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MSFT Open Source licenses: the future big OSS divide? August 29, 2007

Posted by Sacha in JBoss.

GGBAs you’ve probably heard, MSFT recently submitted two licenses to the OSI for approval: one reciprocal license (or copyleft license, the “Microsoft Community License“) and one permissive license (or non-copyleft license, the “Microsoft Permissive License“).

While this might just be for show, one thing retained my attention: both licenses, and not just the reciprocal one, are incompatible with the GPL. I was certainly not expecting to see MSFT make buddy with anything FSF-related, but still, that incompatibility sounds too much like a “feature”, especially given that even the permissive license is incompatible – which is pretty extreme, in my view.

So why is that? Let me propose a theory. Let’s say MSFT was willing to OSS some of their technology (some parts of .Net for example?) While they would certainly want to leverage that opportunity to the max (growing a community, new projects and extensions around this codebase, etc.), they would certainly hate to see their IP leveraged for and by any competitors (Linux, EE, Java, etc.) Well, what would be the easiest way to do eliminate the possibility of such “abuse”? Just create a big license-divide between the “good FOSS” (MSFT) and the evil communists (everybody else) and make sure you cannot legally cross that gap.

I guess we will see…





1. MSFT and GPL: toe in the water « Sacha’s Weblog - July 21, 2009

[…] FOSS standpoint, I don’t think this is (yet) MSFT’s strategic move away from “the big divide“. MSFT has certainly not taken the strategic decision to live in (or at least be compatible […]

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