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Microsoft Takes Responsibility For GPL Violation

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the owning-up dept.

Microsoft 364

An anonymous reader writes with an update to the news we discussed last weekend that a Windows 7 utility seemed to contain GPL code: "Microsoft has confirmed that the Windows 7 USB/DVD tool did, in fact, use GPL code, and they have agreed to release the tool's source code under the terms of GPLv2. In a statement, Microsoft said creation of the tool had been contracted out to a third party and apologized for not noticing the GPL code during a code review."

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364 comments

Good on MS (4, Insightful)

CokoBWare (584686) | more than 4 years ago | (#30093452)

Awesome!

Re:Good on MS (5, Funny)

sgbett (739519) | more than 4 years ago | (#30093480)

First I read some article about Gates praising Jobs [appleinsider.com] , and now this?

I think the Mayans might be on to something.

Re:Good on MS (0)

Jazz-Masta (240659) | more than 4 years ago | (#30093580)

And on the same day that 2012 was released...it's also Friday 13th. WTF?

What next, Linus stars in an "I'm a PC" commercial?

Re:Good on MS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30093650)

"Hey PC, Whatcha doin? You look, ah, a little different..."

"Yeah I got a makeover, and I've been to counselling, you want me to tell you about it?"

"Well, I'm kinda busy right now maybe some other.."

"NO, YOU DONT UNDERSTAND, LISTEN, I MUST TELL YOU, YOU HAVE TO KNOW EVERYTHING ABOUT ME, I'M LEGALLY REQUIRED TO TELL YOU, WAAAAAAIT...."

Re:Good on MS (3, Funny)

El_Oscuro (1022477) | more than 4 years ago | (#30093804)

How about:

"I'm a PC"

"I'm a Mac"

Just as they are really getting into the commercial, a certain flightless waterfowl comes out and starts pecking both of them off the screen

Linux: The Other PC.

This would work great for all of those annoying Windows 7 ads too. Maybe we could have something like the original Energizer Bunny commercials.

Global Warming is a Hoax? (1)

WED Fan (911325) | more than 4 years ago | (#30094002)

Well, if Hell really is freezing over, does that mean Global Warming is a hoax?

Re:Good on MS (3, Funny)

NotBornYesterday (1093817) | more than 4 years ago | (#30094058)

What next, Linus stars in an "I'm a PC" commercial?

Those Windows 7 commercials where random people describe how they emailed Microsoft about making Windows 7 better all end with the person saying " ... and Windows 7 was my idea!"

It all makes sense now. The people in the commercial weren't protected by the GPL, and MS took their ideas.

Re:Good on MS (4, Funny)

khallow (566160) | more than 4 years ago | (#30093622)

I think the Mayans might be on to something.

The Y2012 bug is exaggerated. There isn't much Mayan code in reality and what's there probably won't generate any irrecoverable errors. Besides if there were going to be problems, we'd see systems that depended on dates after 2012 failing now. You'd see things like extremely unlikely coincidences and bizarre flukes of fate. Since we don't see th%@HG%#@%YG@$^[CARRIER LOST]

MS - Mayan Sacrifices (5, Funny)

jackspenn (682188) | more than 4 years ago | (#30093884)

The main reason (as I understand it) that Mayan code never really caught on is because it regularly sacrifices files based around SUN java and mayaSQL code.

Y2012 problem: Mayan calendar runs out (5, Funny)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 4 years ago | (#30093962)

The New Age spiritually aware around the world are running up against the end of the Mayan Long Count Calendar [today.com] . Mayan date 12.19.19.17.19 will occur on December 20, 2012, followed by the start of the fourteenth cycle, 13.0.0.0.0, on December 21st.

The event was first flagged by megalith scientist Terence McKenna. The end of the thirteenth cycle would break many megalith calculations — which conventionally use only the last four numbers to save on standing stones — with fears of spiritual collapse, disruption of ley lines, Ben Goldacre driving the chiropractors back into the sea and the return of the great god Quetzalcoatl and the consequent destruction of all life on earth.

Megalith programmers from 4000 years ago are being dredged up from peat bogs and pressed into service to get the henges updated to handle the turnover in the date. “It could be worse,” said one. “I could still be programming COBOL.”

