Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Microsoft Programming IT Technology

Microsoft Eases "Shared Source" Restrictions 252

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the wincing-at-embedded-systems dept.
An anonymous reader writes "In an effort to help device makers differentiate their products and compete more vigorously with Linux, Microsoft is eliminating major restrictions on the use of its "shared source" license for the Windows CE operating system. The change, which accompanies the impending full release of Windows CE 5.0, will counter competition from Linux and is likely to expand Microsoft's slice of the roughly $1B embedded OS market pie. Specifically, the new version of the Win CE Shared Source license will, for the first time, enable developers anywhere in the world to include modified Windows CE code within commercial products without having to sublicense the modifications back to Microsoft. Interestingly, the revised Shared Source terms are reminiscent of the BSD open source license, which permits the development of proprietary derivatives that need not be shared with the community, in contrast to the GPL, which obligates developers to make their modifications available to the public."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Microsoft Eases "Shared Source" Restrictions

Comments Filter:
  • by garcia (6573) * on Monday June 28, 2004 @11:23AM (#9551051) Homepage
    Furthermore, the software development process itself is accomplished with an inexpensive, $995 integrated toolkit which can even be downloaded on a 120-day free-trial basis as part of the Windows CE 5.0 "evaluation edition" before purchasing a license.

    While I have never used Linux on a PDA (and probably won't) I can't imagine having the claim that $995 for development fees (after the trial period) is "inexpensive" especially when this is an obvious attempt to compete with Linux in the PDA market.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 28, 2004 @11:24AM (#9551061)
    nothing says BSD is dying like MS moving in on your turf.
  • by cbrocious (764766) on Monday June 28, 2004 @11:24AM (#9551063) Homepage
    Doesn't mean anything. To get the benefits of "open source", you have to develop using the methodology, not just slap an "open source" license on it and expect it to magickly get better.
    • by garcia (6573) * on Monday June 28, 2004 @11:28AM (#9551097) Homepage
      Just because its source is available doesn't mean anything. To get the benefits of "open source", you have to develop using the methodology, not just slap an "open source" license on it and expect it to magickly get better.

      Ahh, but see, that's coming from someone immersed in the world of OSS. When you are immersed in a Windows world and used to paying high development and licensing fees this would seem like a Godsend.

      People see the benefits of Linux as it being free. They don't always see the "more eyes/better code" side.

      Greed is a much more powerful tool.
    • To get the benefits of "open source", you have to develop using the methodology, not just slap an "open source" license on it and expect it to magickly get better.

      Even in cases where a previously proprietary product has been "open sourced" it can take quite a bit of time before the result is truely OSS. Various coding styles and methodologies which may work fine in the proprietary environment are not much good in an open environment.
    • you have to develop using the methodology, not just slap an "open source" license on it

      you mean, you have to submit all changes to Bill Gates who decides what goes into the CE kernel or not?
  • "More like..." (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 28, 2004 @11:24AM (#9551064)
    Competition simply means Microsoft becomes more like the competition. ...more Unixey. ...more open source. ...etc.

    However don't forget to read the fine print.
  • by Theovon (109752) on Monday June 28, 2004 @11:26AM (#9551077)
    It's an irony. Microsoft counters the GPL with an even less restrictive license.

    Free Software will rule the world, and Microsoft will play multiple parts in making that happen. :)
    • by mattdm (1931) on Monday June 28, 2004 @11:37AM (#9551195) Homepage

      It's an irony. Microsoft counters the GPL with an even less restrictive license.

      Despite the /. summary, the new license isn't really BSD-like. It's certainly a lot more relaxed, but it doesn't let you take the original code and do whatever you want with it. This is all about letting companies ship modified *binary* versions -- there's no way, for example, to make a complete fork.

      Were this truly a BSD-style license, it'd be possible to take the code base and dump it wholesale into Wine, or a Wine-CE -- enabling perfect WinCE compatibility on the Zaurus, or even on Linux desktop systems. How much you want to bet that's not possible?

      Plus, aren't there still per-copy license fees? Or has Microsoft already done the IE thing and dropped that to compete?

      • by Anonymous Coward

        It's certainly a lot more relaxed, but it doesn't let you take the original code and do whatever you want with it.

        Correct. Of utmost relevence is the fact that you cannot take "Shared Source" code, and share the source with your friends.

