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Microsoft Seeks Open Source Certification 220

Posted by kdawson
from the guess-who's-climbing-into-the-bed dept.
eldavojohn writes "Microsoft is applying for OSI certification for its Shared Source Initiative. The move is described in a blog post by an MS OSS lab worker: 'Today, we reached another milestone with the decision to submit our open licenses to the OSI approval process, which, if the licenses are approved, should give the community additional confidence that the code we're sharing is truly Open Source. I believe that the same voices that have been calling for Microsoft products to better interoperate with open source products would voice their approval should the Open Source Initiative itself open up to more of the IT industry.' According to PC World, reaction from the community has been mostly positive."
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Microsoft Seeks Open Source Certification

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  • by UncleWilly (1128141) * <UncleWilly07.gmail@com> on Sunday July 29, 2007 @04:05PM (#20034195)
    Record Low Temperatures in Hell Reported!

    Lamb Found "Shacked Up" With Lion!

    Paris Hilton Receives Rhodes Scholarship!

    Bush Announces Iraq Withdraw!
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      How many members have they recently stuffed onto to the OSI committee?
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by bruno.fatia (989391)

      Record Low Temperatures in Hell Reported!
      that means... that girl in college that said she'd sleep with me when hell froze... SOON!
    • As someone who hates Microsoft, loves FOSS, and uses only Linux on his desktop, I am really sad to see Slashdot reacting this way. Whenever big bad Microsoft tries to make positive changes, you should encourage it, not mock them and immediately discredit it without consideration. It feels to me like the Slashdot crowd actually wants Microsoft to stay evil just so they can continue to make fun of them.

      Microsoft could easily become a huge positive contributor to the FOSS world. Does nobody want that?
      • by Yetihehe (971185)

        Microsoft could easily become a huge positive contributor to the FOSS world. Does nobody want that?
        A bank robber could easily become bank assistant. Does anybody want that?

        We WOULD like Microsoft to become not evil, but after all those experiences of trying to be good and then spoiling everything, we (slashdot crowd) are just careful with such moves.
    • This pursuit is nothing more than an attempt to divide. They know the open source community won't embrace them and they know they have every desire to kill open source, so they divide first, they take your IP from that code and use it on their own, and then they attempt to kill open source in any other form by claiming there's no need for other forms or other licenses. Who has the bigger wheel? Who squeaks more in the industry? So, when people hear that Microsoft's own open source is there and no other i
  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn.gmail@com> on Sunday July 29, 2007 @04:06PM (#20034199) Journal
    Ok, so after I submitted this story this morning (while I was grasping for sobriety), I noticed that this topic was already covered last week [slashdot.org] but the Port25 posting is news--somewhat.

    I apologize for submitting a dupe.

    From that blog posting:

    I also run a training class that teaches people around the company how to engage in open source projects and make them successful.
    Now, after reading the higher ranked comments from the first article, I know many of you saw this as disingenuous, deceptive and/or highly manipulative tactics on order with a politician, the RIAA or Steve Ballmer.

    But this blog is written by someone who's genuinely interested in Microsoft becoming part of OSS efforts. Will it happen? Probably not as a good many of you pointed out.

    The real question is, when it doesn't happen, what was the real reason? This is tough, because Microsoft is a large company. I felt the pain of using their products when I had to stay at work until midnight on Wednesday trying to get AJAX (that worked fine in Firefox) working in IE. But this is only one of their many products. Is it fair for me to condemn their application for hundreds of other products for OSS certification based on a few tools I've used?

    My answer to that is that "I don't think so."

    What I'm trying to say is that the open source community is a community. Once you start to blame Microsoft for everything, turn a cold shoulder towards them whenever they even mildly reach out, you're essentially becoming them on the other side of the mirror. What's worse is that this attitude will ensure that there will never be a point in time in the future when Microsoft can reconcile with OSS. I think the fact that even one person inside the company is reaching out says that Microsoft as an entity is not 100% against opening a code base. They have great marketing and business tactics, they are hear to stay for as far as I can see. I think that the attitude should be open arms under the right conditions instead of a persistent never ending cold war or middle east-style conflict in software today.

    Will I be jumped on as not being a hardliner open source advocate? Probably. Because I care far more about the success of everyone than I do the success of either side.

    The people running the accreditation will no doubt be very stringent on the licenses passing OSS certification. I'm not a lawyer but I doubt any of the MS-GL/SL/RL licenses will pass. I hope it's not an outright rejection. I hope there's talking between the OSI and MS, I hope there's negotiations, I chances are given, I hope for compromise, I hope that some of the projects end up as OSS, I hope to use Microsoft's software, whether I pay for it or not, and to be able to see the source in the future.