Sceptics may choose the Winter Solstice on December 22nd (13.0.0.0.1) to attack, to take advantage of weakened qi. In case vital services are temporarily cut off, spiritually aware persons should stock up on crystals, copies of Sun Signs, a duly blessed tarot deck and other essentials. “They should get as well a suitable selection of blessed Hopi ear candles,” said Y2012 consultant Ravenwoo Granola, DD, 31, Ph.D (Univ. P.T. Barnum Mail-Order), “unicorn posters, holistic medicines, Silver RavenWolf books, purple clothing, protective pentacles — earrings for the ladies, pendants for the gents — make sure the house is absolutely robust in feng shui, your energetic vibrations are aligned and your Eostre rituals are up to date and keep only homeopathic quantities of money around. I’ll be happy to take on the danger of handling the rest. Here’s a price list. Everyfink for the spiritual survivalist.”

Others dismiss the problem. Sandra Noble of the Foundation for the Advancement of Mesoamerican Studies considers the Y2012 problem “a complete fabrication and a chance for a lot of people to cash in.” However, Y2012 consultants deride “2012-deniers” for having their heads in the sand as to the vast and overwhelming spiritual importance to humanity of keeping their consultancies rolling.

Re:Good on MS (4, Informative)

Rip Dick (1207150) | more than 4 years ago | (#30093802)

Why wouldn't he praise Jobs? Last I heard, Bill owned a decent share of Apple's stock.

Re:Good on MS (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30093564)

Not so "Good on MS". Of course they apologized for not noticing the GPL code...after they got caught.

Funny how corporations always say things like "it was a mis-understanding" or "it was a third party" or "it was an honest error" right after they get exposed for stealing, lying, and cheating.

Re:Good on MS (0, Flamebait)

jim_v2000 (818799) | more than 4 years ago | (#30093824)

Oh fuck off, it wouldn't have mattered what they did in this situation, trolls like yourself would never have been happy.

Re:Good on MS (1)

Garridan (597129) | more than 4 years ago | (#30093958)

Naw... trolls can be happy. All it takes is some hot grits, and a statue of Natalie Portman...

Anyway, this should make at least one troll happy: I think RMS has been dreaming of this day for years now. The virulent nature of GPL has always been a threat, and now it just bit Microsoft. Will they quarantine this code, and every developer who has read it?

Re:Good on MS (1, Troll)

dotancohen (1015143) | more than 4 years ago | (#30093614)

Awesome!

What is so awesome about MS staging a GPL violation that "forces" them to release the source code of their product? This will only feed the "GPL is cancer" mindset.

By the way: GPL _is_ cancer: for developers who want to use other peoples' code and not give back. But MS products are cancer for end users, who face interoperability issues when even thinking about leaving MS's operating system, web browser, office suite, or instant messenger. Not to mention forced upgrades.

Re:Good on MS (0, Flamebait)

Planesdragon (210349) | more than 4 years ago | (#30093796)

But MS products are cancer for end users, who face interoperability issues when even thinking about leaving MS's operating system, web browser, office suite, or instant messenger. Not to mention forced upgrades.

A new member of my team and I were talking me awhile back. He's a mac-head, and not really a PC user. We were talking about general stuff, and he asked a question that I simply did not have an answer to.

"How can I get Mac OS 10.5 to install on a 10.6 macbook, so I can get my version of ProTools to run?"

The version number might be off, but it's a great illustration of the point. MS doesn't lock in anyone to anything, especially by the standards of THE ENTIRE REST OF THE INDUSTRY.

Re:Good on MS (1)

geekd (14774) | more than 4 years ago | (#30093842)

ProTools runs on 10.6 now. (but only ProTools 8. I assume he has an older version)

But couldn't he wipe drive and install 10.5 from an install disk? My "10.6" macbook pro came with 10.5 installed and a 10.6 disk in the box.

Someone who runs ProTools on a Mac can harldy complain about lock in - both Apple and Digidesign are masters of lock in. "You WILL use the hardware my companay sells, and only that hardware!"

Re:Good on MS (4, Insightful)

d34dluk3 (1659991) | more than 4 years ago | (#30093834)

What is so awesome about MS staging a GPL violation that "forces" them to release the source code of their product? This will only feed the "GPL is cancer" mindset.

Obviously, they intentionally inserted GPL code so that they would be embarrassed, have to apologize, and release source code that they think is worth a lot of money! Wait, what?

