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Microsoft License Goes to OSI But Not From Redmond 142

An anonymous reader writes "eWeek is reporting that a Microsoft Shared Source license, the Microsoft Community License, was submitted to the Open Source Initiative for official approval, but it wasn't Microsoft who submitted it. The license it appears was submitted by John Cowan, who is a programmer and blogger and who also volunteers for the Chester County InterLink, a non-profit founded in 1993 by former OSI president Eric Raymond and Jordan Seidel. Needless to say, the OSI contacted Microsoft to see if it should evaluate the license anyway, and was told to drop it."
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Microsoft License Goes to OSI But Not From Redmond

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  • by sacarius1 ( 789140 ) on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @10:44PM (#15960174)
    SCO will sue them? :)
  • by Achromatic1978 ( 916097 ) <robert@@@chromablue...net> on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @10:45PM (#15960182)
    ... certain elements "don't take open source seriously". What was the point of this, other than a stupid prank that no-one but a few geeks will laugh at?

    What next, are "we" going to start submitting bogus press releases, and trying to hold Microsoft to them? (I know that one is a little of an extrapolation, but not a huge deal.)

    • by sumdumass ( 711423 ) on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @10:48PM (#15960190) Journal
      What if this wasn't a stupid prank. What if it was just someone trying to prove to some one else that microsoft's opensource license isn't opensource.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @11:55PM (#15960397)
        And what if it's the exact opposite? Maybe there is "GASP" and actual independent developer that wants to license something not made by microsoft under this license and wants to be sure that it IS OpenSource!

        BSD Licensed != Berkley University Code
        MIT Licensed != MIT University code
        GPL != FSF code
      • by khallow ( 566160 )
        I don't see a point to debating nonexistent what-ifs here. It was a stupid prank and your license being approved by the Open Source Initiative is not equivalent to being open source.
        • The point of debating it is because we don't know it is a prank. You and probably some one before you just asumed it was a prank. Thats just a preconditioned "what if". Many more are availible.

          But i would like to know why it was submited. I would also like to know how close it comes to being OSI compliant.
          • by khallow ( 566160 )

            The point of debating it is because we don't know it is a prank. You and probably some one before you just asumed it was a prank. Thats just a preconditioned "what if". Many more are availible.

            Well, I guess we can read the motivation [blogspot.com] from the guy himself. I suppose I still will characterize it as a stupid prank even after reading this, but I can see how someone might disagree.

            I would also like to know how close it comes to being OSI compliant.

            Didn't even start apparently.

            • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

              by John Cowan ( 186239 )
              Well, of course I don't agree that it was a prank. I was quite serious.

              I also don't agree that the license "doesn't even start to come close to being OSI compliant." OSI-approved licenses are a subset of OSI-compliant ones.
              • by khallow ( 566160 )

                I also don't agree that the license "doesn't even start to come close to being OSI compliant." OSI-approved licenses are a subset of OSI-compliant ones.

                I was just noting that OSI didn't even start the process. So this gives us no information.
      • by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Wednesday August 23, 2006 @02:23AM (#15960732)
        The OSS zealot of open source is "Source code that anyone can get for free." However a more literal definition might be "Source code that is available to others than the people that wrote it." Just because someone doesn't give you their code for free, or allow you to do what you please with it doesn't mean that it isn't open. There are many open standards like that. They are open, in that anyone can get them, but you've got to pay for licensing.

        However that's not really relevant here. MS's Shared Source license isn't OSS and they don't bill it as such. It's there so that certain groups, mostly governments and research institutions but also software partners, can get a license of MS's code to look at. They aren't licensing it for resale, it's for research and testing.

        In the case of the Community License here it would mostly be for companies wishing to make extensions to MS software. If you wanted to make something that needed source access (for example Diskeeper back in the NT 3.1 days) and waned to sell that, you'd need to get this particular license.

        None of their Shared Source things are shall-issue. You contact them and talk about why you want it and what for. If they like that, they'll discuss costs.

        MS has no interest in its licenses being used by other people. They aren't in the business of writing a license for everyone, or dealing with potential fallout of that. It is for them to license their software when they wish to do so. Thus they aren't interested in the OSI picking it up. It doesn't benefit them at all to have a standard made of it.