      • Exactly (Score:4, Insightful)

        by mcc (14761) <amcclure@purdue.edu> on Monday June 28, 2004 @12:42PM (#9551753) Homepage
        GPLed software gives you a complete product with source which you may do whatever you like with and asks only for your source in return.

        This new MS shared source thing gives you 25% of Windows CE, tells you you can do whatever you like with the resulting binaries, and asks only for an eternal monetary tithing for every unit you sell containing these binaries.

        It would be reasonable to say these are different kinds of restrictions. It would probably not be reasonable to call the MS thing less restrictive.
    • Most big software companies are very opposed to the "communist" nature of the GPL. Software companies want the freedom to innovate and profit from their innovation without giving away the "secret sauce".

      Microsoft is definitely listening to their customers here. The customers want access to source so they can make modifications, but without being forced to release their improvements to others.

      Now the interesting thing will be to watch Sun's response. If Microsoft yet again beats Sun, will it force Sun's
      • Most big software companies are very opposed to the "communist" nature of the GPL.

        Rubbish. The GPL helps me say this: "want modify and use my code? Fine, then make it $free like I did. Want a version that lets you close yours and protect your 'secrets'? Pay me and you can have a different license.

        The GPL allows a lot of programmers to protect their work with a license that prevents vultures from hijacking it into their own product and not giving anything back in return.

        How could something whose very
      • How can Communism (or Socialism) really apply to a non-physical product? Software is freely duplicated anyway, regardless of the license that is used - and GPL software can be sold for profit, at that.

        Some traits of Socialism and Communism:

        -Public or government owns means of production.
        -Central committes plan production.
        -There is no competition.
        -No profit motive in the distribution of goods or services.

        Why GPL is not "Communist":

        -Individuals can own means of production of GPL software.
        -People can own c
    • How is it less restictive when you can't take the code for alternative projects?

      Will you see the Windows CE kernel code in any other software? Probably not. The license doesn't allow that. This is *NOT* free software. The modifyable code only guarantees that you will have a bit more flexibility over the use of it in your own devices. You can make your own improvements without having to give them back to Microsoft.

      Guess what... You can do that with GPL code as well. Think of something like YAST (bef
  • Just a little bit (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PD (9577) * <slashdotlinux@pdrap.org> on Monday June 28, 2004 @11:27AM (#9551088) Homepage Journal
    If you look at Microsoft's Shared Source license page, there's a bunch of different programs for different pieces of shared source. link here [microsoft.com]. These shared sources don't seem to create an open community, because first it's not open, and it's not a community. Open implies free, and it's clear that these sources aren't complete. You're still stuck on Microsoft's teat for the remainder of the OS. And community implies a group of equal collaborative partners. As far as I can tell, the partners are not equal. Microsoft could decide to completely change the APIs one day and leave everybody in the dirt. By missing an open community, they miss the best feature of open source.

  • by bollow (a) NoLockIn (785367) on Monday June 28, 2004 @11:28AM (#9551102) Homepage
    The new version of the Shared Source License, called a "EULA" (End User License Agreement), will be available later this week on Microsoft's embedded website. [microsoft.com]

    Why don't we wait with discussing this until the actual license text is available, so that we can see what the article is talking about?

    Maybe, as the "the revised Shared Source terms are reminiscent of the BSD open source license" remark in the article seems to indicate, this is actually a free software / open source license. Maybe there are still some unacceptable strings attached. How are we supposed to think something good or bad about the new license just based on this article which is obviously written by someone who is not very familar with software licenses. (The article says about the GPL that it "obligates developers to make their modifications available to the public." That is incorrect. If you distribute a GPL-licensed program to someone, you have to make sure that the recipient can get the source code. You are however not required to make modifications available to the public. In practice, modifications are very often made available to the public, but this is an important distinction to keep in mind, especially when thinking about privacy issues, and also when thinking about commercial GPL licensing of software packages for the expected number of customers is small [freestrategy.info]).

    • (The article says about the GPL that it "obligates developers to make their modifications available to the public." That is incorrect. If you distribute a GPL-licensed program to someone, you have to make sure that the recipient can get the source code.

