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OSI Approves Microsoft Ms-PL and Ms-RL 301

Posted by kdawson
from the left-hand-right-hand dept.
Russ Nelson writes "In a board meeting held October 10th and announced today, the Open Source Initiative approved two of Microsoft's software licenses: the Microsoft Reciprocal License and the Microsoft Public License. These licenses are refreshingly short and clean, compared to, say, the GPLv3 and the Sun CDDL. They share a patent peace clause, a no-trademark-license clause, and they differ only in the essential clause of reciprocation. Of course, Microsoft is not widely trusted in the Open Source world, and their motives have been called into question during the approval discussions. How can they be attacking Open Source projects on one hand, and seeking not only to use open source methods, but even to use the OSI Approved Open Source trademark? Nobody knows for sure except Microsoft. But if you are confident that Open Source is the best way to develop software (as we at the Open Source Initiative are), then you can see why Microsoft would both attack Open Source and seek to use it. It is both their enemy and their salvation."
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OSI Approves Microsoft Ms-PL and Ms-RL

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  • by network23 (802733) * on Tuesday October 16, 2007 @07:51PM (#21003777) Journal

    Captain James T. Kirk: They're animals.
    Captain Spock: Jim, there is an historic opportunity here.
    Captain James T. Kirk: Don't believe them. Don't trust them.
    Captain Spock: They're dying.
    Captain James T. Kirk: Let them die!

  • easy answer (Score:5, Insightful)

    by geekoid (135745) <dadinportlandNO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Tuesday October 16, 2007 @07:52PM (#21003791) Homepage Journal
    "How can they be attacking Open Source projects on one hand, and seeking not only to use open source methods, but even to use the OSI Approved Open Source trademark?"

    Extend, embrace.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by adminstring (608310)
      For those who don't recognize the reference, here's a Wikipedia article on Embrace, Extend, and Extinguish [wikipedia.org].
      • Re:easy answer (Score:5, Interesting)

        by GPL Apostate (1138631) on Tuesday October 16, 2007 @10:03PM (#21004959)
        The GNU project has tended to embrace and extend things. Not to the point of extinguishing them (except for classic UNIX, to a large degree.) But many people write shell scripts that traditionally run under /bin/sh but include bash extensions that make it impossible to run them under regular /bin/sh on other systems. The GCC contains extensions that don't deprecate and aren't flagged when the -pedantic switch is set. As a consequence C code is written that won't compile on other than GCC, and the developers aren't even made aware of this. The codebase slowly becomes GCC compilable only. All of this can be researched by anybody interested enough to look into it. The GNU project is an extend/embrace/extinguish operation, much like Microsoft.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by jamesh (87723)
          Probably the exception that proves the rule, but I believe you can compile Bacula under MSVisualC, and MinGW (compile for Windows under Windows or Linux)

          Also, all the Xen 'public' headers I have used so far under Windows compile under the WDK provided compiler with about two extra #defines required.
        • The GNU project has tended to embrace and extend things. Not to the point of extinguishing them.

          Yeah, like almost any project that implements a standard. At some point they will add something... Ok...

          The GNU project is an extend/embrace/extinguish operation, much like Microsoft

          And now you contradict yourself in your conclusion. Anyway, if you want to avoid compiler dependency *you* should be testing on more than one from the start. Anyone who knows to complain about compiler portability should know th

        • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Wednesday October 17, 2007 @02:45AM (#21006785) Journal

          GCC and Bash are opensource, you can get them to run on ANYTHING you bloody well want too. So if you want to use code that only compiles under gcc then all you need to do is get gcc to work on your system. Have you checked how many systems gcc works on? Go ahead, I will wait. Wow, long list eh?

          Now compare this with closed source, lets say C#, how many systems does MS compiler run on? Oh, only windows. Wow that was quick.

          Same with their IE, it ain't the problem that IE does things differently, it is that nobody really knows and can't copy that behaviour. THe problem ain't that IE does things differently as such, it is that they don't publish how to do it, so everybody else is left with browsers that run their "enhancements" slightly differently and end up with messed up pages.

