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Microsoft Software

Does Microsoft Have the Best App Store For Open Source Developers? 339

Posted by timothy
from the so-how-does-that-beat-android? dept.
WebMink writes "Microsoft seems to have been in combat against the GNU GPL throughout the history of free and open source software. But that may be changing. They have recently updated the terms of use for software developers in their Windows Phone app store to allow any OSI-approved open source license — even the GPL. They include extraordinarily broad language that gives the open source license priority over their own license terms, saying: 'If your Application or In-App Product includes FOSS, your license terms may conflict with the limitations set forth in Section 3 of the Standard Application License Terms, but only to the extent required by the FOSS that you use.' Could it be that the most open source friendly app stores will be the ones run my Microsoft?"
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Does Microsoft Have the Best App Store For Open Source Developers?

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  • slashvertisement? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by gatzke (2977)

    MS advertising coffers well spent, looks like.

    Enjoy that new surface, timothy.

    • by MikeRT (947531) on Saturday January 26, 2013 @09:57AM (#42700107) Homepage

      Let's look at the bigger picture...

      1) Windows 7 is arguably the best desktop OS out there right now for the vast majority of the public. Even many of the Apple fans I know, myself included, have been forced to concede that Windows 7 is better than OS X in many ways.
      2) Microsoft has started to really become an advocate for open standards to the point of throwing IE 9 under the bus and repeatedly rolling the bus over it in front of their customers.
      3) Microsoft's tools produce standards compliant web output.
      4) Microsoft has officially incorporated jQuery into their web process and extended it in an open way to make it really work with Visual Studio.
      5) Microsoft has never once threatened Mono or any open source .NET effort even as the Java world was nearly torn apart recently.
      6) Microsoft has spent the last decade really ramping up their security efforts in what amounts to a "come to Jesus experience" on security.
      7) Microsoft is starting to allow their own products like ASP.NET MVC to go FOSS.

      I give them credit as a former Microsoft-hated, Apple-loving Java/JavaScript/Groovy/Ruby developer. This isn't Bill Gates' Microsoft. It's actually a damn shame that it's not Steven Sinofsky's Microsoft because that might have played a truly dangerous stalking horse to Tim Cook's Apple.

      • by MikeRT (947531) on Saturday January 26, 2013 @09:59AM (#42700111) Homepage

        Gotta love forgetting to escape characters in your comments...

      • This is desperation in action, in a market where they arent a leader and probably never will be
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I'm sick and tired of people applauding Internet Explorers incredible changes. Yes, it's good! So what! The only reason that happened, is because Firefox and Chrome were forcing it off the market and into extinction. Years and tonnes of money later it's good, but still barely competing.

      • by geek (5680) on Saturday January 26, 2013 @10:52AM (#42700383) Homepage

        Let's look at the bigger picture...

        1) Windows 7 is arguably the best desktop OS out there right now for the vast majority of the public. Even many of the Apple fans I know, myself included, have been forced to concede that Windows 7 is better than OS X in many ways.

        I work in a mixed environment, Windows 7/OSX and Linux. I've never heard an OSX user claim Windows 7 is better. Especially on a portable where the gestures on OSX make it absolutely the best experience out there, if you bother to learn it. I've never in fact seen someone with a MacBook Air, for example, switch it to windows. I've never even seen them run boot camp.

        I can't think of a single thing Windows 7 has that OSX doesn't but better. Windows 7 is a decent OS, emphasis on decent. It's the best Microsoft seems to be able to do. That doesn't make it good, nor does it make it better than OSX in any way shape or form.

        • by ArsonSmith (13997) on Saturday January 26, 2013 @11:04AM (#42700441) Journal

          I'd mod you funny, but it's always hard to tell when a mac fanboi is serious.

        • by _xeno_ (155264)

          I've never heard an OSX user claim Windows 7 is better. Especially on a portable where the gestures on OSX make it absolutely the best experience out there, if you bother to learn it.

