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Microsoft's Code Contribution Due To GPL Violation 508

Posted by samzenpus
from the say-it-aint-so dept.
ozmanjusri writes "While Microsoft presented its recent embrace of the GPL as 'a break from the ordinary,' and the press spoke of them as going to great lengths to engage the open source community,' as is often the case with Microsoft, it turns out they had an ulterior motive. According to Stephen Hemminger, an engineer with Vyatta, Microsoft's Hyper-V used open-source components in a network driver and the company released the code to avoid legal action over a GPL violation. Microsoft's decision to embrace the GPL was welcomed by many in the open source community, but their failure to honestly explain the reason behind the release will have squandered this opportunity to build trust, something which is sadly lacking in most people's dealings with Microsoft."
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Microsoft's Code Contribution Due To GPL Violation

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  • First Laugh (Score:2, Funny)

    by omnichad (1198475)

    It's hilarious.

    • Re:First Laugh (Score:5, Insightful)

      by causality (777677) on Thursday July 23, 2009 @11:07AM (#28796311)

      It's hilarious.

      What's hilarious is how many times I've been called a "tin-foil hatter" because I openly expected ulterior motives and other treachery from this company. There is nothing paranoid or cynical about actually having a working knowledge of the history of the entity in question. It's so simple, too:

      • Microsoft has interests which can be described as "selfish", in the sense that realizing those interests serves them and not you. Not unless you are employed by them or own stock in the company, anyway. Most successful corporations can be described this way; they are not your pal or your buddy. Microsoft is just notable because they are so dominant in their industry.
      • Microsoft is in this for the long haul. They use long-term strategy extensively, which is part of how they got to where they are today. I'll bold this one because it's important: the best long-term strategy is indistinguishable from "random" events that happen to "go your way." I think the failure to understand this about Microsoft is similar to the failure to understand this about government. Neither takes any deliberate action, however benign or however evil, unless it fits into this strategy of gaining money, control, PR, or all of the above. Ever. If Microsoft donates a million dollars to save the whales, you can bet it's because they ran the numbers and expect that the good PR will make them at least a million and one dollars back. They make mistakes, like this near-violation of the GPL, but as you see they try to turn those into good PR.
      • Some of the FOSS community needs to get over the fantasy that Microsoft is ever going to be an ally. Yes, it would be nice. Yes, it would probably improve both Windows and Open Source platforms. However, for that to happen Microsoft would have to be fully open and transparent, maybe not on the business side but definitely for technological matters. They would have to use nothing but fully open standards, with fully open reference implementations in widely available source code. They'd have to give up "embrace-and-extend" and a whole host of other strategies that got them where they are today. They are not voluntarily going to do that, for the same reason that politicians don't like to reduce the size and power of government.

      Microsoft's decision to embrace the GPL was welcomed by many in the open source community, but their failure to honestly explain the reason behind the release will have squandered this opportunity to build trust, something which is sadly lacking in most people's dealings with Microsoft."

      How many times does this have to happen before we can save everyone some time and just skip the fantasy that there was ever an opportunity to build trust? Or, do people have some inability to know who and what they are dealing with? To have a corporation act like it wants to be your friend in order to further its own interests is merely a nuisance. When people start to really believe that it's their friend though, that is something much worse. That is actually how an "opponent" which cannot be bought out could eventually (long-term) be taken down or rendered irrelevant. To Microsoft, FOSS is such an opponent.

      • Re:First Laugh (Score:5, Insightful)

        by nmb3000 (741169) <nmb3000@that-google-mail-site.com> on Thursday July 23, 2009 @12:05PM (#28797187) Homepage Journal

        What's hilarious is how many times I've been called a "tin-foil hatter" because I openly expected ulterior motives and other treachery from this company.

        I guess I'm not seeing this "treachery" of which you're going on about. Microsoft made use of GPL code, like hundreds of other companies before them, and in keeping with the law and the license, also released their code under the GPL. This really is a big move for them, the company that previously wouldn't want to be caught dead with their hand in the GPL cookie jar. Here they are not only using the code but releasing it back out for public use and scrutiny.

