Australia signs up for access to Microsoft source code

Australia has signed on to Microsoft Corp.'s Government Security Program (GSP), giving the Australian government access to the programming code underlying several versions of the Windows operating system, Microsoft said in a statement Thursday.

Microsoft announced the GSP in January. The program, targeted at central governments and international organizations, allows them to assess the security and integrity of Microsoft software. Austria, China, Finland, Norway, Russia, Taiwan, Turkey, the U.K. and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) have already signed up for the GSP.

The GSP is also seen as a move in Microsoft's battle against open-source software, primarily the Linux operating system, edging into government administrations around the globe.

Governments signing up to the security program get free online access to source code and other technical information needed to do security reviews. The GSP covers current versions, service packs and beta releases of Windows 2000, Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 and Windows CE, according to Microsoft. In addition, government IT professionals can visit Microsoft headquarters to review Windows development and meet with Microsoft staff.

However, government users under the GSP are not allowed to make modifications to the code or compile the source code into Windows programs themselves. By contrast, an open-source license does allow access and modification of the source code. Governments in Finland, Germany and Taiwan, among other countries, have adopted open-source software or are looking into doing so.

The Australian agreement was signed with the country's Defence Signals Directorate, which is responsible for information security products and services to the Australian government and defense, Microsoft said.

Microsoft is in talks with several other countries and plans to announce more GSP participants before the end of the year, a company spokeswoman said. When it launched GSP, Microsoft said it had identified about 60 countries that are eligible for the program. Eligibility depends largely on national intellectual property laws.

Microsoft sees the GSP as an important part of its Trustworthy Computing initiative, a focus on secure software announced last year by Bill Gates, the Redmond, Washington, company's chairman.

Microsoft shares Windows code with governments, companies and educational institutions under various programs that are part of its Shared Source Initiative announced in 2001. The GSP is different in that Microsoft sees it as a partnership with a country or international organization and it does not require a country or organization to be a Microsoft customer.

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.

Joris Evers

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

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

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?