          All your post has done is to show WHY opensource is so essential. Frankly if this is the best attack you can muster against GNU, then we can sit back and relax, we won.

        • Re:easy answer (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Bert64 (520050) <bert@@@slashdot...firenzee...com> on Wednesday October 17, 2007 @04:55AM (#21007511) Homepage
          The difference is that GNU publishes their work, so while they extend other people's work it's usually to make improvements, and the improvements are always out in the open for other people to adopt.
          If your compiler won't compile something but gcc will, you can easily work out what the gcc-specific extensions do either from documentation or source code, and implement them yourself.
          By contrast, microsoft often keep as much detail about their extensions private as they can, to make it difficult for anyone else to implement.
          Aside from that, gcc places far less other restrictions on you than microsoft products, you can run gcc on almost any platform, you can install it on as many systems as you want for no cost, you can modify it to suit your needs, you can redistribute it with very few restrictions.
        • GCC then and now (Score:4, Informative)

          by Per Abrahamsen (1397) on Wednesday October 17, 2007 @09:40AM (#21009499) Homepage
          Back when GCC was managed by RMS, he liked adding "convenient" extensions to the language. One of the reasons was to "tie" the programs to GCC as you describe.

          The current maintainers have quite a different view on them, they only add extensions for things that can't be expressed in the language (mostly stuff close to hardware, or sometimes optimization hints), and they give them __unwieldy_names__. And they are slowly removing the convenience features.

          If you don't get a warning from an extension (rather than a "quality of implementation" issue) with -ansi -pedantic it is a bug.

          There probably are such bugs (GCC is big and complex, and there are stuff in the language that can't really be tested) but I guess you can't actually mention any, since you are most likely just a troll making stuff up as you go. So I challenge you to mention one such issue that can not be found in the bug database to prove you are not a troll. And if you can mention two such issues, I'm willing to believe that you are not a kook either. In either case, please submit a bug report when done :-)

    • Re:easy answer (Score:5, Interesting)

      by CastrTroy (595695) on Tuesday October 16, 2007 @08:51PM (#21004319) Homepage
      Same way Sony can tell people that even copying a CD for use on a personal MP3 player is pirating, while at the same time selling VAIO computers that rip CDs, and portable music players that come with software that helps you rip CDs, as well as selling CD burners, and blank disks to copy CDs onto. They are such a big company, that the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing. What's good for one department isn't always good for another department, and sometimes the needs of different departments within the same organization clash.
    • Re:easy answer (Score:5, Insightful)

      by dunng808 (448849) <[moc.ahola] [ta] [pso]> on Tuesday October 16, 2007 @09:19PM (#21004561) Homepage Journal
      Microsoft wants all FOSS to be developed for Windows. And Office. As long as it does not compete with their products. Next comes the extend piece, in which they fiddle with someone's creative effort just enough to come up with something they can protect, like how they did with kerberos and ldap. Free development for their profit.
    • M$ licenses are simple because they are a lie. They don't have any intention to do anything but what they've always done: suck up your work and and screw you in court, the market place and public opinion.

      The GPL is like good science, no more complicated than it must be for it's purpose. The goal of science is to understand truth. The goal of the GPL it to protect user freedom. If M$'s license is simpler than the GPL it's because they have other purposes for their licenses.

    • It's about patents (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      This is a way for MS to get some amunition against patent litigition. Just release the next Windows SDK with some core code licensed under the new MS-PL, make a huge "MS now Open Source" new splash, and wait until the first company that has a Windows product tries to sue them for patent infringement and welcome them with a big fat grin.

      From the license:
      (B) 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
    • But if you are confident that Open Source is the best way to develop software (as we at the Open Source Initiative are), then you can see why Microsoft would both attack Open Source and seek to use it.

      Legal immunity. In a legal battle the carnage of the ex-Windows programs would be the end of Microsoft. They don't dare enter battle. It's like the global nuke arms race. They don't dare pull the trigger as the destruction to themselves would be swift and complete.

      They are getting a little body armor out o
  • Not OSL. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) * <whineymacfanboy@gmail.com> on Tuesday October 16, 2007 @07:54PM (#21003813) Homepage Journal
    I can't see how a license that governs use rather than distribution can be considered open source.

