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Microsoft, OSI Discuss Shared Source Licenses 121

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the show-me-yours dept.
linumax writes "While Microsoft Corp. has publicly said it has no immediate plans to submit its newest Shared Source licenses to the Open Source Initiative for approval, the company met with the OSI board this week to discuss the matter. Ronald Mann, a law professor at the University of Texas in Austin, said two of the new licenses, the Microsoft Permissive License, which is modeled on the existing BSD license, and the Microsoft Community License, based on the Mozilla Public License, appeared to satisfy the Open Source Definition administered by the OSI."
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Microsoft, OSI Discuss Shared Source Licenses

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  • Oh? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Nimrangul (599578) on Saturday October 22, 2005 @11:50AM (#13852536) Journal
    And what ever happened to trimming down the number of licences that the OSI backs? I thought they were trying to trim it down to the GPL, BSD and MPL?
    • Re:Oh? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Russ Nelson (33911) <slashdot@russnelson.com> on Saturday October 22, 2005 @11:59AM (#13852582) Homepage
      That's just not going to happen. We need to defend the trademark that we license to people whose software is using an approved license. In order to do that, we can't let people use the trademark without approval. If we were to withdraw approval (NOT a possibility!) we would end up with people innocently misusing the trademark. It wouldn't be their fault; it would be our fault. We would be diluting our own trademark. Not a happy-making situation to be in, so we're not going to withdraw approval.

      Instead, the current plan is to provide advice to developers when they want to pick a license. I expect that we will have three lists: Recommended, Recommended Specialty, and Not Recommended. Typical possible ranking: Recommended: GPL, Recommended Specialty: NOSA, Not Recommended: any license of the form "Copyright (C) Foo Bar, Inc., purveyors of find liquor-vending software."
      • by bug1 (96678)
        "If we were to withdraw approval (NOT a possibility!) we would end up with people innocently misusing the trademark."

        You could create a derivative tradmark just for what you think are the core licences, like "GPL, BSD etc" and keep the other hundred in the same more general category.

        Call it "OSI core" or something, i think "core" is trendy these days.

      • Re:Oh? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by NutscrapeSucks (446616) on Saturday October 22, 2005 @12:27PM (#13852697)
        "Defend" is the wrong term here. OSI has no trademark on the term "Open Source" (and you've admitted that), so what you are really trying to do is claim the term so that you are able to trademark it in the future. In order to take possession of the term, you need to be universally accepted as the arbiter of Open Source certification, and that means treating MS & Sun on an equal basis as the FSF.

        Regardless, Open Source was intended to be an ideological program, so I'm unclear on why the market implications of too many licences is even a consideration.
        • The trademark he's talking about is the OSI certified symbol, not just the phrase "open source".
          • No, that does not compute. Why would Microsoft use "OSI-Approved" or the logo if wasn't actually true? However, they can use the term "open source", with or without OSI.

            Also, if you've followed Russ' previous posts, he is very intent on maintaining an illusion (or a lie) that OSI holds a trademark on the term "open source".
            • He doesn't seem to be saying that here, and the official OSI position is quite clear (search the OSI site for "trademark").

              Whether you approve or not, OSI certainly is *a* authority on what "open source" means, and the OSI certified logo is respected for that reason. Maybe not by you, but you don't have to respect that if you don't want to. As for why someone might want to use the logo without approval, you might as well ask why someone would want to put the UL logo on thier product.

              • If Russ Nelson wants to clarify what he was saying, that's fine. However the idea that MS would use the OSI logo without approval is silly.

                (BTW, I have no problem with OSI, but judging by previous posts, I don't think Russ necessarily reflects their legal position.)
                • However the idea that MS would use the OSI logo without approval is silly.

                  It's not just MS. And in any case, the whole point of trademark law and associated things is that it's not a winning proposition to rely on people to act correctly. If there were no legal consequences from using the OSI mark without permission, would you still dismiss the possibility offhand?