        Nobody cares that Linksys/Cisco uses GPL code in their cheap routers. Nobody cares that Google uses GPL code in their various web apps. Nobody cares that FOSS-heavy companies like Novell and Red Hat use GPL code to make a profit. Why should any care that Microsoft is using GPL code as long as they are following the terms of the license?

        So what if their marketing and PR machine didn't outright say "We used GPL code and so we're releasing this under the GPL"? The code is right there in the open. Slashdotters always bemoan that closed source is terrible because it's all secret and hidden with bugs and evil embedded where nobody can see. MS dumped the 20,000 lines of code into the open where everyone can go read it. There's not much headway to be made via treachery and subterfuge when anybody can just read the code.

        Your three little bullet points describe every publicly-owned company on the planet. A corporation, by definition, has obligations to itself (the shareholders) that it is expected to meet. There's no such thing as an altruistic for-profit corporation. Sure, some embrace F/OSS more than others but that's usually just due to their respective market overlap. Google doesn't sell an OS so they're okay using and helping Linux. They do have a browser so you can expect Firefox support to dwindle. They do have an office suite so you won't expect them to support Open Office. This is normal and to be expected. The same thing goes for Microsoft.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by burnin1965 (535071)

          I guess I'm not seeing this "treachery" of which you're going on about.

          You may want to click on the links to the articles to see the treachery. Here is a quote from one of the articles...

          Pigs are flying low: Why Microsoft open-sourced its Linux drivers [zdnet.com]
          "Microsoft originally was licensing the Linux drivers, also known as the Linux Integration Components (LIC), in a way that was in violation of the GPL. It was offering them under a combination of the GPL and a closed source license."

          Nobody cares that Linksys/C

        • Re:First Laugh (Score:4, Interesting)

          by _Sprocket_ (42527) on Thursday July 23, 2009 @03:28PM (#28799761)

          What's hilarious is how many times I've been called a "tin-foil hatter" because I openly expected ulterior motives and other treachery from this company.

          I guess I'm not seeing this "treachery" of which you're going on about. Microsoft made use of GPL code, like hundreds of other companies before them, and in keeping with the law and the license, also released their code under the GPL. This really is a big move for them, the company that previously wouldn't want to be caught dead with their hand in the GPL cookie jar. Here they are not only using the code but releasing it back out for public use and scrutiny.

          Nobody cares that Linksys/Cisco uses GPL code in their cheap routers. Nobody cares that Google uses GPL code in their various web apps. Nobody cares that FOSS-heavy companies like Novell and Red Hat use GPL code to make a profit. Why should any care that Microsoft is using GPL code as long as they are following the terms of the license?

          I don't know about "treachery" but I do see distinct differences between Microsoft and some of the other companies you've listed. This is all about history.

          First and foremost, Microsoft has bent their "marketing and PR machine" towards discrediting the GPL - going so far as to call it both a "cancer" and a "virus". At the very same time that they made these claims, Microsoft used GPL utilities in their Services for Unix bundles. At the very least, this raises the question of Microsoft's honesty when it comes to their marketing (a question that's often raised). And there's something to be said that folks like yourself believe this is the first foray for Microsoft in GPL territory (no offense to you personally).

          People do care when Linksys/Cisco, Google, Novell, and Red Hat use GPL code to make a profit. They take notice that the rules are followed and whether such attempts are successful - and tend to be supportive of success. Nobody is going to stop Microsoft from making money with GPL software. But when Microsoft enters those same waters, one has to wonder what happened to all the marketing they did that would imply that doing so gives away all one's "IP". Maybe we're not going to see a big press release. But we ARE going to remember previous PR hatchet-work.

      • Re:First Laugh (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Daniel_Staal (609844) <DStaal@usa.net> on Thursday July 23, 2009 @12:39PM (#28797581)

        You forgot something. You see, I can forgive all that: It's a corporation, operating in it's own self-interest. Yeah, they wouldn't be on my 'nice guys' list, but it leaves them no different than any other big company out there.

