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Microsoft Open Source News

Microsoft Bans Open Source From the Windows Market 566

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the well-thats-not-very-sporting dept.
Blacklaw writes "Microsoft has raised the ire of the open source community with its Windows Marketplace licence by specifically refusing to allow software covered under an open licence to be distributed. The licence, which anyone wishing to distribute Windows, Windows Phone, or Xbox applications through the company's copy of Apple's App Store is required to agree to, is the usual torrent of legalese — but hides a nasty surprise for those who support open source ideals."
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Microsoft Bans Open Source From the Windows Market

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  • GPLv3, bleh (Score:0, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 17, 2011 @10:34AM (#35231594)

    It seems that Microsoft is banning GPLv3 or similar licenses. The fact that they refer "GPLv3" by name and not simply "GPL", may mean that GPLv2 is allowed.

  • Incorrect. (Score:4, Informative)

    by gcnaddict (841664) on Thursday February 17, 2011 @10:35AM (#35231616)
    Microsoft banned the GPL, not open source overall.

    It's standard operating procedure for many companies to prohibit licenses which propagate themselves. Licenses such as BSD and Creative Commons are not prohibited.
  • by iznogud (162711) on Thursday February 17, 2011 @10:35AM (#35231618)

    ... and not about the open source in general

  • Misleading Article (Score:5, Informative)

    by kwenf (1531623) on Thursday February 17, 2011 @10:36AM (#35231620)
    Only GPL was banned because of the ToS which is forbidden under the GPL. Same thing happened with Apple's AppStore [fsf.org].
  • by gcnaddict (841664) on Thursday February 17, 2011 @10:37AM (#35231644)
    Welcome to the world of tired mornings, I guess.
  • Re:Incorrect. (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 17, 2011 @10:37AM (#35231646)

    The GPL do not propagate, as long as you use it as a proprietary software, which means you don't use the source at all.

  • The actual terms (Score:5, Informative)

    by xaxa (988988) on Thursday February 17, 2011 @10:38AM (#35231652)

    See the PDF [msdn.com].

      1.l

    “Excluded License” means any license requiring, as a condition of use, modification and/or distribution of the software subject to the license, that the software or other software combined and/or distributed with it be (i) disclosed or distributed in source code form; (ii) licensed for the purpose of making derivative works; or (iii) redistributable at no charge. Excluded Licenses include, but are not limited to the GPLv3 Licenses. For the purpose of this definition, “GPLv3 Licenses” means the GNU General Public License version 3, the GNU Affero General Public License version 3, the GNU Lesser General Public License version 3, and any equivalents to the foregoing.

    5.e.

    The Application must not include software, documentation, or other materials that, in whole or in part, are governed by or subject to an Excluded License, or that would otherwise cause the Application to be subject to the terms of an Excluded License.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 17, 2011 @10:38AM (#35231654)

    The clause is intended to prohibit VIRAL licenses that would require the source code of the entire project to be disclosed (including Microsoft's own contributions to the code). Projects that are open-source but are licensed under a less prohibitive license would pass muster.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 17, 2011 @10:39AM (#35231672)

    Why would the status of the source code for software distributed through the app store interest Microsoft?

    When you redistribute a program under the GPLv3, you grant the receiver a license to any patents that you own and that are used by that program.

  • I see no issue here (Score:5, Informative)

    by Richard_at_work (517087) <[richardprice] [at] [gmail.com]> on Thursday February 17, 2011 @10:39AM (#35231678)
    The license specifically mentioned is the GPL, which if allowed would put the onus on Microsoft, as the distributor, to fulfill the requirements of the license even tho it was chosen by a developer. Microsoft is covering their own back here, nothing more imho - they could be up for some serious issues if they cocked up GPL compliance, so they are just not going there.
  • Guess again (Score:5, Informative)

    by Stan Vassilev (939229) on Thursday February 17, 2011 @10:43AM (#35231740)

    Do you intentionally post wrong information so we can rush to angrily correct you in the comments?

    They ban only GPL variations and licenses like it that have *enforced* right to redistribute source. Licenses like Apache, MIT, BSD are not affected.

    This is the same as Apple's App Store. The line of thought that GPL is "infectious" and represents a risk for their closed source components is well known. Right or wrong, that's their motive, and they are taking precautions to protect themselves from lawsuit trolls.

  • Re:Incorrect. (Score:4, Informative)

    by xaxa (988988) on Thursday February 17, 2011 @10:49AM (#35231818)

    Microsoft banned the GPL, not open source overall.