Your post only gets more delusional from there.

Re:Good on MS (-1, Troll)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 4 years ago | (#30093680)

Far, far from awesome.

If ever a story deserved the "itsatrap" tag, it's this one.

All Microsoft had to do was remove the offending code. Instead they built themselves a 1st party case study in how the GPL is a virus that forces companies to give up their intellectual property.

Re:Good on MS (1)

jamesh (87723) | more than 4 years ago | (#30094004)

Instead they built themselves a 1st party case study in how the GPL is a virus that forces companies to give up their intellectual property.

Or, alternatively, also based on no evidence at all, they were embarrassed to find that they had shipped a product with GPL code in it, and in a sudden outbreak of common sense figured they had nothing to lose and released the code.

Re:Good on MS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30094060)

WTF? It's not a trap, it's what the FSF's legal guys always push for in these cases. They don't want to push commercial software off the market until it can be rewritten in-house. They want to bring it into compliance without any interference to the sales and/or distribution.

If they'd pressured MS any differently, it would have proved that they, and by extension the whole Linux/Open-source/Free-software community, weren't really about good software or freedom to modify it. They just hate Microsoft.

Re:Good on MS (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 4 years ago | (#30094064)

Yeah, cos they were forced to use someone's elses open source code, weren't they. It probably infected the project they were working on, just like a virus.

wow, the beginning of the end (3, Insightful)

someone1234 (830754) | more than 4 years ago | (#30093454)

Microsoft 7 legally contains GPL code.

Re:wow, the beginning of the end (0, Troll)

MightyMait (787428) | more than 4 years ago | (#30093488)

You mean Windows 7. Cool beans, though!! It'll be the most secure part of the OS, since it's open source and will get reviewed by many (well, least several) pairs of eyes.

Re:wow, the beginning of the end (5, Informative)

therealmorris (1366945) | more than 4 years ago | (#30093570)

This tool isn't part of Windows 7, it's just used if you buy the download version of Windows 7 from the MS store. If it was actually part of Windows 7 i think there would have been a much bigger fuss!

Re:wow, the beginning of the end (1)

Daimanta (1140543) | more than 4 years ago | (#30094118)

"If it was actually part of Windows 7 i think there would have been a much bigger fuss!"

If it was actually part of Windows Microsoft would probably do a quadruple check to see if they don't have any infringing code in their operating system and ofcourse there would be extra emphasis on OSS licenses like the GPL because if the infriging code was from another company, the company would only be interested in a big sum of cash. If there is GPL code in Windows, the FSF would probably start a case that would be revolutionary in the computer world since it could mean opensourcing Windows.

I'd rather imagine world peace breaking out than Windows code going open source.

Re:wow, the beginning of the end (2, Informative)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 4 years ago | (#30093790)

This was a USB/DVD burning tool offered on by Microsoft to help people install Windows 7 by burning the iso to USB/DVD. As far as I know, it is not included in Windows 7.

Re:wow, the beginning of the end (1)

HazMat 79 (1481233) | more than 4 years ago | (#30093792)

Not sure but didnt they already have code under the same license as bsd back in the day. What I wonder though is after they release the source code and if they decide not to replace the tool with a closed source version of this program, is will they keep updating the code? Or will they just not update it anymore.

yeah, well. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30093460)

shit in one hand and shit in the other, see which one fills up faster.

Microsoft acting responsibly? (5, Insightful)

cpicon92 (1157705) | more than 4 years ago | (#30093466)

I have to say, my opinion of MS gets better everyday...

Re:Microsoft acting responsibly? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30093632)

But I imagine it was very low to begin with? ;-)

Code Review (3, Insightful)

Romancer (19668) | more than 4 years ago | (#30093472)

IDEA:
When you're that big a company you should review all of your code as much as you think the patent office should review others patents.

Re:Code Review (5, Insightful)

jim_v2000 (818799) | more than 4 years ago | (#30093858)

Question: how can you tell GPL code is GPL code unless you know that it's GPL code? My point is that code reviews are cool, but they cannot catch things that the reviewers don't know to look for. And it's impossible for anyone to be familiar with every piece of GPL'd code out there, and it's impossible to build a database of such code. The best way to handle it was the way that they handled it. Someone found the error, told MS, and MS became compliant by releasing the code.