        What sets Microsoft apart is the fact that competing on the merits of the product is always the last choice for them. They will bribe, influence, undercut, disinform, re-brand, and lock-in. They act always an only as if their customers deserve nothing, and should be handing over as much money as MS wants at any and all times. They will do anything they can to avoid being in a position to be directly evaluated against a competitor of the strength of their products. And they will avoid improving their products unless forced to by an outside force, be it competition or government. And even then they will only improve them as much as they need to in order to deflect the force.

        They are not in the software business. They are in the business of dominating software markets. The fact that doing so occasionally requires them to write software is incidental, as far as I can see.

        If and when Microsoft turns itself into a company that will compete on the strength of it's products, I will consider starting to trust them, somewhat. Until then, even the smallest bite is a poison pill, eventually requiring you to swallow all their products.

  • by slack_justyb (862874) on Thursday July 23, 2009 @10:12AM (#28795521)
    I for one welcome this news.

    It shows that Microsoft actually respects the GPL and believes it to be a license that can be held up in court. Or at least, they don't want to try to test the validity of the GPL.
    At any rate, it gives us some insight as to Microsoft's view on Linux, since they've been silent for quite some time about the topic.
    • by zarthrag (650912)
      Agreed. And in other news: Hell is still hot. I repeat, it is NOT Christmas time in hell. You can now resume hating MS.
    • After all this noise and bullshit about how many hundreds of MS patents that linux violates [cnn.com], it would be rather ironic if Microsoft was found guilty of incorporating GPL code into their proprietary applications. I almost wish they would have been sued, because maybe then it would get Ballmer to STFU.
      • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Thursday July 23, 2009 @10:28AM (#28795775)
        ...Sued by who? You see, the main problem with open source and people suing over the GPL is because a lot of the things that are GPL'd come from people like you and me. I know for a fact that if my code was taken by MS or any other large company the most I could probably do is write them a stern letter. Now granted, this was Novell in this case who could easily have sued MS, but for a simple programmer the fees and delays of a lawsuit against a huge company without assistance is nearly impossible.
        • by gigabites2 (1484115) on Thursday July 23, 2009 @10:50AM (#28796057)
          Well, there is the Free Software Foundation [fsf.org]. Perhaps you've heard of them?
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by TheRaven64 (641858)

          This is why the Free Software Foundation requires copyright assignment for all GNU projects. If GNU code is incorporated into a proprietary project then they have both the standing and the means to sue.

          Of course, they also grant the original author a non-exclusive, transferable, license to do whatever they want with the code, and I make any contributions I've made to GNU projects available under the MIT license too, so it's not always clear-cut as to whether something is really copied from a [L]GPL'd sour

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by swillden (191260)

          ...Sued by who? You see, the main problem with open source and people suing over the GPL is because a lot of the things that are GPL'd come from people like you and me. I know for a fact that if my code was taken by MS or any other large company the most I could probably do is write them a stern letter.

          You have more options than that. The FSF will in many cases step in to help, with their resources. You may want to consider assigning your copyrights to the FSF so that they have legal standing to intervene directly. They won't always be interested in helping, because their resources are limited, but I guarantee that if a high-profile company like MS was violating the GPL, they'd be all over it.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by MarkvW (1037596)

          You don't understand the legal system. If Microsoft wrongfully damaged a programmer by using his copyrighted code without permission and then made a lot of money from the use of that code, then the programmer holds a "chose in action." In other words, the programmer owns something--the right to sue.

          That right can be assigned to others (the FSF, for example), who can sue to make them stop and/or to open their code. That right to so can, if it's got great winning potential, also be collateral for a loan.

          Mo

    • by poetmatt (793785) on Thursday July 23, 2009 @10:24AM (#28795715) Journal

      Well, you have a point, but it's not a new one. MS has always feared the GPL [getthefacts.org]and they are merely doing what is in their best interest AKA licensing before they get sued. The folks who created the software could easily still sue for the time from when it was being used -> when it was licensed for damages.

