Microsoft bans GPLv3 open-source software from Windows Phone and Xbox apps

Microsoft bans GPLv3 open-source software from Windows Phone and Xbox apps

Summary: Microsoft has banned GPLv3 open-source software from Windows Phone and Xbox apps, according to Jan Wildeboer, an open source evangelist and Red Hat employee.

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Microsoft has banned GPLv3 open-source software from Windows Phone and Xbox apps, according to Jan Wildeboer, an open source evangelist and Red Hat employee.

Wildeboer is unimpressed:

This is rather uncool, IMHO, I stumbled upon this forum entry and was quite astonished. It points to the Microsoft Application Provider Agreement that governs the Windows Marketplace, the App Store where users can get apps and developers publish them.

The devil's in the Application Requirements documentation:

e. The Application must not include software, documentation, or other materials that, in whole or in part, are governed by or subject to an Excluded License, or that would otherwise cause the Application to be subject to the terms of an Excluded License.

 Hmm, "Excluded License"? What does that mean? More digging through the license:

"Excluded License" means any license requiring, as a condition of use, modification and/or distribution of the software subject to the license, that the software or other software combined and/or distributed with it be (i) disclosed or distributed in source code form; (ii) licensed for the purpose of making derivative works; or (iii) redistributable at no charge. Excluded Licenses include, but are not limited to the GPLv3 Licenses. For the purpose of this definition, "GPLv3 Licenses" means the GNU General Public License version 3, the GNU Affero General Public License version 3, the GNU Lesser General Public License version 3, and any equivalents to the foregoing.

In other words, GPLv3, LGPLv3, Affero GPLv3 licenses are excluded.

Why has Microsoft chosen to do this? According to Wildeboer the reasons are pretty clear:

The consequences of this strange exclusion are not fully clear to me as I am not a lawyer. But one thing is extremely obvious. Microsoft wants to keep its platform clear of Free Software. Period.

Seems like that to me too.

Topics: Software, Hardware, Microsoft, Mobility, Open Source, Windows

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77 comments
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  • RE: Microsoft bans GPLv3 open-source software from Windows Phone and Xbox apps

    What is a Red Hat employee doing surfing on WP7 and Xbox forums? Sounds like he was on a mission. Microsoft is in the right here for banning GPL3 and it makes sense. The reasons are clear but not for what you stated. They do not want to be responsible for keeping up with GPL'd code and distributing the app and source along with the legal responsibilities it takes on. Plus they don't want GPL code to go upstream into their own OS or apps forcing them to release their own source code or that of any apps for WP7 and Xbox. The short version: Microsoft is not going to take on the legal troubles for someone else's project.
    Loverock Davidson
    • RE: Microsoft bans GPLv3 open-source software from Windows Phone and Xbox apps

      Loverock Davidson?s comment today paid by Microsoft.
      choyongpil
      • RE: Microsoft bans GPLv3 open-source software from Windows Phone and Xbox apps

        @choyongpil
        But is it incorrect? GPLv3 (or any licensing agreement) involves legal issues that a company may not want to deal with.
        mdemuth
      • Wrong, choyongpil

        @choyongpil as mdemuth says, it [i]involves legal issues that a company may not want to deal with[/i]

        Just don't place your code under GPLv3 and you're fine.
        AllKnowingAllSeeing
      • RE: Microsoft bans GPLv3 open-source software from Windows Phone and Xbox apps

        Doesnt know and Cant see, <br>So you have information that Loverock is not paid by Microsoft.
        choyongpil
      • RE: Microsoft bans GPLv3 open-source software from Windows Phone and Xbox apps

        @choyongpil

        This is also standard practice at Oracle and Apple, BTW.

        The process is called "Remediation".

        Now you understand why one cannot get access to the sources to the "Aqua" GUI in OS X?

        Even though they'll publish the rest a la BSD License...
        WinTard
      • I guess that's true

        @choyongpil
        AllKnowingAllSeeing may know, but will he tell?
        (The Big Guy has been known to keep things to himself from time to time )

        But that's true, maybe LD gets paid by MS, you and a few others get paid by Apple to post here, and DB an DTS maybe from Google, or something.

