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Microsoft "Bans" Use Of GPL Code 352

iceT sent us a link to an article about Microsoft banning the GPL from be used w/ their Mobile Internet Tools beta. It's kinda tricky, but the article is really interesting (except I still don't really know what code I would get w/ the mobile internet tools beta). They specifically ban several Open Source licenses from being used with the toolkit. Update 1.5h later by J : Yes, we know we ran this a little while back but there are good quotes from NuSphere and Ximian in today's piece. C'mon, don't you want to read them?
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Microsoft "Bans" use of GPL Code

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  • They cite in the workding that they ban perl. Now Windows Services for UNIX 2.0 SHIPS with ActivePerl... Hrmm... how can they expect their developers to omply with things they they themselves dont comply with... Is this just another attempt to make people use ASP?
  • Are you kidding? It's not an End User License Agreement. Anyone can _use_ GPLed stuff without a thought to the GPL. It is a _developer_ agreement, authorising not simply use, but re-hacking and redistribution. _User_ agreements don't give you the right to reprogram the damn app and start giving it out!
  • I don't think the GPL is anti-big-business. It feels that way to some people, and they see "Hey, Microsoft can't use my code, so neener neener neener!"

    You're not looking at the big picture. Microsoft can afford to ignore your code and write their own. The people who the BSD license helps are the little guys -- NFR, Network Appliance, a billion countless little startups--because they need the BSD license to protect their ideas from people like Microsoft.

    Look at IBM using the GPL for JFS and tell me that the GPL is anti-big-business.... of course it's not.

  • That's precisely what they're trying to do. They're trying to maninpulate public opinion. You bet they're trying to shape public policy. Now, they're explicitly forbidding developers to USE tools developed under certain licences.

    The headline is only accurate.

    If that's going to raise a ruckus, that's not really the fault of the messenger.

  • NoNoNo..

    while (!NewsFactory->ListNewStories()) {
    NewsStory *newStory;
    newStory = NewsArchive->GetArchivedStory((rand()%6);
  • If I was in a closed source shop, and I *AM*, BTW, I'd look at the licence. If LGPL, I'm all fine. If it WASN'T LGPL, I would then zot an email off to the author asking if we could licence the library under the LGPL, instead..

    Most library developers suddenly find that they MEANT to release under the LGPL, which just makes sense.. 8-)
  • This licence goes beyond this. This licence actually states you cannot use even open software DEVELOPMENT TOOLS. If you read really, REALLY deep, it states a whole lot more. It limits you to use *ONLY MICROSOFT* stuff in able to use it, and in the process, actually breaks it's own licence agreement.. 8-)
  • There are many other reactive gasses in the atmosphere, beyond oxygen. Ergo, oxygen does not have a monopoly on breathable gasses.

    IMHO, I'd go a little further than you do. Microsoft have 95% of the desktop market. Existing customers return to buying Microsoft, to the almost total exclusion of anything else. Further, new customers buy Microsoft, because there is no practical alternative, from their standpoint.

    A monopoly is NOT 100%, as you correctly point out. A monopoly is a large enough majority that the organization, in effect, becomes the market. The two become synonymous. The number of alternatives, their market scope, etc, become irrelevent.

    An example of monopolistic practices is to make a change in some standard X, knowing that that same change will break all competitors versions, and that those competitors have NO alternative but to pay the organization for the rights to that change.

    (If the organization has 99% of the market, but are seen as has-beens, nobody would care. If the organization has 1% of the market, and are seen as red-hot, the change'll be "acquired" by brute force. IF AND ONLY IF the organization has a dominant share so large, that all competitors combined cannot oppose it, AND that organization has enough vitality (good, evil or green), for the modifications to be seen as changing the market in a permanent way, THEN you have monopoly power.)

  • by jd ( 1658 ) <> on Monday July 02, 2001 @12:43PM (#112775) Homepage Journal
    Doesn't this violate all the anti-trust laws, they were recently held to have broken, by the appeals court?

    By prohibiting the bundling of GPLed (or other Open Source'd) tools, they're entering exactly the same kind of deal they tried to pull with OEMs - and got their fingers burned on.

    They aren't ALLOWED to have exclusionary contracts. It's Against The Law! It's very simple, very straight-forward, and does not require any kind of genius to understand.

    Yet they persist in breaking the SAME law they have already been tried and convicted for breaking, by the District Judge, which was then upheld 100% by the appeals court.

    I'm not a lawyer, but I know that there is a term "Contempt of Court". It's probably not applicable, in the legal sense, but I can't think of a single more fitting example of exactly that. Contempt of the Court, of the legal system, of the judgements, and of everything else.

    I doubt this will happen, but IMHO, repeat violations of an offence, whilst effectively on probation during the appeals process, should be grounds enough to have the entire Microsoft board of directors slapped in irons.

  • Yahoo doesn't equal "market share." The fact of the matter is that FreeBSD, for all of it's many benefits, has something like an order of magnitude less installations than Linux. This doesn't make FreeBSD a bad OS, but it isn't nearly as popular as Linux (which is what market share measures).

    Miguel is essentially right. There are no legal reasons why Microsoft couldn't release their software for Linux. Plenty of companies produce commercial software for Linux, and I don't see them handing out source code.

    Microsoft chose FreeBSD because it isn't popular enough to really be a threat to Windows (yet). Not that their software is really going to be much of a gift. It is nothing more than a watered down implementation of their new language and runtime. Not only is it lacking the Forms and Database layers, but it is also missing the so-called "high performance" garbage collector and compiler.

    Microsoft says that their reasoning behind this is that they don't like the GPL, but that's patently absurd. They simply don't like competition, and Linux is increasingly becoming direct competition to Windows. FreeBSD is good stuff, but it isn't being installed at near the rate that Linux is, and so Microsoft sees it as "safe" to port to.

  • If this is Microsoft's game then it is backfiring pitifully. Even mainstream economic news sources are weighing in against Microsoft on these issues. And while Microsoft is poised to spend a pile of money on XP, this does not necessarily mean that they are the only voice being heard. When Microsoft weighs in with ridiculous claims about the GPL it isn't a horde of GPL fanatics that are answering the absurd claims, it is PR flacks at organizations like HP or IBM (both of which have released software critical to their future success under the GPL).

