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A Slightly-Softer Microsoft Shared Source License

timothy posted more than 11 years ago | from the just-initial-here-and-here-and-here-and-here dept.

Microsoft 359

RadBlock writes "Microsoft Watch has a story on a recent change in Microsoft's shared-source licensing... I guess the main difference is that programmers do not have to send back any changes made to the source code. But they can't combine any of the Microsoft code with other software. Here's the full text of their new license agreement." The article claims that Microsoft is "inching closer -- at least in spirit -- to the GNU GPL" with these license tweaks, but it doesn't look that way to me.

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FIRST FUCK (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5542203)

yahoo, slashdot suck shit malda eat shit malda fuck you malda nigger bastard malda fat idiot

Re:FIRST FUCK (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5542300)

yahoo, slashdot suck shit malda eat shit malda fuck you malda nigger bastard malda fat idiot

I DID IT! I AM THE FIRST POST WINNER!

Inching closer? (3, Insightful)

slimer (6604) | more than 11 years ago | (#5542205)

What is an inch, when you are light years apart?

Re:Inching closer? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5542256)

My eyes have seen the glory of the dropping of the bombs,
We are blowing up their children and we're butchering their moms,
We're shooting up their daddies as we sing out victory song,
Our bombs drop on your Mom!

Gory Bloody Bombs Away, Roll! (Boom!)
Gory Bloody Bombs Away, Roll! (Bang!)
Gory Bloody Bombs Away, Roll! (Crash!)
Our bombs drop on your Mom!

Look up in the sky here comes a bomber over head
We are dropping our explosives on your houses till you're dead
Watch as all your pregnant women get abortion bombs instead!
Our bombs drop on your Mom!

Gory Bloody Bombs Away, Roll! (Bang!)
Gory Bloody Bombs Away, Roll! (Boom!)
Gory Bloody Bombs Away, Roll! (Ker-Pow!)
Our bombs drop on your Mom!

No more school for Junior now he's working in our shops
Making Nikes for our children every day until he drops
Your daughter entertains our tourists damn that girl is hot!
Our bombs drop on your Mom!

Gory Bloody Bombs Away, Roll!
Gory Bloody Bombs Away, Roll!
Gory Bloody Bombs Away, Roll!
Our bombs drop on your Mom! ;; This buffer is for notes you don't want to save, and for Lisp evaluation. ;; If you want to create a file, visit that file with C-x C-f, ;; then enter the text in that file's own buffer.

Re:Inching closer? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5542287)


Exactly. The western and eastern hemispheres are inching together as well, but they won't come within swimming distance for at least another billion years.

Re:Inching closer? (1)

jimmars83 (654100) | more than 11 years ago | (#5542294)

I'm not even sure this counts as inching closer to the GPL. Microsoft? Becoming like linux?

Re:Inching closer? (3, Funny)

Fritz Benwalla (539483) | more than 11 years ago | (#5542371)


Well, it's about 11.803 pico-seconds per light year.

Oh, maybe I missed your point.

---------

Re:Inching closer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5542411)

L/gamma?

So, it's not about oil, eh? (0, Offtopic)

the-w-himself! (660108) | more than 11 years ago | (#5542444)

And all Iraqi military and civilian personnel should listen carefully to this warning: In any conflict, your fate will depend on your actions. Do not destroy oil wells, a source of wealth that belongs to US corporations.

Re:Inching closer? (3, Interesting)

jkrise (535370) | more than 11 years ago | (#5542475)

Actually MS may be moving RAPIDLY towards GPL. They see it as a huge threat to their continued success.

So, it's right to say they're moving closer. In the same way Dubya's moving closer to Iraq.

First Post (-1, Offtopic)

doomdog (541990) | more than 11 years ago | (#5542208)

Just another pathetic attempt at being first :)

YOU FAIL IT! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5542249)

Do you enjoy failure? I guess not...so, don't FAIL IT again!

Re:First Post (-1, Offtopic)

doomdog (541990) | more than 11 years ago | (#5542279)

You know, I'm not sure which is worse: a pathetic attempt at being "First", or wasting mod points on such an unworthy post....

:-)

Re:First Post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5542353)

Twice! Hehehehe people are indeed pathetic.

Re:First Post (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5542375)

Your post was moderated down-- twice-- by an editor. Editors get unlimited mod points. Alas, you have accomplished nothing here.

Mickey (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5542210)

Microsoft is *still* sucking my c0ck.

Useless 1st post (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5542211)

Useless 1st post.

taco taco taco ! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5542215)

10 GOTO 10

Don't you mean moving closer to a BSD license? (3, Insightful)

wuchang (524603) | more than 11 years ago | (#5542216)

Modifying code without having to give it back seems more like a move sideways in relation to GPL and a move towards the BSD license.

The problem with the "spirit of the GPL"... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5542221)

Some Questions Every Business Should Ask About the GNU General Public License (GPL)

Within the software industry, the recent clash of source-code licensing philosophies has proponents of commercial software and open-source advocates frequently at loggerheads. Both commercial and open-source software models, however, have demonstrated value for various sectors of the software market, which has determined that multiple licensing and distribution models should coexist in healthy competition. The market, in fact, is driving both camps toward a middle ground where the most beneficial aspects of both philosophies are embraced.

In May 2001, Microsoft® responded with a Shared Source Initiative (SSI) to provide source access to a broad range of customers, partners, independent developers, researchers and other interested individuals, while preserving the intellectual property rights that have sustained innovation throughout the industry over the past quarter-century. The SSI framework supports a spectrum of licensing programs, each tailored to the source-access needs of a specific constituent community. Meanwhile, prominent open-source developers began to adopt certain commercial distribution methods in their own pragmatic migration toward the middle. These developers commonly rely on open-source licenses, like those based on the Berkeley Software Distribution (BSD) license, that place few if any restrictions on licensees' subsequent use of licensed source code, including its use in commercial software development.

Free software distributors, by contrast, use the highly restrictive GPL, which was created by the Free Software Foundation (FSF) in furtherance of its philosophy that software should not be subject to ownership, and thus that commercial software is inherently immoral. The GPL governs distribution of some popular free software, including Linux. The GPL may be beneficial to noncommercial developers and certain licensees in other contexts, but several of the license's terms and uncertainties should raise red flags for commercial developers considering its use.

Because many businesses may not understand the GPL and its potential implications, Microsoft offers this document as a checklist and to provide important background information. Most or all of the following questions will be familiar to those who have examined the GPL. Many of them have generated considerable debate even among open-source and free-software advocates. Comments in this document are based on GPL Version 2, Lesser General Public License (LGPL) Version 2.1 and the GNU GPL FAQ page (www.gnu.org/copyleft/gpl-faq.html).

The GPL is a complicated agreement. To understand your potential rights and obligations, you must interpret the various provisions of the license and apply them to your particular circumstances. Microsoft recommends that you obtain legal counsel as appropriate. This document does not and cannot offer legal advice.

1. Have your lawyers read the GPL (and the LGPL)? Because the GPL is so frequently misunderstood and because it attempts, under certain circumstances, to impose significant obligations on licensees and their intellectual property rights, no responsible business should use GPL software without ensuring that its lawyers have read the license and explained the business' rights and obligations. They should also review and explain the Lesser General Public License, or LGPL, a related license that is sometimes used with open source libraries.

2. How are you using GPL software and what obligations does it impose? The obligations associated with the GPL vary substantially depending upon the way in which GPL code is used. Even limited or relatively obscure uses (e.g., including a few lines of GPL code in a commercial product or linking directly or indirectly to a GPL library) may have a dramatic effect on your legal rights and obligations. To understand the potential implications of the GPL, you need to have a detailed understanding of your use of GPL code. Basing any analysis upon a superficial understanding may present serious risks.