    Everyone needs to make money, I need to make money. This is a capitalistic society. I don't blame Microsoft for making money, I blame them for failing to see the folly of their position. I believe a different pricing scheme could net them billions more dollars & millions more users. I believe that slowly opening up the code on more and more of their products can only improve it. I believe that people will steal it one way or another if they want to so your job shouldn't be to catch them but to take away that motivation.

    In the end, if you rail against Microsoft for doing this, you're only building the barrier higher. I wouldn't recommend an "you're either with us or against us" attitude, I personally do not feel that has gotten anyone anywhere before. The world is not black & white, software is no different.
    • by ScrewMaster (602015) on Sunday July 29, 2007 @04:18PM (#20034317)
      ON THE OTHER HAND ... you cannot ignore the history of that company, the number of times Microsoft has operated in bad faith. As Bill Cosby once said, "That's like if someone throws you a left hook, you lean into it." Given that history, and given Microsoft's numerous public statements about the evils of open source software, the correct stance is to look askance at everything they do, particularly when it relates to FOSS. Nor can Microsoft be trusted to maintain a consistent position on anything. In that regard, they're much like Klingons: they'll make a deal with you, and they'll even abide by it ... until something more profitable comes along. It's only then that you'll notice the haft of the knife sticking out of your back.

      Microsoft may hold out an olive branch from time to time, but just remember what's on the other side.
      • FOSS Vs OSS (Score:3, Interesting)

        by eldavojohn (898314) *

        FOSS

        I think there's a difference between FOSS & OSS. FOSS has that modifier 'free' and OSS is just opening your source. You can still open your source and charge money for the product. In fact, I think if you opened your source to only the people that bought your product, you'd still be pretty close to being OSS, right?

        Linux is open source to an extent. You only have to release the source code to those who you distribute it to. Take Google, for example, to my knowledge they run a stripped down Re

        • Re:FOSS Vs OSS (Score:4, Interesting)

          by DaleGlass (1068434) on Sunday July 29, 2007 @04:55PM (#20034603) Homepage

          I seriously hope you change your mind about Microsoft. I mean, I hope that the community--those who make the decisions--are willing to work with Microsoft or at least hear them out. The open source community and licenses should be safe enough that anyone can use them or take part in them without finding a haft of a knife in their back. If they aren't, they need to be changed, hence all the debate on the GPLv3. If you're telling me that Microsoft is exploiting the Open Source Initiative for their own good, I question who's at fault here--Microsoft or OSI? Because Microsoft excels at making software make money, open source should excel just at making software work for everyone.


          Sorry, but MS is very, very hard to trust. They'd be willing to let you look at Windows/.NET/whatever code alright. Only I would expect this would come with strings attached that'd ensure you'd be "contaminated" for the purpose of contributing to anything related. Say, they let you look at MS SQL, and then the moment you try to contribute to MySQL/Postgres they'd claim you're stealing their IP or something of the sort.

          Personally, I wouldn't touch any source from MS with a 10 foot pole, unless BSD or GPL licensed. What do they need their own license for anyway? Like there aren't enough already.
          • by Ash Vince (602485)

            Sorry, but MS is very, very hard to trust. They'd be willing to let you look at Windows/.NET/whatever code alright. Only I would expect this would come with strings attached that'd ensure you'd be "contaminated" for the purpose of contributing to anything related. Say, they let you look at MS SQL, and then the moment you try to contribute to MySQL/Postgres they'd claim you're stealing their IP or something of the sort.

            I dont know if you have a job yet, but this is pretty much par for the course when you get one.

            I am a software developer. My current contract says I cannot work for another company in the same line of work for 6 months after I leave. This prevents our competitors from poaching me and also prevents me from setting up my own business and taking any of their clients with me.

            I believe that when the GNU toolchain was being written one of the authors was worried that his current employer would claim it was deriv

            • Re:FOSS Vs OSS (Score:4, Informative)

              by byolinux (535260) * on Sunday July 29, 2007 @05:55PM (#20035145) Journal
              I believe that when the GNU toolchain was being written one of the authors was worried that his current employer would claim it was derived from what they had been paying him to write so would claim it was their IP. As a result of these fears he quit his job and completed the project while not working. I have just looked and cannot find a link to back this up, so if anyone knows where I might have read this, please post a link here as I would love to read it again in case it inspires me to do the same thing.

              Are you referring to Richard Stallman?

