back to article Microsoft's pledges mobile open source love

Microsoft is clarifying which open source apps are allowed in the Windows Phone Marketplace just as a survey reckons that a number of iPhone and Android open source apps are breaking those platforms' licensing rules. Microsoft says it will update the agreement governing contributions to the Windows Phone Marketplace to make it …

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Microsoft is still evil

GPL2 = most popular open-source license

GPL2 is till banned by Microsoft, and not allowed into the Windows Phone marketplace.

There is nothing in the GPL2 that prevents it being available on Windows Phone.

Ballmer once described Linux and the GPL as "a cancer". Judging from his actions, his attitude has not changed.

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I can kind of seen MS/Google/Apple's point here

In the case of an App-Store, the distributor is actually MS/Google/Apple/etc, not the person who uploads it. The app-store-owner would be responsible for providing the source, but they are not interested in hosting it. MS' response is quite reasonable: "we will allow licenses which do not put any obligations on us. These are the ones legal has reviewed and can approve of." They are just respecting the wishes of the authors, good job!

That said, the vendor's app-store should not be the only way (practical) way to get an app on your phone.

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Err, no

As long as the developer distributes the appropriate licence text with the App, and details of where to get the source from, then Apple?Microsoft/Google/etc would be fine. This announcement is the usual FUD and posturing by Microsoft who are trying to paint themselves as open - while they are as open as a front door that's glued and nailed shut, and bricked up on both sides.

There is absolutely no technical reason whatsoever that makes the Apple/Microsoft/Google/etc app stores incompatible with GPL2 or GPL3. NO TECHNICAL REASON WHATSOEVER.

The restriction is all deliberate - to comply with GPL3 (but not GPL2) the manufacturers would have to either release signing keys, or make their products load and run unsigned code. They don't even need to do that to comply with GPL2 as Tivo demonstrated.

Naturally, the idea of Apple allowing you to do something (such as running code of your choice) on THEIR device* is completely alien to their clear goal of having complete control over what you use their devices for.

* You buy it, they still control it.

So whenever you here these various apologists spouting on about how "open source" or "free" (as in speech) software is incompatible with their store - you know they are out and out LYING. Such software is only incompatible with their desire to won your soul.

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FAIL

Well

"As long as the developer distributes the appropriate licence text with the App, and details of where to get the source from, then Apple?Microsoft/Google/etc would be fine."

Actually there appears to be some debate over that. I for one don't blame any of the 3 companies above for not wanting to be a test case. And the "foaming at the mouth" tone of your reply here rather supports the point that there are some people out there who really dislike Microsoft (possibly with good reason, fair enough) who would make a point of chasing them on this.

Easiest way to win a test case under those circumstances is to refuse to be drawn into one in the first place.

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Gates Halo

still required

You miss the point. If the developer does not include the appropriate licence text then the distributor can be held liable. Is that really so hard to understand?

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Pardon ?

>>> "As long as the developer distributes the appropriate licence text with the App, and details of where to get the source from, then Apple?Microsoft/Google/etc would be fine."

>> Actually there appears to be some debate over that. I for one don't blame any of the 3 companies above for not wanting to be a test case. And the "foaming at the mouth" tone of your reply here rather supports the point that there are some people out there who really dislike Microsoft (possibly with good reason, fair enough) who would make a point of chasing them on this.

It doesn't need a test case, you can read the licence for yourself - it's not hard to understand. Even if a developer did upload some GPL software without the correct licence attribution etc, FSF wouldn't be threatening them with court. FSF would be asking them to remove it (or arrange for it to be brought into compliance). Only if the app store operator refused would the legal threats start. That's the way the FSF work. The legal risks of allowing GPL (or other free licence) software into the store are really negligible.

To put it in perspective, any one of the program that has been allowed could be the subject of (for example) a patent infringement claim. And of coruse, any of the other programs could be in breach of some other licensing issue (eg ripped off code). On that basis, the store wouldn't allow **ANY** program in because it's a risk. So the risk of ending up in court for allowing GPL code would be no more (and probably less) than for stuff they already allow.

As for foaming at the mouth, well I'm not the one spouting all the BS that it's impossible to comply with GPL3 while distributing stuff via an App store (whether Apple, MS, Google, or anyone else's). The restriction is entirely non-technical, and is entirely of the app store owners making.

Apple could distribute GPL3 apps via their store without falling foul of GPL3, as could MS et al. They have chosen to apply digital handcuffs to their users, and GPL3 is incompatible with that entirely political/commercial restriction the vendors have applied to their wares. The question should not be "why is GPL3 incompatible with <insert vendor>'s app store ?", it should be "why do people accept such restrictions from <insert vendor> ?".

So all this "anti free software" really is blustering and FUD on the part of the vendors for whom the idea of end users being able to choose how and when they use stuff they paid good money for is just that - blustering and FUD.

Personally I'd like to see these restrictions tested under the UTCCR regulations - where I think there's a darn good chance they'd be declared illegal.

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MS have no choice

Given the attitude of some of the Opentards out there, you know that one of them would make a point of trying to sue Microsoft for not complying with the terms of the GPL if possible - after all didn't someone involved in the myriad of licences used by VLC go after Apple for the publication of VLC and force its withdrawal?

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Jobs Halo

*scratches head*

Apple get hit with a lawsuit because they allowed an app that uses the GPL and we're still wondering why MS won't let them play?

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Anonymous Coward

What lawsuit?

In both the VLC case and the GNU Go case Apple were asked by one of the copyright holders to either stop distribution or follow the license. Apple stopped distribution, and that was an end to it, bar the bickering of onlookers like us.

Apple have chosen to add restrictions on redistribution to the licensing of software delivered via their App Store instead of just using the license the author uses. MS has similar restrictions, even without the part explicitly banning licenses which require a right of redistribution. The GPL doesn't allow additional restrictions like this. Somehow I don't think MS would be too pleased if Amazon started changing the license for copies of Windows they were selling, which is effectively what MS and Apple are doing here.

At the end of the day nobody's too surprised that Apple and MS are only friendly to FOSS when it suits them. In this case the MS decision to exclude some licenses from their app store contrasts with their desire to get FOSS code running well on their servers and cloud infrastructure

License incompatibility is nothing new; there are a many

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