Wow look what happened... (2, Funny)

SerpentMage (13390) | more than 4 years ago | (#30093474)

Hey folks, did you see that pig fly?? It was quite impressive. So fat, and trumped. Never thought it would get off the ground... But there it went...

Weather Report (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30093484)

Lucifer is going to need a good pair of boots and a winter jacket today as the temperature in hell plummets to -3F. The City of Dis is particularly hard hit, with 8 inch snow fall forecasts for tomorrow.

How did they miss that? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30093508)

How did they miss that? I work for a relatively small software company, we've got around 100 coders. All new checkins are scanned nightly for code that resembles any open source code, msdn sample code, and code found in random online forums (experts-exchange, codeproject, etc...) Surely MS has something similar to prevent this kind of thing.

obvious! (3, Interesting)

Narcocide (102829) | more than 4 years ago | (#30093548)

DUH! Easier to gain forgiveness than permission. We know Microsoft knows that well. There was always a chance nobody would notice. It makes me wonder how much other GPL code they've ripped off over the years without getting caught.

Re:obvious! (1)

jim_v2000 (818799) | more than 4 years ago | (#30093876)

There's no such thing as getting "permission" to use GPL code. It's already granted, you just have to follow the license terms.

Re:obvious! (3, Informative)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 4 years ago | (#30094082)

I can't decide if you're trolling, or naive. Microsoft needs no permission to use GPL'd stuff. Neither does anyone else. It's a copy left. EVERYONE HAS THE RIGHT TO USE IT!! There are a few restrictions on giving credit to the owners, releasing source, etc - but they are ALLOWED TO USE IT.

I can't imagine any individual, corporation, group, or consortium who might be denied the right to use GPL code, AS LONG AS they abide by the terms of the license.

By releasing (or making available) the source code, and giving proper credit to the authors, MS complies with the terms of the GPL license.

It's really not that hard to understand, is it?

Re:How did they miss that? (2, Informative)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 4 years ago | (#30093706)

The main tool out there to do that is from Black Duck, and it's an unmitigated piece of trash that is designed for the sole purpose of scamming stupid CTOs and CEOs.

Their piece of crap database isn't even audited, so it attributes tons of code to people who stole it themselves and lists it under the wrong license. Then, if that wasn't enough, it produces so many false positives that anybody tasked with running it sets it up just enough to appease their incompetent boss while routing the results directly to /dev/null.

Re:How did they miss that? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30093762)

How did they miss that?

They used Bing to search for the code, and when it found nothing they assumed the code was original.

So wheres the source? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30093510)

A promise to provide isnt enough is it? wheres can we get the source? whos writing to MS .....

a big round of thanks to that outside contractor! (0)

ChipMonk (711367) | more than 4 years ago | (#30093512)

If I knew who it was, I'd be starting a fund to send flowers and champagne to their HQ.

Re:a big round of thanks to that outside contracto (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30093552)

Hell yeah!, what an awesome third party contractor.
Ripping off free software and selling it to corporations as non-free,
closed source software for profit, these fuckers deserve a medal!

Re:a big round of thanks to that outside contracto (3, Funny)

Interoperable (1651953) | more than 4 years ago | (#30093814)

Depending on how much of their business depended on contracts from Microsoft, they may not have an HQ anymore.

outside contractor, what contractor? (1)

TiggertheMad (556308) | more than 4 years ago | (#30094006)

Yes, I cant tell that the MS ninja assassin squad has been dispatched already. I just heard them running over our building's roof. I know they are the MS ninjas because they are the only ninjas in Redmond that wear giant clown shoes.

A setup? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30093530)

Would it shock me to learn that MS specifically instructed the "third party" to insert GPL'ed code into the program, with the express intent to be "caught" and present an image of a company that made an honest mistake and wants to put everything right, to improve their public image? No it would not.

I'm not paranoid. I'm cynical.

(captcha: Corrupt)

Re:A setup? (2, Insightful)

Jazz-Masta (240659) | more than 4 years ago | (#30093562)

Same reasoning as Vista. Release a bad OS, so the next one looks WAY better.

If you set your expectations low, you can't possibly be disappointed.

