Microsoft not so 'open' after all?
Head of open-source group says more than half of licenses don't pass muster
Computerworld - The head of the open-source group that will decide whether to certify Microsoft Corp.'s "shared source" software licenses as open-source licenses said that more than half of Redmond's licenses appear to automatically fail the group's rules.
Michael Tiemann, president of the non-profit Open Source Initiative, said that provisions in three out of five of Microsoft's shared-source licenses that restrict source code to running only on the Windows operating system would contravene a fundamental tenet of open-source licenses as laid out by the OSI. By those rules, code must be free for anyone to view, use, modify as they see fit.
"I am certain that if they say Windows-only machines, that would not fly because that would restrict the field of use," said Tiemann in an interview late Friday.
At the OSCON show in Portland last Thursday, Microsoft announced its plans to submit its shared-source licenses to the 9-year-old OSI for approval.
Microsoft did not immediately return a request for comment on which licenses it planned to submit to the OSI, or whether it plans to modify them beforehand.
"Microsoft will not be getting special treatment -- good or bad," he said. "They will get the same treatment we give Sun, IBM, SimpleText, or individuals that submit licenses -- fully transparent discussion that involves the community."
By his count, the OSI has rejected "two dozen" or so license applications for language that restricted the use or redistribution of software and its source code, even when the restrictions were written with what Tiemann called "moral" intent. For instance, the OSI has rejected license applications from Quakers and other pacifists who sought to prevent the use of software for weapons such as landmines.
"I am highly sympathetic to that point of view," he said. "But the OSI is not in the business of legislating moral use. We allow all use, commercial or non-commercial, mortal or medical."
The best-known open-source licenses approved by the OSI include the General Public License (GPL) used by Linux, which is currently being rewritten, as well as the Mozilla Public License used by the Firefox Web browser.
If approved, Microsoft would not be the first vendor not normally associated with open-source to have its licenses evaluated or approved by the OSI. Among the 50 software licenses certified by the OSI include licenses from vendors such as CA Inc., RealNetworks Inc., Nokia Corp, Sybase Inc., and Apple Inc.
- 15 Non-Certified IT Skills Growing in Demand
- How 19 Tech Titans Target Healthcare
- Twitter Suffering From Growing Pains (and Facebook Comparisons)
- Agile Comes to Data Integration
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
- What Datapipe customers need to know about the new PCI DSS 3.0 compliance standard This handy quick reference outlines what PCI DSS 3.0 is, who needs to be compliant and how Alert Logic solutions address the new...
- The 12 PCI DSS 3.0 requirements addressed by Peer 1 Hosting This handy quick reference outlines the 12 PCI DSS 3.0 requirements, who needs to be compliant and how Alert Logic solutions address the...
- Defense Throughout the Vulnerability Life Cycle This whitepaper provides insight into how to leverage threat and log management technologies to protect your IT assets throughout their vulnerability life cycle.
- The Critical Role of Support in Your Enterprise Mobility Management Strategy Most business leaders underestimate the importance of tech support when they choose an EMM solution. Here's what to put on your checklist.
- Live Webcast Best Practices for the Hyperconverged Enterprise Network To the Age of Constant Connectivity and Information overload
- Live Webcast Unmasking the Differences between Consumer and Enterprise File Sync & Share The consumerization of IT combined with the rapid pace of the modern mobile workplace is forcing enterprise IT teams to evaluate file sync...
- Live Webcast Government Agency Webifies Outdated COBOL Applications Let this CTO tell you how his agency converted 1980s-era green screens into an e-filing portal for the 100,000 cases handled each year...
- The New Way to Work Knowledge Vault This Knowledge Vault focuses on how, in today's increasingly virtual world, it's more important than ever to engage deeply with employees, suppliers, partners,...
- Getting Ready for BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10.2 Find out how BlackBerry® Enterprise Service 10 helps organizations address the full spectrum of EMM challenges, while balancing the needs of both the... All Applications White Papers | Webcasts