        Nothing is stopping you from using it as a reference for writing your own license, of course.
        • by MrMr ( 219533 ) on Wednesday August 23, 2006 @03:50AM (#15960948)
          However a more literal definition might be "Source code that is available to others than the people that wrote it." Just because someone doesn't give you their code for free, ....

          But with that definition all source is open; If I want to look at the Vista code I just buy this company called Microsoft, and all its code is available to me.
          • Look I'm not interested in playing the overly pedantic game here. The point is that the GPL version of open source isn't the only one that can exist. I've seen software (compilers mostly) that include full source code with their product. However it's not GPL'd. There's a limit to what you can use it for, usually building your own binary works and not a new version of the compiler. My point is that just because the code isn't free for all doesn't mean it's not open. MPEG-4 would be similar, though it's an al
          • You're trying to purposefully break his analogy, but it didn't work. If you buy Microsoft, then you've become part of the entity that has written the code.

            I guess you could say that you could buy Microsoft and then GPL the Vista code and then sell Microsoft and look at it but that's kind of a silly extreme, wouldn't you agree?
      • by Richard_at_work ( 517087 ) <richardprice@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Wednesday August 23, 2006 @03:08AM (#15960855)
        Why does one body get to decide whats opensource and whats not? The OSI is not an international standards body by any measurement.
        • by Fred_A ( 10934 )
          I just see OSI as a dyslexic ISO.
        • by Secrity ( 742221 ) on Wednesday August 23, 2006 @06:07AM (#15961257)
          Organizations don't have to be an international standards body in order for people to respect their standards. There are many organizations, such as the ARRL and EIA/RETMA, that work this way, and some eventually gain status as an international standards body. Many engineering associations, such as the IEEE and SAE; and equipment manufacturers associations, such as ECMA, have gained international standards body recognition. If enough of the right people respect OSI standards, the OSI could also become an international standards body.
          • I showed that EIA/RETMA was not an international standards body. EIA provides standards to ANSI, which as a member of ISO is an international standards body. Not all EIA standards become international standards. RETMA, the predecessor of the EIA, was not an international standards body, the standards that it set were not widely adopted outside of North America and parts of Asia.

      • by Russ Nelson ( 33911 ) <slashdot@russnelson.com> on Wednesday August 23, 2006 @04:15AM (#15961001) Homepage
        That's exactly what it was. John wanted to know if we would approve the licenses, because as far as he could see, they are approvable. Looks like it to me too, yet .... we'd prefer to have the steward submit the license hence my request that he withdraw them.

      • FSF's opinion (Score:3, Insightful)

        by DrYak ( 748999 )
        Because OSI [opensource.org] complied to microsoft's demand and didn't evaluate the license, we won't know their stance about it.
        On the other hand the FSF [fsf.org] has shown what they're thinking about it [fsf.org].

        Although both institutions (read: ESR and RMS) are known to have divergent point of view, this hints about how much this license can be free, and what one should think before starting his own project using this kind of licensing (something for which knowing OSI, FSF and DFSG [debian.org]'s stance can be genuinly useful, as some other /. signale
        • On the other hand the FSF has shown what they're thinking about it.

          Funny that the anchor you linked to is "non-free documentation licenses", given that the gnu "free documentation license" doesn't itself pass the DFSG, on which the OSD was based.
          • Funny that the anchor you linked to is "non-free documentation licenses"


            Sorry, I mixed up the links : THIS [fsf.org] is the link to the non-free software license.
            Thank you for pointing out my error.
            • Regardless (should have mentioned this in my original reply, since I did find it), your link does not have any mention of the Microsoft Community License. The MCL does not have the restriction on commercial use to which the FSF objects, the term "non-commercial" does not even appear in it at all. It is, at first glance, apparently non-GPL-compatible due to a patent clause, but that doesn't make it non-free - several licenses at http://www.fsf.org/licensing/licenses/index_html# G PLIncompatibleLicenses [fsf.org] (such
    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @10:50PM (#15960203)
      I know that one is a little of an extrapolation