                  • Seems like you are arguing that Russ Nelson is a paranoid idiot, rather than a propagandist or a delusional liar (I'm not sure which). Rock on.
                • by Fuzzle (590327)
                  Show some reading comprehension. He's saying that there are people out there using the OSI approved liscences already. Those are the sticky situations. If they recall the approval on these other liscences, then people out there will be still using the OSI Approved banner, because when they got the liscence it was approved, even if it's not now. Which makes things...sticky.
            • by rtb61 (674572)
              Microsoft is just trying a new "we have changed" marketing campaign (create the appearance only of course). If those licenses are so close to existing licenses why create new ones and try for OSI approval and branding when they are free to use those existing licences.

              I can only think of one reason, somewhere not so far down the track start, they will alter those licenses to a more microsoft monopoly friendly license whilst retaining the OSI logo and then fighting it out in court i.e exploit the trademark

      • We need to defend the trademark that we license to people whose software is using an approved license.

        What was the point of approving licences in the first place? Is it not the specific software that's marketed by the OSI trademark that really matters. Grant the trademark to all software that use an approved licence and you could in practice revoke the trademark by dropping an approved licence, only the specific version of the software made before the drop could use the trademark. This might even have

  • Now that's news. Next they'll start releasing software under the terms and conditions of the GPL. Is Microsoft finaly starting to learn?
  • MS (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Bill Gates Speaks Out Against Next-Gen DVDs

    Microsoft Becomes Wembley Stadium's Backer

    Microsoft, OSI Discuss Shared Source Licenses

    Has Slashdot had a tiff with Google and started seeing Microsoft instead?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 22, 2005 @11:52AM (#13852543)
    Ok, thats enough of M$ today.
  • by Russ Nelson (33911) <slashdot@russnelson.com> on Saturday October 22, 2005 @11:52AM (#13852546) Homepage
    Danese Cooper's blog entry [blogs.com] is our official statement on this matter.
    -russ
    • From the blog:
      We voted unanimously as a board in April 2005 to move historical materials such as Eric Raymond's "the Halloween Documents" and Michael Tiemann's "A Case for Open Source" to the authors' sites for maintenance and to re-focus our efforts on increasing professionalism and credibility for both OSI and for open source worldwide.
      HAHAHAHAHA! Got to give it to you guys, that's one heck of a way to spin things. :-D
  • Woah o_o; (Score:5, Funny)

    by Hikaru79 (832891) on Saturday October 22, 2005 @11:54AM (#13852561) Homepage
    In other news, Hell is reporting temperatures are at a record low. Also, Pork Airlines closes the quarter with 60% revenue increase.
  • by User 956 (568564) on Saturday October 22, 2005 @11:56AM (#13852568) Homepage
    It is pretty obvious that this license is not GPL compatable, and I am no lawyer. All you have to do is read it. These two provisions make it impossible:

    Notice of any changes or modifications to the Original Work, including the date the changes were made.

    Any modifications of the Original Work must be distributed in such a manner as to avoid any confusion with the Original Work of the copyright holders.


    A software licensed under the GPL does not have to provide notice of any changes made from the original work. SO this makes it non-compatable.

    I would probably say MS-PL's philosophy is: "You can do anything you want with this, as long as it does not dilute our empire"

    • Who cares if it's compatible with the GPL? The GPL isn't the only open source licence. And who cares if the OSI supports these new licences? The OSI doesn't actually hold any power or significance. All the OSI does is state their opinion, just like the FSF, they tell people that something agrees with them, hardly a big deal. They don't actually have any authority over what is or isn't open source.
      • by Russ Nelson (33911) <slashdot@russnelson.com> on Saturday October 22, 2005 @12:15PM (#13852649) Homepage
        They don't actually have any authority over what is or isn't open source.

        We only have the authority that people grant us. A few nutcases think that open source shouldn't mean anything, or that it should mean everything, or only the things THEY say it means. Enough people trust us to do the right thing that they're willing to rely on our definition of open source. You're welcome to try to convince them that they're wrong, but in my book, you're one of the aforementioned nutcases. Anybody wanna peanut?
        -russ
        p.s. any reply must have an obligatory Princess Bride reference to be considered authoritative.

        • in my book, you're one of the aforementioned nutcases.

          Is this a kissing book?
        • You're just trying to redefine something that is much broader, your nonsense about being able to make derivatives is just as bad as the Free Software Foundation trying to redefine the meaning of Freedom.

          Open source, in it's purest meaning, is something that allows you to see the source, nothing more. If I make a licence that doesn't allow anything, not even the compilation of binaries, but release the source under it, it's still open source.

