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back to article Microsoft yanks Windows code on GPL violation claim

Microsoft has pulled a Windows 7 media and administration tool from the Microsoft Store site for apparently violating the GPL. The company yanked ImageMaster after Within Windows blogger Rafael Rivera spotted the disc reading and burning tool was a CodePlex project licensed under GPLv2. Microsoft appears to have violated the …

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Gates Horns

Microsoft & GPL

Well, again Microsoft proves that GPL is just another opportunity to monetize, when possible. Now if only they would fire all those incompetent first class red brick graduates...

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Happy

Hosed Code

"Microsoft never fully explained why this happened, but promised changes to add "clarity" around what projects are hosed on CodePlex."

Some would argue that any projects hosted on CodePlex are necessarily hosed.

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Grenade

even the beast feels the urge

Everyone loves reusing software that has already been developed, usually at least unit tested, and often battletested and revised to near perfection in the real world. Reinventing the wheel sucks, is expensive, and is a common noob developer mistake (fyi CS students you're hash function probably isn't better than the ones in the c standard library). Alas ownership and getting mine before you get yours is what drives society and especially in the M$ world view this is a big no no as well as a big problem. Why can't everyone just release everything under the BSD licenses so M$ can embrace, extend, and extinguish that much easier? </sarcasm>

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What's in a word

"...what projects are hosed on CodePlex"

Maybe they really are are hosed :)

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Gates Horns

I remember when codeplex came out

and loads of people said that Microsoft would never fully comply....and here we are. Microsoft simply does not play well with others. They are unreliable partners.

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Coat

At last Microsoft and Google Agree

"Since then, Microsoft announced the CodePlex Foundation that it said would help open source work with commercial software organizations. ®"

You make it, we sell it, We're in business to sell stuff don't you know, and please keep your rabid anti-business attitudes to yourself.

... mine's the one with "orphan works" in the pocket.

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Gates Horns

Hah!

Ballmer was right! Open Source is a cancer!

BillG because we still don't have a fricking Evil Ballmer icon

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Thumb Up

Nothing for us to be seeing round here

Why there is a problem if Microsoft takes the codes and makes it better? If the man gives his codes away and they are not already good enough then he seems only natural that Microsoft would do this to make it better for us all.

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EEE continues.

And Microsoft continues the attack on open source as they pretend to embrace, try to extend, and eventually hope to extinguish it. From redefining the term "open source", to trying to fool developers into providing free work for the Microsoft machine in the form of fake "open source" projects, they just keep trying.

I'm starting to see the real value of a license like the GPL, that enforces downstream rights. Other "open source" licenses are far too easily perverted, fooling developers into providing free work for what then becomes a completely closed system, with no give-back to the community that developed it.

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Big Brother

Need a jedi mind trick icon.

"There is nothing new here... Move along."

There is nothing new here... Move along. Move along...

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wsm

Who hosts what?

Couldn't help but notice the closing paragraph: "...but promised changes to add "clarity" around what projects are hosed on CodePlex."

Freudian slip of the hose, then?

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Coffee/keyboard

GPL/LGPL

According to a few analyses I have seen, the code that triggered this fury seems to have been lifted from 7-Zip for use in the ImageMaster project (hosted on CodePlex) and subsequently used by Microsoft.

It is VERY important to note that 7-Zip is released under the LGPL ... not the GPL.

As such, if 7-Zip used the LGPL, and the snippets of code used by ImageMaster and Microsoft came from that LGPL code, then neither needs to (a) include any kind of source notice nor (b) restrict themselves to publishing open source software. The LGPL does not require any kind of notice or copyright statement, and it is completely fine to use LGPL code in a proprietary project without any reference whatsoever to the original author. If ImageMaster chose to publish under the GPL, its use of some LGPL code does not conflict with that at all. Similarly, if Microsoft chose to publish under a proprietary license, its use of some LGPL code does not conflict with that at all.

Both are allowed under the LGPL, as long as those bits of LGPL code remain under an LGPL license, which can easily coexist with every other type of license. (i.e. You can use LGPL code in your super-secret proprietary app, but that LGPL portion of your app must remain exposed or available, if compiled, for others to use.)

http://www.gnu.org/licenses/lgpl-3.0.txt

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Linux

See, that's why we need GPL

The voluntarily over-rigid terms prevent abuse by the sharks and ensure that credit goes where it's due. More permissive open licences (BSD?) ensure that no successful open project can emerge: at the first hint of success, MS and the like would jump on the code, vampirise it and use it's leverage to force-feed it to the world under a closed commercial license, smothering the original open source project.

No Gnu icon, Tux will do.

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re: GPL/LGPL @James Butler

Rubbish!

You are not allowed to pull out snippets of LGPL code and use it in a proprietary software without releasing the proprietary software under a free license!

The difference between GPL and LGPL is that you can link to the LGPL binaries from proprietary code without "open sourcing" the proprietary code though you still need to give access to the LGPL part of the code. GPL does not allow this.The LGPL is a mechanism intended to allow closed source software to use open-source libraries.

