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Microsoft seeks OSI licence approval

Is Microsoft joining "Open Source"? That still sounds alarmingly suspicious indeed, but.. let's see..

Tectonic writes: "Bill Hilf, general manager of platform strategy at Microsoft, announced last week at the O'Reilly Open Source Convention (OSCON), that the company was submitting its shared licences, which include the permissive license, community license and reference licence, to the Open Source Initiative (OSI) for certification as true open source licences."

So, "Shared Source" licenses, previously known as *not* adhering to the Open Source definition and for that matter the Free Software definition are submitted for approval as such. Weren't these a "see but don't touch" kind of licenses?

In any case Microsoft wants to get under the Open Source banner:

""Bill also announced that Microsoft has created a new top level link at, to bring together in one place all Microsoft's open source efforts. Bill sees this as the culmination of a long process of making open source a legitimate part of Microsoft's strategy. Open source has survived Microsoft's process of 'software darwinism' and is becoming an ever more important part of its thinking," wrote O'Reilly."

First of all, "Open Source", barely meaningful as a term, might be exactly the next thing Microsoft needs to undermine what is really a Free Software community, their real target. Open Source represents the emphasis on ideals which are just too susceptible to compromise, because they are based on hiding what is the source of true power in Free Software. I fear that this unfortunate yet deliberately created loophole, rather than the genuine desire to join the revolution, is what attracts Microsoft.

Are they just looking for more loopholes to exploit or may this, in fact, be their way of joining who they realize cannot fight effectively anymore?


I still have to read those


I still have to read those licenses, but I expect they are submitting licenses they don't really use but that do qualify as "open source", with the intention that the nonqualifying licenses they don't submit and do use get confused with the ones they did submit but don't use.

Microsoft only releases some


Microsoft only releases some code samples or small Windows/.NET only programs under free software licenses. And if the code can be potentially used under non-Windows systems, they will add into "This program can be used under Windows only" in the license (but still use the same name, i.e., "premissive" or "community" licenses). Example: .NET starter kits, which can be ported to Mono.

From what I can tell,

From what I can tell, Groklaw has the best analysis of the issue! and after reading it I would say that we should look at both Microsoft AND the Open Source Initiative with a very suspicious and cautious eye. Expectations that many Free Software supporters, including among the first Richard Stallman, are pretty much being fulfilled - Open Source is becoming more of a threat, more of a problem, than a solution that it was supposed to be (not by everyone's agreement). Being built on what basically amounts to ignoring of the most important part of what makes Free Software what it is, it was doomed to failure sooner or later, it took it about 9 years (since it was founded in 1998) for the course of events to reveal this to us.

But open source supporters would swear that it was "Open Source" which made it possible for Free Software to be adopted by businesses, but this is just a bunch of BS. There are many myths circulating around the Open Source stuff and this is one of them. Open Source merely distracted people from real issues, people who were bored by their own skewed perception of politics and hence, possibly without even being aware, closed minded to the possibility of being a coder of "great software" AND an acknowledged supporter of *freedom* ideals. No, they hid the ideal as something they didn't want to talk about and now they just care about the code.

Well.. that's almost as much as caring about nothing. Caring about good code is something that happens in the proprietary world as well. No wonder that Microsoft may in fact find it quite easy to compromise the Open Source term and the sheep that its supporters (unaware) are into a - imagine that - a buzzword of their own.

If you ask me, sooner or later Open Source is owned by Microsoft. If you really are on the side of GNU/Linux and freedom you should be , just like Stallman has been doing all along, specifically be drawing the line between what you believe and Open Source.

It's not Open Source. It's Free Software, as it has always been.

Now tell me Stallman isn't a giant of our time. This is just a yet another thing he practically foresaw years ago. No, he's not a prophet, he's merely a thinker who has an exceptional ability to connect the dots in the present and project the possible outcomes most accurately. That's what makes him exceptional and that's what makes those who tend to just bypass him, quite foolish.

Yet another big red "told you so" note from Stallman and Free Software supporters is on the table folks! Make of it what you wish. Thank you very much.

The wolf who cried Baa!


I think raw profit remains the motive and domination the preferred means.

I'll believe they've adopted community values not when I see them try to emulate the look and feel of the community, but when they stop attacking the free software community.

Microsoft is a company which

Microsoft is a company which makes its money out of selling overpriced proprietary software to people and locking people and organisations into their 'products'. They do not care about Free Software, I doubt they really care about 'Open Source', save to see it as a threat. They are like the bourgeois landowners who tax the serfs and take away their crops and then at Christmas will give an orange to each of the local primary school children just to make themselves look good; the sum of their actions do not turn out positive. If Microsoft Office were to be put under one of the licenses I may take a different view, as it would seem that MS were changing their direction. But the fact remains that they are a huge proprietary software monopoly, who are trying to appease and seduce their greatest threat with mere crumbs.

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