              In January 1984 I quit my job at MIT and began writing GNU software. Leaving MIT was necessary so that MIT would not be able to interfere with distributing GNU as free software. If I had remained on the staff, MIT could have claimed to own the work, and could have imposed their own distribution terms, or even turned the work into a proprietary software package. I had no intention of doing a large amount of work only to see it become useless for its intended purpose: creating a new software-sharing community.

              However, Professor Winston, then the head of the MIT AI Lab, kindly invited me to keep using the lab's facilities.


              FYI, GNU is an operating system, just like Solaris and BSD. The fact that one piece of it can be replaced with Linux to make it far more useful doesn't make it any less of an operating system :)
              • by VENONA (902751)
                "GNU is an operating system, just like Solaris and BSD."

                That will be true the day they announce that The Hurd, or some other kernel, is ready to go. Until then, it's a userland. The purpose of an operating system is to allocate memory, schedule processes, handle networking, manage filesystems, and other I/O, etc.

                GNU software can be very good, and I don't mean to take anything away from them. But calling GNU an operating system is just wildly wrong. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operating_system [wikipedia.org] or a huge
                • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                  by byolinux (535260) *
                  Hurd works. It's worked for a long time.

                  It might be a hard to install, and still be fairly unstable, but you can run X and people are using it.

                  So, GNU is an operating system.
                  • by VENONA (902751)
                    Thanks for the word. I'll jog him for what, if any problems he may have had, and maybe take it for a spin.

                • The purpose of an operating system is to allocate memory, schedule processes, handle networking, manage filesystems, and other I/O, etc.

                  The purpose of an operating system is to provide that set of functionality necessary to run applications. You can't run Firefox on the Linux kernel, but you sure can run it on a GNU+Linux system. Even if you just limit yourself to allocating memory and doing IO, you generally use a C library - which on GNU/Linux is GNU libc. Generally people who plan to use an operating sy

              • by Ash Vince (602485)
                Yes, I thought it was him but was not sure enough to post saying so.

                Thanks for the confirmation.
            • I dont know if you have a job yet, but this is pretty much par for the course when you get one.

              I have, since several years. And no, it isn't, at least for mine.

              I am a software developer. My current contract says I cannot work for another company in the same line of work for 6 months after I leave. This prevents our competitors from poaching me and also prevents me from setting up my own business and taking any of their clients with me.

              My contract includes nothing of the sort.

              This misses the point anyway. Su

              • by Ash Vince (602485)
                They are not the only company that restrict access to their source code. Do your employer let anyone view their source or do you have to either sign some NDA or be an employee?

                Maybe you are lucky enough to work for an open source shop but unfortunately I am not.

                Please do not comment on any silly typing or gramatical errors in this post as I am quite pissed.
                • by byolinux (535260) *
                  Where I work, we let you see all our code.

                  Download it too, if you like ;)

                  http://ftp.gnu.org/pub/gnu/ [gnu.org]
                  • by Ash Vince (602485)
                    Thanks for the sig - I will be in Manchester on the 14th anyway and I have a flat just near the BBC offices.
                • I work on a vertical app, source code isn't terribly interesting.

                  No NDA or anything like that. My contract doesn't include absolutely anything related to programming. I'm simply hired to code for X hours a week.

                  Again, that's irrelevant for the purpose of the discussion. I MIGHT be willing to sign NDAs and agreements, PROVIDED I get something out of it. No way I'm agreeing to anything of the sort attached to a license from a third party manufacturer who isn't paying me, or who I may be paying for the privile
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by rtb61 (674572)
            Quite simply it is just another marketing effort.

            Like all corporations the personality of M$ is the personality of it's management, in the case of ballmer a lying insurance salesman. So the question is not whether you can trust M$, obviously replace the current pathetic liars with decent and honest management with integrity as their defining characteristic,and you could trust them, but can you trust ballmer, the communist, viral, terrorist, cancer man, absolutely not.

            The reality is of course, if they co

          • It is not very very hard to trust. It is impossible to trust. It is a company with a history bad behavior and abusive behavior toward Linux.

            On top of that they have threatened every Linux user with lawsuits. Do you really thing anyone can trust them after that?

            Microsoft wants to kill Open Source. In fact, Microsoft's representatives clearly stated that 2007 was the year of the death of Open Source. You really trust that? The Microsoft representative should have been fired immediately. Most companies
      • by russ1337 (938915)
        FTA: >>>"....should give the community additional confidence that the code we're sharing is truly Open Source."

        I'm not worried about the code they ARE sharing being Open Source, I'm worried about the Open Source code they're NOT sharing.

