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KingBahamut
October 19th, 2005, 07:36 PM
Microsoft will be reducing the number of licenses that it will use for its Shared Source Initiative. Instead of more than 10 different licenses they are aiming for just three core licenses. The first license format, Ms-PL (Microsoft Permissive License), is similar to the BSD license while the second, Ms-CL (Microsoft Community License), is based on the Mozilla Public License. The third format, Ms-RL (Microsoft Reference License), "has no open-source alternative and is a reference-only license that allows licensees to view source code in order to gain a deeper understanding of the inner workings of Microsoft technology.

http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1895,1872835,00.asp
http://www.microsoft.com/resources/sharedsource/licensingbasics/sharedsourcelicenses.mspx

What Cost will this be available? On what level does the contract you get from MS say what you can and cannot release? Certainly not any in my opinion. Its funny to see MS being compared to BSD in any fashion. Mozilla even.

gray-squirrel
October 19th, 2005, 08:00 PM
This is new stuff to me.

I don't see any sign from these links, however, that any part of their operating systems - past, present, and future - are covered under any of these. Or their Web browser.

I'd have to see a ton of stuff from Microsoft before I say anything further.

BWF89
October 19th, 2005, 10:39 PM
Why do we need so many software licences? I think 7 I have listed below cover pretty much everything.

GPL- Free to do anything but you have to give back.

LGPL- Same as GPL but you can incorperate LGPL'ed software in proprietary software.

BSD- Do anything you like but give the author credit.

YaST1 Licence- Do anything you want but you can't distribute the program commercially.

Java Licence- You can look at the source code but don't touch.

Proprietary- You can never get a look at the source code.

Jussi Kukkonen
October 19th, 2005, 11:10 PM
Bill, the Community license and Permissive license actually look like free software licenses, and they very probably are... Go ahead and read them (http://www.microsoft.com/resources/sharedsource/licensingbasics/sharedsourcelicenses.mspx), they're surprisingly easy to understand. Comparing these two to BSD and MPL is entirely valid.

FSF Europe even thinks that Ms-CL is actually a copyleft license, which would be ironic, coming from the people who called copyleft "cancerous" and "communism".

Of course, none of this matters if they never release anything meaningful under the licenses, but just use them as a PR weapon (e.g. obfuscate the discussion by talking about Shared Source, and not about specific licenses).

Lovechild
October 20th, 2005, 01:46 AM
Ms-RL (Microsoft Reference License), "has no open-source alternative and is a reference-only license that allows licensees to view source code in order to gain a deeper understanding of the inner workings of Microsoft technology.

Yes of course there's no equaliant of that crap in open source.. because.. YOU ALWAYS GET TO SEE THE SOURCE CODE... THAT'S WHY IT'S CALLED OPEN SOURCE!!

man the amount of spin it's going to take them to pull that one off is amazing.

gray-squirrel
October 20th, 2005, 02:08 AM
Of course, none of this matters if they never release anything meaningful under the licenses, but just use them as a PR weapon (e.g. obfuscate the discussion by talking about Shared Source, and not about specific licenses).

Using these licenses as a PR weapon - that's the analysis I suspect the analysts, journalists, programmers, etc. will give publicly. . . and very soon, too.

mstlyevil
October 20th, 2005, 04:44 AM
It is possible M$ saw the success of Mozilla and Sun in using open source to improve features of their closed source applications and decided to use that model for some applications in their products. I doubt that they will release IE or Word format as a opensource item because they stand to lose too much of their monopoly. You will probally see them release the defrag utility, disk cleanup or notepad as possible opensource apps. MS spends hundreds of millions of dollars every year in research and development cost. They may be able to save some of those dollars by releasing less important applications to the open source community to develop for them for free.

blastus
October 20th, 2005, 05:41 AM
I like this quote from the Microsoft link...

Ecosystem-friendly - Using three simple and well-understood licenses help to simplify source code sharing throughout Microsoft’s various software ecosystems, and help to avoid excessive license proliferation.

Ecosystem friendly eh? They should really stop using the phrase "software ecosystem" because the only context they ever use it in presupposes the "ecosystem" consists exclusively of Microsoft products only. And I'm not sure how this new licensing scheme avoids "license proliferation" as everything is still licensed. It just sounds silly.

newbie2
October 20th, 2005, 05:39 PM
"Additionally, the open source-friendly noises made by Microsoft appear to be just that - noises. Ms-LPL and Ms-LCL restrict the use of Shared Source code to Windows. Code released under these sub-licenses will not, for example, find its way onto Linux."
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/10/19/microsoft_sharedsource/

gray-squirrel
October 20th, 2005, 08:01 PM
It is possible M$ saw the success of Mozilla and Sun in using open source to improve features of their closed source applications and decided to use that model for some applications in their products. I doubt that they will release IE or Word format as a opensource item because they stand to lose too much of their monopoly. You will probally see them release the defrag utility, disk cleanup or notepad as possible opensource apps. MS spends hundreds of millions of dollars every year in research and development cost. They may be able to save some of those dollars by releasing less important applications to the open source community to develop for them for free.

Because of the lack of security in IE (and modern features), they're taking a beating in the browser arena and people are still switching to Firefox. I don't see how Microsoft would have anything to lose just by releasing the IE source code to the public.

I wasn't really expecting much to be released as open source, though. Although I understand the money aspect of all this, people who want to volunteer their time to help Microsoft improve its software ought to be able to do so. I don't think that would be a threat to their monopoly.