OSI approves two Microsoft shared-source licenses

The OSI has approved two of Microsoft's Shared Source licenses as viable open-source licenses.

The board of the Open Source Initiative (OSI) has approved two Microsoft licenses that allow proprietary source code to be shared, a move that is likely to inspire protest and spur controversy for die-hard open-source proponents.

The Microsoft Public License (MPL) and the Microsoft Reciprocal License (MRL), two of Microsoft's so-called "shared source" licenses, are now viable OSI licenses for distributing open-source code alongside more widely used community licenses such as the GNU General Public License and the Mozilla Public License.

"Today's approval by the OSI concludes a tremendous learning experience for Microsoft and I look forward to our continued participation in the open-source community," said Microsoft General Manager of Windows Server Marketing and Platform Strategy Bill Hilf.

Microsoft submitted licenses from its Shared Source Initiative to the OSI in July, an announcement made at the O'Reilly Open Source Convention. The news was generally well received by top open-source community leaders at the time, though some noted that a move from Microsoft to work with the community on open-source licenses could have come a lot sooner.

The MPL and MRL are two of three licenses that Microsoft offers in its Shared Source Initiative, which it has offered for about five years as a way to share source code without having to work with open-source organizations or companies. The other is the Microsoft Reference License, which is the most restrictive of the three and was not submitted for approval.

The MPL is the least restrictive of the Shared Source licenses, allowing licensees to view, modify and redistribute the source code for either commercial or non-commercial purposes. The license also allows licensees to alter the source code they share with others as well as to charge a licensing fee for their work if they choose. The MRL, which the company recommends for collaborative development projects, carries specific requirements if licensees combine their original code with MRL-licensed code. It does, however, allow for non-commercial and commercial modification and redistribution of licensed software.

Red Hat executive Michael Tiemann, who also serves as president of the OSI, said that while some in the community balked at the OSI accepting licenses from a company that historically has not been open-source friendly, in the end, the licenses spoke for themselves. "They do have two licenses that went through the community process and did sustain the open-source definition," he said.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Elizabeth Montalbano

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?