        So you're all paid shill, so all of you go away!
        John Zern
      • RE: Microsoft bans GPLv3 open-source software from Windows Phone and Xbox apps

        John Zern,
        No not paid by Apple, Just a contractor for Uncle Sam.
        My comments are my own personal opinion and do not represent the position of my employer.
        choyongpil
    • RE: Microsoft bans GPLv3 open-source software from Windows Phone and Xbox apps

      @Loverock Davidson

      "What is a Red Hat employee doing surfing on WP7 and Xbox forums?"

      Brilliant!
      Adrian Kingsley-Hughes
      • Nothing brilliant about it......

        @Adrian Kingsley-Hughes
        @Loverock Davidson

        "Excluded Licenses include, but are not limited to the GPLv3 Licenses"

        This means that any open source licence, including all GPL, Apache, BSD, etc... can be banned.

        This is nothing more than another move to try and keep their slowly decaying market. How desperate can Microsoft get? If they had a good product that would compete, they wouldn't need to result to such devious means.
        linux for me
      • RE: Microsoft bans GPLv3 open-source software from Windows Phone and Xbox apps

        @Adrian Kingsley-Hughes
        You're damn right I am!
        Loverock Davidson
    • RE: Microsoft bans GPLv3 open-source software from Windows Phone and Xbox apps

      @Loverock Davidson
      M$ lost it's last chance to reddem itself by embracing GPL!
      Now it's up to the courts to strike down this agreement.
      M$ censorship is against our constitutional rights.
      Linux Geek
      • RE: Microsoft bans GPLv3 open-source software from Windows Phone and Xbox apps

        @Linux Geek Embrace the GPL? Microsoft is running a business, not a religion, so why get mixed up with such nonsense? The GPL brings with it many undesirable consequences which are simply better avoided from a business perspective.
        Tiggster
      • RE: Microsoft bans GPLv3 open-source software from Windows Phone and Xbox apps

        @Linux Geek
        What constitutional right would that be?
        MichaelWells
      • @ MichaelWells

        Didn't you read:

        Life, Liberty, Free Stuff, and the Pursuit of Happiness are our freedoms.

        Duh.
        Michael Alan Goff
      • RE: Microsoft bans GPLv3 open-source software from Windows Phone and Xbox apps

        @Linux Geek : This coming from a Linux zealot. What censorship? Do you know the meaning of censorship? [look it up at www.dictionary.com] Always looking for the courts to defend Linux? Why? Because the Linux community is so franctured. How many distros are out there? You got a distro for all these single purposes. Wouldn't be surprised if there is a distro made for cats!

        Constitutional right? For who?
        Gis Bun
      • Statements without evidence equals tripe

        @Tiggster "The GPL brings with it many undesirable consequences which are simply better avoided from a business perspective."

        Such As???

        What do they have to avoid. All they have to do is stick to they're own code. Heck they stole Gary Kildall's code and made DOS but he was too small to have a voice, so that's ok then.
        kevlar700
    • RE: Microsoft bans GPLv3 open-source software from Windows Phone and Xbox apps

      @Loverock Davidson Simple. As mentioned in my blog entry, I was surfing on a Nokia forum where developers were discussing the ramifications of the Symbian/Meego to WP7 platform change as decicded by Nokia.

      Sorry, no dark motives :-)

      Jan Wildeboer
      jan.wildeboer
      • RE: Microsoft bans GPLv3 open-source software from Windows Phone and Xbox apps

        @jan.wildeboer
        so you say, I'm watching you ;) Just kidding :)
        Loverock Davidson
    • LOL

      @Loverock Davidson <br><br>Dude, I have to tip my hat to you. Intentional or not, you are absolutely the BEST fisherman trawling ZDNet. A <b>single</b> post from you can literally get pages of fishes caught up in your net.<br><br>I mean, there was an article the other day where you made the first post and you trolled up so many fish that I had to go down 5 or 6 PAGES before I got to the next top level post.
      Hallowed are the Ori