          You are aware that with just about every current Windows laptop out there for the past, oh, couple of years at least, those gestures work too? Either people figured out how to work around Apple's patents or Apple finally decided to license them, as it was solely multitouch patents blocking Windows from doing it before.

          Although I will admit that I've never heard an Apple fanboi admit that Windows is the better OS, even when they end up spending all their time in a Windows 7 VM because they can't actually do

      • by stenvar (2789879) on Saturday January 26, 2013 @11:28AM (#42700559)

        1) Windows 7 is arguably the best desktop OS out there right now for the vast majority of the public. Even many of the Apple fans I know, myself included, have been forced to concede that Windows 7 is better than OS X in many ways.

        I find Windows 7 (and 8) fall seriously short in those areas that actually matter in day-to-day usage: file management, WiFi configuration, software updates, disk management, device driver installation, system cleanup, and a few others. All those are unnecessarily complicated and tedious on Windows.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          If you're doing all those things on a day-to-day basis, you're doing it wrong. Badly wrong.

      • by marcosdumay (620877) <marcosdumayNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Saturday January 26, 2013 @12:07PM (#42700729) Homepage Journal

        1) There is this thing called "Linux" out there. Have you tried it? KDE is better than W7 in so many ways... And IceWM is better in other ways.

        2) Mozilla throwed IE < 9 under the buss, Chrome started the bus and made it move. MS was just watching all the time, trying to save it. After it was dead, MS released IE 9 (it is still a piece of shit, mind you) out of desperation, and in a way that had the least possible impact. Also, stopping figtinhg against something (because you lost al your forces) does not equals supporting something.

        3) Yeah,ok. I don't know about that. (You are talking about Visual Studio, right? Because Word...)

        4) That's good news for .Net developers. Not a reason to develop in .Net and not a reason to put MS in a good light. I'll make sure some .Net developers around here know about it.

        5) You either have a funny definition for "threatened" or you don't know a thing about Mono. MS threats are what shape the entire project.

        6) Yeah, they either do that or peole will use something else. Gotta love a free market.

        7) What does that mean?

      • by phantomfive (622387) on Saturday January 26, 2013 @12:16PM (#42700761) Journal
        Wow. Just wow.

        "Microsoft has started to really become an advocate for open standards to the point of"

        No, they have not. Microsoft is an advocate of what benefits them. Have you forgotten already the OOXML problems? They will only support open standards until they can extend and extinguish them. You are confused because right now they've been forced to move back to the Embrace step, but if they could find a way to own access to the internet, they would.

        "Microsoft's tools produce standards compliant web output."

        Great, maybe they can attempt to implement C99 now 12 years later. I am still required to cripple my C code so it will be accepted by Microsoft's crappy compiler, years after everyone else has moved on. Respecting standards in one place doesn't mean they actually respect standards.

        "Microsoft has never once threatened Mono or any open source .NET effort"

        OK, but they have threatened patent action against open source. Do you REALLY believe they won't attack Mono if they find it in their interest? They will, whether you believe it now or not. Don't be naive.

        "Windows 7 is arguably the best desktop OS out there right now for the vast majority of the public."

        OSX is Unix with a usable GUI, that's basically the win right there. Microsoft does deserve credit for respecting backwards compatibility, though.

        • by HiThere (15173)

          Microsoft has never once threatened Mono or any open source .NET effort"

          OK, but they have threatened patent action against open source. Do you REALLY believe they won't attack Mono if they find it in their interest? They will, whether you believe it now or not. Don't be naive.

          Actually, that's wrong. It was in the very early days of Mono, but a Microsoft vice-president (whatever that means) announced in the press that ".NET is our technology and we will defend it" in a context that was clearly a threat to Mono. There may have been no follow-up, but it was said, and I never saw a retraction.

      • by steelfood (895457)

        Sinofsky? You mean the guy who came up with the clusterfuck that's Windows RT/8? Really?

        I'd much rather have J Allard at the helm, the guy responsible for the XBox and the guy who came up with the Courier. Give me the visionary. I couldn't care less for the Jobs wannabe.