      The most important word here is if. You are under no obligation to distribute any GPL program at all. Also you are under no obligation to make the source available to to anyone other than a party you have supplied the binary to. The specific point is that b
    • this article which is obviously written by someone who is not very familar with software licenses. (The article says about the GPL that it "obligates developers to make their modifications available to the public." That is incorrect. If you distribute a GPL-licensed program to someone, you have to make sure that the recipient can get the source code.

      This is correct, but you're kinda missing the forest for the trees. In the application that the code described in the artice is going to be used ... yes ..

  • Two can play that game. I call on the Linux community to:

    • Create bloat in disk and RAM usage
    • Access NULL pointers to decrease stability
    • Program major security holes into common apps like xterm
    Let's level the playing field!
    • Create bloat in disk and RAM usage

      GNOME and KDE. Check.

      Access NULL pointers to decrease stability

      I hope you're not implying that dereferncing NULL pointers is something that happens exclusively at Microsoft. But either way, this happens frequently enough with free software. Check.

      Program major security holes into common apps like xterm

      Is ssh good enough for you? Check.
      • Yeap, it takes several Open sources apps to find the same problems you can find in every "SINGLE" release of Windows since 3.0 and most other microsoft products.

        And you have to pay for Windows and those products withing being able to see the source or modify it so you can't fix the problem or help others fix it...

        Besides, I don't think GNOME or KDE with a linux kernal take NEAR as much disk space as Windows. The Windows version I'm running takes almost 2 GIGS of disk space IN THE WINDOWS DIRECTORY alone!
        • withing was supposed to be without, in case anyone missed it. Even the Emperor of the Known universe makes typos. Its those Bene Gesserit witches and that damn "voice". I heard "You will make a typo" and I couldn't stop my hands from mis-typing without.
      • GNOME and KDE. Check.

        Here we go again. No, GNOME and KDE are not linux. Linux is just a kernel and yes you can customize GNOME and KDE to any degree you want. That in not true in MS software unless I pay (more) money for a third party software to do this for me (possibly) without braking anything.

        I hope you're not implying that dereferncing NULL pointers is something that happens exclusively at Microsoft. But either way, this happens frequently enough with free software. Check.

        What happens even m
        • Major security holes in ssh didn't lead to the Microsoft related worm/virus/trojan "funfare". They never had and never will.

          It didn't lead to front page news, but did hundreds of boxes get rooted? Are there probably boxes out there still to this day that are rooted without people knowing?

          Yes, absolutely.

          Just because it's not a national epidemic doesn't mean that the major security problems didn't make a living hell out of IT people's lives.

          Don't underestimate the effect of major bugs on people's live
  • by LilJC (680315) on Monday June 28, 2004 @11:29AM (#9551113)
    With CE, they also stand to perhaps gain a foothold over some PalmOS lovers.

    PalmOS has been another stable hand-held system that amateurs can actually write software for as well.

    Though, I must sheepishly admit I had problems with a free PalmOS compiler I downloaded a year or two ago.

    • by Cereal Box (4286)
      PalmOS has been another stable hand-held system that amateurs can actually write software for as well.

      Are you implying that amateurs can't write for WinCE devices? I'll remind you that the development tools are free and widely available.
  • "Interestingly"? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by JessLeah (625838) on Monday June 28, 2004 @11:30AM (#9551114)
    Try "predictably", or "obviously". Of course MS is going to go with a more BSD-like license, as opposed to a more GPL-like license. MS has always made it quite clear (through actions as well as statements) that they like the BSD-type open-source licenses, as it allows them to embrace and extend without breaching the license. (Thus far, they haven't really "embraced and extended" BSD code-- but they do use BSD's command-line FTP client code, and I believe BSD's TCP/IP stack? Or was the latter only in the past?) Anyone who thought that they would go for a more GPL-like paradigm was only fooling themselves.

    Frankly, I think it's surprising that Microsoft is releasing any source code at all. I actually think it's a bit premature for MS to be doing such things. Here in the "trenches", dealing with tons of end users, all I see is Windows users to the left of me, Windows users to the right of me. I don't see Linux encroaching on Windows turf on the desktop-- and, in fact, I see Windows encroaching on Linux/Unix turf on the server side of things. (This frightens me deeply.) It is surprising that MS is scared enough of Linux and the open-source/free software movement to be releasing some of their source code while their market share is still so ridiculously high.
    • by deadlinegrunt (520160) on Monday June 28, 2004 @11:44AM (#9551253) Homepage Journal
      I didn't RTFA so this probably has squat to do with anything relevant...