    Quite frankly, most CIOs I know of listen more to these companies than to Microsoft.

    As for the rest of your rant, it's old, tired, and misspelled to boot (the word you are looking for is loser). I can read Word documents in my email (and Excel spreadsheets, and Powerpoint presentations, etc.). There was a time, however, when that wasn't the case, and yet Linux kept on growing despite the fact that it basically had no desktop type applications when I first started using it.

    And the reason for that is simple. Linux is a useful, flexible, and cost effective way to solve problems. Not all problems (yet), but enough to make it worth tracking. And the list of problems that Linux solves acceptably grows every day. While Microsoft must upsell their customers to new versions of their software to keep their company afloat, Linux can easily survive with nothing more than its present installation base. Linux will continue to do just fine.

    And who knows, maybe Windows XP will fail to catch on with consumers. Microsoft has certainly done their best to make it unpalatable to consumers.

  • Yes, many Free Software developers are more concerned with cloning commercial software than paying for it. That doesn't mean, however, that Oracle becomes GPLed when they release a Linux version of their software (which is what Microsoft is intimating with their goofy press releases).

    Oh, and these same cloned products often show up running on BSD as well. There is plenty of GPLed software running on BSD systems, and there are even BSD projects that are basically cloning commercial software. This doesn't have anything to do with licensing issues.

  • If I own the copyright I can release the software under as many different licenses as I want. To prove this point why don't you surf on over to and purchase the commercial version of QT. You will notice that while the GPLed version of QT does not allow you to create closed source commercial software linking with the QT widget set, the commercial version does not have this feature (which is why it is being used in Kylix).

    In other words your software can be free for people who are willing to release their source, and commercial for those that do not (and are willing to pay the price).

    BSD style licenses, on the other hand, do not allow you to use this trick. Everyone gets your software for free, no matter what they want to do with it.

    Nice try though. You almost had a point.

  • Once QT was GPLed the Free Software Foundation ceased to have any problem with the license. Before that QT was released under a license that the FSF Lawyers felt was incompatible with the GPL. One of the cool things about the FSF is that they take the time to work out the legal issues first, and then they worry about the technical issues. This means that FSF projects are able to avoid tricky licensing issues like those found early on in the KDE project and more recently in the Python project. As a developer that isn't interested in performing my own legal audit I appreciate the efforts of the FSF to point out possible problems with software licenses. That way I can concentrate on developing, and not on stupid legal issues.

    In your case, if you are interested in using QT with proprietary libraries then you basically have one of two choices. You can pay for the commercially licensed version of QT, or you can stop using QT. Blaming your inability to use the GPLed version of QT with commercial libraries on the FSF is ridiculous, Trolltech is the group that chose the license for QT, not the FSF. The FSF's widget set (GTK+) is licensed under the LGPL. You could use that library with Sybase's dblibrary without any problems at all.

    I actually agree with you that GPLed libraries are problematic. Fortunately the FSF generally doesn't GPL their libraries. Commercial entities (like Trolltech), however, have a lot of incentive to GPL their libraries. That way they can get exposure for their toolkit among Free Software Developers while still charging commercial developers for the use of their software.

    That's Trolltech's entire business model. Blaming the FSF or the GPL for your problems is ridiculous. It's Trolltech and Sybase that are trying to charge you money for their libraries. The FSF is simply giving you their expert legal advice as to the legality of distributing software that combines GPLed libraries and commercial libraries.

  • by Jason Earl ( 1894 ) on Monday July 02, 2001 @01:25PM (#112781) Homepage Journal

    Microsoft isn't interested in undermining the legality of the GPL because doing so would weaken copyright law. Since Microsoft relies on copyright law as the basis for their money making machine the last thing that they are likely to do is subvert the GPL.

    Microsoft's response is dumb, but they really don't have much else they can do. They have tried ignoring Linux (that failed). They tried discrediting Linux (failed). They even tried cooking up some anti-Linux benchmarks. Many of the improvements in the 2.4 series of the kernel are directly attributable to Microsoft and the money they spent on Mindcraft benchmarks.

    You can bet they won't do that again.

    Microsoft can't embrace and extend GPLed software, and they can't buy enough Linux developers to make a difference, and so they are stuck with these crappy tactics (which are likewise bound to fail).

    It will be interesting to see what happens next.

  • by Genom ( 3868 ) on Monday July 02, 2001 @01:38PM (#112782)
    Any license which restricts what TOOLS the developer can use to develop software is shooting itself in the foot.

    Developers generally have a favorite set of tools they use to program - even if they only program web pages or shell scripts, they have a favorite editor.

    Telling a programmer they can't use their favorite editor to edit source code files is counterproductive - they'll just go elsewhere. There are plenty of toolkits to use, but only MS' says you can't use EMACS or VI ;P

    My 2 cents, anyway.
  • by Johann ( 4817 ) on Monday July 02, 2001 @12:43PM (#112786) Homepage
    Microsoft's Tony Goodhew, project manager for Share Source CLI, said Microsoft is moving in the same direction as open source code advocates, but wishes to continue to protect its intellectual property from commercial exploitation by others.

    Funny, I thought the GPL [] was protecting my code from commercial exploitation.

  • I'm not endorsing anything about Rev. Ike, but I tend to agree with him when he says that the lack of money is the root of all evil.
  • "...and that happens to be a type of micro it co-invented."

    If you're talking about the IBM PC, you're mistaken. IBM came up with the hardware first (based in part on some of their own previous hardware), and then went looking for an operating system. It could just as easily have been CP/M. You might be able to make an arguement for Intel as co-inventor (and that would be a stretch), but not MS.

  • I love this one...

    "It's an attack on Linux, which has market share as an operating system. FreeBSD has no market share, so they say, 'Oh, that's the good one,' " de Icaza said.

    First of all, it's an outright lie. FreeBSD certainly has a market share. Ever heard of Yahoo!, Miguel? Secondly, FreeBSD does not have the anti-big-business licensing (ie no closed source--yes, this can be anti-big-business) that Linux has.

  • I respectfully disagree. The GPL is not well suited for (closed source) hardware devices such as load balancers and firewalls. There are companies out there that have taken a stock BSD distro and modified the kernel and userland to suit their particular commercial application. Perhaps I should have used the words "anti-closed-source" instead of "anti-big-business", since small businesses can just as easily benefit from closed source licenses. When you're in business to make money (and who isn't?), it's in your best interests to make sure that your competitors can't easily use your coding efforts to beat you. Yes, Open Source software can definitely make money but it will never approach the money-making abilities of closed source software.