      Your use of the word extrapolation is a bit of a stretch.
    • by killjoe ( 766577 ) on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @11:02PM (#15960244)
      Actually it brings up an interesting point. If the license is public (kind of) then why can't anybody submit it? The OSI is supposed to judge the license itself not who wrote it or why. I am also curious to know why MS told them to drop it. Why harm would it have caused them if it was approved?
      • by mabhatter654 ( 561290 ) on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @11:28PM (#15960327)
        there is probably some provison that the licensor would have to guarantee that the license wouldn't change over it's life... most importantly couldn't change without notice. Things like BSD, GPL, MPL, AFSL all have standardized offical versions and either no change or methods of change defined right in the license. Example: Typical GPL is version 2 dated 1991. We all know exactly what that means. If you make any changes to that you MUST call them out and notice them from the published version. MS has no "standard" license to reuse over and over.

        Microsoft licenses aren't worth the bits on the screen.. they can be changed at will by Microsoft and "paper" versions don't count. MS refuses to version or date their licenses.. it's all a game to them. If OSI was to approve a MS license, MS would have to guarantee that it wouldn't change without notice.. and they flatly refuse to do that!

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by EvanED ( 569694 )
          Why would it have to guarantee that?

          Couldn't the OSI say "here's the text of the license as of today, this version is/is not certified open source."

          If MS then went and changed it, that version would be different from what the OSI approved, and the decision based on the old version would cease to be valid. However, the old version of the license wouldn't suddenly become invalid.

          There might be some confusion as to the naming of them, but I think that could be easily overcome. The OSI could say "The MS Shared
        • by kjart ( 941720 )

          Microsoft licenses aren't worth the bits on the screen.. they can be changed at will by Microsoft and "paper" versions don't count. MS refuses to version or date their licenses.. it's all a game to them. If OSI was to approve a MS license, MS would have to guarantee that it wouldn't change without notice.. and they flatly refuse to do that!

          Hunh? They might not be worth anything to you, but I imagine they are worth something to Microsoft, and I really don't think it's a game to them. I'm seriously puzzled

      • Oh, that's easy. (Score:3, Insightful)

        by jd ( 1658 )
        It would be hard for Microsoft to claim that they were taking Open Source seriously if they had their "open" license officially skewered by a license review board.

        Since Microsoft aren't required to use any specific license for any specific product, and since a product can be "open source" and under multiple licenses that include non-open ones (eg: the Windows version of the Qt toolkit, for the longest time) and "non-free" ones (virtually all other dual-licensing cases), the argument that Microsoft would be

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by EvanED ( 569694 )
          You didn't answer the poster's question. You answered why MS wouldn't want it submitted, and how EU people might go about applying pressure to get it submitted. You didn't, however, talk AT ALL about why the OSI needs MS's go-ahead to review it, why it can't review licenses at the request of people other than the author of the license, or why the OSI can't even just spontaneously review licenses even without someone's request.
          • Obviously they can. No can't is involved, merely a won't. Piss on them then.
          • or why the OSI can't even just spontaneously review licenses even without someone's request.

            I'll field this one.

            You see, impersonal entities like "the OSI" lack a certain important quality known as sapience (though commenly mistakenly called sentience - it also lacks that, but that's rather beside the point) - without which, it's incapable of making decisions on its own without the help of an individual or group of individuals that do have that quality. In the OSI's case, as with many others, that group is
      • by John Cowan ( 186239 ) on Wednesday August 23, 2006 @12:38AM (#15960510)
        The practical problem with a 3rd party (like me) submitting someone else's license is that if the OSI wants changes, the 3rd party has no authority to make them. It makes sense to deal directly with the license author.

        I don't speak for the OSI, Microsoft, my employer, or anyone but me.
      • MS probably told them to drop it because:
        1. The OSI website frequently features anti-MS rhetoric (and they do even today). There's no way in hell OSI would do a fair evaluation. So they would "officially" reject MS licenses, which is what the submitter likely wanted.

        2. MS doesn't really give a damn what a self-appointed priesthood has to say regarding their license, and don't want to kowtow to them.
    • I don't take Microsoft's "Shared Source" license seriously, and I won't until they start releasing under an OSI approved license.
    • What was the point of this, other than a stupid prank that no-one but a few geeks will laugh at?

      Who knows? Who cares?

      At WORST, it is a completely innocuous stunt. Why would someone judge a group harshly, over something so trivial?

