Feeds

What does Microsoft's new shared source mean for you?

We read the small print

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

Analysis Open source advocates are doing what was once unthinkable - giving the thumbs up to a Microsoft source code licensing program.

The Free Software Foundation has said new licenses for Microsoft's pseudo open source program, the Shared Source Initiative, appears to satisfy the four requirements defining Free Software. Professors Larry Lessig and Ronald Mann, meanwhile, welcomed Microsoft's changes saying they reduce the number of open source licenses in use by the community.

In fact, there are five more, as of today.

This early support is a sharp contrast to the criticism levelled by the open source movement at Sun Microsystems when it launched its Common Development and Distribution License (CDDL), to cover the release of Solaris and its middleware

While any improvement to Microsoft's Kafka-esque source licensing will be welcomed by developers and enterprises, this latest set of options represents a continued, if somewhat predictably limited, evolution in Shared Source.

Permissive Society

Microsoft has introduced three top-level licenses, which dictate the terms and conditions under which code for Microsoft technologies are released through Shared Source. The three are Microsoft Permissive License (Ms-PL), the Community License (Ms-CL) and the Reference License (Ms-RL).

It's there that things start to get a bit more complicated.

Microsoft is also introducing two sub-licenses, Limited Permissive License (Ms-LPL) and Limited Community License (Ms-LCL) - that's complication enough. However, Microsoft is adding another layer, as the five licenses only apply to new code released under Shared Source; it is unclear - probably unlikely - that more than 80 Microsoft technologies already available under Shared Source will be ported to the new licenses.

Additionally, the open source-friendly noises made by Microsoft appear to be just that - noises. Ms-LPL and Ms-LCL restrict the use of Shared Source code to Windows. Code released under these sub-licenses will not, for example, find its way onto Linux.

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

Next page: Hurdles

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.