        The words spoken look like they were very carefully chosen by the legal department...
      • by wellingj (1030460) on Sunday July 29, 2007 @05:15PM (#20034741)
        Don't you mean a Ferengi? [wikipedia.org]
        At least when I look at Balmer [pocketpicks.co.uk] , I think Ferengi...
        • Honor is important to Klingons, but not the Ferengi or M'softies, who worship at the alter of Latinum.
        • No, I don't mean the Ferengi. They'll take all your money if you let them, but you can do business with them successfully if you understand the rules by which they operate (hell, they have them conveniently codified in the complete Rules of Acquisition [sjtrek.com]) whereas a Klingon will cheerfully assassinate you if it serves his purpose. He'll even prophylactically knock you off just because you might be a threat to him sometime in the future. Another poster mentioned that Klingons have "honor" but that is only in ba
          • by wellingj (1030460)
            I would consider Microsoft some kind of odd half breed then...
            I'd also like to point out that you are a geek... As if you didn't know...
            Pot, Kettle, Black... there, now that that's done I'm going to bed.
      • by suv4x4 (956391)
        they're much like Klingons

        Man, that analysis you're pulling off there is amaaaaazingly deep! I love it.

        And this thing I'm smoking is making it even better.

        Curiously enough everything you said is true about every single big corporation.
    • by Frizzle Fry (149026) on Sunday July 29, 2007 @04:27PM (#20034405) Homepage
      If MS is interested in becoming part of the OSS scene and playing nice with everyone else, why can't they use an existing license? What makes their new licenses better than the established ones?

      I think this is what they need to address in order to be trusted because it looks to me like the only reasons they would need to create a new license are to try to get away with something the existing licenses wouldn't allow or (more likely) to try to cast a shadow of doubt on the appropriateness and safety of the licenses everyone else in the community uses.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Shados (741919)
        Its called compromising. MS is a large company with conflicting interests from the inside. So they take baby steps. There are shareholders that will (try) to stop certain things from happening if it goes too fast: when you are the size of Microsoft, you can't do bold moves, ever. Little, progressive changes, one by one, is how things work. Anything else and you end up like Novell.

        On top of that, in the inside you have the ideas of the project managers, architects, developers, etc, all conflicting. People wi
        • Bullshit. They released a license that is only valid for programs that run on Windows, and the other license has stricter limitations for source distribution than object code. They are just trying to confuse people.
    • Ok, so after I submitted this story this morning (while I was grasping for sobriety), ...

      Not another one night stand [slashdot.org], I hope.

      I know many of you saw this as disingenuous, deceptive and/or highly manipulative tactics on order with a politician, the RIAA or Steve Ballmer.

      Can you tell me why someone who works for Steve Ballmer should not be looked on as a pawn [slashdot.org], or why we should suddenly trust Ballmer/Gates? Do you really want them telling you what software freedom is?

      Take a nice cold shower, compile

    • by Caspian (99221)

      I believe a different pricing scheme could net them billions more dollars & millions more users.

      Wait, so you're trying to tell one of the richest corporations on the planet how to make money? Where's the (+1, Funny) moderation option when you need it?! ;)

      I hate MS as much as the next Slashdotter... but Jumpin' Jesus, if there's ONE thing they know, it's making money by the boatload!
    • by Alwin Henseler (640539) on Sunday July 29, 2007 @06:03PM (#20035229) Homepage

      From reading the higher modded posts on the previous story, I was surprised that few people seem to have bothered to take a quick look at these licenses. Let's give that a try-

      Both the Microsoft Limited Permissive License (Ms-LPL) and the Microsoft Limited Community License (Ms-LCL) contain a clause like this:

      Platform Limitation- The licenses granted in sections 2(A) & 2(B) extend only to the software or derivative works that you create that run on a Microsoft Windows operating system product

      The Open Source Definition has this:

      5. No Discrimination Against Persons or Groups
      6. No Discrimination Against Fields of Endeavor

      Either 5 or 6 look a like a clear contradiction to above clause. So IMHO, the 'limited' licenses shouldn't qualify for OSI approval. Then the Microsoft Reference License (Ms-RL) has this:

      the Licensor grants you a non-transferable, non-exclusive, worldwide, royalty-free copyright license to reproduce the software for reference use

      (Emphasis mine). Basically a 'look but don't touch' license. Thanks to other commenters for pointing out Open Source vs. Free/Libre: this could qualify as Open Source, but definately does not qualify as Free/Libre software.

      I don't see any obvious problems with the other licenses though. And 1 thing I do like: they're nice and short, so that you can actually read them, and (try to) understand what they say. As opposed to reading through the pile of legal mumbo-jumbo in common EULA's.