Re:A setup? (4, Insightful)

Anpheus (908711) | more than 4 years ago | (#30093732)

Vista probably cost them billions of dollars in revenue because, had they released a sooner, higher quality OS as their schedule initially dictated, their sales wouldn't have suffered. Not only that, but they'd have had two additional OS releases before Windows 7, or a global recession hurting their first decent OS release in nearly a decade.

Though if you think Microsoft executives seriously looked around the table and laughed at how they fooled everyone releasing a crappy product, I don't know if anything will convince you that you're wrong.

Re:A setup? (5, Insightful)

tonycheese (921278) | more than 4 years ago | (#30093882)

I'm sorry but this is just incredibly stupid. Are you telling me they purposely put GPL code into their code with the express intent of being caught?! Or that they wasted I don't know how many billions of dollars and took bad PR on Vista so that they could wow the world with Windows 7?! Then we have the troll-moderators going down the list looking for anything anti-Microsoft in the discussion to mod up. Lovely, you guys really do a lot for Slashdot's continued reputation.

Give some credit (5, Insightful)

onyxruby (118189) | more than 4 years ago | (#30093532)

Give some credit, they did a code review, noticed the accusation was factual and did the right thing. As many times as microsoft has done the wrong thing, it's only right to credit them for doing the right thing this time.

The interesting question now is if they will retain this tool going forward, or replace it with another that is not GPL'd. It certainly sounds like an accident, so I am curious if good production code has any chance of trumping internal politics.

Re:Give some credit (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 4 years ago | (#30093710)

The interesting question now is if they will retain this tool going forward, or replace it with another that is not GPL'd. It certainly sounds like an accident, so I am curious if good production code has any chance of trumping internal politics.

Why not retain it? It was offered for free in the first place.

Re:Give some credit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30093980)

Maybe they will even come to realize that giving away a tool using a Free (rather than merely free) license is not the end of the world.

Re:Give some credit (4, Funny)

the_humeister (922869) | more than 4 years ago | (#30093714)

This is Slashdot! Everything MS does is bad. Everything, no questions asked! I mean, they won't even answer allegations that they sacrifice babies at the altar.

I was right for once (3, Insightful)

khallow (566160) | more than 4 years ago | (#30093534)

I predicted that they'd just need to make minor corrective action [slashdot.org] . Looks to me like that's exactly what happened. A replier to that post noted that as a prominent member of the Business Software Alliance, Microsoft would need to act above board and that this, if true, could be a serious problem. My take is that they just did that with this choice a mere week or so after the GPL code came to light.

So it appears to me that we're both right. Microsoft didn't need to fix much, but due to their leading position in an anti-piracy lobbying group, they needed to fix it quickly.

Where's BadAnalogyGuy when you need him? Slacker. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30093540)

So, as far as a car analogies go, would this be like Toyota admitting that their vehicles have a malfunction in their third-party designed accelerator system and simultaneously offering a fix to it?

If so, that's pretty cool.

Re:Where's BadAnalogyGuy when you need him? Slacke (2, Insightful)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 4 years ago | (#30093734)

a USB/DVD burning tool could hardly be analogized to an accelerator system in a car.

It'd be more equivalent to... I don't know ... a cigarette lighter or something. This is just a utility that MS released to help people be able to burn a Windows 7 iso onto USB/DVD. Especially for use in netbooks and the like, I suppose.

Re:Where's BadAnalogyGuy when you need him? Slacke (1)

value_added (719364) | more than 4 years ago | (#30094072)

This is just a utility that MS released to help people be able to burn a Windows 7 iso onto USB/DVD.

From the Annals of Just Another Utility ...

By the time you add the 1001 "tools" that Microsoft offers (tools tucked away on an installation CD, in the various Resource Kits, the Sysinternals collection, etc.), and then add any number of "must have" third-party tools just so you can have a system that does more than open a file or web browser, you might as well have installed Linux distro or FreeBSD and had both your tools and package management all taken care of for you. Hell, the only thing missing would be a mint on your pillow!

Oooh, is that an installer? I wonder if I'll get any choices as to what happens when I run it, whether the un-installer works, or I get a systray icon. Maybe it's a self-extracting executable? Don't like those. Last time, it dumped all sorts of shit somewhere on my C: drive. Never know whether I should save it, or all the shit it created in a folder with a different name. I know! It's a standalone program. My friend told me just to run it, so let's see what happens ... Wait. Lemme go check the wepage again. Now where did I store that URL ...

