MS continued attack on OSD #6

B Galliart bgallia at
Mon Mar 24 21:52:36 UTC 2008

On Wed, Mar 19, 2008 at 1:47 PM, Russ Nelson <nelson at> wrote:

>  Go read that article, and count the number of responses I made.  Also
>  know that the title of the article was initially "Microsoft
>  Singularity Now Open Source." and I asked Rob Malda to change it.

The fact that the title needed to be corrected at all seems to
indicate a need to be more alarmed than less.

>  "Unchallenged" is an overstatement.

Your right that via Slashdot there was follow-up comments challenging
the claim that MSR-LA is "open source."  I should have better
qualified my statement.  When I say that it went unchallenged, I mean
the OSI blog has remained silent about the issue.

For "QNX 'Opens' Source Code" you commented on Slashdot and also
posted to the OSI blog. The Slashdot comment you made claims that
QNX's release is "no better than Microsoft's 'Shared Source'!"  The
you continue on to state: "This is Source Available software, NOT Open
Source Software. You don't have all the freedoms available to you that
are described by the Open Source Definition."

For "Microsoft Singularity Now 'Open' Source" there are 7 comments.
None of them compare the project license terms to MS-Shared Source.
None of the comments refer to the software release as "Source
Available."  And none of the comments refer to the "Open Source

So why did QNX require the type of response it got and Microsoft
didn't?  In the QNX case, the press release[1] only goes as far as to
claim it's release is *similar* to open source in that the "customer
and community members will also have the ability to participate in the
QNX development process."

Microsoft seems to go several step further than the QNX press release.
 It claims MSCompBio is open source.[2]  It claims that Codeplex is
"Open Source Project Hosting" and is a "Open Source Project
Community."[3]  It really should say that it is the Open Source/Shared
Source/Source-Available Project Hosting.  No one should ever make a
salt-free soup, mix in salt and then still call it salt-free.  The
CodePlex soup of projects is far from being free of restrictive-use
licenses.  If it needs to be said that QNX's code release is no better
than MS-Shared Source, then it should go be said that CodePlex's
inclusion of Shared Source projects is also no better than MS-Shared
Source and is not open source.

Microsoft's own statement about the availability for Singularity[4]
seems to imply that it is open source:

"The Singularity Research Development Kit (RDK) 1.1 is now available
for academic non-commercial use. You can download it from CodePlex,
Microsoft's open source project hosting website, here."

In the context of CodePlex providing it for only under the MSR-LA
non-commercial use license, Microsoft should provide the open source
community with the deceny of referring to CodePlex as Microsoft's
MSR-LA project hosting website.

If the OSI blog response is the "punishment" for the QNX press release
then I fail to see how the crime fits the punishment when comparing
the handling of QNX versus the handling of Microsoft .  When it comes
to the issues that I stated above, the OSI blog seems to leave them
unchallenged in favor of instead talking only about the side-effect of
if non-commercial only standards can be compatible with open source.
If MSR-LA non-commercial only projects is part of an "Open Source
Project Hosting Website" then of course non-commercial only standards
can be compatible with this new prospective on what is "open source."
After all, it appears the MS-OSD has item #6 red-lined.

If Microsoft is going to now refer to Singularity as open source for
the next 6 months much like they have been referring to MSCompBio as
open source the last 6 months then they should either submit MSR-LA
for OSI approval or change the license to one already approved by the


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