      One final point I'd like to make: one shouldn't take a license and complain about whether it does or doesn't suit your purpose. Instead, start with what you want to do with your code, and use a license that best suits that purpose. For some funny, new app the GPLv2/3 may be good, but for an implementation of a low-level networking protocol, that you want to become the defacto standard, a BSD-style license may be more appropriate (so that it can be used by anybody, even hidden deep inside black boxes, but using your protocol). You might be worried about the exact purpose of these MS licenses, but they may also be a vehicle to have your code included in MS products (and help improve standards compliance/interoperability). Not to mention that it's zero problem to contribute things like small bugfixes to projects licensed under these.

      So I agree very much with parent poster. Why complain about MS when you think they're throwing you a bone, and you don't trust it? Simply throw them a bone back sometimes, and see what happens.

      • by drspliff (652992)
        I went through all the Microsoft shared source licenses months ago, seeing if they could be useful to any projects of mine, or even what sort of problems I'd likely encounter. The only thing which comes close to being an open-source license is the Ms-CL (Microsoft Community License), the least restrictive of the three.

        My interpretation was that it started off as the BSD license, then had clauses added for patent claims and the "shared source, all your copyright belong to us" stuff and basically locking the
    • Personally, I find it offensive when Microsoft tries to pass off it's "Shared Source" for "Open Source." I don't think they are doing this by accident either.

      Maybe Microsoft would have better luck "building bridges" to the Open Source community if they stopped trying to screw us at every turn.
    • by thethibs (882667)

      Let me add two observations:

      First, anyone who hasn't taken a good hard look at CodePlex has no relevant opinion.

      Then, as much as this community would like to be Microsoft's problem, it doesn't come close to noise level. When Microsoft releases code, it's giving it away to IBM, Sun and HP. That's what worries them.

      • by WNight (23683) *
        Heh, microsoft got around to writing their own "My First Rails Site". It's cute. What's your point though?

        As for who eats MS's lunch... Well, MS doesn't sell any workstations, mainframes, or OSes suitable for them. It does sell a PC OS, and apps, but very little server capable.

        Oh sure, if you call some $8k PC a "server", MS does just fine. Run their priciest OS, accept limitations like a hard-coded number of TCP/IP connections at a time, CPU limits, etc. All that, and it barely performs as well on similar h
    • Microsoft has a long way to go before they can earn our trust back. After decades of acting like homicidal maniacs, we simply don't trust them. So to answer your question: no, we're not going to just smile and welcome them. More likely than not, they're extending an olive branch with one hand while preparing to stab us with the other. Microsoft cannot be trusted. We know they want us exterminated. If they have had a change of heart (and I don't believe for a moment that they have), they're going to ha
    • by _Sprocket_ (42527)

      What I'm trying to say is that the open source community is a community. Once you start to blame Microsoft for everything, turn a cold shoulder towards them whenever they even mildly reach out, you're essentially becoming them on the other side of the mirror. What's worse is that this attitude will ensure that there will never be a point in time in the future when Microsoft can reconcile with OSS. I think the fact that even one person inside the company is reaching out says that Microsoft as an entity is not 100% against opening a code base. They have great marketing and business tactics, they are hear to stay for as far as I can see. I think that the attitude should be open arms under the right conditions instead of a persistent never ending cold war or middle east-style conflict in software today.

      I'm all for it. And here's how Microsoft can do it... use a license that can be trusted. You know why that works? Because IBM has done it already.

      When IBM started to embrace Linux and Open Source, there was a lot of eye-rolling from some of the old-timers. They remembered the old IBM. They had the same view of IBM as they do Microsoft. Who could trust them? The thing is... nobody has to trust IBM. IBM's commitment comes from the licenses they use whether they're contributing to GPL projects or rele

  • ...in the deafening silence.

    Microsoft, of late, has been pretty responsive to public outcries. Now, I know at the heart of it they're just responding for financial reasons. But, an era ago they didn't have to care -- and they didn't care. They were the game.

    But now, I don't think we care. We being the few, the proud, the OS hackers. I would love to get my hands on the Windows kernel, and it's "DOS". I would love to get into its scheduler.

    Until some monumental step by Microsoft, I can't be im

  • PC World (Score:5, Funny)

    by Wordsmith (183749) on Sunday July 29, 2007 @04:22PM (#20034359) Homepage
    "According to PC World, reaction from the community has been mostly positive."

    PC World hadn't yet read this Slashdot thread.
  • wtf? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by jkiol (1050424)
    I thought we already had an april fools this year!??!
  • by twitter (104583) on Sunday July 29, 2007 @04:33PM (#20034439) Homepage Journal

    the same voices that have been calling for Microsoft products to better interoperate with open source products would voice their approval should the Open Source Initiative itself open up to more of the IT industry.

