MS continued attack on OSD #6

B Galliart bgallia at
Mon Mar 10 22:36:34 UTC 2008

OSI's Michael Tiemann has asked the question regarding Microsoft's
"open" standards: "given that Microsoft does understand the rules and
requirements of open source, why would they make a major announcement
about open source interoperability that so clearly violates the
principles of our community?"[1]

The answer is simple.  While Microsoft understands the OSD as promoted
by the OSI, they clearly intend to claim that OSD #6 can be disregard
as nothing more than a guideline instead of a requirement.  Microsoft
isn't stopping at claiming that a non-commercial clause for standards
can interoperate with open source, they are also claiming that a
software with a non-commercial clause *IS* open source. When QNX did
something similar, Russ Nelson is quick to point out that QNX's claims
are "nonsense."[2]  But for whatever reason, Microsoft's claim seems
to go unchallenged.

On March 5th, Alex Ionescu, a Microsoft Student Ambassador, posted to
Slashdot the claim that "Microsoft Singularity Now 'Open' Source."[3]
Just like the MSCompBio project, Singularity is covered under the
MSR-LA license which includes a clause that restricts use to
non-commercial.  And the article claiming MSCompBio is "open source"
still remains.[4]

If a company can continue to redefine open source to the exclusion of
OSD #6 and do so largely unchallenged, is there really a need to
question why the company would also claim that so-called "open"
standards which also disregard OSD #6 somehow can interoperate with
their new definition of open source.  Can the OSI really sit idle
since October as Microsoft dilutes the concept of open source and then
later call foul when Microsoft doesn't adhere to the rule they already
threw out?  After all, it appears that OSD #6 is only something that
QNX needs to pay attention to and Microsoft has gotten a free pass.
Why complain this late in the game and only about how it relates to
standards?  The bottom line is that if the MSR-LA can be called open
source then a standard which also rejects OSD #6 is compatible with
that new diluted definition of open source.


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