  • I also like to hike

    Hiking boots, $110

    Topo maps, $15

    and read

    "Earth in the Balance" by Al Gore, $14.95

    and Make-love-to-my-wife

    Birth control, $10

    and garden

    Ambrosia Canteloupe seeds, $1.75

    Spade, $9

    and drink-cold-beer

    Pint of Uintah Brewing Co. Cuthroat Ale, $3.50

    Refuting idealistic babble with hard, cold facts - Priceless.

    Not to be a dick, man, but life costs money. I want to hike and garden and drink beer with my friends just as much as you do but I know that unless I make some money to pay my mortgage, it ain't gonna happen...

  • I'm more of a PostgreSQL person myself, but before spouting off about the shortcomings of MySQL, you should probably re-familiarize yourself with the latest MySQL - which does have those things now.
  • Interesting perspective. I had not thought from that point of view. Good question: Is the GPL valid in Iowa?

    Not sure about the "use your brain before you speak comment" - sounds like you are basically saying "Don't point out flaws in the GPL", although technically YOU did. (Or do I misunderstand)

  • True, busted me on Views - I should do my OWN homework...
  • Of all places, Iowa has the most clued state government around that I know of - they have already put a law on the books that says that the UCITA is not enforcable in their state. Same with EULAs - not enforcable, only contracts that can actually be negotiated by both parties are legal.

    People make a lot of fun of IOWA (Idiots Out Wandering/Wondering Around) (I don't live there myself) but I have been massively impressed by the legal stance their state gov has taken lately!

  • well put with most of the large enterpsie issues highlighted :)
  • As long as we are rehashing old news...'s roundtable should just about be over. They've been discussing the GPL/shared source/Microsoft/etc. []


  • Nor did humans (or our ancestors) more than several thousand years ago.

    Sure they did - haven't you seen the Discover Card commercial where the cavepeople use teeth as currency, and subsequently starve to death?

  • by dschuetz ( 10924 ) <david@d a s> on Monday July 02, 2001 @12:44PM (#112805)
    Okay, so we saw an article about this EULA back on June 21. So we'll now see a slew of messages saying "deja vu" and "dammit, post something new." With which I have to admit I partially agree.

    However, what if there's something useful in this new article? Does that make the story redundant? What if it's only a marginal increase in information? What delta is appropriate for a new headline story, and who decides that delta?

    Could I suggest, for discussion (and if a consensus develops could someone plese bring it to Taco's attention?), two possible ways to provide timely follow-up information without starting a flamefest of "what, nothing new today?" messages?

    • Create a "Follow-ups" category, and post any story directly related to any "recent" (say, 3 months?) story under this category. People can then choose to ignore that category, if they like.
    • Create a section for links, stories, cool pages, etc., with no associated discussion. That way, all the quick "here's another story" articles could be brought to people's attention, and maybe only use 1 or 2 lines of web real estate to do so.

    Anyone else think this is a good idea? Or should I just crawl back under my rock?


  • ...about the article was Microsoft's latest attempt to extend and extinguish by reusing an acronym that we've all come to know and love: ``CLI'' It will always mean Command Line Interface and not whatever it was that Microsoft is currently trying to push.


  • That is, of course, complete FUD and has been refuted so many times that I need to (re)do it here...

    should read

    That is, of course, complete FUD and has been refuted so many times that I shouldn't need to (re)do it here...

  • by FreeUser ( 11483 ) on Monday July 02, 2001 @01:44PM (#112808)
    Yes, and it's doing such a good job at it that even *you* can't exploit it commercially.

    That is, of course, complete FUD and has been refuted so many times that I need to (re)do it here. Suffice it to say that the GPL does allow for commercial exploitation, and indeed numerous companies make a very nice (if not obscenely Microsoft-style monopolistic) profit doing so (Cygnus, Red Hat, TiVo, Caldera, IBM, CheapBytes, and countless smaller consultancies, ISP, etc.). What is does not allow you to do is to deny others access to the software's code, or to close the source of a derivative product. You can sell the software for whatever the market will bear, provide value added services, incorporate the product into other products (so long as any derivative software is GPLed).
  • What is the revenue stream that Microsoft is blocking in opposing GNUware?

    The revenue stream for every programmer who is subject to this license. If I were using this particular MS product and if they were able to prove I had agreed to the license, then I would be a competitive disadvantage to other programmers who were not subject to this license.

    Guess who isn't subject to the terms of this license? Well, don't forget that Microsoft sells applications in addition to the platforms to run them on. Microsoft owns this toolkit and therefore don't use it under license. Therefore, Microsoft can use whatever tools they want to. Microsoft's application competitors can't (assuming they want their app to run on Microsoft's platform).

    So aside from the attempt to manipulate the market, this is Yet Another example of Microsoft attacking the developers are partly due credit/blame for Microsoft's platform having such a large marketshare. In addition to using secret APIs, now they also have license terms to fuck 'em. (Remember WordPerfect, Lotus, etc? Me neither.)

    I guess Microsoft, like many other companies, has finally realized that using technical means to force deliberate incompatabilies, never works in the long run. There's always someone who will reverse engineer. But now with stuff like DMCA around and gaining acceptance, the practice of using legal threats to hold back technological progress, has become institutionalized.

  • the most interesting thing to me in the continued ms vs linux debate is that linux isn't a threat (yet).
    Linux is not yet a threat to MS on the desktop. However, in order to keep its revenue growing fast enough to justify its stock price, MS must expand its market share beyond the desktop, and Linux is thwarting that expansion.
  • Suppose you run a small development shop that produces Windows products. Your company's success depends on maintaining a good working relationship with Microsoft. You can't afford to spend a lot on legal fees. Even if the license they're pushing on you is legally non-binding, do you want to be the first one to test it in court?
  • Thought experiment:

    Suppose I _DO_ go ahead and break Microsoft's
    license. I create a web service based on Microsoft's toolkit and a combination of the GPL.

    Are they going to sue me?

    If so, what does that do to their public relations? The view of their license?

    (Or does the license say I'm not allowed to talk about it?)