    I'm dissapointed in the OSI.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I can't see how a license that governs use rather than distribution can be considered open source.

      You mean like GPLv3? "You can't use this code to build a TiVo." (My paraphrase.)
      • Re:Not OSL. (Score:4, Informative)

        by Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) * <whineymacfanboy@gmail.com> on Tuesday October 16, 2007 @08:09PM (#21003969) Homepage Journal
        You can use GPLd (any version) software to build anything you like. The license doesn't come into play until you distribute the software.

        Why do people find this so hard to understand? Its a simple concept.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          "You can use GPLd (any version) software to build anything you like. The license doesn't come into play until you distribute the software.
          Why do people find this so hard to understand? "


          Because GPL is overly complicated.
          As said by Russ Nelson (quoting him from the summary): "These [Microsoft's] licenses are refreshingly short and clean, compared to, say, the GPLv3 and the Sun CDDL.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by swillden (191260) *

        "You can't use this code to build a TiVo." (My paraphrase.)

        s/paraphrase/misstatement/

        GPLv3 does not restrict anyone from using covered code to build a TiVo.

        It does, however, refuse to grant permission to distribute such code in a TiVo.

    • by pavon (30274) on Tuesday October 16, 2007 @08:49PM (#21004291)
      From the Apache License [opensource.org]

      TERMS AND CONDITIONS FOR USE, REPRODUCTION, AND DISTRIBUTION
      1. Definitions.
      "License" shall mean the terms and conditions for use, reproduction, and distribution as defined by Sections 1 through 9 of this document.
      Not only is this license approved by the OSI as open source, it is also considered to be a Free Software License by the FSF and is even compatible with GPLv3.
      • Yes, but the apache license puts no conditions on use, just grants extra rights(ie to patents held by Apache developers).

        The MS licenses puts conditions on use - for instance, granting MS permission to use your patents.
        • by leoxx (992)
          How is the parent post a troll? If the moderators disagree with what the guy is saying, they should post, not hide and snipe cowardly using moderator points.
        • by pavon (30274) on Wednesday October 17, 2007 @12:00AM (#21005879)

          The MS licenses puts conditions on use - for instance, granting MS permission to use your patents.
          I'm not seeing that. Section 2B states that each contributor to grants access to any patents relevent to his contribution. However, that only applies to recipients of the software, and thus is irrelevant until you distribute your modified version. Furthermore, if you are simply a user, not a contributor, then you are not granting patent license to anyone. Lastly, even when you contribute and distribute, the patent license is only relevent to your contribution and derivative works thereof - not to unrelated projects that Microsoft may develop.

          Now that you got me thinking though, Section 3B may be a restriction on use, and can apply even if you don't distribute the work. However, one could argue that if you are suing someone about a patent, it is because you don't consider it to be valid. Thus you aren't forced to stop using the software, and if you win the court case you will have done nothing illegal by continuing to use it. Furthermore, recent supreme court rulings state that continuing to allegedly infringe upon a patent while you are challenging it is not grounds for willfull infringement. Regardless section 3B is practically identical to the patent litigation clause in section 3 of the Apache License (v2).

          Granted, the wording of the introduction to the MS license(s) is much more forcefull than the Apache License, and its similarity to an EULA did give me pause at first. But after reading it, I don't think it restricts use anymore that the Apache License (if at all). If you are simply using the software, then the license merely requires you to agree to not distribute contrary to the license, which you aren't doing anyway. If you are going to redistribute it, what difference does it make whether you agree to follow the license when you start using it or when you start distributing it?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by molo (94384)
      I think one of the most stringent set of license requirements in the community is the Debian Free Software Guidelines [debian.org]. After reading the MS-PL and MS-RL, it seems that it would meet the DFSG. I'm sure there will immenently be debate on the debian-legal list where this will be hashed out in much more depth. If both OSI and Debian accept the license, I'm pretty sure it will be safe to use, modify and distribute software under this license.

      -molo
    • The patent rights go away (and you lose the right to *use* the software) if you breech the license.