Henrik

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@zenkaon / raving angry loony, also @Bob Gateaux

"Microsoft simply does not play well with others. They are unreliable partners"

"And Microsoft continues the attack on open source"

I cannot agree. They were informed of a possible violation and they immediately pulled the software while they investigate it. Given that the typical way these encounters go (which also involves smaller companies i.e. its much more likely the original offence was a result of a conscious desire to break the terms of the license) is that they have to be at least threatened with lawyers before they take notice, this is a good example for microsoft to set.... so far. (This is a preliminary stage, the real test will be what they do now, assuming there IS GPL code in there)

"Why there is a problem if Microsoft takes the codes and makes it better? If the man gives his codes away and they are not already good enough then he seems only natural that Microsoft would do this to make it better for us all"

because the man didn't "give away his codes" - he released them with certain conditions. If you don't like the conditions, fair enough, but then you can't use his work.

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@Bob Gateaux

You have the freedom to use, modify and distribute GPL code on the condition that you do not take that freedom away the people you distribute to. Microsoft is accused of taking that freedom away from you.

People create GPL software because they can benefit when others contribute improvements. People contribute improvements because they can benefit when others contribute improvements.

http://www.extremelinux.info/stonesoup/stonesoup.html

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No LGPL does not give you the permission to abuse

> The LGPL does not require any kind of notice or copyright statement, and it is completely fine to

> use LGPL code in a proprietary project without any reference whatsoever to the original author

quote

4. Combined Works.

You may convey a Combined Work under terms of your choice that,

taken together, effectively do not restrict modification of the

portions of the Library contained in the Combined Work and reverse

engineering for debugging such modifications, if you also do each of

the following:

a) Give prominent notice with each copy of the Combined Work that

the Library is used in it and that the Library and its use are

covered by this License.

b) Accompany the Combined Work with a copy of the GNU GPL and this license

document.

c) For a Combined Work that displays copyright notices during

execution, include the copyright notice for the Library among

these notices, as well as a reference directing the user to the

copies of the GNU GPL and this license document.

d) Do one of the following:

0) Convey the Minimal Corresponding Source under the terms of this

License, and the Corresponding Application Code in a form

suitable for, and under terms that permit, the user to

recombine or relink the Application with a modified version of

the Linked Version to produce a modified Combined Work, in the

manner specified by section 6 of the GNU GPL for conveying

Corresponding Source.

1) Use a suitable shared library mechanism for linking with the

Library. A suitable mechanism is one that (a) uses at run time

a copy of the Library already present on the user's computer

system, and (b) will operate properly with a modified version

of the Library that is interface-compatible with the Linked

Version.

e) Provide Installation Information, but only if you would otherwise

be required to provide such information under section 6 of the

GNU GPL, and only to the extent that such information is

necessary to install and execute a modified version of the

Combined Work produced by recombining or relinking the

Application with a modified version of the Linked Version. (If

you use option 4d0, the Installation Information must accompany

the Minimal Corresponding Source and Corresponding Application

Code. If you use option 4d1, you must provide the Installation

Information in the manner specified by section 6 of the GNU GPL

for conveying Corresponding Source.)

endquote

If you read that bit it clearly states what you need to do when using it in a combined work. Similar provisions in LGPL2.1. So yes you do need to give copyright notice if using and displaying a copyright notice of your own. And you can include parts in such a way as to dynamicaly link in which case the user may freely replace the lib with his own. If parts are built INTO the code then you need to provide those parts and accompaniyng code so that a user is free to build their own and the application would still work.

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Gates Halo

@James Butler

...only if that LGPL code is part of an independent DLL, not "embedded" or otherwise statically linked to the main executable.

Good Bill on behalf of the "developers, developers, developers" alt-text.

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Go

How To Comquer THe World

Two steps forward; one step back.

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Linux

learning curve and culture change

These activities and mistakes are an inevitable consequence of the learning curve Microsoft now has to go through as part of the massive culture change resulting from having to go open source for an increasing range of their products . Clearly they can't outcompete open source on quality and can't afford to develop all code within their products in house.

First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, and then you win. I'd much rather have Microsoft do all their development in public and have access to all open source code and all open source projects have equal access to Microsoft's code, than for Microsoft to go out of business. But it will take a while to get there, and we'll have to be ready to point out these process mistakes to Microsoft when they make them, and give MS an opportunity to correct them acting in good faith.

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Troll

@Bob Gateaux

It's a problem if they are violating the license.

The BSA make enough fuss about people 'violating' the EULA, so why should MS then be able to disregard licenses when they want to use someone elses code?

The GPL (and the LGPL) exist for a reason, and they really aren't that hard to comply with. It's a big company trying to take liberties.

Mines the one with troll feed in the pocket

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Gold badge

Too much noise, not enough facts

It's easy to kick MS (and IMHO they deserve more), but there are not enough facts to make this other than a sport.

They did pull it, so that's at least good marks, let's see how this happened. I can't see MS deliberately doing this as it can be directly traced to them. That would be dumb, even if they had malicious intent.

I think the 3rd party story makes sense in the "never assume malice where stupidity will do" sense..

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Grenade

@James Butler

What license did MS release the code-in-question under?

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