      Everyone has had to respect the GPL because it has already been held up in court as far back as germany in 2004 [tinyurl.com] and redhat in 2006. [tinyurl.com]

    • by Jason Earl (1894)

      Microsoft might not like the GPL, but its business relies on copyright protection. The last thing that Microsoft wants is weaker copyright protection for software.

    • The GPL isn't getting tested because nobody's dumb enough to do so.

      The GPL is the only thing that gives anybody the right to redistribute the code. So if for whatever reason the GPL was found not to apply, the code is still copyrighted, and that doesn't give them the right to redistribute somebody else's code. So at that point it turns into a very standard copyright infringement lawsuit.

  • The damage would have been much more severe if they had been caught/forced to turn it over to open source.

    • Re:Well.. (Score:5, Informative)

      by Sockatume (732728) on Thursday July 23, 2009 @10:16AM (#28795565)

      They were caught and asked to turn it over to open source. Someone pointed out that the drivers mixed GPL and closed-source code and that they would have to release the closed-source components.

  • Cue FUDSpinning (Score:5, Insightful)

    by idontgno (624372) on Thursday July 23, 2009 @10:13AM (#28795533) Journal

    about viral GPL in 5... 4... 3...

    No, seriously, someone in the militantly proprietary SW camp is going to latch onto this and turn it into some kind of morality tale. "Poor Microsoft, they took the tempting bait of Open Source code and LOST THEIR PRODUCT! Don't let this HAPPEN TO YOU! ph33r teh Open Source!"

    Mark my words. Expect a flood of "independent studies" dissecting this story with the intent of making Free Software look like hidden poison.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by snspdaarf (1314399)

      Mark my words. Expect a flood of "independent studies" dissecting this story with the intent of making Free Software look like hidden poison.

      Right. This is simply another case of slamming the corporate dick in the dresser drawer. It's common enough we should expect it.

    • I think the message that companies need to understand is that GPL != Public Domain. There are a lot of advantages for using GPL'ed code, but companies need to measure the risks/rewards of using GPL'ed software and how it might impact their product goals for the good or the bad because they are required to fulfill the requirements of the license, no matter how few and and inoccuous the license requirements might be. I don't think exploring that distinction is FUD, but an intellegent discourse that helps prot
  • MS and Legitimacy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nweaver (113078) on Thursday July 23, 2009 @10:13AM (#28795535) Homepage

    They could have just stripped the GPL'ed code out completely, its a small part of the total code dump...

    Rather, it really is legitimate but for a different sort of evil. Microsoft wants to rule the virtualization world over VMWare and Xen, and one of the things they need to support is Linux well for this market. By getting the necessary support into the kernel, even under the dreaded GPL, this furthers Microsoft's own objectives.

    • by abigsmurf (919188) on Thursday July 23, 2009 @10:32AM (#28795827)
      My first thought once I navigated through the maze of links to the source of this info was that people were jumping to conclusions:

      "Microsoft released code that would otherwise violate GPL" = Microsoft were caught out and forced to release the code.

      When this could be just as true:
      Microsoft always intended to release the code so used GPL'ed code in it.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by MBCook (132727)

        If you read the story, it looks like they released the binaries [blogspot.com] to people, thus they distributed it, which means they broke the GPL.

        "I was going to pay for the candy bars I was hiding in my jacket" is not a valid defense when caught shoplifting, this is the same thing.

        The minute they linked in GPL only libraries, they needed to go GPL. Not later when they got caught.

  • Trusting MS (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Opportunist (166417) on Thursday July 23, 2009 @10:17AM (#28795587)

    will have squandered this opportunity to build trust, something which is sadly lacking in most people's dealings with Microsoft

    Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice... umm... you won't get fooled again, or something like that.

    Trust is hard gained and easily lost. MS has shown no sign that they deserve to be trusted. They may be a business partner, but make sure you treat them like you would a business partner in renaissance Italy: Buy from them, exchange money and goods, but never hug them or a dagger will be in your back, never join them for lunch for the chance to be poisoned is far too great.