      THat is one thing I really like about the GPL v2 :-)
  • by pembo13 (770295) on Tuesday October 16, 2007 @07:55PM (#21003831) Homepage
    This is going to be quite interesting to see. One can hope that good things will come of this, but I honestly don't see it. Luckily, I'm not in a position whereby my mistrust will affect the outcome negatively.
  • How? Simple (Score:4, Insightful)

    by suv4x4 (956391) on Tuesday October 16, 2007 @07:57PM (#21003845)
    How can they be attacking Open Source projects on one hand, and seeking not only to use open source methods, but even to use the OSI Approved Open Source trademark? Nobody knows for sure except Microsoft.

    They have more than one bit in their brains to make decisions. Hence "open source" is not a knee jerk reaction to them, in a way that "Microsoft" is a knee jerk reaction to certain people in the community.

    Open Source is a model, it's a tool, to achieve a purpose. A serious company doesn't shy to use the tools at its disposal, even if some simpler folk might find this contradictory upon first sight.
    • A serious company doesn't shy to use the tools at its disposal, even if some simpler folk might find this contradictory upon first sight.

      It's the strategy behind them picking it up now that has us wondering.

      I have no problem with someone learning to use a hammer. I DO have a problem with it if the only reason they're learning to use a hammer is to beat me senseless with it.

      • by Kristoph (242780)
        It's not a 'someone'. Microsoft has 80k employees. No doubt some of them would like to use any tool (even a chair) to beat you senseless and some who no doubt would share their source with you without a second though. The fact that Microsoft has enabled the latter is, at least somewhat, commendable.

        ]{
        • Re:How? Simple (Score:4, Interesting)

          by UncleTogie (1004853) * on Tuesday October 16, 2007 @08:58PM (#21004393) Homepage Journal

          It's not a 'someone'. Microsoft has 80k employees. No doubt some of them would like to use any tool (even a chair) to beat you senseless and some who no doubt would share their source with you without a second though. The fact that Microsoft has enabled the latter is, at least somewhat, commendable.

          Dang literalists. /me sighs. Fine. Take 2, for Skippy here.
          Old and broke:

          I have no problem with someone learning to use a hammer. I DO have a problem with it if the only reason they're learning to use a hammer is to beat me senseless with it.

          New hotness:

          It's {arguably} laudable that Microsoft would create these licenses. However, given their present demeanor towards FOSS, the timing of such work in this area could be construed as somewhat suspect.

          Howzat?

    • Open Source is a model, it's a tool, to achieve a purpose.

      It's also a difficult competitor they'd like to destroy.

      Those of us familiar with decades of Microsoft dirty tricks have good reason to be suspicious of their motives.

  • by RelliK (4466) on Tuesday October 16, 2007 @08:06PM (#21003933)
    The "license" states in bold letters:

    This license governs use of the accompanying software. If you use the software, you accept this license. If you do not accept the license, do not use the software.

    This is contrary to any Open Source license I know of. The whole point of Open Source is that you can use the software in any way you want. You have to agree to the license only when you distribute. Microsoft is attempting to subvert OSI, just like it has already subverted ISO.

    • by ianare (1132971) on Tuesday October 16, 2007 @08:26PM (#21004091)

      This is contrary to any Open Source license I know of.
      There are at least 2 that explicitly say that .. Common Public License [opensource.org], Eclipse Public License [opensource.org]
    • by OmegaBlac (752432) on Tuesday October 16, 2007 @08:29PM (#21004119)

      This is contrary to any Open Source license I know of. The whole point of Open Source is that you can use the software in any way you want. You have to agree to the license only when you distribute. Microsoft is attempting to subvert OSI, just like it has already subverted ISO.
      You may be confusing Open Source with Free Software [gnu.org]. Free Software guarantees the freedom for the user to use the software in any way they feel--Open Source does not. At least Open Source in the sense that I know it, does not guarantee that particular freedom [gnu.org] and is the reason Microsoft can push supposed open source licensees that restrict user freedom.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by dedazo (737510)

        and is the reason Microsoft can push supposed open source licensees that restrict user freedom.

        As opposed to the FSF pushing licenses that restrict developer freedom?