      I guess in commercial corporations, no "stupid pranks" ever happen. ANYWHERE!
  • At the moment, it doesn't seem like Microsoft is really open to the idea of 'true' open source a la GPL or BSD. Though really, they have so much money it probably wouldn't matter in the short run whether they used open source or not.

    On the plus side, open source windows would probably have a TON of exploits at first, but eventually get secured to some degree -- despite the fact that the security model is fundamentally flawed..

    • Wait, wait, wait... You're jumping to conclusions here. Perhaps Microsoft told them to drop it because Microsoft would rather have their license evaluated by the Free Software Foundation, instead. I mean, I can understand that. I don't care much for "open source", but I do value my freedom. Maybe Microsoft values freedom, too?
      • Anyone should be able to evaluate the license, it's not like they're asked to show the source of their kernel, they're asked to show the license which is the contract any person that deals with the software has to follow (and the other way around). A license is a public thing. How about you getting a mortgage at bank A, and the bank won't tell you their coniditions because it's part of their secret business plan. Would you deal with them, or go to bank B which tells you exactly what they are doing?

        Come t

  • by shaitand ( 626655 ) on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @10:48PM (#15960191) Journal
    Undoubtedly the reason it was submitted is so that the license will be officially recognized as not achieving OSI compliance. I don't think they should have asked Microsoft at all.
    • by gdamore ( 933478 ) <garrett AT damore DOT org> on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @11:00PM (#15960238) Homepage

      Have you looked at the license. I confess I had not before I read this,but then I check it out at http://www.microsoft.com/resources/sharedsource/li censingbasics/communitylicense.mspx [microsoft.com]

      The license itself is short and sweet, and easy to understand. Or at least so I deem, but of course IANAL.

      I have no idea what software Microsoft has licensed under this license, but a casual read of it looks like the license should be certifiable by OSI. As far as I can tell, the only potentially confusing issue is the patent retaliation clause.

      In most other respects, it looks like a simpler version of the GPL, including being viral. I can't imagine why MS wouldn't want it blessed by OSI. Probably they just don't want to be recognized for giving source away even when they do so. Heck, they might be worried that it would scare off investors who consider Microsoft's IP portfolio as a reason for buy MS shares. :-)

      Now, it probably is a Good Thing that it isn't blessed, because the last thing we want is another viral license that also happens to be incompatible with GPL. (The patent retaliation makes it GPL-incompatible.) Life is hard enough figuring out Open Source license as it is.

      • you can download C# CLI source from MS with this licence.
      • by CODiNE ( 27417 )
        Now, it probably is a Good Thing that it isn't blessed, because the last thing we want is another viral license that also happens to be incompatible with GPL. (The patent retaliation makes it GPL-incompatible.) Life is hard enough figuring out Open Source license as it is.

        I highly doubt that. More likely they're hoping someone else like you will think it's innocent and OSI compliant, and accidentally taint the Linux kernel with some of it's code. Having the OSI go over it would give programmers a clear wa
        • There are plenty of OSI-approved licenses that can't be mixed with each other. See GPL-Incompatible, Free Software Licenses [fsf.org] for a list of such licenses that can't be mixed with the GPL (and thus with the linux kernel. the GPL v3 will likely also be incompatible with the GPL v2, for programs that explicitly pick a version, in at least one direction)
      • by SeaFox ( 739806 ) on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @11:47PM (#15960374)
        In most other respects, it looks like a simpler version of the GPL, including being viral. I can't imagine why MS wouldn't want it blessed by OSI.

        Microsoft seeking OSI certification would be admitting that Open-Source is a viable alternative way of writing software. It would be placing a certain amount of respect and recognition to other open source licences if they seeked an equal certification for their own.

        That and, as someone pointed out earlier, they don't want their license being offical stamped non-compliant, makes it a lot harder to argue that they do release software as "Open-Source" for the PR department.
      • by mabhatter654 ( 561290 ) on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @11:56PM (#15960401)
        problems I see.

        #1...MS requires the license to USE the software. Most of the others only require the license to reproduce or modify + distribute software. They demand something, however small, just to USE the software as it's given to you. It's an EULA, not a license. Notice they think you don't have the right to even PREPARE deritive works without permission.