    Before someone goes "business is not friendship". Indeed it's not. But there are various grades. I deal with companies where I don't need a contract because I know them and I know they will honor the contract we agreed on. I believe them if they say the check's in the mail. I grant them a delay in payment if they need to pay a few days later for tax reasons. Likewise, I get the same if necessary.

    MS won't make it on that list. When they invite you to dinner, it's not because they want to show you how much they value you as a parner. They usually bring along a dagger or the more modern version, an adhesion contract.

  • Huh? (Score:3, Funny)

    by MightyMartian (840721) on Thursday July 23, 2009 @10:17AM (#28795601) Journal

    I'm shocked, I tell you! Shocked!

  • Good business (Score:5, Interesting)

    by redelm (54142) on Thursday July 23, 2009 @10:22AM (#28795675) Homepage

    Frankly, I'm pleased at this explanation. I'd very much rather MSFT accept the GPL and OpenSource as a sound business concept than merely out of some arbitrary corporate policy decision. Which could easily be reversed in the continuous "Change" ego-stroking.

    Here, it appears that in spite of their best efforts and doubtless strong admonishments that GPL code found its' way into a key product. Good. They've learned they can't be completely leakproof. So will have to comply. Underforce is fine, because it is the most certain and sincere.

    As for "trust", what a load of BS! Shareholders generally cannot even trust their Boards nor employees who by law and custom are supposed to look out for their interests. Why should the rest of us expect any better?

    Trust is only a precursor to betrayal like Google. Trust is neither required nor desired in business. Much more reliable to trust persuit of self-interest. Business is not family life. There are no bonds of affection. Delusional to pretend there are. And stupid to lean on these bonds too hard anyways.

    • Re:Good business (Score:4, Interesting)

      by swillden (191260) <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Thursday July 23, 2009 @11:30AM (#28796685) Homepage Journal

      Trust is neither required nor desired in business. Much more reliable to trust persuit of self-interest. Business is not family life. There are no bonds of affection. Delusional to pretend there are.

      That's crap. Trust is essential in smooth business dealings. You can do business with a business partner you can't trust, but it's a hundred times harder. The contracts get horrendously long and complicated, the oversight creates huge overhead and the experience ends up being really unpleasant for all of the people involved. And if you end up in court... that's a huge time and money sink.

      So businesses like to establish long-term, amicable relationships with business partners exactly so that they can rely on trust, to loosen up the contracts, smooth out the communication and be able to have confidence that the other party will make good on their promises. Good businessmen understand the limits of trust, but they also understand its advantages. Why do you think business partners eat together, play golf together, etc.? It's precisely to build personal human-to-human relationships to build the trust that's necessary to doing business together effectively. Even better is the experience of doing business together for years, with a joint understanding that both sides will benefit if the relationship continues to be healthy.

      This notion is taken to an extreme in the Japanese "Keiretsu", but it's a common feature of nearly all businesses that are successful in the long term. Partnerships matter, and they're built on trust.

  • by KW802 (764675) on Thursday July 23, 2009 @10:23AM (#28795685) Homepage
    If Microsoft had disclosed that they released the code to avoid a violation then the anti-Microsoft crowd would have proclaimed that Microsoft was only releasing the code because they had to, not because they wanted to. No matter the course of action Microsoft could have taken, they still would have been criticized.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by noidentity (188756)
      That's because either way they're doing the same thing, Extend, Embrace, Extinguish. So you mean, they're damned if they do, and damned if they... do. People never learn with politicians, but for some reason they can still learn (and have) with computer software companies.
    • by MightyMartian (840721) on Thursday July 23, 2009 @11:19AM (#28796511) Journal

      If Microsoft had disclosed reasons why, I doubt it would have been that big a deal. Lots of companies, including big corporations like Microsoft, utilize GPL and other open source licensed code. It's not exactly something amazing, other than the fact that a several years ago, Gates made some rather moronic comments about open source.