  • by sharkey ( 16670 ) on Monday July 02, 2001 @01:58PM (#112815)
    News for Nerds. Stuff that Reposts.

  • I guess it goes to show that FUD comes from both directions.

    It sure does. Of course, I'm not about to take your opinion seriously since you cannot, apparently [], be trusted to not dick with your own salary if given the chance to do so.

    Poliglut []

  • by evilpenguin ( 18720 ) on Monday July 02, 2001 @12:38PM (#112820)
    I'm sure people made this observation when this story was posted the other day, but which license is restrictive and viral? The one that says "you can put any software on the machine with me" or the one that says "if you use me, you can't use this entire class of software?"

    Shouldn't this set off big red flashing lights at the DoJ?
  • the most interesting thing to me in the continued ms vs linux debate is that linux isn't a threat (yet). the os which has most potential to dethrone ms is mac osx, and it's rapidly becoming a real threat. as apple is fond of pointing out, they will be the largest unix vendor on the planet within 6months. it's nice to see microsoft picking the wrong front on which to attack. however, they're doing lots of goodness with their .net stuff, to get lock-in on that, so it's not at all like they're missing the boat completely. but it's good to see a small chink in their armor...
  • by Benjamin Shniper ( 24107 ) on Monday July 02, 2001 @12:51PM (#112824) Homepage
    Look how much more ire this can raise!

    "Microsoft BANS the GPL!"

    Now that's journalism.

  • There already is a topic for followups. Slashback, I belive it is.

  • Be thankful for this approach MS is taking again the GPL. It's dumb, but it's outright dumb. I would have expected some sort of "compatible" licensing scheme with their toolkits, that once everyone starts using with GPL code bases, they try to undermine the GPL from a legal standpoint. Call it a legal "embrace and extend."

    At least they're being forthright with their intentions this time.
  • He said the company's Shared Source initiative goes so far as to allow developers to examine the example of C# and CLI code, and then build similar structures on the platforms of their choice.

    OMG, Microsoft will let people use sample code? You mean to say that I can copy that HelloWorld.C# from your documentation without being dragged off to IP Court? I can copy the syntax for the ridiculous way you decided to do database access without fear of having my app confiscated? Well, halelujah!!

    What company would publish a new language without providing source examples, and what company would inhibit the free dissemination of those examples? How else would people learn the damn language? It doesn't sound like they're releasing the implementation of C#, only calling some example code 'open source'. So, score them -2. That's -1 for releasing another closed source language, and -1 for confusing the marketplace with their lies about releasing source code.

    PS - I don't know how C# accesses databases. It just sounded good.
  • Shouldn't this set off big red flashing lights at the DoJ?

    Either that or it's an ambulance coming for Cheney . . .

    [Sorry, had to, please completely ignore this post. I refuse to post as an AC, stupid conscience]


  • Microsoft's Tony Goodhew, project manager for Share Source CLI, said Microsoft is moving in the same direction as open source code advocates, but wishes to continue to protect its intellectual property from commercial exploitation by others.

    I laughed out loud when I read this. Anyone else see the irony?

    So, looking at his logic, Goodhew is saying that open source advocates wish to have their intellectual property commercially exploited by others. I, for one, never realized that was what being an open source advocate was all about. My bad.

    And, even if you don't read it that way, there's always the fact that MS doesn't want people to exploit its code, but has no problem exploiting someone elses! [i.e. no GPL'd software, only software where they don't need to tell anyone that the code was even used]

    I'd go on, but I won't.


  • Intel should have a new license for its microcode that prohibits use of any M$ products on its microprocessors unless they are open-sourced .... that would give them a real taste of their own medicine.
  • The open source community has been working to take out Microsoft for the last five years.

    Actually issues mostly come from Microsoft who appear to really dislike the idea of actual competition in the Software market. Open source enables competition
  • It would be nice if they *really* played by the Unix community rules, such as abolishing seat licences for filesharing.

    Like the vast majorty of things Microsoft didn't actually invent this. They simply copied from Netware, unfortunatly they omitted to copy things which were actually useful from Netware....
  • It never ceases to amaze me that M$ proclaims that the GPL is "viral". Consider what kind of virus would attach to an open source developer, if he/she were ever to get a gander at some of M$'s "shared source" code?

    Why is it "amazing", are you trying to say that using projection as a political tool won't work? History would appear to show otherwise...
  • Yet they persist in breaking the SAME law they have already been tried and convicted for breaking, by the District Judge, which was then upheld 100% by the appeals court.

    They may have been tried and convicted, even sentenced but they have not been punished.
    Also a punishment must be appropriate. It's not unknown for corporate entities to simply consider being fined an "operating expense".
    Maybe what's needed is the same kind of draconian measures used against regular organised crime...

    I'm not a lawyer, but I know that there is a term "Contempt of Court". It's probably not applicable, in the legal sense, but I can't think of a single more fitting example of exactly that. Contempt of the Court, of the legal system, of the judgements, and of everything else.

    If it were possible to use "contempt of court" here why isn't the entire Microsoft board in jail? Given their conduct at the trial.

    doubt this will happen, but IMHO, repeat violations of an offence, whilst effectively on probation during the appeals process,

    As a corporate there appears to be no such thing as "probation", "bail" or any of the other things which would affect a real person.
  • When one side can cheat, that side almost always wins. That's why we have a ref, even if he does occasionally resemble Darth Vader...

    The difference is that in most sporting events the "ref" does things straight away.

    A modest proposal - prevent Microsoft from releasing any new products for one year. Let the competition catch up, and maybe let Microsoft work at making the products they have work rather than jumping into new areas. Call it "1 year in the penalty box".

    I'm not so sure this would help with issues such as exclusive contracts with OEM's. Maybe force the use of independent resellers for all supply of Microsoft software.
  • I've read most post in both this and the previous discussion, as well as several online news articles elsewhere, and nowhere have I seen a description of exactly what is banned under this license.

    If it was too specific it would be F&D rather than FUD...
  • The GPL is not well suited for (closed source) hardware devices such as load balancers and firewalls.

    However closed source is not well suited for anything security related. It's effectivly a use of "security by obscurity". With it being impossible to keep the workings of a commercial product obscure...
  • The GPL is not anti-big-business so much as it enforces a particular alternative business model which is inconsistant with current practices.