    What a pile of M$. The only barrier to products that interoperate better is them. Everyone else has bent over backwards for years, only to treated as a pawn in the quest for M$ dominance of everything [slashdot.org]. M$ is the only organization using such sleazy language. The goal is not some kind of imperfect interoperation, it's the use of real standards, the end of M$'s silly games and the beginning of real freedom. Without the four freedoms, everything M$ does is just another game.

    If M$ sends the OSI software freedom, great. If they don't and the OSI certify it, the OSI will not have raised M$ in anyone's opinion, they will have disgraced themselves and further diluted the terms "free" and "open". We will all be able to judge for ourselves, but I don't expect anything useful from a company that's rabidly threatening everyone with patents.

    At this point, M$ has very little of value to offer and the best thing they can do is cease hostilities and start to repair the damage they have done. It would take the community a decade to fix the mess Windoze and Intel BIOS are. It will take even longer to undo the DMCA, software patents and other evil stuff they have promoted. The market itself is doing a better job of fixing the problem by ignoring them.

  • FAIL (Score:5, Interesting)

    by BlueParrot (965239) on Sunday July 29, 2007 @04:37PM (#20034483)
    Well the limited version of the license certainly fails...

    "(F) Platform Limitation- The licenses granted in sections 2(A) & 2(B) extend only to the software or derivative works that you create that run on a Microsoft Windows operating system product."
    http://www.microsoft.com/resources/sharedsource/li censingbasics/limitedpermissivelicense.mspx [microsoft.com]

    "10. License Must Be Technology-Neutral. No provision of the license may be predicated on any individual technology or style of interface."
    http://www.opensource.org/docs/definition.php [opensource.org]
    • by spectecjr (31235)
      10. License Must Be Technology-Neutral. No provision of the license may be predicated on any individual technology or style of interface.

      Doesn't the LGPL fail that test? IIRC, you can only use LGPL code by linking to it via dynamic library.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by BlueParrot (965239)
        No. You can use LGPL code any way you want as long as the derivative work is also put under the (L)GPL. It is only if you want to use a different license for your own code that the dynamic vs static linking rule is relevant.
    • Exactly! (Score:3, Insightful)

      by syousef (465911)
      In other words open source that REQUIRES closed source to use is not open source at all.
      • by kasperd (592156)

        In other words open source that REQUIRES closed source to use is not open source at all.

        That certainly depends on what you mean by requires. If the license says, you must use it together with a closed source product, then it does not match the definition of open source. But if an open source product happen to technically depend on some Windows API, but is released under an open source license, then it is still open source. Anybody are allowed to take such a product and remove the dependencies on that API an

        • by Tokerat (150341)

          In other words open source that REQUIRES closed source to use is not open source at all.

          That certainly depends on what you mean by requires. If the license says, you must use it together with a closed source product, then it does not match the definition of open source. But if an open source product happen to technically depend on some Windows API, but is released under an open source license, then it is still open source. Anybody are allowed to take such a product and remove the dependencies on that API and make it work on some other systems (known as porting). And being allowed to do things like that is exactly what open source is all about.

          Basically, the license says "no porting". That doesn't sound very open source to me.

    • You see how good is it that Microsoft joins in? They have already improved the existing standard definition!...
  • by toby (759) *
    You can buy a certificate, but you can't buy trust. ..... Assholes.
  • by BlueParrot (965239) on Sunday July 29, 2007 @04:59PM (#20034627)

    (D) If you distribute any portion of the software in source code form, you may do so only under this license by including a complete copy of this license with your distribution. If you distribute any portion of the software in compiled or object code form, you may only do so under a license that complies with this license.
    Note the distinction between source code and object code. The requirement for source code to be kept under teh license makes it incompatible with other open source licenses, while simultaneously the license makes no such requirement if your edistribute obct code only. In other words, this license is deliberately designed to make the code useable by proprietary vendors, while simultaneously being incompatible with other open source projects. The OSI should reject this license based on point 2 in their definition:

    The program must include source code, and must allow distribution in source code as well as compiled form.
    Even if this can be interpreted in complicance with Microsoft's license, the OSI should simply point out that the rationale behind point 2 is that source code should be available, and thus it is not acceptable to put stricter restrictions on the redistribtion of source code than one does on the redistribution of object code.
    • by RAMMS+EIN (578166) on Sunday July 29, 2007 @05:31PM (#20034899) Homepage Journal
      IANAL, but (or maybe because of that) what you said doesn't make a lot of sense to me.

