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Microsoft seeks OSI licence approval

By   |  July 30, 2007

Bill Hilf, general manager of platform strategy at [4]Microsoft[/4], announced last week at the O’Reilly Open Source Convention (OSCON), that the company was submitting its shared licences, which include the permissive license, community license and reference licence, to the Open Source Initiative (OSI) for certification as true open source licences.

Tim O’Reilly wrote: "This is a huge, long-awaited move. It will be earthshaking for both Microsoft and for the [5]open source[/5] community if the licenses are in fact certified as open source licenses. Microsoft has been releasing a lot of software as shared source (nearly 650 projects, according to Bill). If this is suddenly certified as true open source software, it will be a lot harder to draw a bright line between Microsoft and the open source community."

"Bill also announced that Microsoft has created a new top level link at, to bring together in one place all Microsoft’s open source efforts. Bill sees this as the culmination of a long process of making open source a legitimate part of Microsoft’s strategy. Open source has survived Microsoft’s process of ‘software darwinism’ and is becoming an ever more important part of its thinking," wrote O’Reilly.

Jon Rosenberg, director of source programs at Microsoft wrote on the Port 25 blog, "Today, we reached another milestone with the decision to submit our open licenses to the OSI approval process, which, if the licenses are approved, should give the community additional confidence that the code we’re sharing is truly open source."

LinuxWorld reported that neither OSI president Michael Tiemann nor Mark Radcliffe, the organization’s general counsel, returned e-mails and calls seeking comment on Microsoft’s announcement. Russ Nelson, who chairs the OSI’s license approval committee, said he expects Microsoft to submit its shared source licenses for approval within a week or so, but he didn’t comment further.

Other companies that have had licences certified by the OSI include Apple, Nokia, RealNetworks and Sybase.

Two of the more popular and better known OSI-approved licenses are the GNU General Public License ([2]GPL[/2]) and the Mozilla Public License, which is used by [3]Firefox[/3].



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