    Note also that part of current business practice involves attempting to manipulate the law to prevent business models becoming obsolete.
  • Major platform changes in either the server room or at the end user level are painful, expensive, and slow.

    Sooner or later people will realise that following Microsoft's upgrade every couple of years model is a bad idea.

    Linux if we could save $30 million in seat licenses-- except that everyone would be wanting to run Excel and Powerpoint and MS Access or some similarly easy to use, but fairly powerful software-- and no software like that exists for Linux (it just doesn't, don't give me with Gnumeric, KPresenter, or MySQL)

    You can use win4lin, vmware, etc. To run any office stuff. With the advantage that you can set it up to be impossible to corrupt.

    Not to mention that our $30 million in savings would probably be lost in training, preparation expense, and all the other hassle of changing platforms.

    How much did it cost you to change from office 97 to office 2000? How much is it going to cost to change to XP?
  • There is no alternative business model, when are the open source zealots going to learn?

    There are always alternative business models. It's the proprietary software "zealots" who need to learn.

    It's just Redhat that takes _other_ peoples work and sells it.

    This is a business model used for thousands of years.
  • Be thankful for this approach MS is taking again the GPL. It's dumb, but it's outright dumb.

    There are plenty of dumb things Microsoft have done, getting caught talling lies in court is very "dumb". But if nothing happens they won't stop doing it.
    Maybe they are trying for an ADC Microsoft special or something.
  • Is it even a valid component of a licensing agreement to dictate what kind of programs you're allowed to produce with this SDK?

    This is probably a "who had the deeper pockets?" issue though.
  • Copyright law was never meant to give IP owners the right to tell people how to use their intellectual property: for example, MS telling me I can't use their SDK kit to develop open sourced code.

    The way it started was to apply the "logic" that software must be "copied" to be used. Therefore use equates to copying. Problem is that software licences have suffered "creeping featurism"

    That's valid, and that is all that is needed to protect their rights, and their investment in the software

    Assuming you are refering to the US reasoning behind "copyright" is to promote publication rewarding authors is a means rather than an end.
  • by drachen ( 49779 ) on Monday July 02, 2001 @01:06PM (#112855)
    FreeBSD has no market share..." de Icaza said.

    BSD is REALLY dead now. Are we done yet?

    And yet this "no market share" has been rising steadily.

    Lessee there's MacOS X []...

    And of course there's the relatively new TrustedBSD [].

    And you remember this article [] don't you, about RTL/BSD?

    Oh yeah, and Windriver's acquisition of BSDi [] which will greatly benefit the other BSDs.

    And here's a small quote:

    "The BSD-based OSes all look to be doing better and better at the moment, even without Linux's marketing fury behind them." - ZDNet article []

    de Icaza musta been coding too late or something because even on the front page [] of the Gnome site it says that "GNOME is included in pretty much every BSD and GNU/Linux distribution" so it must have some market share if it's worth keeping it compatible. Can't be that DEAD can it?

  • We've finally done it. We've been directly targeted for extermination by Microsoft!

    Remember four years ago, when boxed software says "requires Windows 3.1 or better"? Windows 95 is cool, but it's broken and needs to be reinstalled again -- how frustrating!

    I try this "Lie-nux" thing, just as a toy operating system. It's so cool! It doesn't do much, but it has fvwm95 and Doom and xbill!

    The first kernel recompile. Neato! I can make Linux as thin or as fat as I want to. Now, my sound card works, and Doom is even more fun. x11amp works pretty well, and so would Netscape, if it weren't for that damn winmodem...

    I replace the modem, and now things are pretty cool. I download a new version of x11amp, with skin support! I'm going to take over the world! I try to sniff packets by running ifconfig ppp0 promisc. Thus ends my "hacking" career.

    Fast-forward a few years. I know what a hacker is, and I now use Linux for pretty much everything; I abstain from the things I can't do in Linux, except games (it takes too long to boot Win95 on my P120, anyway). Linux is rock-solid and I've never been so at ease with my computer in my entire life. Everything just works, unless I break it. fsck still takes a while to scan my 6.4GB hard drive every 20-or-so bootups, but it's better than running Scandisk twice a day. I'm a Linux zealot, and I think Linux is the best for everything. I think BSD is archaic, even though I've never used it. The Linux sticker movement has gained momentum, and people are trying to get Windows refunds. Microsoft claims ignorance of GNU/Linux, and really can't do a damn thing about it, because there's no company to bankrupt.

    Then the US Y2K-bug laws (DMCA/UCITA) are drafted. We don't expects them to go anywhere, but the DMCA is passed. The free software community feels threatened, but overly so. Microsoft is keeping an eye on us, but doesn't do anything, because of an anti-trust lawsuit.

    Now, I know several programming languages and have used several systems. I know nothing is best for everything. Reiserfs has eliminated the need for fsck, Apache and Tux are kicking IIS around. IBM, Netscape, and Sun are only a few of all the GNU/Linux supporters, and Microsoft is pissing its pants with fear. MS tries to use FUD and the new Draconian laws to kill free software, but it's not working, because so many people are watching Microsoft that every bluff is being called, every deception exposed.

    So, we may not have thought we could take over the world, but Microsoft seems to think we can. Maybe this is better than killing them with anti-trust alone. Microsoft certainly deserves a painful, torturous death, and I think free software will bring it.

    In a few years, we'll finally be liberated from the cancer of the information age, Microsoft.

    And Microsoft knows it.

  • That's a nice idea, but it's been thought of before. You've presented a known problem without a solution. Do you have any ideas? I'm sure everyone else here is stumped.
  • Most people who develop free software (GPL type) do it for fame, and they get a lot of it. Money really has nothing to do with it. I've heard phrases such as "Don't want money; got money. Want fame." which demonstrate that mindset.

    Personally, I don't see OSS being much of a business model for most people. I think it can make money, but nobody is going to get rich from selling OSS like Gates did selling BASIC and Office.

    Almost nobody these days can make any money selling a web browser these days, so trying to sell a web browser is probably a waste of time and effort. However, being a key developer in the Mozilla project would take the same amount of effort (or maybe even less effort), but can gain you a great deal of fame that can actually benefit you financially (think about your résumé). People are realizing this, and as a result, people are also realizing that what they used to have to pay $60 per copy for can now be had for free with very few/minor restrictions.