      First of all, I see no conflict between

      The program must include source code, and must allow distribution in source code as well as compiled form.


      and

      (D) If you distribute any portion of the software in source code form, you may do so only under this license by including a complete copy of this license with your distribution. If you distribute any portion of the software in compiled or object code form, you may only do so under a license that complies with this license.


      There is source code. You are allowed to distribute it. You're also allowed to distribute the software in compiled form.

      Also, the requirement that you must include a full copy of the license if you distribute the source seems pretty standard and sensible. After all, if you didn't, how would the recipient know their rights and obligations?

      Finally, the part about being allowed to distribute the object code under a compatible license also makes a lot of sense to me. I'd say, obviously, the license should be compatible with the present license. However, the license is allowed to be a different one, which is good if you're distributing the object code as part of a larger work.

      In short, I don't see what you're complaining about.
      • I'm complaining that the license allows you to use a different license ( i.e a proprietary one ) for binary form, but not for source. You are explicitly dissalowed from redistributing the source under any other license, even a compliant one. However, I notice now that this is largely mitigated in the "comunity" version of the license, which contains:

        (A) Reciprocal Grants- For any file you distribute that contains code from the software (in source code or binary format), you must provide recipients the sourc

        • by RAMMS+EIN (578166)
          Well, compare it to some open source licenses. The part you quoted:

          (D) If you distribute any portion of the software in source code form, you may do so only under this license by including a complete copy of this license with your distribution. If you distribute any portion of the software in compiled or object code form, you may only do so under a license that complies with this license.

          This from the MIT license, one of the most permissive open source licenses:

          The above copyright notice and this permission

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 29, 2007 @05:20PM (#20034793)
    Any of several ulterior motives on the part of M$ management is equally plausible. The most obvious is that they're going to hang some of their code out there until every contributor to Linux internals is tempted by curiosity to take a squint at it. After the next kernel roll, they swing the patent hammer, claiming that the new release can't possibly not be "contaminated" by its authors' having been exposed to their proprietary code.

    The other possibility, if all the OSS folks assume the above and don't take the bait, is that Redmond cues the violins about how they made oh, so great an effort to meet the other side and act in "good faith" to promote interoperability, and use it as an excuse to continue going their own way.
  • by fyoder (857358) on Sunday July 29, 2007 @05:26PM (#20034841) Homepage Journal

    First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then they pretend to join you and stab you in the back at the first opportunity. Never trust Microsoft.

    Gandhi (somewhat adapted)

    • by oGMo (379)

      "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." - Santayana

      What you've said Microsoft has done over and over and over. Yet people are still willing enough, naive enough, stupid enough, to play along. When they get burned, they have no one to blame but themselves.

  • by miffo.swe (547642) <daniel,hedblom&gmail,com> on Sunday July 29, 2007 @05:31PM (#20034893) Homepage Journal
    This is just a PR stunt so that Microsoft can reap the benefit of open sources good reputation. If they wore genuinly interested in working with the community all they had to do would be to release current specs for their various document formats and network protocols. I really hope the OSI take a long hard gander and turn every single stone before agreeing to anything. Microsofts history tells you to watch your back. Microsofts shared source license should not in any way be let in without complete abolishment of the windows platform clause. OSS licenses should not tell you what platform you can use the code on.
  • It's all crap. Microsoft Windows XP has all of the stability and (relative) performance of a development Linux 1.3 kernel + userland environment. My 20+ year old AT&T Unix PC had a similar but prettier and far more productive user interface.

    I do care about a level playing field when buying equipment. I do not wish to be forced to pay for a license for software that I will never use.

    I do care about a level playing field when it comes to interfaces. Standards must be open and drivel like render this p
    • The kernel isn't that bad. It's everything besides the kernel that's bad. The services, bad. The UI, bad. The default configuration, bad (and the concept of storing everything in the same four files, just as bad). Drivers, often bad but Microsoft decided to almost completely let the manufacturers handle them, so it's not surprising. Default apps, bad. Kernel... actually not entirely crummy. Okay, and NTFS has its upsides (like fine-grained ACLs), too.