      "It is surprising that MS is scared enough of Linux and the open-source/free software movement to be releasing some of their source code while their market share is still so ridiculously high."

      Perhaps because they are losing mindshare amongst developers? This affects the long term but in a very dramatic way.
    • ``Of course MS is going to go with a more BSD-like license, as opposed to a more GPL-like license.''

      Well, it's not that obvious. The GPL is definitely the more controlling of the two, and I don't think it is a matter of course that Microsoft would give up their control.
    • Re:"Interestingly"? (Score:3, Informative)

      by rutledjw (447990)
      On your point of Windows displacing *NIX...

      We have deployed literally HUNDREDS of Intel servers over the past 3 years. We started with Windows and now are almost completely Linux. Windows WAS replacing some *NIX systems, but now it's Linux on IBM blades or 44x series machines.

      To be frank, the only reason we have any Windows at all is the ease of development and a slew of undertalented developers who can't write proper Java or C/C++ code. Aside from that we're excusively Linux (with AIX for some of the

    • Re:"Interestingly"? (Score:3, Informative)

      by swillden (191260) *

      I don't see Linux encroaching on Windows turf on the desktop-- and, in fact, I see Windows encroaching on Linux/Unix turf on the server side of things. (This frightens me deeply.) It is surprising that MS is scared enough of Linux and the open-source/free software movement to be releasing some of their source code while their market share is still so ridiculously high.

      That's because you're talking about desktop and server OSes, and this move has to do with embedded device OSes, where MS doesn't have the

    • How is it more "BSD-like" if you can't take the code for your own non-CE projects?

      You probably cannot take the Windows kernel code and write your own free derivative based upon it.

      Don't confuse shared-source with free (speech) software until you know all of the details of the license. GPL is still free, even if you need to jump though a few hoops to avoid violating the license if you wish to glue it to proprietary code. It's doubtful that "Shared Source" will be this way.
    • Thus far, they haven't really "embraced and extended" BSD code-- but they do use BSD's command-line FTP client code, and I believe BSD's TCP/IP stack?

      Um, how do you know Microsoft hasn't used more BSD code? Since their code is closed you really have no idea what's in it or how much BSD code it could contain. The TCP/IP stack & FTP client are just things which we happen to know about.

  • Still not as open (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bobaferret (513897) on Monday June 28, 2004 @11:31AM (#9551123)
    I still can't use any of that windows CE code in my own program/xserver now can I? Whereas with the BSD licience I could borrow theor code as long as I kept the copyright notice.
  • by MEGAMAID (791988) on Monday June 28, 2004 @11:32AM (#9551133)
    Spread windows far and wide. Now when the next MSvirus hits it can take out all the other appliances too!

    "ffs! How many time do we have to tell you, you need to run windows update on your microwave at least once a week"
    • Ah, imagine the fun someone could have with a network-attached WinCE microwave: // virus.c
      while(true) {
      if(microwave.containsPet()) {
      door.close();
      microwave.start(Power::High, 30);
      } else sleep(5);
      }
  • by MooseByte (751829) on Monday June 28, 2004 @11:32AM (#9551136)

    Perhaps it's a childish pleasure, but pleasurable nonetheless: Watching MS squirm ever increasingly in response to the rise of open source. And with this latest ISS/IE debacle it seems to be rouding a wide (if somewhat slow) corner. I've had several people switch to Firefox (including a co-worker) based on that alone.

    Watching MS progress along the classic path of "ignore OSS; laugh at OSS; fight OSS; lose uber-dominance" is a patient game, but well worth it.

    Then again, this last gasp of uber-dominance of theirs is somewhat scary - when MS described OSS/GPL as "viral", I'm wondering if they were describing their own vision of an apportunity to virally insert themselves into other bodies of code....

    "It's a trick, get an axe." - Army of Darkness
  • by primus_sucks (565583) on Monday June 28, 2004 @11:32AM (#9551143)
    more than 2.5 million lines of code...

    Just what I always wanted in my embedded OS!
    • more than 2.5 million lines of code...