    Basically, any form of mandatory fee, per-copy or otherwise, is contrary to the idea of OSS, and nobody will accept it as OSS.

    What I'd like to see more proprietary software that comes with source code. I would buy the Opera browser if I could get source code with it, but I can't, and Opera segfaults, so I won't. People must stop believing that their source code is a secret, and realize that anyone else could produce it with some effort.

  • FreeBSD does not have a very significant market share, compared to Linux, and especially NT.

    Linux does not have "anti-big-business" licensing any more than Microsoft does. There is absolutely nothing stopping any person or business (big or otherwise) from developing closed source software for Linux.

  • As an aside, I think the potential risk for "infection" from Microsoft's shared source is minimal. A developer would be a complete moron to steal code from MS and use it in a project with publicly available source code. And if MS code was discovered it'd probably be fairly trivial to replace.

    I don't think that's the case. The developer doesn't just have to steal code in order for it to be a problem. In the GPL world, you're correct. It takes stolen code. Even Microsoft is free to look at the code, not take the code, but reimpliment what they see with their own code. Under the shared source license, that's not the case. The developer only has to reimplement some MS technology, and M$ has 'em.

    Let's suppose (hypothetically) that Jeremy Allison worked for MEGACORP and MEGACORP deicded to purchase a copy of M$ shared source. All M$ would have to argue is that Jeremy's not reverse engineering anymore. He's seen the code and is stealing ideas. Poof! Jeremy can't work on samba anymore.

    Maybe I'm paranoid, but I wouldn't put this tactic beyond them.

  • by mjh ( 57755 ) <mark.hornclan@com> on Monday July 02, 2001 @12:45PM (#112876) Homepage Journal
    It never ceases to amaze me that M$ proclaims that the GPL is "viral". Consider what kind of virus would attach to an open source developer, if he/she were ever to get a gander at some of M$'s "shared source" code?

    That developer would effectively be forever forbidden from working on public project. The burden of proving that he didn't use any of M$'s code would fall on him/her. With M$'s history, if that developer's company had an license, even though he/she didn't look at the code, the developer would probably forever have to prove that he didn't look at the code!

    IMHO, if I worked for a company that agreed to the shared source license, and I had an open source project going, I'd try and find a new job.

    Now THAT is a viral license.
  • by Gorimek ( 61128 ) on Monday July 02, 2001 @02:01PM (#112886) Homepage
    I've read most post in both this and the previous discussion, as well as several online news articles elsewhere, and nowhere have I seen a description of exactly what is banned under this license. What constitutes using GPLed software "with" or "in conjuction" with this MS toolkit? I suspect nobody really knows.

    That this does not stop hundreds of people to voice their firm opinion about this thing they don't know what it is a bit amusing.

  • Dude, GPL can be considered "misuse of copyright" since it FORCES me into licensing scheme chosen by somebody else.

    Dude, you are free to not use GPL software at all, so dude, you aren't "forced" into anything, and in fact the only way that, dude, you could possibly use GPL'd code is by choosing to use it yourself, so dude, it's not a licence "chosen by somebody else", but rather one offered by them and chosen by you.

    Misuse of copyright means leveraging the copyright to enforce anticompetitive business practices. Ask Red Hat if Mandrake's use of the GPL was anticompetitive when they took Red Hat's work and resold it as is. The GPL is charged pro-competitive on steroids.
  • by bwt ( 68845 ) on Monday July 02, 2001 @01:36PM (#112891) Homepage
    This may be a text-book case of "misuse of copyright" where one uses intellectual property rights in an anticompetitive way. Here Microsoft is using its copyright to excluded competition (sort of anti-tying competing products).

    The common remedy, by the way, when there is a conclusion of misuse is that the government refuses to enforce the abuser's copyright until the anticompetitive behavior is fixed.

    Perhaps various authors of GPL software should coordinate to file antitrust cases in a few dozen different jurisdictions. I think there are probably some firms gearing up to bring private MS antitrust suits who might be interested in doing these kinds of filings on a contingency basis. Basically, some big firm could take the "best" case forward in the hopes that the precedent will turn all the others into good investements.
  • From the article:
    "De Icaza noted that, in the beta license, Microsoft restricts seven specific open source licenses, but made an exception of the FreeBSD, an open source Unix (news - web sites) OS that came out of the University of California at Berkeley"

    They had to make an exception for that. Then they'd have problems with using the TCP/IP they ship with windows-- which is BSD based!!!
    MS R&D = Geek scanning the net for new BSD code to rip off in their world domination using embrace and extend!
  • Is it even a valid component of a licensing agreement to dictate what kind of programs you're allowed to produce with this SDK? There are precedents for license agreements being thrown out, for example, ones that say "you may not review this [widget] without prior consent." In some jurisdictions, that's not a valid restriction.

    But I'm not sure how (if...?) this argument could be applied to the MS license under consideration. On one hand, their primary objective is to ensure that none of the SDK code gets "trapped" in a GPL program which is obligated to release its (and therefore MS's) source. This represents a poor understanding of the GPL, but given this interpretation, this could be a reasonably reponse.

    In a broader sense, though, as the yahoo article and all of us seem to be arguing, this is an attempt to squelch the use of open source software by outright banning its use. However, it seems about as silly as a license saying "MS Word may not be used to type an article which disparages Microsoft or its products," or "you may not use Sprint long distance minutes to advise others not to use Sprint long distance." I mean, those provisions wouldn't be legal, would they?

    Maybe a better comparison is to the right to reverse engineer. Courts have ruled (tons of citations in this article []) that it's legal to reverse engineer, for example, video game systems, even though the manufacturer obviously objects. Basically, it seems like IP owners, including microsoft, put in tons of garbage restraints in their licenses in an attempt to expand their IP rights by essentially seeing what gets through.

    Also, as per that article, this could be seen as "a lockout device to restrain competition," which would make it illegal.


  • by rkent ( 73434 ) <rkent&post,harvard,edu> on Monday July 02, 2001 @01:31PM (#112898)
    Microsoft did not have any representatives available to comment on the license issue.

    Um... huh? I can just imagine the microsofty's response:

    MS: Okay, you're writing an article on the what now? [covers handset] Hey, has anyone heard of an open-source ban? [back to reporter] Huh, sorry, no one knows anything about that right now.

