what it is and what most people think OSS is. It is just MS removing the most beneficial features for the actual user (but which would cost MS money) and trying to pass it of as the genuine article to anyone gullible enough. And there are a lot of people gullible enough.

Re:Microsoft is Clever (1)

chriseyre2000 (603088) | more than 6 years ago | (#23378954)

The odd thing is that Borland had been doing this for years with Delphi's VCL. They did not need a new licence that only allows reading the code - copyright was enough for them and should have been enough for Microsoft. It was this openness in the code than allowed a lively third party market for feature rich add-ons (it is much easier to expand something if you can see the entire inner workings).

It would appear that the new licence only exists to muddy the open source waters.

Microsoft's Juvenile Behavior (-1, Flamebait)

FranTaylor (164577) | more than 6 years ago | (#23378488)

Microsoft always reacts in the most juvenile fashion. It's almost as if Bill Gates never grew up.

Their response to every legitimate attempt by others to advance the state of the art consists of throwing rocks at it. Look at Zune and 'plays for sure'. Look at OLPC. Look at what's happening here.

Spoiled brats.

Why is this filed under "Linux"? (3, Insightful)

Bootarn (970788) | more than 6 years ago | (#23378528)

Linux is Open Source, but Open Source isn't Linux.

EU, not FOSS, is the driving force (2, Informative)

scrib (1277042) | more than 6 years ago | (#23378662)

I don't think Microsoft is providing access to source code as a way to combat FOSS, but as a way to attempt to comply with an EU antitrust ruling [bloomberg.com] .

Truly "Open Source" licenses may be part of the plan, but the real reason they are exposing source is so that developers of products that compete with MS products like Word or Excel aren't at a competitive disadvantage that could result in expensive lawsuits.

I don't think MS is trying to be confusing (this time). I think the confusion is a side effect of a large, complex corporate entity based on closed source proprietary software trying to expose the minimum required to pass legal muster. It's not FOSS and it's not pretending to be. Do you expect something simple and concise when they mix EU law with a giant US corporation?

It's all about undermining open source (1)

argent (18001) | more than 6 years ago | (#23378848)

Microsoft was doing this long before the ruling you're pointing to: the history of their "shared source" initiative is full of explicit statements by Microsoft that indicate this is their response to "open source", and that "shared source" is a "better" model because people "really" don't want to modify the code, they just want to read it.

More recently Bill Gates was quoted as saying that giving away demo copies was "free software" and that "open source" meant you HAD to give away the source (ie, the GPL), and that the alternative to this was "shared source".

So, yes, they absolutely are trying to be confusing. They were even more confusing before they renamed some of their licenses to get them certified as Open Source.

And they really *are* being confusing. I've run into people from all sides of the open source issue, including people arguing for the GPL, confusing open source and "shared source".

It's not FOSS, but it *is* pretending to be.

Is Microsoft behind this site, too? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23378806)

Is MS running Lindependence 2008 [googlepages.com] ? It sounds like it, if they're charging Linux distros a fee to install their distro at their installfest.
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