        Section 3 part A looks simpler than GPL, but combine with part C looks like BSD... except Microsoft always keeps it's mits in your work and all the work that follows. Where as BSD and GPL the orginal author's say ends as long as your new copy follows the rules. And again, they following users would appear to be required to accept Microsoft's EULA as well. GPL binds no progam license to any company in this manner.

        And of course, Microsoft has a more restrictive patent clause than even GPL 3. Where as GPL 3 says you must ensure you have patent rights, and grant rights to downstream users, it doesn't try to take away from you for suing somebody. I know there was talk, but it's not in the license. Microsoft removes your license if you think you need to sue them.. or even counter/cross sue in defense of them sueing you! So if this was to become widespread, anybody that MS sued would loose all rights to the 'community' software when they tried to defend themselves.

        I do notice 1 glaring ommisson for a microsoft license... They didn't leave themselves the right to revise/extend/revoke the license at will they usually include in every other license they write. I guess they're not all bad.

        • by EvanED ( 569694 )
          MS requires the license to USE the software.

          Not by my reading. Where does it say that redistributions of it must require users to agree to the licenses to use the software?

          Even if MS puts a click-through license at the beginning of the installations or whatever of the software doesn't mean that you have to comply.

          (Note that the grant of priviledge to use patents is different.)

          except Microsoft always keeps it's mits in your work and all the work that follows.

          How so? There's the patent clause, but that's all
          • Not by my reading. Where does it say that redistributions of it must require users to agree to the licenses to use the software?

            I'm not saying you're wrong, but the license says: 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.

            and

            (C) If you distribute the software in source code form you may do so only under this license (i.e., you must include a complete copy of this license with your distribu
        • I'm no lawyer, but this liscence seems awfully specific in all the wrong places. Lots of stuff specific to Microsoft, like suing them for patents etc. It's fine to sue users and derivate software distributers, just not MS. Moreover, it grants you liscence to use their copyrights and patents, so long as you grant a specific set of copyrights and patents ("you must grant all recipients the copyright and patent licenses in sections 2(A) & 2(B) for any file that contains code from the software"), likely inc
          • It does seem to have some interesting use cases. Suppose MS decide that a one of their patents is not covered by the licence after all, and start demanding royalties. If they set it up right, you'd have to sue them for breach of the licence agreement, and thereby invalidate the licence.

            It would mean they could terminate the licence at any time, or at least force licencees to pay insupportable royalties.

            Although I too am not a lawyer, so there my be good reasons why this would not work.

            • by EvanED ( 569694 )
              I don't think that's true, for a couple reasons, and even if it were, it's not enough to get the MS license thrown out of the OSI-approved arena.

              Point 1: MS claiming infringement based upon use of the software would be self contradictorary. If it's possible to infringe one of MS's patents by using their software, then that patent is covered by 2(B) and there's no infringement. The only thing that would make this possible would be if you added 3rd party functionality that infringes on the patent that MS orig
              • Point 3: You wouldn't have to sue them immediately when they start demanding royalties; just don't pay them. When and if they sue you, you can make your claim that the original software uses the functionality covered by the patent they are demanding royalties for. If you word it right, I think you bypass the invalidation claim.

                Interesting, isn't it? The problem becomes one of making the other party sue. Or counter-sue, of course; the patent disqualifiaction clause is one-sided. MS don't lose a thing if

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Tim C ( 15259 )
          t's an EULA, not a license.

          I know what you mean, but you do realise what that L stands for, right?
          • by pavon ( 30274 )
            It's an EULA, not a license.
            I know what you mean, but you do realise what that L stands for, right?
            I know you were joking,but you do realize what that A stands for, right? :) It is an Agreement between two parties, AKA a contract, in which you agree to both the terms of the copyright license, and several other terms which are outside the scope of copyright law.
          • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

            by tehcyder ( 746570 )
            (i)t's an EULA, not a license.
            I know what you mean, but you do realise what that L stands for, right?
            It's Lesbian isn't it?
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by julesh ( 229690 )
          #1...MS requires the license to USE the software. Most of the others only require the license to reproduce or modify + distribute software. They demand something, however small, just to USE the software as it's given to you. It's an EULA, not a license. Notice they think you don't have the right to even PREPARE deritive works without permission.

