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.

The essential guide to IT transformation

Next page: Hurdles

More from The Register

next story
The Return of BSOD: Does ANYONE trust Microsoft patches?
Sysadmins, you're either fighting fires or seen as incompetents now
Microsoft: Azure isn't ready for biz-critical apps … yet
Microsoft will move its own IT to the cloud to avoid $200m server bill
Oracle reveals 32-core, 10 BEEELLION-transistor SPARC M7
New chip scales to 1024 cores, 8192 threads 64 TB RAM, at speeds over 3.6GHz
US regulators OK sale of IBM's x86 server biz to Lenovo
Now all that remains is for gov't offices to ban the boxes
Object storage bods Exablox: RAID is dead, baby. RAID is dead
Bring your own disks to its object appliances
Nimble's latest mutants GORGE themselves on unlucky forerunners
Crossing Sandy Bridges without stopping for breath
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
BYOD's dark side: Data protection
An endpoint data protection solution that adds value to the user and the organization so it can protect itself from data loss as well as leverage corporate data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?