3. How does your use of GPL software affect your intellectual property rights? One of the most significant impacts of the GPL is its potential effect on your intellectual property rights. The GPL is widely referred to as 'viral' because it attempts to subject independently-created code (and associated intellectual property) to the terms of the GPL if it is used in certain ways together with GPL code (see Sections 2 and 3 of the GPL). For example, a business that combines and distributes GPL code with its own proprietary code may be obligated to share with the rest of the world valuable intellectual property (including patent) rights in both code bases on a royalty free basis. Other uses of GPL code may also create obligations for the user. It is important to perform a careful legal and technical review of this issue before using GPL software.

4. What if you are simply a customer, acquiring GPL software from other businesses? Does the GPL have any effect on your rights and obligations? Section 0 of the GPL says "[a]ctivities other than copying, distribution and modification are not covered by this License; they are outside its scope. The act of running the Program is not restricted." So, a customer who only runs the Program should have no obligations to the author of the code under the GPL. As discussed below, however, such a customer also has no rights from the author (e.g., no assurance that the code is even free from "known" copyright infringement problems) and may have liabilities to third parties. If, on the other hand, the customer's use of GPL code involves even limited modification, copying or distribution of the code, the GPL arguably does impose obligations to the author, discussed above and below. In assessing this possibility, customers should carefully consider what the GPL means by "copying, modifying and distribution."

5. Can you develop applications for a GPL program, like Linux, without subjecting those applications to the GPL? This is a particularly important question. The answer will almost certainly depend upon a detailed analysis of the way in which the application was developed and distributed and will be subject to caveats regarding the interpretation and enforceability of the GPL. For example, the analysis will presumably involve a careful review of your development team's exposure to and use of GPL code during the development process, especially whether the application incorporated any such code or was otherwise derived from it. The analysis would also likely consider what libraries are used; how are they used (e.g., statically linked or dynamically linked); whether they, in turn, link to other libraries; and which licenses (GPL or LGPL) govern all of these various libraries. Similarly, the analysis would probably consider what header files are used; whether they, in turn, include other headers; and which licenses govern these various headers. In addition, the analysis would presumably consider whether the application is distributed with GPL code and, if so, how it is distributed and by whom.

6. Can distribution of your code with GPL code require you to license your code under the GPL? Have you combined your own code with code licensed under the GPL? The GPL attempts to address these questions directly. Section 2 of the GPL says that identifiable sections of a work that are not derived from a GPL program and that "can be reasonably considered independent and separate" are not subject to the GPL when distributed as separate works. But if these separate sections are distributed "as part of a whole which is a work based on" a GPL program, then this distribution of the "work as a whole" is subject to the GPL. Section 2 also says that a "mere aggregation of another work not based on the [GPL] Program on a volume of a storage or distribution medium does not bring the other work under the scope of this License." A licensee is left with the difficult task of deciding whether a particular combination is a "work as a whole" (GPL infection apparently intended) or a "mere aggregation" (GPL infection disclaimed).

7. If your software becomes "infected" by the GPL, do you have to give it away for free? Section 3 of the GPL says that you can copy and distribute a GPL program (or a work based on such a program) in object code or executable form, subject to several restrictions. You are supposed to make the corresponding source code available, for example, by including the source code with the object code or offering to distribute it to any third party (Section 3). Section 1 says that you "may charge a fee for the physical act of transferring a copy," but Section 2 says that you "must cause any work that you distribute or publish, that in whole or in part contains or is derived from [a GPL] Program or any part thereof, to be licensed as a whole at no charge to all third parties under the terms of this License." The net effect is, apparently, that you are able to charge a fee for your software, but that right is significantly undercut by your obligation to give others (including your competitors) the right to distribute your software for free.

8. Are your obligations under the GPL "flexible" or "proportional" to your use of GPL code? Suppose Business A uses a few hundred lines of GPL code in its existing 500,000-line proprietary program and makes copies for its own employees or distributes ten copies of the modified program as a collective work. Suppose Business B combines 500,000 lines of GPL code with an existing 1000-line proprietary program and distributes 500,000 copies of the modified program as a collective work. The GPL may be read as to require both businesses to share the source code for their modified programs (including their existing commercial programs) and allow royalty-free redistribution of those programs. This is true despite the potentially dramatic differences in the volume, value and copies of the GPL code used.

9. Do you have all of the rights required to use GPL code? Could your use of GPL code cause you to infringe on the intellectual property rights associated with code you have licensed from others? The seemingly obvious answer to the first question is yes because those rights are provided under the GPL. The correct answer, however, may require more careful analysis. If, for example, you plan to combine and distribute GPL code with pre-existing code, the "viral" nature of the GPL may require you to provide source code for the pre-existing code to all third parties and license others to use it on a royalty-free basis (see Section 2). Unfortunately, if you licensed some of the pre-existing code from a third party, you may not even have access to the source code, much less the right to license it to the rest of the world on a royalty-free basis under the terms of the GPL.

10. Do you have any existing obligations that might preclude your use of GPL software? Could your use of GPL code put you in breach of existing contractual obligations? As noted above, the use of GPL code with code licensed from another party could, under certain circumstances, arguably obligate you to sublicense the other party's code under the GPL. If you expressly agreed not to attempt to sublicense the other party's code, you should consider whether your use of the GPL code presents a risk that breaches your earlier contract. Even if no breach occurs, the GPL includes provisions that may make it impossible for licensees to retain both their GPL rights and rights under other agreements. For example, Section 7 of the GPL says that if "conditions are imposed on you (whether by court order, agreement or otherwise) that contradict the conditions of this license, they do not excuse you from the conditions of this License. If you cannot distribute so as to satisfy simultaneously your obligations under this License and any other pertinent obligations, then as a consequence you may not distribute the Program at all." Suppose Business A has developed a program using trade secret rights that were licensed from Business B under an agreement that prohibited their disclosure. Now assume that A uses GPL code in a way that "infects" its program. Section 7 apparently says that use of GPL code in such a program is impermissible. This places A in an untenable situation: unless it persuades B to divulge its trade secrets to the world, A must cease distribution of its program. This may be true even if A's use of GPL code is minimal.

11. Have you considered the risk that GPL code might infringe on third party intellectual property rights? Although it is always difficult for a business to ensure that acquired products do not infringe on third-party intellectual property rights, the risks associated with the use of GPL software may be substantially higher than those associated with commercial software. For example, given the distributed nature of open source development, you should understand what controls, if any, you have in place to screen unlicensed code or trade secret information from inclusion in the GPL program. This view is perhaps reinforced by the fact that Section 11 of the GPL expressly disclaims any warranties, including presumably a warranty that the program is free from infringements of third-party copyrights or trade secrets known to the contributor. You should also ask yourself if GPL developers may conclude that this disclaimer makes it okay to distribute code under the GPL when they know they don't have the rights required to do so. Developers of commercial software, in contrast, typically have procedures, contractual obligations, and a substantial financial stake in minimizing potential infringements.

12. What happens if an intellectual property owner, who claims that your use of GPL code infringes its intellectual property rights, sues you? As noted above, Section 11 suggests that you are "on your own" with respect to defense of the suit and payment for damages.

13. What is the extent of your liability for GPL-related infringements? Several provisions of the GPL may be read as requiring a GPL licensee to effectively sublicense its rights to the rest of the world (e.g., Section 2, relating to the modification and distribution of GPL works). GPL licensees should ask themselves whether, and to what extent, they might be responsible for the actions of their sub-licensees. For example, suppose Business A distributes a modified copy of GPL code to Businesses B, C, and D, and each of them further distributes 1000 copies. If Business A is sued for patent infringement relating to its use of GPL software, the patent owner might claim that the business is liable for direct infringement based upon the three copies distributed to Businesses B, C, and D and is further liable for direct, contributory, or induced infringement by the 3000 additional copies distributed by these businesses (and, of course, any and all later distributions by such businesses and their downstream sub-licensees). While actual liability would depend upon a host of factual issues, if Business A has deeper pockets than the other businesses, it should not be surprised to find plaintiff's counsel pursuing such an approach and claiming theoretically unlimited damages caused by Business A's limited initial distribution.