        • by pembo13 (770295)
          I hope you aren't too stupid to see the difference between a user and a developer.
      • by novakyu (636495)
        This is why rms is mostly right about free software being better than "open source" software.

        Because "open source" software licenses don't guarantee certain freedoms, while they may have some commercial value (precisely because it allows companies to restrict their users' freedom), for people who care about freedom---freedom of use, freedom to modify and improve, and freedom to help others---free software is much better than "open source" software.
      • Interestingly the OSI's Open Source Definition is derived from an attempt to define the FSF's 4 freedoms.

        The lineage goes from the FSF to Debian (and the Debian Free Software Guidelines) to the OSI's Open Source Definition (which were mostly copied from the DFSG).

        If you read the MS-Reciprical License and the MS-PL, you will see that they don't provide any restrictions on use, so this distinction doesn't really matter anyway.
      • by einhverfr (238914) <chris.travers@gmail. c o m> on Tuesday October 16, 2007 @11:12PM (#21005505) Homepage Journal
        isn not exactly the paragon of Freedom as in Free Speech either. As much as Debian may be a dysfunctional democracy, they are better at consistantly addressing this issue than the FSF.

        Ever wonder why the GFDL has the invariant sections clause? According to Stallman himself (in a post to debian-legal), it was because he wanted to *force* the distribution of the GNU Manifesto with the Emacs manual. This essentially turns the ideal of free speech on its head by creating a situation where forced advocacy is accepted. When the then-main-architect of HURD criticized the decision, Stallman asked him to resign. If this is the sort of Stallmanist "Free Speech" we are to associate with Free Software, I want nothing to do with it.

        Debian did the right thing and to this day considers any GFDL work containing invariant sections to be non-Free.

        Note that I am not a Debina Developer, and I think that at the end we should think for ourselves and not be groupies of RMS or anyone else.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by noidentity (188756)
      Really. Other open-source licenses work within the realm of copyright, allow things that copyright restricts by default. This, on the other hand, is more of a contract, adding restrictions well beyond the realm of copyright. End-users have never even been the subject of open-source licenses, just distributors/authors.
      • by droopycom (470921)


        I dont see anything in this license that would restrict you to use it as you see fit. Granted you have to accept the license before you use, but I have no problem with that if what i have to agree to amount to nothing unless I distribute...
  • by Jay Maynard (54798) on Tuesday October 16, 2007 @08:08PM (#21003953) Homepage
    The Ms-PL looks basically like the same terms as the BSD/MIT license with a patent peace clause, and the Ms-RL looks like the same thing with a Mozilla PL-like reciprocal clause. Neither one looks like the GPL. That's an unalloyed good thing.
    • by jhantin (252660)
      I haven't looked at the reciprocal one, but as I see it the difference between MS-PL and other open source licenses is that MS-PL is written to maximize link-compatibility rather than copy-paste-compatibility.
    • by HiThere (15173)
      1) If the license is substantially the same as one that's already approved, there's no reason to approve it. One of the functions of OSI was to reduce the number of licenses one had to consider.

      2) This license was written by MS lawyers. It may look innocuous, but that doesn't mean that a court would find it so. IANAL, so I don't accept that lawyers working for someone else have my best interests at heart, and I also don't presume that a court would interpret clear English in the same way that I would.

      3)
      • by nelsonrn (2165) on Tuesday October 16, 2007 @11:04PM (#21005457) Homepage
        1) These licenses aren't substantially the same.

        2) There's a risk in writing a succinct license in that you might not cover each and every case in detail. Yes, by being so succinct, Microsoft is taking a risk that the judge might not accept the facial meaning of each clause.

        3) Among other things, they're short and readable. Specifically, they don't name a jurisdiction. This is VERY GOOD for international projects. How would you like to have to sue somebody in Santa Clara simply because you contributed to an MPL-licensed code and they infringed it?