      Just 500k more lines of code and you got a nice looking pony.........as long as the code is BASIC........and the holoshed doesn't malfunction.
    • Hate to rain on your parade, but the Linux kernel itself is between 1.8M and 3.3M LOC [win.tue.nl] (I say "between" because I'm not sure what kernel version the Zaurus has). So any way you look at it, when you add up all the source for the Zaurus's components and the Linux kernel you're getting up to or above the 2.5M LOC figure that you seem to think is unacceptable for an embedded device.
  • compete? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by elfstones (177191) on Monday June 28, 2004 @11:33AM (#9551146) Homepage
    "In an effort to help device makers differentiate their products and compete more vigorously with Linux"

    Why do device makers need to compete with Linux? Device makers need to be able to develop software that works on both for the biggest market share.
  • by fermion (181285) on Monday June 28, 2004 @11:34AM (#9551154) Homepage Journal
    Make no mistake, this leaves the Windows operating system open to a wide array of potentially fatal problems. Thousands of developers worldwide, who YOU DON"T EVEN KNOW, are going to write the code that YOU USE. You will have no assurance that the code is to the quality specifications of MS. The OS you are running may even have easter eggs added by TERRORISTS. And you will have no way of knowing.

    This license also induces MASSIVE FORKING. You will have no way of knowing that the version of Windows you use will work the way you expect. Millions of version of Windows CE will be created, each slightly incompatible.

  • nothing like BSD (Score:4, Informative)

    by MORTAR_COMBAT! (589963) on Monday June 28, 2004 @11:37AM (#9551194)
    the biggest example of how MS's shared source license differs: no matter what, you can't ship your source code under any license.
  • Microsoft and GPL (Score:4, Informative)

    by TheRealMindChild (743925) on Monday June 28, 2004 @11:38AM (#9551198) Homepage Journal
    A lot of people are making a stink about this not being GPL, and even poking fun at the fact that this style license is, in fact, less restrictive then the GPL... but make no mistake, MS knows what they are doing. If they were to make it GPL, then make changes... guess what... they have to release them. With this license, they release a code base, and everyone can pick at it as they want, even them... and they don't have to give the changes to anyone. So while everyone is making base systems with "Windows CE version X, with some tweaks", Microsoft can start adding whole chuncks of warm binary goodness and call it "Windows CE Super Platinum Edition", with "Super secure cryptography and cutting edge realtime multimedia support", while the base code under shared source has none of this.
    • Microsoft can start adding whole chuncks of warm binary goodness and call it "Windows CE Super Platinum Edition", with "Super secure cryptography and cutting edge realtime multimedia support", while the base code under shared source has none of this.

      OSS proponents tell me this is one of the best features of OSS though, the ability to build on existing software rather than reinvent the wheel. If OSS developers are as good as they claim then they should be able to outdo anything MS can build on the share
    • by luiss (217284) on Monday June 28, 2004 @11:55AM (#9551333)
      So while everyone is making base systems with "Windows CE version X, with some tweaks", Microsoft can start adding whole chuncks of warm binary goodness and call it "Windows CE Super Platinum Edition", with "Super secure cryptography and cutting edge realtime multimedia support", while the base code under shared source has none of this.

      As the owner of the copywrite of their code, they could do this even if they released it under the GPL.

      What they would not be able to do if they GPLed a version of thier code is to fold contributions back into thier non-GPL versions.

  • by phoxix (161744) on Monday June 28, 2004 @11:38AM (#9551200)
    Quote:

    ... in contrast to the GPL, which obligates developers to make their modifications available to the public.

    Erm, no. This has been said a billion times, and I suppose it will be said again. The GPL does not require you to give back your changes to the public. It does, however, require you to give the source code to whoever you in turn gave the program too.

    Example: If I sell a modified version of the kernel to the Pentagon, I must provide the source to the Pentagon, but no one else. Not even the NSA, or some state gov't, etc etc. It is a very simple concept. (Ingenious when you think about it.)

    Sunny Dubey
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Example: If I sell a modified version of the kernel to the Pentagon, I must provide the source to the Pentagon, but no one else. Not even the NSA, or some state gov't, etc etc. It is a very simple concept. (Ingenious when you think about it.)

      Of course you can't make them not give the source to whomever they please. You can ask them nicely not to do it, but they have the right to if they want, under the GPL.

