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GNU is Not Unix Microsoft News

The Credibility Issues of MS's CodePlex Foundation 137

Posted by kdawson
from the it's-my-football dept.
alphadogg writes 'Microsoft's new CodePlex Foundation has serious flaws to correct if it wants to become a credible force in the open source industry, and attract a diverse collection of developers and participants, according to an expert in forming consortia and foundations. Andy Updegrove, a lawyer and founder of, says Microsoft has created with CodePlex a rigid foundation that has almost no wiggle room and a poorly crafted governance structure that concentrates authority at the top and leaves little power to others who might join the foundation.' Here is Andy's detailed analysis of CodePlex's structure: "Over the past 22 years, I've helped structure scores of open, consensus based consortia and foundations, and represented over 100 in all... In this blog entry, I'll show where I think the legal and governance structure of CodePlex has wandered off the open path, and offer specific recommendations for how the structure could be changed to give people (other than Microsoft business partners) confidence that CodePlex will be an organization worth joining."
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The Credibility Issues of MS's CodePlex Foundation

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  • by dkleinsc (563838) on Friday September 18, 2009 @07:43AM (#29465057) Homepage

    Doesn't look like it captures the OSS development spirit, to me...

    That's probably because it isn't supposed to. It's supposed to allow Microsoft and any other companies who sign on to support it the ability to say "We like open source. We're spending eleventy-billion dollars on supporting an independent open source foundation." By calling it "open source" even if it's not, it succeeds at its PR purpose.

    Remember the Halloween Documents []? I don't think we have any reason to think that Microsoft has suddenly decided that they should become the next Red Hat.

  • More Than It Appears (Score:2, Informative)

    by illuminus86 (1070462) on Friday September 18, 2009 @08:06AM (#29465239) Homepage
    First, keep in mind, the provisional board of the CodePlex Foundation is only half Microsoft, and they have a mandate to setup a new board within a certain time frame. Second, they've also said the default license will actually be the Modified BSD license, so none of that untrusted MS-PL stuff going on. Thirdly, I've caught word from the inside that one of the effects this could have will be Microsoft employees being allowed to use open-source software internally, along with the ability to contribute to said projects under this CodePlex Foundation. With current issues like Microsoft programmers not being allowed to use superior open-source tools over inferior Microsoft ones (for example, Entity Framework versus NHibernate) - this will definitely result in Microsoft's own position changing for the better.
  • Re:Why bother? (Score:2, Informative)

    by miffo.swe (547642) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {molbdeh.leinad}> on Friday September 18, 2009 @08:27AM (#29465463) Homepage Journal

    "Ballmer should say screw it and just go back to the 90's and steamroll all over the competition."

    Hi there, where have you been since the 90's ? Rest assured you have missed much much steamrolling while you were gone. The whole OOXML debacle is something you really should catch up on, with all the bribes, stacking of panels and other fun stuff. Also take a look at how Microsofts totally dumped the price on Windows for netbooks to kill off any continued linux adoption. Why not look into how an ASUS representive excused himself for having the balls to show an own product with *gasp* Linux on it? The gall! And just recently when they tried to sell off OpenGL patents from SGI to patent trolls under the premise that they would be excellent for going after Linux companies (Hey Novell, looking at you and your patent indemnification, not that useful ey?).

    "At least the M$ moniker would have meaning again."

    When didnt it have a meaning? They are getting better att hiding their activities but they never stopped.

  • Re:Why bother? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Vexorian (959249) on Friday September 18, 2009 @09:47AM (#29466423)
    I think a better question than 'Why bother' would be 'could they at least bother?' .Your theory that FOSS developers may not like MS trying to get more open source with confidence may be true or not, who knows? But we may never know... Since so far MS has not even tried to do so...

    I mean seriously, what the hell is this? It looks like some attempt to make OS more patent friendly. Honestly, patents and open source mix just as well as a clown and the pope.
  • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Friday September 18, 2009 @11:58AM (#29468177) Journal

    Hmm. MS's recommended migration path from Visual FoxPro is to .NET and SQL Server. I wrote a tool to simplify migration of VFP databases to PostgreSQL instead. Wonder if they'd like to host it for me?

    Sure, why not? They host a RedHat-based Linux distro [] on CodePlex, I don't know how you could possibly go beyond that.

    In general, all you need to know is written in EULA (and this specific sentence is also quoted on CodePlex front page):

    "Microsoft does not control, review, revise, endorse or distribute third-party Submissions. Microsoft is hosting the CodePlex site solely as a web storage site as a service to the developer community."

    And regarding the licenses, from the FAQ:

    "Project coordinators can select from a list of the following OSI licenses: Apache License 2.0, Common Development and Distribution License (CDDL), Eclipse Public License (EPL), GNU General Public License (GPL) v2, GNU Library General Public License (LGPL), Microsoft Public License (Ms-PL), Microsoft Reciprocal License (Ms-RL), Mozilla Public License 1.1 (MPL), New BSD License, and The MIT License."

    So long as your project is under one of those, it doesn't matter what it does - you can host it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 18, 2009 @12:15PM (#29468451)

    FYI, it's "raison d'être" and not "reason d'atre".


  • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Friday September 18, 2009 @12:44PM (#29468839) Journal

    Actually, my project's under GPLv3 so they won't host it. I guess MS doesn't like the extra patent protections.

    I doubt it, since Ms-PL [] itself includes a patent clause:

    Patent Grant- Subject to the terms of this license, including the license conditions and limitations in section 3, each contributor grants you a non-exclusive, worldwide, royalty-free license under its licensed patents to make, have made, use, sell, offer for sale, import, and/or otherwise dispose of its contribution in the software or derivative works of the contribution in the software.

    And a patent nuke clause:

    If you bring a patent claim against any contributor over patents that you claim are infringed by the software, your patent license from such contributor to the software ends automatically.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 18, 2009 @01:11PM (#29469245)
    It's not GNU, it's Linux, for three simple reasons:

    1. There's no GNU kernel/modules/drivers.

    2. The distribution was created by someone who is not the GNU project.

    3. There needs to be a lot more than just userspace tools and shells for something to automagically become GNU, no matter how "important" they are. There's lots of BSD tools in Linux, too, ans we're not calling it GNU/BSD/Linux. Then there's a shitton of Xorg tools, too. It's no more important than any other "important" part of a distribution.

    Call me when the RMS bullshit stops bubbling out of your keyboard. For the record, I use KDE and zsh, neither of which can lay claim to be GNU.

If this is timesharing, give me my share right now.