14. Can the author of a GPL program 'unilaterally' withdraw your right to distribute the program? Section 8 of the GPL gives "the original copyright holder who places the Program under this License" the right to preclude distribution in certain countries based on patents or interface copyrights. It is not clear that a licensee has any right to object to this restriction, which may be solely within the discretion of the original copyright holder. It is also not clear whether this restriction can be imposed retroactively, although Section 8 does say, "this License incorporates the limitation as if written in the body of this License." Companies relying on GPL code should carefully consider the potential impact such a geographical restriction could have on their business.

15. Can you use GPL tools in the development of your own software without subjecting your software to the GPL? As noted above, the GPL is sometimes referred to as being 'viral' because it attempts to subject related third-party code and intellectual property to the GPL. People concerned about this aspect of the GPL are probably careful about modifying GPL programs or combining their code with GPL code, but they may assume that their use of GPL tools cannot 'infect' the software they are developing. While this is probably true in many cases, it is not necessarily a safe assumption. For example, the 'Bison' parser developed by Richard Stallman, Robert Corbett and Wilfred Hansen was licensed under the GPL for some time before users realized that the software they were developing with the tool was arguably subject to the GPL. The potential exposure resulted from the parser's inclusion of incidental GPL material in the tool's output. In response to this problem, Bison version 1.24 and later was distributed with a 'special exception' regarding output files. The implication is that businesses concerned about the possible infection of their software by the GPL should make sure they consider: what, if any, GPL tools are being used by their developers; how those tools are used; and the possibility that such uses might subject their own code to the GPL.

16. If the GPL requires you to 'contribute' your modifications to GPL code to 'the community,' are you sure that your competitors are doing the same? Assuming that two competitors are making similar use of GPL code, their obligations under the GPL should be the same. There are, however, a number of scenarios to consider. Some competitors may not understand their obligations under the GPL and, for that reason, might not share their improvements with competitors. Other competitors' interpretation of the GPL might lead them to conclude that they have no obligation because they might believe the GPL is unenforceable in its entirety. Some competitors may intentionally ignore their obligations under the GPL to obtain a competitive advantage, relying on a variety of factors to avoid compliance. These factors might include obscuring object code to hide use of GPL code and the strength and enforcement of intellectual property laws in the country where they are doing business.

17. Does the GPL present any special challenges for businesses developing or distributing products with embedded software? The GPL does not expressly impose any 'special' obligations on embedded software businesses, but embedded businesses should consider whether the GPL presents any unique risks based upon scenarios common to the embedded product space. For example, the manufacturer of a hardware system that includes some embedded GPL software and some of the manufacturer's own proprietary software may find it particularly important to carefully assess whether the GPL and proprietary software form a 'mere aggregation' (GPL infection disclaimed under Section 2); a 'collective work' (GPL infection apparently intended); or something else altogether. Some embedded software developers, such as Caldera and Wind River, have publicly expressed concerns about the risks associated with the GPL.

18. Are your software developers aware of the many development-related issues that may affect GPL risks and obligations? Are you asking (or allowing) them to act as your legal counsel and are you willing to accept that risk? Are you 'betting your business' on informal or anonymous interpretations of the GPL posted on the Internet? As noted by the Free Software Foundation (FSF), the potential implications of the GPL on software development ultimately depend on the way in which judges will interpret provisions of the GPL. A host of relatively detailed, development-related questions are also likely to be critical. You should probably make sure your developers are asking themselves a number of questions, including:
What is the provenance of the code and tools being used?


What licenses govern that code and tools?

What do we do if we can't determine which license governs code included in an open source distribution?

What happens if those licensing terms have been clarified or purportedly amended?

Does our code use GPL code at runtime, whether through kernel calls, dynamic linkage, static linkage, or other mechanisms; if we are using libraries, do those libraries, in turn, link to other libraries (and, if so, which licenses govern those libraries)?

If we are using headers, do they reference other headers (and, if so, which licenses govern those headers)?

Will our code be distributed, combined or otherwise used with GPL code?

Are we sure about our answers to these questions?

Given the subtle nature of some of the legal issues presented by the GPL, you should also make sure your developers know when to consult legal counsel regarding any potential risks presented by a particular development activity. All businesses would be well advised to avoid taking actions based upon general 'understandings' of the GPL that are not based on a careful reading of the agreement itself.

19. Who can you go to if you have a question regarding the GPL's interpretation, want to clarify your risks under the GPL, or amend your obligations? The GPL was developed under the auspices of the FSF. The FSF is not, however, necessarily the owner of any and all intellectual property rights embodied in particular programs licensed under the GPL. Section 10 recognizes this by suggesting that a GPL licensee could write to a program's author (or authors) for permission to distribute the program under different terms. In some cases, no single person or entity may own all of these property rights. As a result, a prospective (or existing) GPL licensee may find it impractical, if not impossible, to negotiate a desired change in its rights and obligations or even obtain a clarification of those rights and obligations. Even if a licensee were somehow able to identify key contributors and reach agreement with all of them regarding a desired change or clarification, presumably those contributors would be unwilling or unable to represent and warrant that they had the entire right and title required to do so.

20. Are you using any software governed by the Lesser General Public License (LGPL) and, if so, how does that license affect your rights and obligations? The LGPL was developed by the FSF to give library developers an alternative to the GPL. Specifically, although the FSF generally discourages use of the LGPL, it notes that "using the Library GPL permits use of the library in commercial programs." The LGPL retains the 'viral' provisions of the GPL in the context of modifications to an LGPL library (Section 2). But a different set of obligations are imposed when code is linked to an LGPL library (Sections 5 and 6). If you are developing programs that link to LGPL libraries you should review and understand these obligations. You should also check whether the LGPL libraries used, in turn, link to other libraries and especially consider the implications if the LGPL library links to a GPL library.

21. Does the use of GPL software reduce the acquisition value of your company (as a start-up) or a particular business unit (as a spin-off)? As noted above, the GPL attempts, under certain circumstances, to subject licensees' code and related intellectual property to the terms of the GPL (see, e.g., Section 3). Once your software is 'infected' by the GPL, it is not clear whether and how this process can be reversed. So, while GPL code may seem like an inexpensive, convenient and useful way for a start-up to develop a new product quickly, it may also have costly and long-term consequences for the start-up. Parties interested in acquiring the business are likely to conclude, as a part of any acquisition due diligence, that the business has already effectively given away most of the commercial value in its code.

22. Does your use of GPL code present any issues re shareholder value and exposure to suit? In the context of initial public offerings, at least some businesses based upon GPL software have concluded that such software introduces risks that should be disclosed as part of the offering. These risks include: the companies 'inability' to offer warranties and indemnities because the code is developed by independent parties over whom the offering business has no control or supervision; the uncertain future of the code base (will further development occur and, if so, in what direction); the availability of the same code from other sources for free; and concerns about negative reactions from the open source community. (These issues are discussed in the '10Ks' of several of the publicly traded companies that distribute GPL programs). If you are beginning to use GPL code, you should ask whether this presents similar risks to your business.

23. Do you have a process for reviewing and approving prospective uses of GPL software? Are you willing to use precious developer resources required to assess the impact of prospective uses of GPL code that you will depend on? Most businesses that are engaged in software development establish procedures to avoid tainting their development process with software that is subject to other people's intellectual property rights. Although GPL code is often described as 'free,' as noted above it may impose severe obligations on users and is perhaps even more deserving of a company-wide process regarding review and approval before use.