Sigh. Lather, rinse and repeat.

People always complain about Windows programs not being available on Linux. I have the complete opposite opinion. Of all the tools and programs I take for granted on a *nix system, few are available for Windows (modulo a 500MB Cygwin installation), and what does exist, typically sucks.

Not bad. (1)

Christopher_Wood (583494) | more than 4 years ago | (#30093558)

While it's post-hoc, it looks like quiet, no-fuss GPL compliance.

I'm good with it as long as they don't keep it up with the post-hoc part.

Implications (4, Informative)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 4 years ago | (#30093582)

I wouldn't want to be the consulting company that provided Microsoft with this code. They're in some deep doo-doo now. Unfortunately, a lot of engineers are so clueless about licensing, as are their managers, that it is really possible that the person who did this didn't know it was a problem.

But this is not anything new for Microsoft. Microsoft started contributing to GCC around 10 years ago, for the former Unix services product. And this really serves their purpose if they are trying to scare people away from the GPL. "Microsoft forced to give up source code."

Where they are really hurting us now is in government policy and patented technology in interoperability facilities. Like the European Interoperability Framework going proprietary, and the MS-patented filesystem in next-generation FLASH devices. Consider stuff like that before you decide they are a "good citizen".

Re:cluess about licensing... (2, Insightful)

CFD339 (795926) | more than 4 years ago | (#30093840)

I don't buy that excuse. I write code. I don't have to understand the intricate licensing law to know when I've included code that I didn't write. It doesn't take a genius level IQ to know that when I do that (use code I didn't write) I need to tell the person who hired me to write code. Once that happens, it is the responsibility of a manager to find out the licensing issues.

Re:cluess about licensing... (4, Interesting)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 4 years ago | (#30094132)

Yes. But you'd be shocked at the testimony I read, as an expert witness, from engineers and their managers. Incompetence is rampant. Unfortunately, the cases are settled and sealed, so I can't show you.

Death of one old bag of baloney? (2, Interesting)

rewt66 (738525) | more than 4 years ago | (#30093594)

If I recall correctly, MS at one point tried to say that, if something like this happened, you'd have to release all your source code. Now we find that MS knows that you only have to release the source code of the program in question. Big difference. (Of course, if this was in Windows itself, the difference would not matter much to MS...)

Re:Death of one old bag of baloney? (1)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 4 years ago | (#30093638)

Hopefully, no loon will start demanding just that... "MS is legally required to opensource all their code, now". All that would do is convince people to NEVER touch anything GPL'd.

Re:Death of one old bag of baloney? (1)

Willbur (196916) | more than 4 years ago | (#30093832)

If I recall correctly, MS at one point tried to say that, if something like this happened, you'd have to release all your source code. Now we find that MS knows that you only have to release the source code of the program in question. Big difference.

I don't believe that's correct. You need to stop infringing the copyright - that means either obey the terms of the license or stop distributing (and deal with the consequences of the limited distribution you already made).

I hope this doesn't help the bogus 'GPL is dangerous, an outside contractor can make you reveal your code' meme to spread.

Re:Death of one old bag of baloney? (1, Insightful)

jim_v2000 (818799) | more than 4 years ago | (#30093898)

>MS at one point tried to say that, if something like this happened, you'd have to release all your source code.

[Citation Needed] [Context Needed]

Re:Death of one old bag of baloney? (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#30094042)

And if the program in question happened to be MS Word? Then they'd have had a big problem. Of course, they probably don't let outside companies contribute code to Word, but this still works as good PR from Microsoft's point of view. They had to release the code for a fairly unimportant tool that they got a third party to write and they got to point to this as an example of the GPL forcing a big company to release their code. ('if even Microsoft is forced to release their code by the GPL then we'd better make sure we avoid it!')

Its a sign of the end... (1)

DiamondGeezer (872237) | more than 4 years ago | (#30093596)

...2012 is almost upon us. Microsoft open sources code including GPL code that they had not noticed was included. Slashdotters praise Microsoft for correct response.

And now for the Four Horsemen....

This Is Too Leinient For M$ (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30093612)

This is only the tip of the iceberg for M$. M$ has made many other GPL violations in the past. The only suitible punishment for M$ is to force them to open everything under the GPL V3, liquidate all assets then donate it to all free software projects, and then arrest all execs. Once all that is done ensure SweatyB has no access to any chairs.