    • Are you sure? I cannot vouch for the full implications of this, but section 2(b) of the GPL states:

      You must cause any work that you distribute or publish, that in whole or in part contains or is derived from the Program or any part thereof, to be licensed as a whole at no charge to all third parties under the terms of this License.

      Perhaps the work can be licensed to all third parties without being available to all third parties; under this interpretation the work would not need to be available to the p
      • by swillden (191260) * <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Monday June 28, 2004 @12:30PM (#9551658) Homepage Journal

        Perhaps the work can be licensed to all third parties without being available to all third parties; under this interpretation the work would not need to be available to the public. But I would like to see a convincing resolution of this issue.

        That's exactly what the GPL says. 2(b) specifies that you have to license it to the world, but doesn't say anything about you having to actually give it to anyone. Section 3 specifies how you go about distributing it, and it gives you three options, saying that you only have to do one of them.

        Option 3(a) says that if you hand out source with the binary, you're done, you've satisfied the requirements, you don't have to give it to anyone else. If you choose this option, you do not have to distribute to the public. Of course, whoever you gave it to can give it to someone else, and that someone else already has a license to your code, as required by 2(b), so it may end up published to the public anyway, but _you_ don't have to do it.

        If you don't want to hand out source with the binary, then you can use 3(b), which says you have to provide a written offer to give it to _any_ third party. So if you take this option, you are required to distribute it to the public, for three years.

        Finally, you can choose 3(c), which says that if you never got source, just a binary and a written offer, you can pass both along to someone else. As long as you're not doing it commercially. No need for public distribution.

  • Security concerns (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mackman (19286) * on Monday June 28, 2004 @11:40AM (#9551221)
    Their shared source has two problems:

    First, by making the source available to a limited audience for cost, dedicated crackers can get thier hands on it (illegally) but legitimate developers can't without paying big bucks. It's good to know only law-breaking coders will be looking for secrity vulnerabilities.

    Second, by allowing third parties to modify the source without requiring peer review (either by MS or by the community), they are likely to introduce new bugs. At least with the Linux kernel, there's a hell of a lot of review before changes are integrated into the mainline. Forks also frequently get merged back into the mainline. Now there will be hundreds of modified WinCE varients, none of which getting peer reviewed or integrated into the trunk, and who knows how MS will handle distribution of security updastes to modified WinCE variants.
  • by feloneous cat (564318) on Monday June 28, 2004 @11:42AM (#9551231)
    Not 5.0, but 4.2, I can say that a lame kernel is still a lame kernel, source or no.

    I've SEEN Microsoft's source code (not kernel code, but their "example" code) and it is hideous. The most well known (to CE developers) was the infamous "audio hang" where if you spec'ed in an audio driver and you DIDN'T have a Codec on the board, the entire system would hang. And it didn't get any better (even after pointing this out to MS).

    People say the learning curve is steep. They are correct. But not for the reasons you might think. It is steep because MS uses the SAME text in multiple different passes to build the OS. When you chat with them about problems they tell you to use the console (I don't think they did the GUI but as an after-thought).

    Worse, try to explain to your application developers that "yeah, it looks like Windows, smells like Windows, has an API, but it ain't Windows". Then they get frustrated when things don't work the same or they discover (surprise!) that the API is limited (hey, I only got 32 Megs of RAM here, dude!).

    What a hunk of junk.

    • Oh, I FORGOT to add their "moving target" codecs and licensing. For example, we had one customer who was using a codec in version 4.1 of CE. When 4.2 came out, SURPRISE, that codec "VANISHED". MS response was "too bad, so sad, we don't give a damn".

      This is on top of their "pay as you go" type system where your license is purely based on what you put in the OS. Okay, that may change tomorrow. Depends on the freakin' whims of MS. Makes it terribly difficult cost out a project.

      But, hey, it could all change b
  • by unoengborg (209251) on Monday June 28, 2004 @11:42AM (#9551233) Homepage
    One of the reason for choosing GPL would be to control competition, as it eliminates the risk that some of your competitors adds new features that you have no access to.

    I have always regarded BSD like licences suicidal if you issue and only beneficial to the licencee. While GPL gives more equal terms at least on paper. In reality the parti that have written the major part of the code will probably come out on top as he will have better understanding on how it works and will probably be able to provide better services.