      • MS only ever advocate open standards and interoperability in markets where they are doing badly, or where forced to do so by external forces...

        In markets they dominate, they always try to do the exact opposite.

        Come back when they start advocating ODF and CalDAV etc.

        They may not be threatening mono, but while java code is cross platform by default (and by accident) .net code often only works on mono if specifically written to be cross platform, which is just another way to keep smaller platforms down.

  • Bill? (Score:5, Funny)

    by lorinc (2470890) on Saturday January 26, 2013 @09:44AM (#42700059) Homepage Journal

    Could it be that the most open source friendly app stores will be the ones run my Microsoft?"

    Bill, is that you?

  • No (Score:4, Insightful)

    by EzInKy (115248) on Saturday January 26, 2013 @09:47AM (#42700065)

    Microsoft is about their bottom line, plain and simple. Even if open sourcing something today is profitable, they would not hesitate to close it tomorrow if it hurts profits.

    • by DogDude (805747)
      Microsoft is about their bottom line, plain and simple.

      That's a bizarre thing to say. They're one of the oldest software companies in history. Companies don't survive (and thrive) as long as they do without some forward thinking. You want to consider doing some reading about this history of the company, especially in relation to other companies that size, and re-consider your admittedly short-sighted response.
      • Re:No (Score:5, Informative)

        by causality (777677) on Saturday January 26, 2013 @09:59AM (#42700113)

        Companies don't survive (and thrive) as long as they do without some forward thinking.

        Or a strangehold monopoly on an entire market. That helps too.

      • by EzInKy (115248) on Saturday January 26, 2013 @10:03AM (#42700139)

        Provide a list of companies that shows more of them succeded by partnering with Microsoft than failed and I'll consider admitting to short-sightedness. Nokia doing away with all but MS based phones is the most blatent result of doing deals with Microsoft.

        • Provide a list of companies that shows more of them succeded by partnering with Microsoft than failed and I'll consider admitting to short-sightedness. Nokia doing away with all but MS based phones is the most blatent result of doing deals with Microsoft.

          I fail to see how this relates to your original contention that Microsoft would close all their open source products to make a buck. Here it is again:

          Microsoft is about their bottom line, plain and simple. Even if open sourcing something today is profitable, they would not hesitate to close it tomorrow if it hurts profits.

          Instead of backing up that assertion, you have lept to a different subject and hoped that nobody would notice. But still, I will play. Considering that Windows runs on 90% of computers in the world, that means that by far the majority of computer manufactures are successfully partnering with Microsoft just as Nokia is doing now.

          And on your original point, if M

      • by gtall (79522)

        Doesn't not compute: Microsoft and forward thinking. When? The only thing I would call forward thinking is realizing that if they got PHB's sold, they could force their Crapware down companies' throats.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 26, 2013 @09:48AM (#42700075)

    Apples entire software ecosystem rides on top of free and open source software. There aren't enough superlatives to describe the hight of their hypocrisy. Come on Apple, stop the the stupid bullshit. Your business was rescued from the trash bin of history by your decision to refactor your entire operating system strategy around open source components. The very genesis of Apple was the result of communal sharing of information. Now you stiff arm the very same developers who made your success possible. There is no excuse for this.

    • The BSD licencse is to blame for this. Apple could not hide improvements to the open source they improve and distribute under the GPL.

      • Re:BSD License (Score:5, Insightful)

        by geek (5680) on Saturday January 26, 2013 @10:56AM (#42700401) Homepage

        Apple doesn't hide the BSD code. They freely distribute it as Darwin, which is OSS and freely available. Its the entire under system of the OS. Apple has contributed a great deal to OSS over the years. There is no "blame" for using a license that freely allows them to do what they need to do. The GPLv3 is a non starter in the enterprise world.

        Not everyone is a basement dweller like RMS. Some people have lives and families to feed.

        • Not everyone is a basement dweller like RMS.

          RMS is not a "basement dweller" - he is a man concerned with the rights of everybody, a visionary that sacrifices his life for the betterment of other people's lives. Even yours.