          You people are just nutcases trying to make your own opinion a

          • You're just trying to redefine something that is much broader, your nonsense about being able to make derivatives is just as bad as the Free Software Foundation trying to redefine the meaning of Freedom.

            Open source, in it's purest meaning, is something that allows you to see the source, nothing more. If I make a licence that doesn't allow anything, not even the compilation of binaries, but release the source under it, it's still open source.


            Now you're the one trying to redefine things to suit your own purpo
            • "pretty much everyone understands "open source" to mean that you can not only see the code, but also (perhaps subject to some restrictions) use the code in your own work."

              Pretty much everyone understands "ironic" to mean anything they randomly decide to call ironic for no reason, but that doesn't change the meaning of the word, it just makes them stupid.

              I can't use GPL code in my own work, so does that mean its not open source? Trying to classify what arbitrary restrictions can be put on something and have
            • The term "open source" was copped from the intelligence world, where it meant roughly "things you can read in publicly published materials such as a newspaper". There was no implication that there was any copyright license to it.

              Your definition of "open source" was pretty much invented from whole cloth by ESR and OSI as an attempt to counter-balance the FSF's influence in approving licenses; and so that companies like Netscape and Apple could be brought into the fold. Previous to that the term "open source
          • So ... tell me, does an open door mean that you can only see through the door? That it's not possible to actually pass through the door? Open Source means what most people think it means, and most people think that you can not only see the source, but modify it and share it. You keep using hthat word. I do not think it means what you think it means.
            -russ
            • If the open door has a sign saying, "do not enter." Then yes, it's not possible to pass through the door. That would be the wrong thing to do. That doesn't say you cannot see through the door, you just can't go in. Are you saying that an open door with a half dozen locks suddenly is good to go through then? What if the window is broken, does that mean the door is good to go through?

              An open door does not mean an open building.

              Go away or I'll call the brutesquad.

              • I agree with you: some open doors are not invitations to enter. Some are, though. From the cultural context, people understand that some doors you may walk through (e.g. stores) and others you may not (private residences). Thus, you cannot claim that "open source" only means that you may just examine the source. From the cultural context of software, "open source" means all the rights granted by the Open Source Definition. I also agree with you that people may not understand that immediately. Once the
                • Ah, but it is you who are incorrect. Once people truly do look around they realise that your "Open Source" is a very small niche section of an already small group of people that support varying levels of openness and restriction on the release of source code for programmes and operating systems. Your crusade to gain control of a general term for a specific usage is foolhardy and I cannot see any reason why your organisation even bothers to do it.

                  It's like Eric Raymond and his idiotic bazaar/cathedral no

        • "A few nutcases think that open source shouldn't mean anything, or that it should mean everything, or only the things THEY say it means."

          So, by your own definition you are one of those nutcases then? OSI is all about trying to say they get to define what is and is not open source. I don't think the poster you replied to is one of those nutcases, since he thinks open source should mean what the dictionary definition says it does. Source, that is open. Not "whatever the OSI decides suits their agenda",
          • What did I say?? Weren't you paying attention?? I said "We only have the authority that people give us." If we're nutters, then so is just about everybody else. But if you think that everybody else needs psychiatric treatment, chances are that it's YOU who is insane. GASP! What's that over there?

            Also, I said that any authoritative follow-up MUST have an obligatory reference to The Princess Bride, so clearly not even you believe your own posting.
            -russ
            • No, you have the authority of the legal system from registering trademarks. This has nothing to do with what people give you. And trying to say you are right because you feel the majority of people accept your nonsense is retarded. The majority is not always right, in fact they are often very uninformed and dumb.

              And I don't care about your retarded princess bride bullshit. No follow-up is "authoritative", its an opinion. I do believe that you need to see a mental health professional though.
              • The meaning of a word comes from the way people use it. If you use "open source" to mean "flibberty-flobberty", then all of the other people who use it to mean "software distributed under a license that complies with the open source definition" will wonder about your sanity.

                And I don't care about your retarded princess bride bullshit.