        4) Why do you think you can't trust us? If you think the licenses don't comply with the Open Source Definition, you should say exactly why, rather than attempt to raise FUD. As postmaster@opensource.org I can definitively state that your email address above is not on the license-discuss mailing list -- if you don't participate in the process, why should anybody believe your criticism of the result?
  • by DamnStupidElf (649844) <Fingolfin@linuxmail.org> on Tuesday October 16, 2007 @08:09PM (#21003967)
    Microsoft is a marketing company. They would much rather have Microsft Reciprocal Licensed Linux VistaXP Edition than GNU-Linux. They can always sell their branded products to clueless managers while scaring them with patent threats against the other guys.

    Microsoft is also a follower. They typically are behind the bleeding edge of technology but always attempt to buy up as much as possible and claim they "innovated" it. Microsoft research is a big exception, and I wouldn't doubt that it's people from Microsoft Research driving the new licenses as well.

    Microsoft is also not entirely stupid; they intend to attract developers with their licenses not to release any Microsoft products under them, but to bring open source development onto Microsoft platforms. That, ultimately, is a war that open source can only win by having a fundamentally better product. If Microsoft opens its documentation and internals to developers, most of them will see fewer advantages in pure open source/free software systems. All Microsoft has to do to keep making money is keep Windows shipping on every PC shipped in the world. Even if they're forced by the market to open source all of Windows, they will still own the trademarks (and patents) and probably still ship Windows on a significant number of PCs. Most home users don't give a shit what they run and will happily buy Microsoft, especially if their formerly Linux-enthusiast friends now see Microsoft as an open source company.

    In the end, cooperation really is the goal of free software/open source anyway. Destroying Microsoft would be a net loss for everyone. Microsoft slowly converting to an open/free development model is a scenario in which everyone wins. Who will care if they run Linux or Windows if both support Posix and Win32 environments using the best elements from each kernel? To be honest I don't think this is very likely; it's much more likely that the Next Big Thing will push the operating system question into the realm of questions like which general purpose sorting algorithm is the best.
    • by monopole (44023)
      What is best in life?

      In the end, cooperation really is the goal of free software/open source anyway. Destroying Microsoft would be a net loss for everyone. Microsoft slowly converting to an open/free development model is a scenario in which everyone wins.

      Wrong! Conan, what is best in life?

      To crush your enemies, to see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentations of their women.
  • by nick_davison (217681) on Tuesday October 16, 2007 @08:19PM (#21004049)

    How can they be attacking Open Source projects on one hand, and seeking not only to use open source methods, but even to use the OSI Approved Open Source trademark?
    How can Americans be refusing to sign up to Kyoto on one hand and winning Nobel prizes on the other? Probably because Bush isn't Gore and Gore isn't Bush. When it comes to human rights abuses, the administration can be winking when telling people not to do anything bad and yet you can still have a general who comes down like a ton of bricks on any soldier who even begins to act out of line because he feels another path makes more sense in the long run.

    If many of the old guard senior execs feel one way - and a newer junior VP who has his senior VP's protection feels another - then it's entirely possible for two parts of a large organization to act in two apparently conflicting ways.

    That's simply the nature of large organizations. Once you clear a certain size, you can't have every decision cross your CEO's desk or they'll get nothing done.
    • by JonathanR (852748)

      Once you clear a certain size, you can't have every decision cross your CEO's desk or they'll get nothing done.
      I would have though that the CEO is responsible for publishing and implementing corporate policy. This seems to be somewhat related to a corporate policy issue. Confusing your customer base with apparently conflicting business values can't be good for the business in the longer term.
  • "... the list of OSI-compatible licenses."

    Why trim, when you can grow!

  • Attribution clause (Score:4, Informative)

    by blackorzar (954183) on Tuesday October 16, 2007 @08:35PM (#21004177)
    It's interesting the attribution clause included on these licenses. We have many discussions about how manage attribution on open source projects. CPAL (https://www.socialtext.net/open/index.cgi?cpal) license gave us some points to consider when talking about attribution. This license allows you to put a limited attribution on the software "copyright notice, short phrase (10 words), graphic image and URL." GPL 3 has it's own clause on attribution resources (see clause 7) The way Ms-RL Ms-PL describes how attribution will be managed has another aproach from the previous licenses: They require you to respect any attribution notices that the original work has. So here we have an OSI approved license which can be used to preserve all your attribution notices...
  • by hasbeard (982620) on Tuesday October 16, 2007 @08:36PM (#21004181)
    does anyone have any guesses as to what software/code they will be willing to release under these terms?
    • by cwsulliv (522390) *
      Notepad.
    • by tangent3 (449222)
      Probably something that is currently BSD licensed.
    • by Nimey (114278)
      Slashbots: MICROSOFT BOB! CLIPPY!