      But trying to spin a relatively minor licensing screwup as some brand new day of Redmond-Open Source relations was idiotic. It does indeed evaporate some of the good will. The problem is that Microsoft is run by marketing types, and marketers are a fundamentally depraved and immoral lot. The engineers, I'm sure, would just have said "Hey, we used some GPL code. Now that we know we violated the license, we're making it right by releasing all the code we through into it." But marketers, a foul and vile subspecies, have this blasphemous need to spin things, and in the process, just as often show just how lacking in any kind of ethics this particular disgusting occupation is.

      • by malevolentjelly (1057140) on Thursday July 23, 2009 @11:55AM (#28797063) Journal

        Here is what Microsoft said in the initial press release:

        Q: Why release the code?

        A: Because we have utilized Linux code, Microsoft has an obligation to open source the device drivers. This is the process outlined by the Linux community.

        Q: Why open source the code?

        A: Because this is a requirement of the community, and critical in ensuring that as the Linux Kernel evolves, and as Hyper-V evolves, that the Hyper-V Linux Device Drivers evolve as well.

        Source: http://www.kroah.com/log/linux/microsoft-linux-hyper-v-drivers.html [kroah.com]

        So... when was there a cover-up? Seems to me like it simply wasn't reported because no one considered it relevant to report, given that it was in the press release.

        It's not something you brag about, just a reality. They wrote some linux drivers, and that's a huge waste of time and resources to maintain in a closed source fashion unless you have a really good reason (like Nvidia, who have to re-engineer much of X to allow modern graphics technology in Linux).

        It's rare that Microsoft should have to touch GPL code for any reason, but now that they have to for Hyper-V, they're adhering to the GPL. At one point does this story become sinister or scary?

  • by erroneus (253617) on Thursday July 23, 2009 @10:24AM (#28795707) Homepage

    I had question about what would drive Microsoft to doing that. After all, they did borrow quite liberally from BSD code for various things including the TCP/IP stack. But the stuff that was contributed back wasn't "huge" by any measure that I could tell. Now if they open sourced MS Office or Windows XP, THAT would have gotten my attention.

    But I'll offer this. Let's give Microsoft credit for owning up to and respecting the terms of the GPL even if they weren't completely honest about their motives. They did the right thing which is also somewhat unusual for Microsoft. It may have been a baby step instead of a leap in the right directions, but it was still a move in the right direction.

  • If they really did release the code to avoid litigation, then Microsoft is not contesting the validity of the GPL. Wasn't one of their previous tactics to attempt to portray the GPL as an invalid license? I suspect this argument will be harder to support when they release code in order to stay in compliance with its terms.

  • "Built trust???" (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Joey Vegetables (686525) on Thursday July 23, 2009 @10:26AM (#28795757) Journal
    Trust must be earned. IBM, the Microsoft of an earlier era, has abandoned many of the anticompetitive and fraudulent actions of its past, and thereby helped to earn trust and respect. Microsoft could do the same, at very little cost or risk to itself, in various ways. For instance, it could agree not to sue reimplementers of .NET (Mono, etc.) and SMBFS/CIFS (Samba, etc.), or list the alleged "patent problems" with Linux that it has claimed in the past. But half-hearted measures such as releasing software under the GPL when it legally was required to do so, or the very limited promises it has made surrounding .NET, don't quite cut it for me.
    • Re:"Built trust???" (Score:5, Interesting)

      by mcgrew (92797) on Thursday July 23, 2009 @11:06AM (#28796301) Homepage Journal

      My problem with Microsoft isn't their business practices (it would be if I were their partner of competetitor), it's their software design and overall philosophy: "Do it the Microsoft way or no way. We have a monopoly so the customer doesn't matter."

      From their changing each version of almost any product as to cause one to need a complete retraining, to their lack of quality control, to their onorous "activation" and the need to type in a long string of alphanumerc characters just to install an OS, to Active-X and non-standards compliance... the list goes on. I avoid Microsoft whenever I can because I, personally, don't like their products (Excel is an exception; but maybe it's only good because the others are so gawdoffal bad).