--
Friends don't help friends install M$ junk.
Friends do assist M$ addicted friends in committing suicide.

Re:This Is Too Leinient For M$ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30093630)

Please put down the crackpipe.

Re:This Is Too Leinient For M$ (1)

Narcocide (102829) | more than 4 years ago | (#30093774)

If you really like to evangelize in this fashion you should know a far more effective use of your time would be to be playing Quake Live using Iceweasel on Debian right now so that ID will consider porting Rage to Linux when it comes out.

Corps say sorry (0, Flamebait)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 4 years ago | (#30093696)

You get fined, face court or jail time.
Also fun how MS can now use the '3rd party' excuse for PR spin.
More of the same embrace, extend, extinguish games.
Embrace open via a third party and see what PR can do.
Have a sit down to extend the laws to make sure MS can play 'nice' in a transparent legal framework.
Extinguish open source in as many national courts as they can via trade deals.
MS got caught again and had to follow the law for now.
The real trick is to spin this into a software/copyright law changer ;)
Commie hackers infected our code and misused the legal system to steal our work would be the real MS feeling.
This is not the start of 'open' MS, just the start of law reform MS style.
MS contracted for code in good faith, why should they have to give back like some common violator of copyright ?
A push for a safe harbour provision to protect the multi billion dollar US software industry form future nuisance claims unless it can be clearly shown MS used "lots" of code in house?

Don't buy it (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30093718)

This was just a smart move by MS. Get 3rd party to contribute GPL code while maintaining plausible deniability. Drop a hint (via 3rd party) to check program. Pull program and admit GPL code was unknowingly put in there and finally the payoff.........

  How long before MS marketing starts hinting to others that the GPL required them to release all their source code (their viral warnings came true)?

its a trap (-1, Flamebait)

stimpleton (732392) | more than 4 years ago | (#30093722)

MS are merely creating a trail of concept.

It gives then credibility when they challenge their ultimate target: all those applications running on Linux(under Mono) built with C#. [boycottnovell.com]

Build Linux apps in C# at your peril

Re:its a trap (1)

Requiem18th (742389) | more than 4 years ago | (#30093888)

Sadly that is relevant and not enough attention is paid to that problem.

The abridged version is that MS did promise not to sue mono over any patents it owns SO LONG AS IT OWNS THEM. MS can sell those patents to a patent troll voiding the promise.

People have asked for actual licenses but MS and its apologists always reply that the promise is sufficient and that MS does not intend to sell said patents, sure...

Cue the commercial (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30093726)

"Windows 7 will have none of the GPL violations Vista had. ... Windows Vista will have none of the GPL violations XP had. ... Windows 2000 will have none of the GPL violations ME had. ... Windows 98 will have none of the GPL violations 95 had. ...."

Oh, so it's ok then (0)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 4 years ago | (#30093770)

If I infringe on someone's copyright by "accidentally" downloading a song or movie, I can just delete it from my hard drive and apologize to the movie/music studio?

I like the double standard here. When is Microsoft going to be crucified by this?

Re:Oh, so it's ok then (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30093800)

Last I seen MS isn't suing anyone for downloading movies or music. Maybe you'd like to keep it on topic?

Re:Oh, so it's ok then (1)

AthleteMusicianNerd (1633805) | more than 4 years ago | (#30093820)

Actually, yes you can do that. My roommate did that, and they shut off my internet access. Once he removed it from his machine they turned it back on. No fines or punishment whatsoever other than the phone call to get access turned back on.

Re:Oh, so it's ok then (1)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 4 years ago | (#30093998)

Actually, your ISP shut off access.

Your ISP got a letter from RIAA or MPAA asking that they tell you to stop it, or turn over your name and address. Your ISP, knowing that BitTorrent also takes a lot of bandwidth anyway, shut you down temporarily and (though they don't honestly care) asked you to delete the file and (they do care about this) never run BitTorrent again. You complied, so MPAA/RIAA and your ISP both win.

Re:Oh, so it's ok then (3, Insightful)

tonycheese (921278) | more than 4 years ago | (#30093852)

If you make a few music/movie downloads and they catch you, the first thing they do is send a letter to your ISP giving a warning to you. So yes, you would just delete it and apologize.