          These are, in fact, necessary. The GPL is an interesting license for claiming that you don't have to accept it to use the software, but it's worth noting that outsi
    • by EvanED ( 569694 )
      You seem sure.

      Here's the definition [opensource.org] of open source per the OSI.
      Here's the MS "Community License" [microsoft.com].

      What is in conflict?
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by John Cowan ( 186239 )
      "Undoubtedly"? *I* doubt it. In fact, it isn't true.

      I would never abuse the OSI process by submitting a license for consideration unless I thought that license met the Open Source definition. Life is too short for such machinations.
      • If you are the John Cowan then I hope someone mods you up as informative.

        With that said I would only change my post to read "the best reason for submitting" instead of "undoubtedly the reason for submitting".

        Whether this license meets the letter of the definition is something best left to the lawyers but this EULA (or any EULA) is definately a violation of the spirit of open source.

        I also still maintain that OSI evaluation of a license should not be dependant upon consent by the author. Either a license is
    • "Undoubtedly the reason it was submitted is so that the license will be officially recognized as not achieving OSI compliance. I don't think they should have asked Microsoft at all."

      You didn't read the article; nor did I until just now.
      First, the reasons for OSI not evaluating licenses that aren't formally submitted by the license authors are detailed in the article.

      Second, the MS license was NOT submitted so that it would officially be rejected by OSI. In fact, the opposite is the case. It was submitted
      • "You didn't read the article; nor did I until just now."

        I still haven't. I will remain a proper and upstanding member of the slashdot community. ;)

        "First, the reasons for OSI not evaluating licenses that aren't formally submitted by the license authors are detailed in the article."

        I haven't read the article but I have read some of Russ' comments here and also John (the submitter) reply'd to me as well. It certainly seems that my post is due an overrated mod.

        With that said I still think the OSI should evalua
  • by Anonymous Coward
    But, while Microsoft does not have a problem with one of its licenses being OSI-approved, the challenge is that the OSI has previously positioned itself as "anti-Microsoft," Hilf said, pointing to the fact that even though the OSI has removed the controversial Halloween Documents from its Web site, a link on the site still points to former OSI president Eric Raymond's Web site, where the documents are available.

    Uh oh... IEEE Computer Society [csociety.org] links to OSI's site (first sentence, "Open Source"), which link

  • A quick rundown-- (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Lord Aurora ( 969557 )
    From TFA, quote from an official of OSI followed by a quote from the guy who submitted MS's stuff:

    "I think that the general principle should be that authors have preference over third parties when it comes to submitting licenses," he said.

    "Microsoft has said neither that it will nor that it won't submit its two licenses.

    "They've said that they're not submitting them at this time. Perhaps they have revisions to make? If so, then approving draft licenses would be a serious wrongo. If you insist, we can t

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by John Cowan ( 186239 )
      What I was thinking was that the license is a decent license no matter who wrote it, and worth approving *because* of who wrote it. Nelson pointed out a potential issue, and I withdrew my recommendation, but not the judgments it's based on -- I stand by those.
  • by jkrise ( 535370 ) on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @11:11PM (#15960279) Journal
    Upon audit, the license was found to contain non-final wordings.
    • by gbobeck ( 926553 )
      Upon audit, the license was found to contain non-final wordings.

      It also appears that someone forgot to install service pack 2 and the most recent critical updates to the license.
  • I'm tired of reading yet another story about microsoft and OSS cozying up. Though in this case it's a sad joke, the rest of the time it's a coordinated attack on OSS. (mozilla devs, black hat testing, etc)

    If it doesn't work they'll buy the best developers and hide them away. If that doesn't work, they'll drop more litigation bombs.

    It's all about maintaining the monopoly people. There's no maybe, that's it.
  • by EqualSlash ( 690076 ) on Wednesday August 23, 2006 @12:06AM (#15960424)
    Apparently, the MS word spell-checker doesn't recognise 'OSI'.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      You are right - OSI is not recognised... suggested "correct" spellings are:

      Obi
      Osier
      Soy
      Soil
      Oasis

  • by m874t232 ( 973431 ) on Wednesday August 23, 2006 @01:31AM (#15960619)
    Microsoft has claimed that their various licenses are pretty open, and it makes sense to put that to the test. The OSI is the natural organization to do that. There is a good chance that there are hidden traps in their licenses and potential users need to know about that. And, of course, it is just the case where a company has deliberately hidden something in their licenses that they would object to having their license reviewed by OSI.