      It'd be neat if they released the source of MS-DOS 6.22; it might give the FreeDOS people some help. Maybe their old DOS compilers (masm, whatever their C compiler was).

      Xenix? Probably have to wait until SCO is finally dismantled, but it might be interesting.
    • by einhverfr (238914)
      Microsoft already has a few projets under these licenses. The Sharepoint Learning Toolkit (or whatever it is called) is under the MS Reciprocal License. The ASP.Net Ajax Control Kit, and so forth.

      So yes, they have already been using these licenses.

      They have also released works under other licneses (WiX, under the CPL, for example).
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      IronPython, IronRuby, .NET's Dynamic Runtime Library (DLR) (used by .NET and Silverlight) are among the code that Microsoft has already released under Ms-PL.
  • definitions (Score:3, Interesting)

    by niteice (793961) <icefragment@gmail.com> on Tuesday October 16, 2007 @08:46PM (#21004263) Journal
    Ms-PL: BSD-like
    Ms-RL: GPL(2?)-like

    It'll be interesting to see what the FSF has to say on these.
    • by einhverfr (238914)
      MS-RL is more like the MPL than the GPL v2. There is only limited compatibility between either of these licenses and the GPL v2, and bigger issues with the GPL v3.
  • If I ever become a pornographer I will distribute all my content under the Ms-PL or Ms-RL.
  • Trademark Obscurity of "Open" "Open Source" "Open Standards" ... allows capitalist (L/FOSS-services/products-M$...) market competitors to take unfair advantage of market reputation which is indicated by the "Open" Trademark.

    M$, OSI ... others are diluting the very well recognized International Trademark value of "Open" which rightfully belongs to a core business model which promotes "Open" IPR (among many other things) in support of a global service industry, innovation, competition, and "Open" markets. The
    • Format Standards Committee "Grinds To a Halt"
      http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/10/16/207205&from=rss [slashdot.org]

      Posted by kdawson on 2007.10.16 16:42 Not a single ballot has passed since the OOXML vote closed. In the chairman's words, the committee has 'ground to a halt.' Sad to say, there's no end in sight for this (formerly) very busy and influential standards committee."

      The M$ and global corporatist (not capitalist) intent is Kill "Open" AFAP (As Fast As Possible, AKA: AFAFP)!
    • by einhverfr (238914)

      Trademark Obscurity of "Open" "Open Source" "Open Standards"

      Microsoft may be guilty of trademark obscurity, but do any of these have any real trademarks attached as relate to software? (Excluding Amex's trademark on "Open").

      "Open Source" is somethng the OSI wants to try to suggest they can enforce but it has 10 years or so of generic use now and given that only a tiny fraction of open source licenses are OSI-approved, I somehow doubt that one couldn't argue well that the trademark had been diluted to the point of being worthless. IANAL, though.

      Open Standards is c

  • by pyrbrand (939860) on Tuesday October 16, 2007 @09:24PM (#21004619)

    How can they be attacking Open Source projects on one hand, and seeking not only to use open source methods, but even to use the OSI Approved Open Source trademark?
    This is because Microsoft is not a person, it is a corporation which is a legal fiction enabling a company to be treated as a single legal entity. In reality, Microsoft is ~100,000 people who have their own ideas, ambitions and goals. As an employee, I think my ideas of what I want to do vary significantly based on the number of levels I have to go up to find a common manager with someone else in the company.
  • by droopycom (470921) on Tuesday October 16, 2007 @09:27PM (#21004637)