    Or maybe the author just called tech support, and was rebuffed by the "no representatives currently available" message?


  • I think it's important that some respected member of the open source or free software communities should take the trouble to raise the issue of antitrust violations in this new license to the state attorneys general, as well as the U.S. attorney general - all of the parties in the U.S.DOJ et al vs. Microsoft suit.

    Ranting about how unfair it is on slashdot will just create a lot of hot air and goatsex links. Getting Bruce Perens, Eric Raymond or Linus Torvalds to write letters addressed to each of the attorneys general could have Microsoft's copyright in their SDK taken from them for abuse of copyright, as well as having extra sanctions pressed against it.

    Mike []

  • that's almost as bad as BSD banning 'non-free' code from being in their systems. I don't think linux puts proprietary/closed-source code in their kernel either. Seriously, these posts about the MS/everyone else double standard really stand out now. So they ban Open Source code with their toolkit. What's the problem? As evil as they are, they still have the right to do whatever they want. I'm sure someone can find an alternative. If not, someone will create an alternative.

    And well, you have to ask yourself...what is more annoying? MS banning OpenSource with their little toolkit or Slashdot's inability to remember their old stories?

  • Of course they can. That's the whole idea behind a EULA. Whether it would actually stand up in court is a different story. But, legally it would be a contract of sorts I would think. You can't use GPL code in proprietary software without making it GPL or something like that. Sounds pretty similar to me. Once again, I don't defend their actions, i'm just defending their right to make them :)

  • Don't worry. It's just a glitch in the matrix.

  • by twitter ( 104583 ) on Monday July 02, 2001 @02:17PM (#112924) Homepage Journal
    This crap is part of #2, discredit Linux. How? Simple, they keep their usual marketing going and make us scream like ninnies and scare the hell out of PHBs.

    MS is poised to spend ONE BILLION DOLLARS on XP junk. Last month's Smithsonian and National Geographic both featured two page spreads pommising that XP would make you feel complete, make you a magician, and a time warper. These expensive technicolor visions of young people and their computers are just the beginning of their campaign wich will be unescapable. It's business as usual, make a few minor changes and hype it up to PHB as the answer to all problems.

    But what's that got to do with liscences to one goofey little SDK? Nothing, and that's the point! This little insult to your freedom will be seen by the PHB as extreemist and wierd. Why do you care about being able to use VI, just get the job done you will be told.

    The goal is to discredit YOU, and Linux by association. Expect MS to make other little insults like this to get everyone all keyed up about how rotten MS is right before they release the real orgy of self worship that is comming. While you are frothing in self imposed self rightous minority (still less than 5%?), they are going to present a smiling party face to everyone. "What a looser! When I send him mail, he can't read it!" will be the thought many have as they use "Send to Mail Recipient" in Word. Don't trust Linux, it's all controled by those crazy loosers they will say. Barf. More of the same, bigger and uglier.

    Too bad they don't really have a product to justify the party.

  • by jgerman ( 106518 ) on Monday July 02, 2001 @01:49PM (#112926)
    Which is why he said he works to live because money isn't his priority. Read the post. Or better yet, just because you thought of something that you thought was funny, don't try and force it on the first post you see that comes close, save it for sometime that's appropriate. Timing is everything in comedy my friend.

    Besides, you need to work on the content as well, I can think of ways for most if not all of your little activity price tags to do the same thing for free.

  • There is a really interesting round-table discussion [] between Craig Mundie, Dan Gilmore, Bruce Perens and others going on at where this topic is touched as well [].
  • by malfunct ( 120790 ) on Monday July 02, 2001 @04:32PM (#112932) Homepage
    It states at a deep level that you can't use the SDK with anything potentially viral. This we both agree on. The reason that editors are considered potentially viral is because of licences with editors that say anything developed with the editor needs to be GPL'd (I forget which editor says that anymore). Of course that means that you couldn't use the SDK with the editor because any project you made with the SDK could not be GPL'd by definition of the GPL.

    Now you are getting a taste of what the GPL does to a closed source shop as far as developing goes. Imagine a GPL SDK and try using that in a closed source shop. It doesn't work because any software you created using the SDK would have to be GPL'd.

    The MS license is a taste of the GPL medicine bumped up a notch, mainly becasue the GPL has been worked into tools in tricky ways such as previously mentioned. Thats why the GPL is not a good licence unless your goal is to make ALL source open and ALL source free (as in beer). Obviously this is the stated goals of the creators of the GPL and so it all fits the plan but its also good reason to critisize the licence itself.

    If innovation is your goal then you licence needs to empower EVERYONE to create new software based on the code you wrote. I have no problem with you requiring that a copy of your original source code be passed on to the rest of the world but requiring the person using your code to pass on his derivative work is a bit much and it makes it hard to earn a living from the work that person is doing.

  • This is a game to MS. Gee slap a lic on a minor SDK toss a few VP's to a few public forums. Have a few web monkeys update websites. Make a few press releases. DISTRACT the Linux people from the impending storm that will be .NET and and their true fight with OS X.

    Keep the Linuxites busy. Its just /brilliant/ marketing. Its hardly an expense to them to play around with such minor stuff to distract everyone. Not one person here has considered they are just fucking around with the Free Softwave/Open Source people. No one, its amazing.

    Peoplea re just damn sure that MS is attacking them and its time to rally the troops and fight back and bring anti trust suits agains them and .... I think my point is made by this entire story being posted again with a slightly twisted view.

    Even folks like Miguel don't get it. Hes closer, but no only partially right.

    Funny if you ask me. MS doesnt do stuff like this unless its purpose is multifold and fits in with their overall plan. Oh and I think .NET and XP are their overall plan. This is just a minor thing to MS but a huge thing to the folks here at /. It shows how fucking smart they ARE to pull the wool over everyones eyes.

    Bah .NET is just an attack on Java etc. etc. Yeah well maybe it is but it happens to have every windows desktop behind it. Oh wait you means thats 90% of the market now using CLR. Wow, Java doesnt claim that yet.

    Oh the irony is so rich and thick here.


  • by legLess ( 127550 ) on Monday July 02, 2001 @01:00PM (#112939) Journal
    It's not a bad suggestion, except that there's already a "Slashback" topic, and it's often used for minor story updates. My beef, and I bet most others would agree, is that Slashdot is Taco's day job. I wish he'd pay more attention to what he posts.