    OSI's decision erodes confidence in OSI. If they want to be seen as a dependable arbiter of whether licenses comply with open source principles, they must evaluate licenses that have some importance in the market, no matter who actually submits the license for review. Asking the original author of the license for permission is not acceptable.
    • When the author of a license submits his license to be approved by a body such as OSI, the intent is to get that body to approve the license. Part of the process is that if the body rejects the license, the body informs the author of the reasons so that the author can, if he wishes, make adjustments to the license and resubmit it. This is an interactive process between the author and the license-approving body. At no point in the process does the license-approving body declare to the world, "WE HAVE REJE
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Russ Nelson ( 33911 )
        Rather, they communicate privately with the author on the problems they have with the license and resubmissions and so-on.

        Exactly.
      • by idlake ( 850372 )
        OSI has featured anti-MS rhetoric on its site.

        And why shouldn't they? Microsoft's behavior is a matter of public record, and there are numerous instances where strong condemnation of their corporate behavior is clearly justified.

        What you wanted to happen was for OSI to, on its own, evaluate an MS license, reject it,

        No, what I want to happen was for OSI to review it against their criteria and publish their conclusions, whatever they may be. I would welcome it if their license complied with OSI requirements
        • Dude, that's not what the OSI does. I think that the OSI's credibility isn't what is at stake here; rather, it's purpose, mission, and to some extent, it's public appearance. The OSI's web site (while puzzling and frustrating to navigate) makes that particular information no big secret (spend 20-30m over lunch reading their policy docs... doesn't take that long, as their charter is pretty short and simple). They have the OSI certification and mark program, a 'non-proliferation treaty' (joke), and an awards
          • by idlake ( 850372 )
            They have the OSI certification and mark program, a 'non-proliferation treaty' (joke), and an awards program. Essentially, other than straight advocacy on the website, that is all the scope they claim to cover.

            I don't see your point. Not-for-profits do certifications for third parties all the time. Why should OSI refuse to do what other such organizations regularly do?

            For what it's worth, a cursory reading of the license leads me to believe that this microsoft community license is an open source licence.

            I
    • by Russ Nelson ( 33911 ) <slashdot@russnelson.com> on Wednesday August 23, 2006 @04:47AM (#15961065) Homepage
      Actually, I don't remember asking Microsoft what they thought. Perhaps Bill Hilf is remembering something that didn't happen. According to TFA, he was pretty hazy about John Cowen's name.

      Anyway, we certainly would have evaluated them had John not withdrew the approval request. Approval was just not the best of all possible courses of action, which is why we asked him to withdraw.
      • by idlake ( 850372 )
        Anyway, we certainly would have evaluated them had John not withdrew the approval request. Approval was just not the best of all possible courses of action, which is why we asked him to withdraw.

        As I see it...

        If Microsoft's shared source license is OSI compliant, then OSI should make that determination publicly so that Microsoft's change in behavior is recognized and people can feel secure in using the software.

        If Microsoft's shared source license is formally OSI compliant, but you don't think it is actuall
  • I bet it wasn't the FSF, since they're not interested in "open source".
  • Microsoft [...] told to drop it.


    On what grounds? Just by asking politely, or have they a right to do this? Do they own the copyright on that licence? Seriously. If I write a sort of GPL, must the license also not be released under a sort of GPL?
  • Microsoft didn't say 'Drop it'. They said they need to consider it.

        Not to defend them, but FUD is FUD, even if it's against the 'other' side of the Open Source fence.
  • Everything in this makes sense. Someone wants to see if the license fits the criteria, so they submit it. No malice. The OSI report that they require the owner/licence author to submit it - with good reason, no malice. They contact Microsoft, who, according to the article, say "We aren't going to report anything to the OSI while they still align themselves with the Halloween documents", and point out that they reflect the state of the company some years ago. If they are trying to change, which submissi

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