    How can they be attacking Open Source projects on one hand, and seeking not only to use open source methods, but even to use the OSI Approved Open Source trademark? Nobody knows for sure except Microsoft.
    No, not even Microsoft itself... MSFT is a huge corporation. Nobody, not even Ballmer and Gates controls or dictates fully the company actions. Many people inside the company might have different motives to push for OSI. Maybe some push it because they (in some way) believe in open source. Maybe some push it because they just want to give MSFT a better image. Maybe some think its a way to fight open source. Probably some other though it is a bad idea...
    • Nobody, not even Ballmer and Gates controls or dictates fully the company actions

      At the micro level you're correct, but Open Source strategy and OSI are pretty macro-level issues and Ballmer should be fully aware of what that strategy is. If someone has acted on their own accord, then expect them to be confused with a chair and thrown around a bit. If Ballmer truely is clueless about this then that is gross mismanagement on his part and you can expect a lynching at the next shareholder's meeting.

  • From a practical point of view, a license that isn't compatible with some version of the GPL causes problems. Did OSI really need to approve two new licenses that seem deliberately designed to be incompatible with any version of the GPL?

  • Closed Source is best if you are a software shop trying to make a profit.

    Open Source is good if you are a student, or if you are a company that develops software to fulfill business needs, then other companies can join in on the development, adding the features they need.
    • by Dwedit (232252)
      No, open source means the companies can steal whatever they want, then not have to give anything back if they do not distribute the binaries to the public.
  • ...is that they are hedging multiple possibilities. If they can in the future use the licenses to cause confusion about motives, or because they have a bigger legal sleight of hand on their mind, I will not speculate. But I do think these are calculated, I do think questions about the motivation is valid, and in the end, if the licenses meet spec, they meet spec.
  • by m2943 (1140797) on Wednesday October 17, 2007 @01:44AM (#21006487)
    The FSF and other organization writing open source licenses don't deliberately complicate licenses. The reason their licenses are long is because the legal environment is complex and there are a lot of cases they need to cover.

    You may prefer a "refreshingly short and clean" library, but only until you have a disturbingly lengthy and messy debate with a lawyer or a court about what the intent and meaning of that license is and the court decides that people could reasonably interpret the license differently from the way you intended. The appearance of simplicity and actual simplicity are two different things, in licenses as much as in software.

    I think it's unlikely that Microsoft's licenses contain a deliberate legal backdoor. And OSI approval is a good first step. But those licenses are unproven in practice, have no history behind them, and haven't been analyzed carefully by a lot of people. Maybe they'll eventually turn out to be reasonable and sound, but for now, I'd stick with one of the proven open source licenses.
  • by JetScootr (319545) on Wednesday October 17, 2007 @06:33AM (#21007987) Journal
    The license reads "This license governs USE of the accompanying software. If you USE the software, you accept this license. If you do not accept the license, do not USE the software."
    This limits non-copyright rights by tying usage to acceptance of the copyright and patent right parts of the license. I wouldn't use it for that reason alone.
    Here's an example: Ms-PL Product A is a flower shop management tool. OL (Other License) Product B is my solely-developed tool that controls plastic forming robots in my flowerpot factory. There's no code commonality between them, including no shared patent technology.
    I don't add ANYTHING AT ALL to product A, but I use it and sell it to my customers. MS finds a way to apply product B's patented tech to product A. So MS steals product B's patented tech, and adds it to product A. I sue MS for infringing Product B's patents. MS automatically has the right to countersue me for ALL of MS's patents in product A and any A-derived product, including legal MS patents I'm otherwise in compliance with. I can't just stick to the pre-infringement version of product A; I must use a version of product A that has NO MS technology in it either, or not use product A at all.
    This allows MS to shut down competitors whose only "violation" against MS's legal patents is a dispute over the competitor's patents in other products. This multiplies the patent snarl that's already threatening the industry.
    Furthermore,"2. Grant of Rights (B) Patent Grant-... each contributor grants you a...license..to ... use, sell, offer for sale, ...contribution in the software or derivative works of the contribution in the software.
    .... 3. Conditions and Limitations (B) 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."
    It also seems to mean that anywhere a patent goes, this license applies.
    If MS takes its legally patented tech from product A and adds it to product C, then the patent snarl described above will also deprive you of product C. A few carefully crafted patents, spread around like paint, and MS destroys all competitors once and for all.

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