24. Do you have or need any special procedures regarding potential GPL issues created by your licensing of third-party software and or acquisitions of software? Given the potential effect that the GPL may have on code and intellectual property acquired by (or licensed into) a company, it may make sense for businesses to develop procedures to ensure that such acquisitions and licenses are reviewed for GPL issues. For example, many companies have established 'due diligence' procedures to help them identify and evaluate potential issues associated with the acquisition of businesses, product lines, and intellectual property rights. Companies pursuing software-related acquisitions or investments should probably consider whether their due diligence procedures should be updated to specifically address GPL-related issues.

Flamebait? (2, Insightful)

tarzan353 (246515) | more than 11 years ago | (#5542307)

Parent post was modded as flamebait. How is this so? Because slashdot readers are supposed to accept the GPL without question?

If anything it's offtopic, but that's questionable given that we're talking about software licenses.

Re:The problem with the "spirit of the GPL"... (2, Funny)

Bull999999 (652264) | more than 11 years ago | (#5542409)

How about the part where the copyright holder may gain administrative access to your system? Oh wait, that's MS EULA, not GPL.

BSD? (2, Insightful)

dolson (634094) | more than 11 years ago | (#5542223)

They've claimed that they like BSD, just not Linux's GPL... Soooo... why don't they just use the BSD License?

Oh, because it would be detrimental to their business.

This is really stupid, and their ways are going to fool people - and they already have. It's too bad that we don't really have any powerful marketing pusher for Linux that can expose the truth... Oh well. Some day.

Re:BSD? (2, Interesting)

GammaTau (636807) | more than 11 years ago | (#5542466)

They've claimed that they like BSD, just not Linux's GPL... Soooo... why don't they just use the BSD License?

It seems to me that the new shared source code license is a viral license. At least I can't think of any other way to interpret the third condition.

3. That if you distribute the Software in source code form you do so only under this license (i.e. you must include a complete copy of this license with your distribution), and if you distribute the Software solely in object form you only do so under a license that complies with this license.

It seems that Microsoft likes BSD license only in one-directional way: BSD license is good when others write code but not when they write it. That's kind of like the one-directional way most people like taxes: it's bad when you have to pay them but great if other people's tax money covers your own expenses.

Do you get all the source? (4, Interesting)

mz001b (122709) | more than 11 years ago | (#5542224)

So if you are a ``shared source'' licensee, do you get all the source for whatever app you are playing with? That is, can you compile it into the same application that you buy shrinkwrapped at Best Buy? Or do they leave some things out?

Microsoft? (4, Interesting)

m0rph3us0 (549631) | more than 11 years ago | (#5542227)

Is it just me or should a license from MS probably have a URL associated with it pointing it to MS.

This EULA doesn't sound like legalease. I really doubt this is a MS license. I've tried to find a shared source ASP.NET distro to verify but to no avail.

Can anyone vouch for this being authentic?

Re:Microsoft? (4, Informative)

agentZ (210674) | more than 11 years ago | (#5542268)

I don't know about the exact text per se, but the Microsoft speaker today at the Open Source in eGovernment conference [egovos.org] in Washington DC did refer to the ASP license, that it was less than one page, and did allow user's more freedom with the code, specifically the ability to use the ASP licensed code in their own projects.

Re:Microsoft? (2)

jkrise (535370) | more than 11 years ago | (#5542360)

Foley may have other follies, but she definitely puts out authentic information. She's been around long enough, you could assume it's authentic.

Her 'predictions' and 'directions' may not be that accurate though.

So, it's not about oil wells, eh? (-1)

Ontopic (652043) | more than 11 years ago | (#5542372)

And all Iraqi military and civilian personnel should listen carefully to this warning: In any conflict, your fate will depend on your actions. Do not destroy oil wells, a source of wealth that belongs to the Iraqi people.

Absolutely one step closer! (3, Insightful)

philovivero (321158) | more than 11 years ago | (#5542231)

Much the same way as the amoeba is one step closer to mankind than a virus.

Re:Absolutely one step closer! (1)

whereiswaldo (459052) | more than 11 years ago | (#5542310)

Much the same way as the amoeba is one step closer to mankind than a virus.

Speaking of a virus, I'm surprised no M$ lackeyes have spouted off about the GPL being viral.

I bring this up because the MS office document formats are one of the most viral entities in the computing industry. Try and switch to another office suite - go ahead! - but your friends and their friends will keep sending you the proprietary MS Office documents which you need MS Office for to edit/print with absolute reliability. The more people use MS Office, the more this is true.

Re:Absolutely one step closer! (2, Insightful)

Twirlip of the Mists (615030) | more than 11 years ago | (#5542384)

Methinks it might just be possible that you don't understand what "viral" means in this context.

The Microsoft Office document formats are not viral, because they affect nothing other than themselves. If you install Microsoft Word on your computer, all of your SurfWriter documents remain in SurfWriter format; nothing changes.

The GPL, on the other hand, spreads. If you link GPL-licensed code in with your project, poof! Your project is now GPL-licensed as well, for better or for worse. Some people will argue it's better, some worse, but all agree that it's viral.

See the difference?

Re:Absolutely one step closer! (3, Insightful)

Fulcrum of Evil (560260) | more than 11 years ago | (#5542443)

The Microsoft Office document formats are not viral, because they affect nothing other than themselves. If you install Microsoft Word on your computer, all of your SurfWriter documents remain in SurfWriter format; nothing changes.

Until you need to exchange documents with somebody using MS word. Then, it acts like a virus.

The GPL, on the other hand, spreads. If you link GPL-licensed code in with your project, poof! Your project is now GPL-licensed as well, for better or for worse. Some people will argue it's better, some worse, but all agree that it's viral.

True, true. If you don't like it, feel free to write your own library or negotiate a different license.

See the difference?

I think so. MS word forces me to use MS word so that I can do business with someone else (using MS word, which is the standard), whereas the GPL allows me to save development time if I can deal with the restrictions of the license. Of course, I am still able to use GPL tools with no worries whatsoever.

I think I like the GPL virus better than the MS virus.

Re:Absolutely one step closer! (1, Insightful)

Twirlip of the Mists (615030) | more than 11 years ago | (#5542461)

Until you need to exchange documents with somebody using MS word. Then, it acts like a virus.

No... the defining characteristic of a virus is that it spreads. If needing to use Microsoft Word for document X (the one you need to share) made it difficult or impossible to use SurfWriter for documents A, B, and C, you might have a point. But since that isn't the case at all... well, you get the picture.

Re:Absolutely one step closer! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5542460)

This is only if you distribute the code, besides if you don't agree with the license then don't use it.

Re:Absolutely one step closer! (2, Interesting)

Bull999999 (652264) | more than 11 years ago | (#5542473)

In OOP, child classes inherits the characteristics of its parent class. They call this inheritance, not "a viral infection that attaches the characteristics of the parent class to all of its child classes". Steve had a harsher word for open source program (it was cancer). MS chose to use words with negative connotations when describing open source products since they goal is to discourage you from switching.

Anti-Microsoft bias showing through again... (4, Insightful)

Chester K (145560) | more than 11 years ago | (#5542236)

but it doesn't look that way to me.

You have to learn to crawl before you learn to walk. Think back a few years when Microsoft didn't even let their source out the door at all -- then try to say with a straight face that they're not slowly sliding down the slippery slope towards the gaping maw of Open Source that's eating their lunch.

Look, Microsoft is a company that wants to make money. They will eventually do whatever their customers demand. If that means eventually giving out full source along with their binaries because everyone else is doing it, then that's what they'll do; or they'll become irrelevant in the marketplace, which is something they'll never allow to happen.

Re:Anti-Microsoft bias showing through again... (4, Insightful)

brad-x (566807) | more than 11 years ago | (#5542270)

The main purpose for shared source is to obfuscate the meaning of open-source, to make it less important in the eyes of the customer.