    No, Microsoft banned all open source:

    “Excluded License” means any license requiring, as a condition of use, modification and/or distribution of the software subject to the license, that the software or other software combined and/or distributed with it be (i) disclosed or distributed in source code form; (ii) licensed for the purpose of making derivative works; or (iii) redistributable at no charge.

    GPLv3 is just given as an example.

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

    by klapaucjusz (1167407) on Thursday February 17, 2011 @11:00AM (#35231958) Homepage

    Microsoft banned the GPL, not open source overall.

    No, Microsoft banned all open source:

    It would appear that Microsoft banned all copyleft licenses, notably all versions of the (L)GPL. It did not ban non-copyleft Free Software licenses, such as BSD or MIT/X11.

  • by beelsebob (529313) on Thursday February 17, 2011 @11:06AM (#35232054)

    Except that the intent of the GPL is to restrict your freedom in a way that forces you to not restrict other people's freedom, except in a way that forces them to not restr.....

    GPL is not an open license – if you want an open license, try BSD.

  • by aug24 (38229) on Thursday February 17, 2011 @11:16AM (#35232158) Homepage

    Take a look at:

    http://www.fsf.org/news/blogs/licensing/more-about-the-app-store-gpl-enforcement [fsf.org]

    It appears the most likely reason is that they* wish to add more terms and conditions to the download, and the GPL specifically forbids it. So rather than ease their terms for GPL, they just don't play.

    *they == both Apple and Microsoft, but presumably not Android Marketplace

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

    by Creepy (93888) on Thursday February 17, 2011 @11:29AM (#35232328) Journal

    The real target seems to be GPLv3, but the problem is the legalese is terrible, and the inclusion of an "or" instead of an "and" I would argue means each of these is mutually exclusive, which is much worse - it bans all free software, anything available in source form (even if dual-licensed), or, say, commercial game engines (which violate ii). Even if read as an "and" it still forbids all downloadable free libraries or plugins* where the source is available that have any license whatsoever.

    The terms for exclusion:
    (i) disclosed or distributed in source code form;
    (ii) licensed for the purpose of making derivative works; or
    (iii) redistributable at no charge.

    * speaking of plugins, they are not considered GPL-able software despite many of them existing with GPL licenses - I suggested adding it during v3 ratification, but they did not feel there was a need (there are several clauses that make them not applicable), so if you write GPL plugins, I suggest moving to another license because the one you're using is not valid.

  • by canajin56 (660655) on Thursday February 17, 2011 @11:29AM (#35232336)
    Misleading post. Any Open Source license is forbidden.
  • Re:"We own it" (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 17, 2011 @11:49AM (#35232574)

    Gates wrote that letter, not Balmer, and it was 1976, and it was about people pirating software, not about people voluntarily giving software away.

    Since "He cited the unfairness of gaining the benefits of software authors' time, effort, and capital without paying them." is lifted directly from the Wikipedia page http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_Letter_to_Hobbyists I would have thought you could have gotten the other details right too.

  • by Sique (173459) on Thursday February 17, 2011 @12:26PM (#35233128) Homepage

    I just had to reject some 3rd party tools because it was GPL. Because by using it would force us to make our program GPL, and oddly enough we want to get paychecks and our business model is creating new software and selling it.

    You just showed us, that you did not unterstand the GPL.
    Usage of a GPLed tool doesn't make the result being under GPL.
    Using GPLed code, copying it and modifying it does.
    So either you were looking for code you could compile into your program, or you were looking for code you could modify to be part of your program, or you were looking for a library you could link your program to.

    Those are the only cases where the resulting program has to be under GPL too.

  • Re:"We own it" (Score:5, Informative)

    by mellon (7048) on Thursday February 17, 2011 @12:38PM (#35233266) Homepage

    The article seems to ignore the rather obvious point that the GPLv3 and LGPLv3 themselves forbid using covered software in app stores that apply anti-circumvention measures, such as the Windows 7 mobile app store or the Apple App Store. This is one of the improvements in the GPL between versions 2 and 3. The restriction is specific to GPLv3 licenses, and does not apply to GPLv2 licenses, nor to Apache, nor to BSD.

    It's always fun to paint Microsoft as the big villain, but what's going on here is what the FSF intended when they added the anti-tivoization clause to the GPL. That is to say, it's a good thing. If you want to run GPLv3 software in a Tivoized device, you have to jailbreak it first. You can't sell GPLv3 software in an app store unless the app store meets the restrictions of the GPL, and Microsoft's App Store does not.

    Now, one could turn around and say that Microsoft is bad for having an App store that violates the GPL, but given how cooperative Microsoft has been with jailbreakers, I really don't think one would have a rhetorical leg to stand on with this argument. It would work much better against Apple.

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