For Approval: Microsoft Permissive License
chris at metatrontech.com
Fri Aug 17 16:42:36 UTC 2007
Chris DiBona wrote:
> Actually, if you read my original email, you'll see that I don't have
> a lot of issues with the licenses themselves, outside of their
> redundancy. But I think that Microsoft's behavior deserves discussion,
> because the reality is that Bill's employer will use OSI's approval
> against it.
I don't know. I have been around Microsoft professionally since 1999
when I was hired there as a temp. Today, I have done work for the Open
Source Software Lab (several of my papers have appeared on Port 25 and
several more are awaiting feedback from that team) and so although I
cannot speak for Microsoft I can provide a close third-party point of view.
Microsoft is changing. My own view as an outsider is that they
understand that open source is a serious threat to their revenue streams
but don't really know what to do about it (i.e. there is no real plan
yet). The response seems to include on one hand the OSSL which has done
a lot of work in the area of improving interop, providing recipies for
interop, and even working with potentially directly competing projects
On the other hand, I think that Balmer has done what he can to assure
stockholders that Microsoft is able to monetize the open source trend by
threatening patent litigation. (They can't because they would probably
never get out much more than they would put into it as patents when
named would be worked around quite fast, and getting enough revenue to
support their growth would probably be impossible through such suits.)
In short I don't see an organized response from Microsoft. I don't
think that an organized response to the questions is therefore
possible. My thoughts on what Microsoft needs to do to survive the
coming market changes is off-topic for this thread though ;-).
> OSI should not trade on its reputation lightly. Again, this is not a
> discussion about licenses but whether or not it is wise for OSI to
> enable its most vicious competitor.
I dunno about whether Microsoft is our "most vicious competitor." I can
think of a number of other potential candidates some of whom have
submitted licenses which were approved. At least one of these
candidates has even directly attacked the OSI and the "Open Source"
movements. Microsoft's attacks have been limited to competing projects
and only one class of licenses (and unlike a different candidate, they
aren't directly involved in any legal activity against open source
Or maybe you have a less inclusive first person plural which does not
relate to the people involved in "Open Source?"
> You may want to try to paint this as personal disapproval, but if you
> look on any search engine you would be hard pressed to find anything
> from me personally about Microsoft outside of windows refund day in
> 1998. Note that trying to turn this into a discussion about FSF or
> Google or me completely dodges the issue, so , you know, nice try and
> all. I'm more than happy to discuss Google's frankly incredibly
> awesome open source practices (including pr, press quotes, not
> creating new licenses, marketing and the rest) in a different thread,
I would think your above comments make it clear this is about personal
disapproval of the organization. Once again, we don't and shouldn't
hold RMS's comments or FSF pages which complain about our lack of ethics
against them when we consider licenses for approval, nor do we consider
RMS's comments against BSD and Apache licenses against approval of the
GPL. We don't do this because they are not relevant to the discussion
of whether the license can be used by other parties in the development
of Free/Open Source Software.
Since my concerns haven't sunk in, let me put it this way:
Why should we hold Steve Balmer's comments against the GPL, Linux, etc.
against Microsoft and use this as a basis to reject the license when we
are not considering statements made by the FSF directly against the OSI
as grounds to reject the GPL v3?
Why should we hold Microsoft's position against the GPL against it, when
we do not hold attacks by RMS against the BSD licenses against them when
approving the GPL v3?
Should these be relevant? If they should, I am more than happy to raise
them on the appropriate threads. Even though I *have* looked for a
basis for us to reject the GPL v3 within the confines of the OSD, I have
never brought in things outside the license because I do not believe
that they are relevant. But if they are, then let's consider them on
the appropriate threads.
(I think the general concensus is that they are *not* relevant, and
therefore we should suggest that they be used as the basis for such a
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