                It was a trap for the humorless. You fell into it headfirst.
                -russ
    • If they submit their licenses for approval, please express this opinion on the license-discuss mailing list. Without meaning to differ with you myself, I would note that the earlier /. discussion of this pointed to several terms of the GPL which require the same action. Please remember that terms may have different text, but if they require the same actions, they don't conflict.
      -russ
    • I think those clauses are perfectly reasonable. It basically does not allow for changing the product and distributing it as the original. I am not sure what the GPL world does, but imagine if somebody started distributing sabotaged binaries or source of GNOME and did not notify users that this is not the original source. The OSS world is comfortable because they usually know who is legit for distributing software. This is not the same for the Windows world. A corporation has to protect its interests at
    • That looks a lot like the Perl Artistic license...
    • How about clause 2a of the GPL, "You must cause the modified files to carry prominent notices stating that you changed the files and the date of any change."? That certainly seems to satisfy the first and possibly the second requirements you list (particularly if the original program name is trademarked, as most "big name" open source programs are). Certainly this license is less GPL-incompatible than the licenses of many trumpeted open source projects (Eclipse, Apache...)
    • A software licensed under the GPL does not have to provide notice of any changes made from the original work.

      While section 2a of the GNU GPL requires "the modified files to carry prominent notices stating that you changed the files and the date of any change", this clause (like most of the GPL) only kicks in if you distribute the changed program. Whether you distribute the changed program is entirely optional under the GPL.

      "Notice of any changes or modifications to the Original Work, including the

    • I certainly do not hope that the OSI's requirement for a license is 100% compatibility with the GPL?!?
  • by zappepcs (820751) on Saturday October 22, 2005 @12:03PM (#13852597) Journal
    The frog and the scorpion?
    With much pleading and swearing of oaths of non-agression, a scorpion convinces a frog to take him across a river on the frogs back. As they reach the shore, the scorpion thanks the frog, then promptly stings the frog. As the frog lays dying and twitching, he asks the scorpion why he stung him.

    The scorpion simply replies: I'm a scorpion, what did you expect me to do?

    I really am weary of anything that Microsoft does now. They just got caught with a bad license arrangement for music players!! WTF, I wouldn't trust that scorpion for any amount of money or good will.

    I don't even care if there is no viable business alternative, I'd just like to see Microsoft die and wither! We've seen and suffered their monopolistic business practices long enough. In the words of a fairly well liked First Lady: JUST SAY NO! to Microsoft !!!!
    • I really am weary of anything that Microsoft does now.

      IMHO, you are correct to not trust Microsoft. On the other hand, Microsoft is a big company with lots of conflicting internal opinions. If we constantly expect Microsoft to be evil, they WILL be evil. If we support open source advocates inside Microsoft, they will not have their asses kicked with "We told you those open source advocates were nutjobs; they can't be trusted."

      If you extend an olive branch and it gets bitten off, you know you acted too so
      • Microsoft is a big company with lots of conflicting internal opinions.

        Yes, and unfortunately, the two largest, anti-FOSS opinions are in control of the company, and weild that control with iron, chair-flinging grips.

        Gates has talked about this before: he doesn't believe that he's won unless everybody else has lost, and (as anyone who's ever known him will tell you) he *HAS* to win. Every time.

        I don't expect any real change until the current management is no longer at the helm.
    • The frog and the scorpion? With much pleading and swearing of oaths of non-agression, a scorpion convinces a frog to take him across a river on the frogs back. As they reach the shore, the scorpion thanks the frog, then promptly stings the frog. As the frog lays dying and twitching, he asks the scorpion why he stung him. The scorpion simply replies: I'm a scorpion, what did you expect me to do?

      It's a bit different from the version I knew. In my version, the frog refuse to take the scorpion across the r

    • "I don't even care if there is no viable business alternative, I'd just like to see Microsoft die and wither!"

      I can't resist to ask: Who is the scorpion of your history, and who is the frog?

  • License madness (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Johann (4817) on Saturday October 22, 2005 @12:05PM (#13852609) Homepage
    Why is it necessary for every podunk company to create their own freakin' 'open source' license. There are already many to choose from, just use an existing one? Why reinvent the wheel and make it even more confusing for people to use your lame-ass software.

    People are worried about Linux 'forking' into multiple incompatible systems (like UNIX supposedly did). I'm more worried about the assinine growth in 'OSL-compliant' licenses.

    Can't we all just use the GPL or LGPL?
    • ``Can't we all just use the GPL or LGPL?''