      Windows is what happens when you take a promising kerne
  • I am fine with Microsoft wanting to open up their source code but OSI needs to go through the proposal with a fine tooth comb. Prior to approval, OSI needs to make certain that this is truley open source, not the shared source propaganda a few years ago that placed such stipulations on the "openness" as to preclude being used in an open source project. In fact, this Shared Source was such the proverbial crap that Samba (and others) had to ask developers that signed on to the MS Royalty free agreements and
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 29, 2007 @05:52PM (#20035117)
    the farmer found the snake freezing in the winter

    the snake said 'please help me out, pick me up in your coat and i wont freeze to death'

    the farmer said 'but you are a snake, you will kill me...'

    the snake said 'no, i promise i wont. please help me'

    so the farmer picks up the snake and puts him in his coat. after a while, the snake warms up.
    his natural instincts take over. the snake bites him.

    as the farmer lays dying, he says 'what on earth has happened. you rascal!'

    the snake said 'you knew i was a snake when you picked me up!'
  • No. More. Licenses. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Just Some Guy (3352) <kirk+slashdot@strauser.com> on Sunday July 29, 2007 @05:52PM (#20035121) Homepage Journal

    Seriously, we're way past the point that new licenses are tolerable. It seems like every major project demands its own license, even if the result is 99% similar to other common ones. Is there really a need for the Apache, CDDL, Mozilla, and Artistic licenses and their countless derivatives?

    If you want other developers to use your code, no strings attached, pick BSD or maybe MIT. If you're more interested in end users but want the developers to still have a few avenues to lock the code down, there's GPLv2. If you're really into end users and care about patents, etc., then pick GPLv3. Repeat after me: no new licenses!

    Really, I think OSI needs to pretty much reject all new submissions unless they are substantially different from the pre-existing major choices. Fragmenting codebases by writing Foo License and Bar License that are almost identical but incompatible in some subtle way can only appeal to Microsoft and other proprietary vendors. Just say no!

    • by trifish (826353)
      Is there really a need for the Apache, CDDL, Mozilla, and Artistic licenses and their countless derivatives?

      Yes, because GPL2/3 are viral and actually prevents cooperation*, and BSD is obsolete (doesn't cover many important aspects of modern business).

      * Why GPL prevents cooperation? Because the GPL requires that the whole software must be licensed under the GPL. Now imagine a large open source project consisting of portions written by hundreds of authors all licensed under BSD. Some of the authors are dead,
  • by etnu (957152) on Sunday July 29, 2007 @05:55PM (#20035149) Homepage
    The writing has been on the wall for years. Microsoft has little to no interest in continuing to be a company that builds the core platforms in the long term. Over the next several decades, Microsoft will become a company very similar to Google in most ways, though they will still have the Gaming / Media Center business around (the underlying technologies will be mostly open source by then, though). This is a good thing for everyone, Microsoft included.
    • MS has done nothing in the last few years that looks vaguely innovative or business building. Vista makes no new business, XBox and Zune are just lead weights around their necks.

      MS is on a glide slope and has been for a while now. Sure they have a lot of cash and altitude and can glide for a while... but decades? I think not!

  • Now Microsoft is trying to hijack the term "Open Source." Their "shared source" is in no way "Open." It's a "look but don't touch" bullshit initiative.

    If I'm not mistaken you have to sign all sorts of agreements including the agreement that you won't try to compile the source. That's right, no way to verify that they really gave you the real thing.
  • I believe that the same voices that have been calling for Microsoft products to better interoperate with open source products would voice their approval should the Open Source Initiative itself open up to more of the IT industry.

    I think they'd voice their approval much quicker should Microsoft make a concerted effort to actually interoperate better with other products, open source or not. It's interoperation that is really the key... for example: back in the early '80s the yet-to-be-named open source community embraced UNIX not because it was open source - in fact at the time it wasn't - but because it was designed to be easy to interoperate with at every level.

    It's not good enough to provide open source components that only actually work on top of your API, or to provide libraries that allow people to talk to your protocols through the cut-out of your system software, you need to open the black box and commit to supporting documented and non-proprietary wire protocols and file formats.

    Otherwise what you've got is better described as an "open pit-trap".
  • by Wabbit Wabbit (828630) on Sunday July 29, 2007 @08:11PM (#20036449)

    Once you start to blame Microsoft for everything, turn a cold shoulder towards them whenever they even mildly reach out, you're essentially becoming them on the other side of the mirror. What's worse is that this attitude will ensure that there will never be a point in time in the future when Microsoft can reconcile with OSS.


    They aren't "reaching out" at all. If they really wanted to reach out, they would open the APIs for Outlook, Exchange, SMB, and who knows what else. Until they open these products, they're merely hand-waving. It's that simple.
    • by ajdecon (233641)
      So, for a company to reach out to the Open Source community, they have to open up everything? Or is it just the stuff that some subset of the community really really wants?
  • I'm looking forward to downloading their source code and compiling it. As is normal for open source, this'll be made available from their web site to anyone who wants it, and will have no penalties for personal use. Maybe it'll give me some ideas for development that I can use for similar, competing products.

    Or have I missed a point here?
  • difference (Score:2, Insightful)

    by pak9rabid (1011935)
    You know, Ballmer, there is a difference between being labeled an open source company and actually acting like one.

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