And yes, like the other person said, Microsoft isn't going around suing people for downloading music, movies, or pirated copies of Windows.

Besides, there was a whole article a few days ago about how GPL violations happen very frequently and that politely pointing it out usually solves the problem. It was an accident, not an "accident", and it's been fixed so get over it.

Re:Oh, so it's ok then (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 4 years ago | (#30093854)

If they didn't release the code then I'd say that a good old fashioned crucifixion would be in order but as it is, there's no real reason to hit them any more. The code is free like it should have been and that's that.
In so far as a double standard, I think it would be far more sensible to advocate for sane copyright reform rather than resorting to the same tactics the RIAA and MPAA use.

Re:Oh, so it's ok then (3, Insightful)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 4 years ago | (#30093908)

What if it WAS a mistake? What if Microsoft didn't check the code/programmer claimed it wasn't GPL/whatever?

Because if it was a mistake, they appeared to have been doing the right thing. Furthermore, they weren't even selling this, nor was anyone else. If anything, it was a violation of GPL not copyright stuff.

I had no idea GPL people were so like the RIAA that they would want to "crucify" a company for possibly accidentally using (stealing? slashdot will call using GPL code against GPL license [and giving the result away for free]"stealing" but slashdot won't call downloading songs/movies stealing?) open source code without releasing the resulting open source. Sounds ... very progressive. Encourages people to use GPL. "Hey, use our free software and code! It's great! Use it however you want! But if you don't follow the GPL you are a horrible, horrible company, even worse than people that illegally download copyrighted materials."

I like open source and GPL and all that. I also enjoy MS products. And I don't like double standards. If they knowingly took GPL code, that's bad. I don't like "guilty until proven innocent" nor comparisons of copyright to GPL...

Re:Oh, so it's ok then (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30094154)

The comparison of GPL to copyright happens for one reason.

The GPL uses copyright law to turn the normal consequences of copyright law on their head.

Because the GPL allows you (under certain conditions) to do things that are otherwise barred by copyright law, a violation of the GPL *is* a copyright violation.

More specifically, the GPL as a license is a *defense* against a copyright violation claim.

Default State: Can't make and distribute copies legally.
GPL State: Can so long as you make the source properly available and don't change the license terms.

If I'm accused of (or sued for) violating the copyright of a piece of GPL'd software, I can whip out the GPL, and demonstrate that since I have been acting within the terms of the license, I had a license to do what I did. If I weren't acting within the terms of the license, the GPL does nothing for me (or against me).

Re:Oh, so it's ok then (3, Insightful)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 4 years ago | (#30093942)

What remedy does the GPL call for? As I understand it, it is to either release source or stop distributing. MS handled this error correctly. Calling for stronger sanctions would just drive more people away from GPL'd software.

Re:Oh, so it's ok then (2, Insightful)

Shados (741919) | more than 4 years ago | (#30094046)

Except the whole point of the GPL is to make source open, not to bring in cash. Usually, people in favor of the GPL prefer having the source code and settle on that than settling on money. As someone mentionned already, if you start sueing people who use the GPL by accident, and ask for money instead of source code, you'll just prove that people who called the GPL a "virus" were right.

Have a candy bar (2, Funny)

beej (82035) | more than 4 years ago | (#30093806)

"I'm going to take back some of the things I've said about you, Microsoft. You--you've earned it."

New eye advice sought (2, Funny)

cptnapalm (120276) | more than 4 years ago | (#30093946)

"have agreed to release the tool's source code under the terms of GPLv2."

Anyone know where I can buy some new eyes? Mine just exploded.

GPL License Polution (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30094044)

Of course GPL does not represent the true philosophy of open source. But that fact would not separate the true open source tools, libraries and API's from those tainted by GPL in the eyes of the blind, suited figures who are so easily influenced by the absurd arguments of MS lackeys. Clearly the BSD license is far superior to GPL because of the angry stench of the GPL philosophy where the thinking of Ayn Rand rights all wrongs.

Seriously, not to start a flame war. Really no, really this is not any reason think that just because the BSD license is great and GPL is completely lame that there is any reason to have an exchange of messages that goes back and fourth thousands of times. Back and fourth, back and fourth, without resolution. Trust me. No, wait. Maybe it is. Yes. this is completely and totally flame bait. =P

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