      We could, but there are legitimate reasons for not wanting to do so. Many people view the GPL and the LGPL as too restrictive, because they don't allow the creation of non-free forks (yes, people actually want to allow others to make non-free forks of their software). Other people view the GPL and LGPL as too open, because, for example, they don't require sharing changes that aren't distributed, or because they don't require distinguishing a modified version from an
    • If Microsoft, or anybody else, wants to release its software under its own license, that's their business. And if the license satisfies the OSI's or the FSF's free/open source definitions, that's great. However, I'm not interested in reading more license texts, so I'm going to pass on the software. There are already enough free software licenses out there to satisfy nearly any reasonable requirements.
    • A software license monoculture is even more dangerous than an operating system monoculture.
    • Can't we all just use the GPL or LGPL?

      No. Less restrictive licenses (like the BSD and MIT licenses) and more restrictive licenses (like the one OpenSolaris has) are needed for different purposes. I, for one, like my BSD-licensed operating system, and many other corporations do, too.

  • by Prototerm (762512) on Saturday October 22, 2005 @12:17PM (#13852659)
    Microsoft will shortly announce their introduction of the "Burn FLOSS To The Ground And Salt The Earth Beneath It" License, saying it will make the world safer for convicted antitrust violators everywhere!

    Embrace...Extend...Extinguish
  • Wasn't OSI trying to reduce the number of licenses [zdnet.com]? If the license is modeled on the BSD license, why not use the BSD license? If it's like the MPL, why not use the MPL?
    • The BSD license doesn't have an explicit patent grant. Lawyers argue that it has an implicit license grant, because no sensible person would give with the copyright hand and take away with the patent hand. THe trouble with implicit terms in a license is that you have to rely on the judge having gotten out on the right side of the bed.

      Also, Rishab Ayer Ghosh (an OSI board member) noticed that the Ms-PL requires that source distributions be licensed under the Ms-PL, which the BSD doesn't.

      The MPL is a long,
  • I've been to boring meetings.. But this sounds it would have been quite a boring meeting :) Discussing fine print of GPL and what it does/does not allow you to do.. Must have been a lawyer field day.
    • We actually didn't talk that much about the terms of the license. We pointed out that we want reusable licenses (so it should say Licensor instead of Microsoft). We also pointed out that there's huge amounts of hostility to Microsoft simply because they're Microsoft, and that the licenses would be more widely reused if they followed Sun's model of not naming the license after themselves. You can see that Sun learned their lesson between submitting the SISSL and the CDDL.

      But yeah, licensing minutia can be
  • I could not give a darned what license MS uses for anything. I don't even think about them any longer, they have become totally expendable to me.
  • Does anyone know what applications they are looking at putting under these new licencing models?

    Also the other thing that doesnt make sense, isnt microsoft "worried" about secruity and looking at enhancing their systems by making them stronger secruity wise? Will this not mess up that idea?

    I wonder how many hackers out there going to rub their hands in glee being able to pry their ways around MS code (if you can actully bring yourself through the pain to do so)...

    Or maybe i've lost the plot here .. with ms
  • Doesn't this make Microsoft cool like Apple now?

    Both took BSD & other open technology - both are using it - both only gave back what they legallly had to.

    Wow, Microsoft is now just as cool as Apple in the Open Source World, so now will we see free ads for Microsoft's products like we do Apple, and a big microsoft.slashdot.com page?

    I knew Microsoft would become as cool as Apple by cheating the open source world just like Apple, now lets get behind them like we have Apple...

    Woo Hoo - Go Microosft!

    Hypocrit
    • both only gave back what they legallly had to

      Apple didn't have to give anything back to *BSD (the nature of the license). They did. Maybe they had to give something back to KHTML / Konqueror. They did and did more.
      • Apple didn't have to give anything back to *BSD (the nature of the license). They did. Maybe they had to give something back to KHTML / Konqueror. They did and did more.

        And how much intellectual credibility would you be willing to bet on this?
  • Only the beast in Redmond would introduce a concept -- that you need a *license* to do something, we were all taught since kindergarden, that we should do gratuitously.

  • Thankfully we have the GNU foundation who understand the concepts of freedom and the idealogy of the movement, not just a group who 'approve' that a license is officially a certain buzzword.

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