Hey, our source is free for you to browse also, what's the difference?

Big difference. But it won't matter to people. It's buzzword compliant. Make no mistake, this business is NOT about meeting customer demand.

This business is about telling the customer either directly or indirectly what to demand, and lock them into their decisions long term.

You can't accuse a shyster of appealing to your needs because he's interested in them.

Re:Anti-Microsoft bias showing through again... (1)

Vann_v2 (213760) | more than 11 years ago | (#5542320)

I didn't even see who you were before I hit reply...heh. Here goes, though.

Businesses, who seem to be the big adopters of Linux, do (or at least their lawyers) know the difference between BSD/GPL licenses and MS "Shared source." They have to, or else they are open to legal threat from Microsoft.

As long as there is a solid, legal distinction between these types of licenses, people will continue to adpot the former rather than the latter for the same reasons they are now.

Or at least, I hope they will...

Re:Anti-Microsoft bias showing through again... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5542449)

Please do NOT use the term 'shyster' unless you intern to defame Jews as well as lawyers. While the etymology of the term 'shyster' is rather innocuous, it's usage is typically ugly and anti-Semitic. I'd suggest the term 'shark' or other such terms for lawyers, as it does not connote the same hate. Thanks.

Re:Anti-Microsoft bias showing through again... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5542482)

You're thinking of "shylock," not "shyster." In Shakespeare's play The Merchant of Venice, Shylock is a wealthy Jew of uncompassionate nature. The term "shylock" has since come to be used as slang for a person who exploits his advantage over another, but the antisemitic implications are obvious, and one should be cautious not to use the word unless one is fully aware of its connotations.

The word "shyster," on the other hand, has no particular connection to antisemitism.

Re:Anti-Microsoft bias showing through again... (2, Insightful)

dubbreak (623656) | more than 11 years ago | (#5542463)

I entirely agree.

Microsoft is about marketing and making money, not about making better software. Right now the term "open source" is a huge buzzword. People hear that open source is good.. but microsoft isn't open source so they are bad.. oh but wait now MS is sharing their source, so they are as good as everyone else now...

This is nothing but a marketing ploy, MS will not gpl or bsd license their software.. it will not happen. (my dying words eh)

Re:Anti-Microsoft bias showing through again... (1)

jkrise (535370) | more than 11 years ago | (#5542402)

"Microsoft is a company that wants to make money. They will eventually do whatever their customers demand. "

Normal companies start of by doing what their customers want. If they do that well and long enough, eventually they make money.

It appears your thought process has been corrupted by the MS philosophy, hence you see bias where none exists.

Microsoft never gets it (3, Funny)

watzinaneihm (627119) | more than 11 years ago | (#5542239)

Those who do not understand GNU are condemned to reinvent it, poorly.

Slashdot never gets it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5542367)

Gnu is not a license.

As I read it... (3, Informative)

cperciva (102828) | more than 11 years ago | (#5542240)

As I read the license, you *can* combine MSSL code with code distributed under other licenses; what you can't do is combine it with code distributed under the GPL.

I see no reason why combining MSSL and BSDL code would be forbidden.

Developers, developers, developers.... (-1, Troll)

notanatheist (581086) | more than 11 years ago | (#5542243)

Poor Ballmer. Trying to get a few more programmers on the M$ side ain't gonna be easy. Use the (open) source. :) Be wary of the darkside.

Interesting (3, Interesting)

www.sorehands.com (142825) | more than 11 years ago | (#5542250)

Take a look at8. That if you sue anyone over patents that you think may apply to the Software for a person's use of the Software, your license to the Software ends automatically.

This is interesting, could this be an statement on software patents? Or do they want to know if the software is patentable, then they want to be able to take patent action?

Re:Interesting (1)

silvaran (214334) | more than 11 years ago | (#5542285)

That you will ... (c) indemnify, hold harmless, and defend Microsoft from and against any claims or lawsuits, including attorneys' fees, that arise or result from the use or distribution of your modifications to the Software and any additional software you distribute along with the Software.

It's worse than that... if somebody sues Microsoft because you distributed modified versions of their software, and someone's balls get cut off, you have to agree to defend Microsoft including attorneys' fees against such lawsuits.

Re:Interesting (1)

realdpk (116490) | more than 11 years ago | (#5542429)

IANAL, but I think that means you are responsible for your own attorneys' fees involved - you don't have to pay Microsoft's bill. You just have to say "Microsoft didn't do it". IANAL.

Re:Interesting (1)

cozman (610450) | more than 11 years ago | (#5542297)

As I understand it this is actually a new trend.. other licenses such as the OSL (clause 10) [opensource.org] [opensource.org] have similar clauses.

M$ going soft ? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5542251)

"...Microsoft reserves all rights not expressly granted to you in this license".

Even the right to nuke the processor at random times ?

Let me get this straight... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5542253)

The worst terrorist attack in recorded history occurred in September 2001, followed by a WAR against Islam in Afghanistan and now we're about to be involved in ANOTHER war against Islam in Iraq, and you people have the gall to be discussing Microsoft shared-source licensing???? My *god*, people, GET SOME PRIORITIES!

The bodies of the thousands of innocent civilians who died (and will die) in these unprecedented events could give a good god damn about obscure science fiction, your childish Lego models, your nerf toy guns and whining about the lack of a "fun" workplace, your Everquest/Diablo/D&D fixation, the latest Cowboy Bebop rerun, or any of the other ways you are "getting on with your life" (here's a hint: watching Cowboy Bebop in your jammies and eating a bowl of Shreddies is *not* "getting on with your life"). The souls of the victims are watching in horror as you people squander your finite, precious time on this earth playing video games!

You people disgust me!

Rights? (4, Insightful)

Twirlip of the Mists (615030) | more than 11 years ago | (#5542258)

Timothy, I have a question. It's not a troll, and it's not flamebait; it's just a simple question, one that could be addressed with a simple answer.

What does this have to do with "your rights online?"

I have come to accept, over the past several years, that the Slashdot idea of "rights" is wildly different from my own. This bothers me deeply, but I see little point in arguing about it in broad strokes. But I fail to see how this story fits in with even the Slashdot-standard idea of "rights."

Can you-- indeed, can anyone-- clear this up for me, please?

Re:Rights? (1, Informative)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 11 years ago | (#5542331)

What does this have to do with "your rights online?"

It's simple. Microsoft is offering a license agreement which you may choose to accept. That agreement grants you certain rights to Microsoft's intellectual property. The terms of that agreement were recently changed.

The intellectual property in question is contained in software. When software is used, it is "online".

Hence, this information affects your rights online. Hope that helps.

Re:Rights? (4, Funny)

nurightshu (517038) | more than 11 years ago | (#5542351)

As best I can tell, many of the zealots here think they have the "right" to the fruits of any programmer or company's labor, simply because it's trivial to make copies of the original work. I've been reading /. myself since '99 or so (I still remember Geeks in Space), and it seems that around here, Richard Stallman's belief that all code should be free for anyone to use or modify somehow reflects actual reality.

Of course, the reality of the situation is that the author of the work has the right (not "right") to release or distribute his work however he sees fit; this of course gives rise to the infantile bawling over how company x (where x usually equals "Microsoft") is the root of all evil, responsible for the Kennedy assassination, the Challenger and Columbia incidents, and just about anything bad that has happened to them personally in their entire lives.

Since Microsoft is only releasing code under the terms of a license the zealots feel is draconian, it is of course an egregious abridgement of the zealots' "right" to get the latest 0day_winXP_hax0r3d.iso.

Hope this helps.

Re:Rights? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5542387)

Of course, the reality of the situation is that the author of the work has the right

There's your "rights" right there, right?

PS: how come nobody ever talks about the right of a creator to REFRAIN from distributing his work, since he knows that it can easily be copied? And how come Microsoft never exercises this right?

