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OSI List gets Catty over Microsofts Permissive license request August 19, 2007

Posted by rjdohnert in Uncategorized.

The OSI mailing list came alive with questions and clear outrage over Microsofts submission of its permissive license.  The most outraged mail on that list came from Google Inc. Chris DiBona who handles the Open Source stuff at Google.

I would like to ask what might be perceived as a diversion and maybe even a mean spirited one. Does this submission to the OSI mean that Microsoft will:

a) Stop using the market confusing term Shared Source
b) Not place these licenses and the other, clearly non-free , non-osd
licenses in the same place thus muddying the market further.
c) Continue its path of spreading misinformation about the nature of
open source software, especially that licensed under the GPL?
d) Stop threatening with patents and oem pricing manipulation schemes
to deter the use of open source software?

If not, why should the OSI approve of your efforts? That of a company who has called those who use the licenses that OSI purports to defend a communist or a cancer? Why should we see this seeking of approval as anything but yet another attack in the guise of friendliness?

First, I dont dislike DiBona, I dont know him.  I have heard of him but no disrespect intended but Chris, get your head out of your ass.  Your whole message stinks of Open Source zealotry and fanaticism.  First, I agree with Bill Hilf.  Microsofts marketing and legal happenings have nothing to do with the OSI submissions.  The issues DiBona raises have absolutely nothing to do with Microsofts license submission.  He made the comment later on in a reply post: “Note that trying to turn this into a discussion about FSF or Google or me completely dodges the issue, so , you know, nice try and all.”  Unfortunately thats what you turned it into DiBona,  Bill didnt do it you did.  Microsoft doesnt have a stranglehold on the OEM’s much anymore.  Dell, Lenovo and Acer plan to distribute the Linux OS on their hardware, some of them already bundle alternatives to Nicrosoft Office whether it is WordPerfect or OpenOffice/StarOffice.  Microsoft is planning to distribute Works 9 for free does that mean they are trying to kill OpenOffice?  Microsoft patent protection is a good thing.  Microsoft has gotten bitten in the past few years with Patent infringment claims from partners.  The Linux community should be welcoming the patent protection deals.  Through these deals we have some distributers who can offer ClearType technology, Windows Media Codecs and great work being done in the area of interoperability and code actually being delivered.  Microsoft is simply asking for their IP rights be honored.  When Microsoft first came out with this permissive license everyone was telling Microsoft, submit it to the OSI.  It meets the criteria of an Open Source license.  Now that Microsoft has officially done that, whats going on?  The same thing I knew and warned that would happen.  Bill Hilf had an excellent counter which I will post here in closing.

I’m unclear how some of your questions are related to our license submissions, which is what I believe this list and the submission process are designed to facilitate,” Hilf wrote. “You’re questioning things such as Microsoft’s marketing terms, press quotes, where we put licenses on our web site, and how we work with OEMs – none of which I could find at http://opensource.org/docs/osd. If you’d like to discuss this, I’d be happy to – and I have a number of questions for you about Google’s use of and intentions with open source software as well. But this is unrelated to the OSD compliance of a license, so I will do this off-list and preferably face to face or over the phone.

Personally I dont think Microsofts submission will be successful.  To many people in the OSI dont like Microsoft and are not taking this as seriously as if Google would have submitted a license.  Its a bad thing and just shows the immaturity and how unprofessional the group is.



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