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Two Microsoft's licenses approved by the Open Source Initiative

"In a surprising announcement the Open Source Initiative said it had approved two of Microsoft's licences as being acceptable for licensing open source software.

While many within the open source community will view this as tantamount to allowing a wolf into sheep's clothing, the OSI board (which did not a approve a less permissive third licence) appears to be happy with these two.

OSI president Michael Tiemann wrote that the OSI board had approved the Microsoft Public License (Ms-PL) and the Microsoft Reciprocal License (Ms-RL)." -- Read more

Open Source Initiative at least proved that it will treat every submitter equally, even if the submitter is the currently perceived biggest enemy of Free Software and "Open Source". Whether Microsoft will abuse this fair treatment is yet to be seen. A proud, friendly and hyped up announcement from Microsoft about how they now do Open Source is not gonna be surprising.

It will be interesting to see whether FSF lists these two licenses among its list of Free Software licenses (it already lists Microsoft's Shared Source CLI, C#, and Jscript License, but as non-free). However, in any case, the Open Source brand is one Microsoft will more likely throw into their public descriptions of themselves, not Free Software.


oh no, not ANOTHER license...


I wonder if there actually is any useful software published by microsoft under these licenses that does not depend on other software with OSI-unapproved licenses. I would be quite surprised. I guess the iron* languages will work on top of Mono, but are those actually useful if we already have official implementations of the languages those are based on? Also, these are developer tools: not very useful for the freedom of average users.

That said, these licenses are nice and readable and look Free to me, but still I think they shouldn't be used by anyone - including microsoft. We need more license compatibility between Free/OpenSource projects, so less licenses.

Oh my me

bill_gates wrote:

February 3, 1976
By William Henry Gates III

To me, the most critical thing in the hobby market right now is the lack of good software courses, books and software itself. Without good software and an owner who understands programming, a hobby computer is wasted. Will quality software be written for the hobby market?

Almost a year ago, Paul Allen and myself, expecting the hobby market to expand, hired Monte Davidoff and developed Altair BASIC. Though the initial work took only two months, the three of us have spent most of the last year documenting, improving and adding features to BASIC. Now we have 4K, 8K, EXTENDED, ROM and DISK BASIC. The value of the computer time we have used exceeds $40,000.

The feedback we have gotten from the hundreds of people who say they are using BASIC has all been positive. Two surprising things are apparent, however, 1) Most of these "users" never bought BASIC (less than 10% of all Altair owners have bought BASIC), and 2) The amount of royalties we have received from sales to hobbyists makes the time spent on Altair BASIC worth less than $2 an hour.

Why is this? As the majority of hobbyists must be aware, most of you steal your software. Hardware must be paid for, but software is something to share. Who cares if the people who worked on it get paid?

Is this fair? One thing you don't do by stealing software is get back at MITS for some problem you may have had. MITS doesn't make money selling software. The royalty paid to us, the manual, the tape and the overhead make it a break-even operation. One thing you do do is prevent good software from being written. Who can afford to do professional work for nothing? What hobbyist can put 3-man years into programming, finding all bugs, documenting his product and distribute for free? The fact is, no one besides us has invested a lot of money in hobby software. We have written 6800 BASIC, and are writing 8080 APL and 6800 APL, but there is very little incentive to make this software available to hobbyists. Most directly, the thing you do is theft.

What about the guys who re-sell Altair BASIC, aren't they making money on hobby software? Yes, but those who have been reported to us may lose in the end. They are the ones who give hobbyists a bad name, and should be kicked out of any club meeting they show up at.

I would appreciate letters from any one who wants to pay up, or has a suggestion or comment. Just write me at 1180 Alvarado SE, #114, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 87108. Nothing would please me more than being able to hire ten programmers and deluge the hobby market with good software.

Bill Gates

General Partner, Micro-Soft

Somehow I can't see Bill breaking out the polyester flares for an HCC reunion just yet, of course even if he's invited he can't risk RMS noticing they're the same trousers that went missing off his clothes line in 1976...

You know, that made me think

You know, that made me think of something.. Bill Gates sort of started or at least played a major role of starting a movement for proprietarization of software and RMS essentially responded with a Free Software movement less than a decade later to preserve what this movement of growing success was destroying.

Trouble is, that letter by Gates appeared to make sense to people no doubt. The compensation rhetoric is still often successfully used by detractors. It's an easy one because people still largely think about business models in the software world in a rather limited way. Time spent developing software equals to a cost which must be compensated, and for lack of imagination the only way they see of doing this is selling software as if it were a tangible thing, which leads to licensing which in reality amounts to "renting" rather than selling.

Fast forward more than 30 years later Microsoft finds itself actually battling a model that is not based on this renting and trying to show itself as supportive of it in order to remain relevant in the pending future. Really interesting. Smiling

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