    So given Microsoft normally highly competitive behavior, one wonders if their hate towards GPL have clouded their minds.
  • I Bet (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Greyfox (87712) on Monday June 28, 2004 @11:47AM (#9551277) Homepage Journal
    They take it all away again once they've crished the competition (Linux and PalmOS.) They pulled a similar stunt with OS/2 back in the day, first by creating the "API of the week club" to release new and incompatable libraries for things like Win32s and ultimately by releasing Windows 95, which IBM didn't hold a source license to (They had contracts to incorporate Windows 3.x stuff into OS/2.)

    So what's to say 3 years from now they don't just come out with a new "Windows Lite" which is completely incompatable with WinCE and start pressuring hardware manufacturers to switch over?

  • by mcc (14761) <amcclure@purdue.edu> on Monday June 28, 2004 @11:48AM (#9551280) Homepage
    ...and allowing you to... embed it in things?

    Okay, that makes a lot of sense from their perspective, but are we supposed to be impressed by this or something?
  • by eamacnaghten (695001) on Monday June 28, 2004 @11:51AM (#9551309) Homepage Journal
    This, and the recent news of the Thailand XP Startup Edition [slashdot.org] seems to be a direct response to a rise of Linux.

    It is significant that Microsoft seems to be losing the lead on where things are going now. They are recting to Linux rather than leading the IT market.

    I know they are doing this to keep Linux out and to try and get people hooked on XP - but it does not work like that any more. I have just replaced a customer's Outlook Express with Mozilla's Thunderbird - the transission went smoothly - and although the (non technical) person has never used Thunderbird before the training took about two minutes!

    I think these strategic decisions of Microsoft are a turning point. Microsoft cannot kill Linux. If they want to keep their current markets they are learning that they need to do it on Linux's terms - ie - give the customer reliable cheap working software that does not involve paying a big "Microsoft Tax".

    I think we have seen the value of Microsoft's software, and it's revenue, take a downward turn. I am expecting the trend to continue.

  • Re-Read the GPL! (Score:4, Informative)

    by schabi (54775) * on Monday June 28, 2004 @11:54AM (#9551328) Homepage
    in contrast to the GPL, which obligates developers to make their modifications available to the public

    Thats just plainly wrong, please re-read the GPL! The GPL just obligates to make the source avaliable to every receipient of the binary, and enforces that you cannot change the license.

    Thus, if you develop complex modifications for a GPL software, and your customer pays you lots of money for it, nobody is forced to give those modifications to the public.

    GPL enpowers the customer, not the public. The customer gets the freedom to modify (or pay someone else to do it) the software, independently from the original vendor.

  • RTFGPL (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Dwonis (52652) * on Monday June 28, 2004 @12:06PM (#9551431)
    in contrast to the GPL, which obligates developers to make their modifications available to the public.

    Sigh. No it doesn't. It requires that source code for the binaries be distributed with the binaries. There's no obligation to release anything to the general public.

    • Re:RTFGPL (Score:3, Informative)

      by FattMattP (86246)

      It requires that source code for the binaries be distributed with the binaries.

      Wrong. The GPL states that if you distribute binaries that you have to make the source code available. It doesn't require you to ship the source code with the binaries. You have that option but you can also choose not to do so and wait until a user asks for a copy of the source. From section three of the GPL [gnu.org]:

      3. You may copy and distribute the Program (or a work based on it, under Section 2) in object code or executable

  • by Anonymous Coward
    You might not get what you want out of that visit.

    Just like we're not going to get anything good out of using Microsoft's code.

    Paranoid? Look at it this way: would you put some sort of rights to your companies code in the hands of Microsoft? Do you trust them that much?

    Me neither.

  • by Bob9113 (14996) on Monday June 28, 2004 @12:46PM (#9551796) Homepage
    in contrast to the GPL, which obligates developers to make their modifications available to the public.

    Once again for the slow learners among us: The GPL does not obligate you to make your modifications available to the public. The GPL only requires you to make the source code available to anyone to whom you provide a copy of the derivative work. If, for example, you modify GNU Emacs for your personal use, you do not have to publish your work.
  • Not bad (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nwbvt (768631) on Monday June 28, 2004 @12:47PM (#9551801)
    ...but $5 says /.ers will still line up to take shots at MS for this move.

Entropy requires no maintenance. -- Markoff Chaney

Working...