Re:Rights? (1)

Twirlip of the Mists (615030) | more than 11 years ago | (#5542414)

PS: how come nobody ever talks about the right of a creator to REFRAIN from distributing his work, since he knows that it can easily be copied? And how come Microsoft never exercises this right?

Microsoft exercises this right all the time. Call them up and ask them for the source code to... um... to something they don't release the source code for. (I don't know enough about this subject to be able to list which products are available in source form from Microsoft and which aren't.) They will tell you, in polite but firm terms, that they are exercising their right not to distribute that work.

Re:Rights? (3, Insightful)

ryochiji (453715) | more than 11 years ago | (#5542392)

>many of the zealots here think they have the "right" to the fruits of any programmer or company's labor, simply because it's trivial to make copies of the original work.

Now that's a wrong take on Open Source if I'd seen one... I think you've been eating too much of Microsoft's FUD. Open Source isn't about leaching, that is, taking advantage of other people's work. It's about collaboration and freedom, and putting quality in front of profit. If, as you suggest, Open Source was successful only because it was cheap, you wouldn't be seeing the kind of high quality software you see today. The Open Source license works only because the Open Source development model works. You can't talk about one without looking at the other. And that's what M$ doesn't understand (at least IMO).

OMFG yu0 r teh FUNNIE!!!1!!11!one! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5542442)

Hey, way to make your post look legetimate by using M$! That'll really stick it to the man, won't it? Bill Gates probably has a single tear rolling down his cheek right now. Of course, that tear falls onto a huge pile of a cash because he's a fucking billionaire (and you're a halfwit living in your parents' basement).

kthxbye

Re:Rights? (1)

be-fan (61476) | more than 11 years ago | (#5542437)

many of the zealots here think they have the "right" to the fruits of any programmer or company's labor, simply because it's trivial to make copies of the original work.
>>>>>>>
Is it really such a zealot-ous concept? I mean science has been operating the same way for hundreds of years (you base your own work upon all the discoveries of others), and it's worked amazingly well. I'd say that this new paradigm, that companies have absolute power over their creations, is the one that is new and unusual.

Re:Rights? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5542376)

Can you-- indeed, can anyone-- clear this up for me, please?

Well, I suppose I could give you the answer that EULA's are legal documents, like contracts, and like any contract, require you to change your behavior, or at least require you not behave in certain ways.

However, this behavior sometimes interferes with what many consider a basic right: the right to use data on your own hard drive however you like, much like you can arrange papers in your desk drawer however you like. Or other rights, like the right to share knowledge with someone else.

If you don't think these are "rights", then, well, there's not much more to be said. Some of us do. To each his own. Maybe you call them something else.

But you know all that stuff, since you've posted questions like this before. So I assume you're just "stirring the pot". I'm sure you have your rebuttals ready.

I have come to accept, over the past several years, that the Slashdot idea of "rights" is wildly different from my own. This bothers me deeply, but I see little point in arguing about it in broad strokes.

Hmm, I thought that all of us were "Slashdot" .. I guess you are a disinterested observer? But whatever the case, I'm sorry that this has effected you "deeply" for "several years" .. someday you may realize that some people believe in things that seem pointless or illogical to you.

Until then, don't let it get you down too much. (Sometimes constantly fighting against something makes you look too much like what you're fighting against!)

Re:Rights? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5542401)

What you say is what you are! SO THERE NOBACKS!

Re:Rights? (1)

Feztaa (633745) | more than 11 years ago | (#5542447)

It's a story about licensing, and open vs closed source politics. I think the "Your rights online" category is just a catch-all for this kind of topic.

Saddam Hussein, leader, dead at 54 (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5542259)

I just heard some sad news on talk radio - Iraqi president (holder of the popular vote) Saddam Hussein, was found dead in his Baghdad presidential palace this morning. There weren't any more details. I'm sure everyone in the Slashdot community will miss him - even if you didn't enjoy his work, there's no denying his contributions to popular culture. Truly an Iraqi icon.

Slashdot Troll, loser, dead at 54. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5542352)

I just heard -- Slashdot troll was found dead in his parent's basement. There weren't any more details. I'm sure everyone in the Slashdot community will miss him - even if you didn't enjoy his work, there's no denying his contributions to popular culture. Truly an American icon.

This may foretell the doom of man . . . (3, Funny)

pariahdecss (534450) | more than 11 years ago | (#5542264)

Typical Microsoft embrace and extend strategy? Or perhaps a tainted gift for RMS on his recent birthday? The EULA can not be decompiled by any craft that we here possess, Gimli son of Gloin, the source must be returned to Redmond and cast back in to the fiery chasm from whence it came . . .

In other words (1)

Com2Kid (142006) | more than 11 years ago | (#5542267)

MS doesn't want to have to spend the money checking over code every time somebody anywheres in the world opens up one of their source files?

Re:In other words (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5542313)

shut the fuck up you dumbshit. i fucked rosia right in her dumb fat ass.

Softer? (0, Troll)

Tidal Flame (658452) | more than 11 years ago | (#5542272)

Haha, Micro So Soft... is the title a joke, or did you guys not realize someone would bring up that reference when you posted this? Hahaha...

Microsoft would never consider a GPL-like approach (2)

MoThugz (560556) | more than 11 years ago | (#5542283)

It is just too restrictive for a business entity. How many companies that you know of that can claim to have profitted from GPL-based software? Redhat (please, they're virtually unheard of outside of the OS markets), IBM (they've been a gigantic conglomerate long before Linux became mainstream).

Windows on the other hand, like it or not, is a catalyst of profitable software firms. Where would Adobe, Veritas, heck even Electronic Arts be without MS? Sure the OS is buggy, and fixes aren't released lightning fast... But who can say that without Windows, these company would be just as successful today?

Microsoft sure does a lot of wrong things when it comes to Windows... but one thing it got right from the beginning was how to drive the market to complement their invention, and without opening up their source code at that. In some cases, the related SDK will do just fine.

Re:Microsoft would never consider a GPL-like appro (4, Insightful)

pauljlucas (529435) | more than 11 years ago | (#5542418)

Windows on the other hand, like it or not, is a catalyst of profitable software firms. Where would Adobe, Veritas, heck even Electronic Arts be without MS?
They'd be exactly where they are now, but writing software for some other OS (e.g., Mac OS X).
But who can say that without Windows, these company would be just as successful today?
To those companies, Windows is just the API they have to write to. Windows does nothing to market their product muchless make it better.
... but one thing [Microsoft] got right from the beginning was how to drive the market to complement their invention.
Funny, but Apple has been doing this for years. If they didn't, they wouldn't exist now.

Since you bought up Adobe, they've always been very Mac-friendly. It was Apple that enabled Adobe to make lots of money licensing PostScript interpreters in every Apple LaserWriter sold that started desktop publishing. And now Mac OS X incorporates PDF into the core of the OS.

Re:Microsoft would never consider a GPL-like appro (2, Insightful)

CondorDes (138353) | more than 11 years ago | (#5542458)

Where would Adobe, Veritas, heck even Electronic Arts be without MS?

They'd be running on the Mac. What's more, Apple would have not only a big marketshare of the software, but they'd have the hardware, too. And everything would Just Work(tm), for that very reason. At least, until Apple started screwing with its APIs the way M$ has been...

Sure the OS is buggy, and fixes aren't released lightning fast... But who can say that without Windows, these company would be just as successful today?

All of them, and for the most part, they'd be right. The only reason anyone needs Windows now is because it's what everybody is using. Had Apple done any number of things differently, all the Windows users could very easily be Mac users, and Microsoft would just be a bad dream.

If you think about it, the only reason people "need" Windows now as a platform is because that's what they have been using all along. Windows didn't come along "by default", it was actively adopted back in the day by people who didn't want to pay the price for Mac hardware, or deal with their chicken-simple UI.

