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Microsoft yanks Windows code on GPL violation claim

Third time's the charm

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

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 Free-Software Foundation's license in two ways: by modifying and then distributing the ImageMaster code without making its source-code available, and by actually bolting on its own, restricted licensing terms to the code.

A Microsoft spokesperson told The Reg: "We are currently looking into this issue and are taking down the Windows USB/DVD Tool (WUDT) from the Microsoft Store site until our review of this matter is complete."

This is not the first time Microsoft's landed in hot water for violating the GPL or for blurring the lines on CodePlex.

This summer, Microsoft apparently violated the GPL in Linux drivers for its Hyper-V code that it released under the GPL with a splash. The driver had been statically linked to binary parts, which was a problem because the GPL does not permit the mixing of closed and open-source elements.

Microsoft denied it had violated the GPL and released the drivers to remain in compliance.

Prior to that, a year ago, Microsoft was caught posting code to its CodePlex open-source project-hosting site under licenses that went against the principle of open-source.

The company posted projects under Microsoft licenses that stopped you from running CodePlex projects on non-Windows platforms or restrict access to code. CodePlex, though, was described by Microsoft as an open-source project community, meaning there should be no platform or code-access restrictions.

Microsoft never fully explained why this happened, but promised changes to add "clarity" around what projects are hosed on CodePlex. Since then, Microsoft announced the CodePlex Foundation that it said would help open source work with commercial software organizations. ®

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