      If they'd change the attitude they have towards their customers, I might become one again. If you like their products, give them your money and enjoy. I'll continue to run Linux and curse the necessity of using MS at work. I'm glad I have no need of a spreadsheet at home, maybe one of these days I'll fire up the OO spreadsheet just to see how it compares.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by UnknowingFool (672806)

        My problem with Microsoft isn't their business practices (it would be if I were their partner of competetitor), it's their software design and overall philosophy: "Do it the Microsoft way or no way. We have a monopoly so the customer doesn't matter."

        Well, the problem with that is MS has never considered you or other end users as their customers when it comes to Windows. OEMs are their customers: Dell, HP, Lenovo, etc. While they sell Windows at retail, that's a small number compared to OEMs. In order t

  • by abigsmurf (919188) on Thursday July 23, 2009 @10:27AM (#28795763)
    All the information about this story is in 3 pages, all of which seem to link to each other as a source. There's a very fuzzy picture about what went on. Big questions I have about the story:

    The issue appears to be that there were drivers linked to open source code. Which exact binaries, which GPL'ed code?

    What are the timescales? Was the discovery of GPL'ed code made before or after MS released the code? If before, how long before? It's not clear on any of the pages.

    Was the GPL'ed code able to be licensed through other means? Is there a possibility they decided to make this GPL'ed code a while ago and decided to link to other GPL'ed code because of this?

    I don't mind doing a bit of my own research to get the full facts of a story but having to read 3 vague blog posts and still coming out non the wiser is irritating.
  • by Idaho (12907) on Thursday July 23, 2009 @10:30AM (#28795801)

    Trust in dealing with Microsoft is not sadly lacking.

    It is understandably lacking for anyone who has been paying any attention at all to Microsofts history.

  • umm (Score:5, Insightful)

    by superwiz (655733) on Thursday July 23, 2009 @10:48AM (#28796013) Journal
    So their ulterior motive was complying with GPL? Those sinister mofos!
  • squandered this opportunity to build trust, something which is sadly lacking in most people's dealings with Microsoft.

    This sentence could have been much broader and still been accurate. Something like:

    squandered this opportunity to build trust, something which is sadly lacking in most people's dealings.

  • by Junior J. Junior III (192702) on Thursday July 23, 2009 @10:50AM (#28796063) Homepage

    For Microsoft, complying with the law *is* going to extraordinary lengths to engage with the open source community.

  • by blueZhift (652272) on Thursday July 23, 2009 @11:21AM (#28796553) Homepage Journal
    No real surprise here. Microsoft is in the business of making money, so if everyone remembers this in dealing with them or any other profit driven company, then we'll be well prepared for this behavior. Open Source is seen by MS and others as a threat to their profits, so many avoid it. But in the tech world, that is getting increasingly harder, and more foolish to do. So avoiding a profit sapping lawsuit is probably a good move. Yeah they could recode, but in this case it was probably easier (and cheaper) to just comply with the GPL.
  • by razathorn (151590) on Thursday July 23, 2009 @12:36PM (#28797551)

    Generally speaking, FOX is the one who likes to take stories and spin them in the worst possible light to forward their own agenda. I can see now that SLASHDOT does the same thing. How on earth do you equate Microsoft following the rules of the GPL as something bad? How on earth did we get here? Seriously -- there's now going to be a lack of trust?! Are you kidding me? Because they provided a prettified PR statement to go with it? This says *nothing* about their stance on linux -- it says something about their integrity as a company that obeys software licenses. We now have definitive proof that Microsoft at least works within and respects the GPL, but somehow today is a day of mistrust?

    Simply amazing. I can only imagine what the folks at MS are thinking right now who see this article. I bet their not thinking "gee, that went well -- let's do it again!"

    This like shooting the publishers clearing house folks on your door step when they bring you the big check -- "Thanks, but get the heck off mah properta!"

  • by JAlexoi (1085785) on Thursday July 23, 2009 @01:50PM (#28798375) Homepage
    I believe the whole idea behind GPL was exactly that - making sure others release their source code.
    So a sunny day for GPL.

It's a naive, domestic operating system without any breeding, but I think you'll be amused by its presumption.

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