  • by andydread (758754) on Saturday January 26, 2013 @09:55AM (#42700097)
    Ms has always tried to get popular FOSS applications running decent on their platform in a futile attempt to negate the need to run GNU/Linux for those said apps. Then when Linux became the killer app Ms went out of their way [microsoft.com] to accomodate Linux on their hyper-v system. This is not because they want Linux or FOSS around in the marketplace. They know that if they do not accomodate FOSS their system will become more and more marginalized by emerging tech.
    • by gbjbaanb (229885)

      that's true - I remember when MS paid Apache and Zend lots of money to make sure PHP and Apache web server was easy to install and worked well with Windows.

      I'm sure those guys took the cash and said "stupid Microsoft, our stuff already works well on those platforms" and then built nice installers and walked away.... leaving Microsoft able to say that you can run all your PHP-style webapps on Windows. Around the same time they made Windows for Web (ie a cut-down version that web hosts could use instead of Li

  • Maybe I haven't woken up all the way, but I don't get the point of this article. All app stores (Amazon's, Google's, Apple's) have open source apps to some degree or another, and tons and tons more apps are built on open source libraries. So Microsoft's app store is on par with ... everybody else? Ok, great.

  • So Microsoft then company that wants to block any other operating system from running on computers by introducing their "safe" boot system. The same company claiming patents and is in my opinion blackmailing/extorting Linux companies, graciously want to let you sell your code through their APP store.... so that you can save them from going under.... pleeeeeeeeease! Somebody hurry and call the doctor I have this funny rippling effect going all through my body accompanied by odd abrupt sounds and I can't se
  • by stenvar (2789879) on Saturday January 26, 2013 @11:24AM (#42700541)

    I have yet to find any useful app in the Microsoft app store. Microsoft is probably desperate to get anything in there.

    But they can change their TOS at the drop of a hat, so just because they may be "open source friendly" right now doesn't mean that they won't become quite open source unfriendly again when their app store picks up.

  • Can you take the binary from your phone, give it to your friend, and have him run it on his phone? No? Then it's sure not GPL friendly, whatever else it may be.
  • I was actually only going to post a LOL...

    Does Microsoft Have the Best App Store For Open Source Developers?

    Even if they do have the "best" "app store" for Open Source, all it really says is that the other app stores are terrible... and somehow or another, I strongly suspect that Google Play is a far more Open Source friendly app store than anything Microsoft deigns to allow Open Source in/on.

    In other words, the question is wrong on so many levels that all it deserves is a LOL. I mean really, it seems to even presuppose that an "app store" is even a viable model for distr

  • Aptitude/Yum (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RedHackTea (2779623) on Saturday January 26, 2013 @02:00PM (#42701429)
    I'm pretty sure that Linux Distros' Package Management Systems are the best "App Stores" for FOSS developers, or is that just me?
  • by istartedi (132515) on Saturday January 26, 2013 @02:16PM (#42701567) Journal

    A bit hyperbolic perhaps; but the analogy is direct. As a developer, I wouldn't want an "app store". The PC inspired me to write software when I was younger. App stores just make me go, "meh!". Have fun jumping through proprietary hoops in the (usually) vain hope of some little morsel. The rest of us have already said so long and thanks for all the fish.

  • not if you need to have your code signed by MS to let it run on RT, without hacking it, which there is a hack.

    so they can censor and pull your apps like apple does?

    MS is desperate cause no one gives a shit about their product. Same with nokia and there free case designs.
  • ..Have the Best App Store For Open Source Developers?

    No, due to Betteridge's law of headlines.

  • by Rozzin (9910) on Sunday January 27, 2013 @02:31AM (#42705847) Homepage

    The F-Droid [f-droid.org] app store, to use its own description "is an easily-installable catalogue of FOSS applications for the Android platform". They even do most of the work, like building your app from source, for you. And F-Droid doesn't even include non-FOSS apps to compete with the FOSS ones. How is Microsoft's thing more FOSS-friendly than that?

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