    Now, I'm not flaming the guy. He gets my respect for creating this site in the first place, and he's made many good decisions about it, and probably puts up with a lot of bullshit. But this happens often enough that it's silly. What other interesting story got bumped so we could see a rehash of this old one?

    That's not even questioning the value of posting this in the first place. IMHO we'd all be better off ignoring these stupid little spats with Microsoft and concentrate on doing our jobs. As it is, we're adding fuel to a fire not of our own making, and giving Microsoft's PR department free advice. I bet their PR department has a couple people doing nothing but generating copy to piss off geeks and distract them from the real point: authentication and 'net-based services.

    "We all say so, so it must be true!"

  • I have no problem with that argument, except that it hasn't been applied consistantly in the Free Software community. Now, I realize it's bad to generalize, and please understand that I'm not aiming this accusation at you, but... What if you substitute "MS Operating System" for "GPL" into your statement? Would you still sign onto that statement?

  • Please explain how writing GPL software represents a refusal to donate your time free of charge. It doesn't. That is just another GNUspeak nonsequitur.

  • ..because the GPL already prohibits this.

    The GPL doesn't allow you to link to non-free libraries, so you're not allowed, by the GPL to link to Microsoft's libraries - see the following section from the GPL FAQ []

    I am writing free software that uses non-free libraries. What legal issues come up if I use the GPL?

    If the libraries that you link with falls within the following exception in the GPL:

    However, as a special exception, the source code distributed need not include anything that is normally distributed (in either source or binary form) with the major components (compiler, kernel, and so on) of the operating system on which the executable runs, unless that component itself accompanies the executable.

    then you don't have to do anything special to use them. In other words, if the libraries you need come with major parts of a proprietary operating system, the GPL says people can link your program with them.


  • Well look at the situation with the old Bison. Anything developed with it had to be GPL'd since it included GPL code. Even the FSF made an exception to increase the use of Bison.

    I know that is a different situation than an editor, but it shows sometimes a tool CAN pass its license on to what it helps produce.

    That isn't the case with the Microsoft license - that is just an anti-competitive, anti-open source license which is quite likely illegal and unenforceable as a result (any lawyers care to comment?)
  • You forgot:

    Defending a trademark infringement lawsuit from Mastercard: $10,000

  • "It's an attack on Linux, which has market share as an operating system. FreeBSD has no market share, so they say, 'Oh, that's the good one,' " de Icaza said.

    First of all, it's an outright lie. FreeBSD certainly has a market share. Ever heard of Yahoo!, Miguel? Secondly, FreeBSD does not have the anti-big-business licensing (ie no closed source--yes, this can be anti-big-business) that Linux has.

    I believe Linux has more market share than FreeBSD and is therefore the greater threat to Microsoft. This seems to be especially true for the desktop, an important position for Microsoft to keep a lock on.

    You are correct when you say that FreeBSD has a better license for closed-source companies than Linux with its GPL, but that doesn't mean the GPL is anti-big-business (saying A is better than B doesn't make B bad). Also, to Microsoft *BSD code is a great resource that they can take from without returning anything, no wonder they approve the BSD license while trying to fight the GPL license made to prevent this 'abuse'.

  • Linux has more desktops than FreeBSD, but FreeBSD has more servers.
    I'm going to assume you mean that FreeBSD is installed on more servers than it is installed on desktops. This might very well be true but Linux still has a lot more servers than FreeBSD (according to the survey you just pointed out).

    That Windows runs on 50% of the servers, to me, points out the importance of the desktop. People want to run the same (class of) OS on their servers as they run on their desktops.

  • by taliver ( 174409 ) on Monday July 02, 2001 @12:51PM (#112968)
    I think it's even more interesting to attach the word "viral" to a license. I'm wondering how many executives will be out there responding to the tech guys desire for linux, "Linux, isn't that that Virus writing OS?"

    Pretty sneaky if you ask me.

  • When you're in business to make money (and who isn't?)

    Im not. I work to live - not live to work. Making money is *not* my biggest goal in life... you know, I kinda also like to hike and read and make-love-to-my-wife and garden and drink-cold-beer and lotsa other stuff that isnt very profitable at all. included in that is aid my community to the best of my ability... this is why I support the GPL. Why do people insist on making all arguments based on economics - there are *alot* of other worthwhile and valuable efforts other than the pursuit of profit. Pursuit of profit is not self-justifying.
  • by Linux_ho ( 205887 ) on Monday July 02, 2001 @02:48PM (#112996) Homepage
    If you want a description of EXACTLY what is banned under this license, you have to go read the damn license. Go to, search for the mobile internet toolkit, read the license. I did. It specifically says you can't distribute their toolkit along with code licensed with the GPL, MPL, or several other open-source licenses, or with code you developed using open-source tools (Except BSD-licensed tools, of course).

    I can't give you brains, but I CAN give you a diploma!
  • by hillct ( 230132 ) on Monday July 02, 2001 @01:07PM (#113012) Homepage Journal
    The GPL is not anti-big-business so much as it enforces a particular alternative business model which is inconsistant with current practices. If the GPL is truly anti-business then Redhat would never have turned a profit []. The fact that lord Bill just doesn't like the idea of altering Microsoft's business model to come into the 21st century isn't an excuse.


  • by stud9920 ( 236753 ) on Monday July 02, 2001 @01:23PM (#113013)
    while(user.karma<50&&user.karma>-10) {
    int whoringType=rand();
    case 1:
    toPost=copyOfArticle("They basically say that...");
    case 2:
    case 3:
    case 4:
    } else {

  • Hmm. I wonder what powers the servers behind the yahoo network, including their ecommerce backend service? (

    it isnt M$ and it isn't linux. Its that 'dead' OS that no one uses.

  • by Dutchie ( 450420 ) on Monday July 02, 2001 @12:37PM (#113056) Homepage Journal
    Now featuring 'Smart Articles', articles that reproduce themselves! [].
    • Imagination is more important than knowledge.
  • by Violet Null ( 452694 ) on Monday July 02, 2001 @12:44PM (#113057)
    while (!NewStories()) {

    void* OldStory = GetOldStory();


Q: How many IBM CPU's does it take to execute a job? A: Four; three to hold it down, and one to rip its head off.