Slashdot effect protection (2, Interesting)

cultobill (72845) | more than 11 years ago | (#5542291)

Is The 'Soft Going Soft on Open Source?

By Mary Jo Foley
Microsoft's newest shared source license seems to be inching closer -- at least in spirit -- to the GNU GPL.

The open-source faithful have been harsh critics of Microsoft's shared source licensing plan and justifiably so. They have claimed that Microsoft has attempted to ride the coattails of the GNU General Public License (GPL), while simultaneously slamming the GPL as contaminating everything in its path.

Even some of Microsoft's own employees, such as David Stutz, the former Microsoft manager in charge of Microsoft's Common Language Infrastructure (CLI) Shared Source program, have expressed frustration with Microsoft's licensing rhetoric.

One More Time: Stutz's 'Sanitized' Goodbye Note [synthesist.net]

But is there a case to be made that Redmond is slowly but surely learning from its past mistakes?

Exhibit No. 1: Instead of trying to blur the lines between open source and shared source, this week, Microsoft is presenting (against a back drop of open-source protest) its shared source program as an "alternative" to the GPL at the Washington, D.C. e-Government pow-wow on open standards and open source.

Check Out the e-Government Agenda Here [egovos.org]

Exhibit No. 2: With no fanfare, the company recently has added a new shared source licensing option to its stable that removes some (but definitely not all of the more onerous licensing clauses from Microsoft's contracts.

The new license -- called simply, the "ASP .Net Starter Kit License" -- is much streamlined and simplified, weighing in at a single page in length. Under the licensing terms, developers and users are permitted to download the ASP .Net Starter Kit source code for free, to develop on and around the code and redistribute it, commercially or internally, without paying Microsoft any royalties.

ASP .Net Starter Kit licensees do not need to return to Microsoft any changes they make to the code, Microsoft execs say. Under the GPL license, developers are obligated to submit back to the community any changes they make to the code base.

But don't start thinking that The 'Soft has gone soft on open source. There is wording in the ASP .Net Starter Kit license that prevents developers or customers from GPLing the Microsoft code, according to Microsoft execs.

"You are not allowed to combine or distribute the (ASP .Net Starter Kit) Software with other software that is licensed under terms that seek to require that the Software (or any intellectual property in it) be provided in source code form, licensed to others to allow the creation or distribution of derivative works, or distributed without charge," reads Microsoft's new license.

For the Whole Text of the New License, Click Here [microsoft-watch.com]

What's your take? Do you think Microsoft is genuinely interested in adopting some of the positives from the open source model? Or is the company hiding behind seemingly more liberal terms and conditions? Write me at mswatch@ziffdavis.com and give me your two cents.

Closer to GPL (1)

TummyX (84871) | more than 11 years ago | (#5542293)


guess the main difference is that programmers do not have to send back any changes made to the source code.


Surely that means it's moving away from GPL...

Re:Closer to GPL (2, Informative)

ryants (310088) | more than 11 years ago | (#5542312)

You are under no obligation to send your changes back to the community under the GPL.

Please see the GPL FAQ [gnu.org] .

Re:Closer to GPL (1)

Twirlip of the Mists (615030) | more than 11 years ago | (#5542397)

You are under no obligation to send your changes back to the community under the GPL.

However, if you base your product on or incorporate GPL-licensed code, and you release that product to anyone through any channel, you are required to give a machine-readable copy of your source code at no charge to anybody who asks for it. Which is effectively the same thing.

I have no idea if this is covered in a FAQ or not; please refer to the actual license.

Re:Closer to GPL (2, Informative)

Flamerule (467257) | more than 11 years ago | (#5542474)

You are under no obligation to send your changes back to the community under the GPL.

However, if you base your product on or incorporate GPL-licensed code, and you release that product to anyone through any channel, you are required to give a machine-readable copy of your source code at no charge to anybody who asks for it. Which is effectively the same thing.

This is wrong. I believe you're referring to option (b) of the following GPL section:
3. You may copy and distribute the Program (or a work based on it, under Section 2) in object code or executable form under the terms of Sections 1 and 2 above provided that you also do one of the following:

  • a) Accompany it with the complete corresponding machine-readable source code, which must be distributed under the terms of Sections 1 and 2 above on a medium customarily used for software interchange; or,
  • b) Accompany it with a written offer, valid for at least three years, to give any third party, for a charge no more than your cost of physically performing source distribution, a complete machine-readable copy of the corresponding source code, to be distributed under the terms of Sections 1 and 2 above on a medium customarily used for software interchange; or,
  • c) Accompany it with the information you received as to the offer to distribute corresponding source code. (This alternative is allowed only for noncommercial distribution and only if you received the program in object code or executable form with such an offer, in accord with Subsection b above.)
Note the "or"s. If you release your product "to anyone through any channel", as you say, then you could use option (a) and accompany the product with its source. You need not do anything more than that, for anyone else.

Reasonable license (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5542296)

It is just a BSDish license with a GNU-incompatible clause tacked on. Perfectly reasonable for a commercial company to do.

By the way, MS developer licenses (unlike their end user licenses) are usually rather reasonable anyway. The number of examples they provide in the DDK is quite good. MSDN is also better written then most man pages.

Re:Reasonable license (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5542366)

Dead on, man. I had to do some Windows development for the first time a few weeks ago... We can't afford to buy Visual Studio, so i downloaded gcc for Windows... Loaded up MSDN and read the SDK examples and had the app fully upgraded and running smoothly within a week. Their help files for developers are fantastic. On Linux (my usual development platform at work) i find myself with the OpenBSD manpages open all day just to get a sensible explanation of how certain function calls work.

Almost exactly wrong. . . (2, Insightful)

Fritz Benwalla (539483) | more than 11 years ago | (#5542299)


"Microsoft is 'inching closer -- at least in spirit -- to the GNU GPL'"

They have this exactly backwards. If anything, Microsoft has inched closer to the letter of the GNU GPL. Nearly every other action they have taken as a company has shown contempt for the spirit of the GPL.

---------

Re:Almost exactly wrong. . . (2, Interesting)

Twirlip of the Mists (615030) | more than 11 years ago | (#5542405)

Nearly every other action they have taken as a company has shown contempt for the spirit of the GPL.

This seems fair to me. Every action the FSF has taken, including the creation of the GPL in the first place, has shown contempt for Microsoft's business model.

So what does it look like, timothy? (4, Insightful)

tuxedo-steve (33545) | more than 11 years ago | (#5542304)

The article claims that Microsoft is "inching closer -- at least in spirit -- to the GNU GPL" with these license tweaks, but it doesn't look that way to me.
I'd say this is pretty clear-cut. Is not having to send MS any changes made to the code more or less like the GNU GPL? More, you say? Doesn't it follow then that the license could be said to have "inched" closer to the GNU GPL?

I know /. has a vested interest in polarising people around these issues in order to keep people emotionally interested and the readership up, but if you're going to make illogical editorial commentary like this, how about posting it in the comments instead of the article body?

here's part of the new license (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5542314)

The licenses for most open-source software are designed to grant you the freedom to share and change it. By contrast, the MSFT Shared Source License is intended to guarantee the illusion that you have any freedom to share and change Microsoft software software, and to make sure Microsoft can control any user of the software. This Shared Source License applies to a small portion of Microsoft's software, and not to any other software. (Most other Microsoft software is covered by an eight-page EULA instead.) You can apply it to your programs, too -- unless you don't like lawsuits!

