Oct 19

Tim O'Reilly

Tim O'Reilly

New Source Licenses from Microsoft

While many people see Microsoft as the "enemy" of open source, Microsoft has in fact been busy learning from open source, and has released source code for more than eighty Microsoft projects under a "shared source" license. In addition, there are about six hundred programs (notably dotNetNuke) released by independent developers under Microsoft shared source licenses. As in the open source world, many of these projects have ended up with small license variations, creating unnecessary complexity. Today, at the O'Reilly European Open Source Convention, Jason Matusow of Microsoft announced a plan to simplify their plethora of shared source licenses, reducing the count to three (or, more accurately, five) variations: the permissive license, the community license, and the reference license. The permissive license is most like the BSD license; the community license is most like the Mozilla license; and the reference license is a "look but don't touch" license. The permissive and community licenses have variations that limit source distribution to the Windows platform.

Based on a quick read, the non-limited versions of these licenses look like they might well be able to meet with OSI approval as open source licenses. I'd urge Microsoft to go ahead and to go ahead and submit them to License-Discuss for OSI Approval, and become a full-fledged member of the open source community. They are clearly getting closer and closer to a tipping point. Let's encourage them to go all the way! Be nice.

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Comments: 4

  RichB [10.19.05 09:03 AM]

From an earlier time:

Q: Why didn't you submit the IronPython license to the OSI for approval?
A: The OSI has provided a much needed aggregation point for open source licenses but there are elements to the OSI website that are strongly anti-Microsoft. They have every right to hold their own opinions and to post what they will on their website. For the time being, Microsoft has chosen not to work with the OSI. As we continue to expand our collaborative development efforts we welcome any and all constructive conversations with the OSI and others about how the various elements of the software industry can work together more effectively. For example, we think that establishing some consistency among source licenses is a worthwhile objective. With >55 "open" licenses and counting, it is clear that property holders have strong opinions about how they would like to share their property. All individuals and organizations must be able to reserve the right to choose the source license (or write a new one) that will work best for them. Yet, there would be significant benefit from some consensus on a few archetypical licenses that were well understood by all parties.

  P.S. [10.20.05 10:12 AM]

DotNetNuke is not licensed under the Microsoft Shared Source License. DNN is licensed under a BSD license.

  Marcus Turley [11.16.06 10:09 PM]

Borat creator Sacha Baron Cohen reportedly signs a $42.5m (£22m) film deal starring his character Bruno...

  Kathy Skipworth [07.13.07 10:59 AM]

I have purchased a secondhand pc from the WCT the licensee was Lynn Tamati and she has now moved to australia. She has left with nobody knowing how to change any data that was installed on this pc and i would now like to registar the pc in my name along with the license can you please help me in this area as i am having a difficult time with the pc at the moment.

Regards Kathy Skipworth

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