When we speak of free software, we are referring to price, not freedom. Our Shared Source Licenses are designed to make sure that you have the freedom to use our software, provided you only use it under our terms, and that you have freedom to distribute verbatim copies of the software under our terms (and charging for this service if you wish, provided that the proceeds are returned to Microsoft), that you don't receive source code unless we give it to you, that you can change the software or use pieces of it in new programs, provided that you give the changes back to Microsoft; and that you know you can't do these things, when you see the successful high-profile lawsuits against small defenseless companies.

To deny your rights, we need to make restrictions that forbid anyone to provide you these rights or to ask you to act as if you had the rights. These restrictions translate to certain responsibilities for you if you are anyone who owns a computer capable of running Microsoft software.

An inch. (4, Informative)

DarkVein (5418) | more than 11 years ago | (#5542319)

The article claims that Microsoft is "inching closer -- at least in spirit -- to the GNU GPL" with these license tweaks, but it doesn't look that way to me.

An inch is how much of a stride? How many strides is Shared Source Initiative/License from GNU/GPL?

This is a pretty big step for Microsoft. They are, to a legal extent, relinquishing complete control of the source. Now you can maintain a private fork of the SSL source. (isn't that a nice abbreviation?) You won't have to report every little tweak you make to Microsoft.

On the other hand, MS could be bowing to simple reality: they don't have or want the resources to administer 900,000,000 variations on patches, developers keep private trees anyway, companies do not like dishing out their private modifications to potential competitors. Even so, they've bowed to reality. If they keep bowing to reality, they'll eventually hit something near the BSD license, and do a lot of good when they start getting close.

Yea, tell me another (1)

mao che minh (611166) | more than 11 years ago | (#5542326)

Bla bla bla, you still can't modify the code that you're looking at. Furthermore, if it is even possible that you can modify a given product to work better with the code that you are merely looking at (Windows/Office/IIS or some component thereof), there are so many stipulations to the agreement that it is 99% impossible that you will ever be able to apply your new found knowledge in any useful way to an open source project (or a competing closed-source project).

"Shared source" is just a marketing ploy.

Microsoft future (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5542332)

One day, Linux will take over the desktop. This is because the ease of use and the cost saving are great, and also common application such as web browser, office suit, multimedia are start to show maturity.

What does this mean? Microsoft one day will no longer be a big OS and Office company. They will struggle to make money else where, and on the shrinking legacy window market.

One day, the cost of building M$ Office and XP Desktop are too high, but users doesn't want to upgrade because they don't need those extra features, and don't way to pay for the copies. This means Microsoft will either throw the product away (bury it), or open source it.

By then, it'll be too late. But's who say it's not too late now. Now, if they make it open source like Linux, they can not make much money out of it and people start to copy it like crazy.
So, it's already too late now, and in the future for M$.

When they go open source (if they ever will), there will be many programmers start working on it. No question about this. Why? because despite the bad DOS, and people still work on it, then the M$ monopoly, and people still create Mono project. So, no doubt, there will be followers.

What does this means to the future of Linux and Windows?

Linux will still dominates due to the fact that most people are using it, and it's free, and it'll be very fast and very easy to use by then.

Because the large installed base of windows, many company still use it, and many personal computer still use, but that number is low (because that's along time in the future, and if the number is high, then why would M$ give it out for free). The open source nature of it also make it much more attractive to users and developers.

So, would one of them eventually win out, or both exist? It's hard to predict too far. But in the next 15 years, both will exist, and Linux will gradually become the main stream, while windows will fade way slowly.

It's like BSD .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5542338)

with a provision that prevents it from being used with GPL software. This is a divide and conquer tactic, plain and simple.

Needs Help (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5542340)

Hi! I would really appreciate it if someone could post some pictures of pretty girls tied down and being forced to eat feces.

I know it's kinda sick, but this sort of stuff really turns me on and I'm having real trouble locating such pictures.

Any links, please? Thanks!

Re:Needs Help (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5542385)

http://www.goatse.cx

RE-inventing the wheel but always failing (1)

sebisor (311819) | more than 11 years ago | (#5542361)

Always re-inventing the wheel but failing to make it circular. Look at all the "inventions" brought in by MS, always there has to be an "innovation" and somehow things go wrong.

The spirit of Microsoft :-( (1)

jkrise (535370) | more than 11 years ago | (#5542374)

is inching closer to GPL... hey! that means MS is dead already. Wow!!

How much does an 800lb gorilla weigh? In spirit, I mean....

HA! I got FUD on my pants. (2, Interesting)

teamhasnoi (554944) | more than 11 years ago | (#5542388)

MS licensing definitions [microsoft.com]

* If the licensee includes any amount of GPL code in another program, that entire program becomes subject to the terms of the GPL.

This third restriction often is called a "viral" clause, because it causes the GPL to "infect" any future software that incorporates GPL code, whether or not the developer intended that result. This even applies to software not in existence at the time the license was drafted. It should be pointed out that there are many OSS licenses, most of which do not include GPL-style restrictions and do not tell licensees how they must license their own innovations. This anti-commercial philosophy is rejected by much of the OSS community.

Interesting. I thought that the 'OSS community' was all about an 'anti-commercial philosophy'.

But I just want a cool OS....

this is a test (0, Offtopic)

slIort (660107) | more than 11 years ago | (#5542399)

this is only a test

Re:this is a test (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5542420)

Did it work?

like GPL? (1)

vivek7006 (585218) | more than 11 years ago | (#5542425)

if you distribute the Software in source code form you do so only under this license (i.e. you must include a complete copy of this license with your distribution),

Hey that sounds awful lot like GPL!!

Shared source license, BAH! (1)

BinaryGrind (636049) | more than 11 years ago | (#5542440)

screw some license the moment I get my hands
on Windows Source Code I am hacking up and down,
left and right!

I am going to do what I always do and defy
MicroSoft!

I am certain even if they don't let the public
get their grubby hands on it that with in days
of release you be able to pick it off your P2P
network of choice

Hey, thats what happened to XP the moment the gold
OEM discs where send out

looks open-source-ish to me (2, Interesting)

g4dget (579145) | more than 11 years ago | (#5542451)

A quick reading of that license suggests that software under it could be shipped and run on BSD and Linux systems, that it can be modified and redistributed, that it can link with LGPL and BSD code, and that it might be considered Open Source. The restriction of not linking with GPL'ed software seems spiteful and a gratuitious incompatibility--there isn't really any commercial or legal interest that that serves (I guess Microsoft's licenses work like their software), but other open source licenses are incompatible with the GPL, so that's not necessarily and issue.

The real question, however, is whether any interesting software will be shipped under this license. Rotor, for example, still comes with the "non-commercial-only" license (here [microsoft.com] ).

If this is one of several shared source licenses they have but they don't use it for anything interesting, then it's just a PR ploy. Of course, I have a hard time thinking of what kind of open source software I would want from Microsoft anyway: none of the stuff they have is of much interest to me.

Microsoft is noble. (4, Funny)

rice_burners_suck (243660) | more than 11 years ago | (#5542493)

I have read each word of the new Microsoft license and firmly believe that it is superior in all ways to the viral GPL license which plagues so much software that is forced onto the modern consumer through the power of monopoly.

Contrary to such atrocities against humanity and the larger population of the world, the Microsoft license liberates every person by empowering them to use high quality tools for crashing computers at ten times the price, while simultaneously giving them the power to do almost as much as nothing in terms of repairing problems that arise when the liberation software fails (in other words, when it actually works properly and thus does not fulfill its purpose of crashing the aforementioned computer), thus creating value for the consumer and keeping the economy strong.

If the open source world actually used its brain, every developer of open source software would sign his intellectual property over to Microsoft for free, on the sole condition that Microsoft will also take away everything that person owns and leave them hungry in the streets.

Microsoft is such a noble and ethical entity that most developers would die to defend it.

It may try to talk like a duck (1, Redundant)

jelle (14827) | more than 11 years ago | (#5542510)

But it doens't walk like a duck, neither looks like one. Nor like a penguin.

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